Sunday, July 24, 2005

Killing the Wrong Man for the Wrong Reason

The BBC reports July 25, 2005:

"Police leaders say they will not abandon their 'shoot-to-kill' policy and warn more innocent people could be killed in the fight against terrorism.
"The message came after Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot dead by officers after being mistaken for a suicide bomber."


I hope we get good reporting on this. The police want us to believe this was a case of killing the wrong man for the right reason. Actually this is a case of killing the wrong man for the wrong reason.

Of course the police version is self-serving, and they presume their own justified conclusions that the shooting was necessary without even acknowledging that their presumption of necessity is what is being called into question.

So far the police say there are witnesses who saw the man jump over the turnstile and run toward the train without stopping when police called. To the police that justifies shooting him as a terrorist threat, because if he was wearing a bomb vest it would give him time to detonate it if they tried to negotiate.

To me that is not justification, it is rationalization. The behavior of a suicide terrorist is not to jump the turnstile and run for the train thereby calling attention to himself. He was probably late and running to get to the train and was so focused on making the open door of the train that the police shouting at him became just background noise of the station. A real terrorist walks slowly with the flow of foot traffic through the underground and maintains an air of normality. Real terrorists don't want attention. The police should have recognized that from the evidence of how the actual terrorists appeared on the closed circuit TV that the police have been reviewing.

It is the lack of training of police that is mostly responsible for this murder, as well as the legitimization of the reactionary terrorism of the anti-terrorism world-view. This is why the BBC reports, "Police leaders say they will not abandon their 'shoot-to-kill' policy and warn more innocent people could be killed in the fight against terrorism."

By warning people that excited movements may get a person killed the police are making a mockery of anti-terrorism efforts. The police are just cultivating the "1984" mentality of propaganda for a passive society.

The police say, "The important thing is there's nothing gratuitous going on, there is nothing cavalier here, there is no conspiracy to shoot people." Here, the police erect the straw-man argument. Of course there is no allegation of a conspiracy to shoot people. The allegation is a conspiracy to make the population accept being shot if they act "strange" in the eyes of the police. This acceptance lets the police out of all responsibility for these types of murders.