Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Let's get the facts straight

I posted here about the man whom the British police killed today, after he refused to stop for them, leapt over a turnstile and launched himself onto a subway train. British Muslims are now up in arms about what they're characterizing as a "shoot to kill" policy. They make it sound as if police are planning on mass executions for all visible Muslims. While it certainly would be helpful to get more facts, it does sound as if this man was doing everything he could to incite distrust and, more importantly, to lead police to believe that, with his desperate effort to board a subway train, he was trying to blow the train up, even if his suicide took place at the police's hands before his bomb even went off. It's entirely possible that jittery police overreacted in shooting him but the fact is that, with suicide bombers, it's often impossible to tell until it's too late what action will cause the bomb to blow up. Considering the 8 bombs realized in Britain in 2 weeks, considering the man's unbelievable suspicious and aggressive conduct (aggressive, not towards the police, from whom he was escaping, but toward the subway itself), it doesn't currently seem unreasonable -- or like a shoot to kill policy -- for the police to take the most aggressive measures possible against him. Still, having said all that, it would have been much better had they captured him and gotten information, rather than turning him into both a cipher and a public-relations problem. UPDATE: And speaking of getting the facts straight, it turns out that the subway shooting claimed an innocent man:

Scotland Yard admitted Saturday that a man police officers gunned down at point-blank range in front of horrified subway passengers on Friday had nothing to do with the investigation into the bombing attacks here. The man was identified by police as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian, described by officers as an electrician on his way to work. "He was not connected to incidents in central London on 21st July, 2005, in which four explosive devices were partly detonated," a police statement said.
What I'm still unclear on is why Mr. de Menezes, who apparently understood English well, ran from the officers, and headed for the subway. That was a deathly mistake, since it would seem to me you couldn't wave more of a red flag before the police bull (pardon the horrific metaphor) than to leap over subway turnstiles and jump on a subway train in the wake of all the bombings.