Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Shoot to Kill

Disturbing news is surfacing about the death of Mr. Jean Charles de Menezes' death. This was the Brazilian electrician who was shot by Police on the 22nd July at Stockwell Tube station. Police statements at the time said that Mr. de Menezes failed to stop when challenged, vaulted the ticket barrier and ran down to the tube. Police reports also said that he was wearing a heavy winter's coat on a very warm summer's day.

It now emerges that his house had been under surveillance, and that when he left home to go to work, he travelled 15 minutes by bus to Stockwell, CCTV at the station shows him walking in and presenting his pass at the barrier, passing through the barrier and picking up a free newspaper. The only time he ran was when he reached the platform and saw his train about to depart. He ran onto the train, followed by the surveillance officer who immobilised him. Mr. de Menezes was going nowhere, and could not possibly do anything.

What happened next would appear to be quite apalling. An armed Police officer arrived, and with little or no warning, fired 11 times, hitting Mr. de Menezes 7 times in the head, once in the shoulder and missed 3 times. A passenger took a phone-camera picture of the aftermath, and Mr. de Menezes was wearing a light denim jacket. This information is coming from a leaked source, but it does have the ring of truth about it. The full story can be read on the BBC website.

This sort of reaction and over-reaction is precisly what the terrorists want. They want national governments to crack down on their own populations, curtail hard-won freedoms and control the populace. On the face of it, particularly in the UK and America, the terrorist has won.

In the UK, the move to ID cards and deportation of funny coloured people who wear scarves on their heads. In America, it can take longer to get through security at an airport, than the subsequant flight. The question is: who's winning, and who is allowing the terrorist to win?

A woman in London was asked whether she felt more secure with all the visible policing on the streets, and she said "no". It reminded her that there was something to fear. She much preferred to play the odds, and the chances of being a victim of terrorism is millions-to-one. Sensible woman.


Eddie said...

So I am wondering, what is a nation to do to protect her people? For the most part, I think America's response has been reasonable. The proof is in the outcome. We have not suffered any further major terrorist attacks since 9.11.01. While having safeguards may/may not prevent terrorism, the real way to fight it is to have excellent intelligence on the ground where the terrorists live and plan, which is one less Country now (Iraq) that Al Zarqawi can have to play in.

Cherokee Princess said...

That is criminal and I hope that the officer is held liable for his actions. It just makes me ill to think some people apparenlty think it okay. Civil liberties mean nothing. There must be responsibility...a check and balance which is grossly lacking in today's paranoid society.
There are far too many people who have something to gain for all of this home land security crap. It all wreaks of greed and paranoia. I refuse to live to shoot first. It's insane!

Mark said...

Hi Eddie, welcome back.

Clearly waiting an hour and half to get through security for a half-hour flight is reasonable! but to us in the free world, its just not on. Perhaps we are not as frightened of the bogey-man here in Europe as you vocal right-wingers are in the US. I agree, that instead of wishful thinking and lies, intelligence is important - has America got any yet? Certainly not much in the White House these days from all accounts. Just the usual cynical machinations to suit those who are really in charge of America.

Shoot first and ask questions later is clearly your philosphy. I'm sorry I can't support something so immoral.

As I said, the terrorists main business is not the killing and maiming, but the fear of it and forcing weak Governments into Knee-jerk reactions. Osama clearly knew his President well - probably through Bush's close family links to the Bin Ladins and pushed all the right buttons to get him to do what he wanted. I'm sorry, the cowboy mentality is not the right one for the 21st Century.