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Sunday, 29 November, 2020

Arrest by .45

Date: 15 July, 2005

By: Chief

Imagecotland Yard, the London Metropolitan Police (the MET), are having a real bad time of things lately. Two bombings on the underground and transit buses by cowards attempting to strike fear into the hearts of the population and kill some innocents to boot. So officers on the MET have had their nerves stretched to the limit and then some. When that happens bad decisions are made and innocent people can be harmed or worse.

Which is exactly what has happened.

A plain clothes officer of the MET shot and killed an absolutely innocent man the other day. How such a thing could happen is quite simple. Nerves stretched beyond the limit which led the officer to make a very wrong and fatal decision.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, made the most stupid of statements:

"If you are dealing with someone who might be a suicide bomber, if they remain conscious, they could trigger plastic explosives or whatever device is on them, [t]herefore, overwhelmingly in these circumstances, it is going to be a shoot-to-kill policy" (quote from AP).

Just out of curiosity Mr. Mayor, just how exactly do you or the MET know when "you are dealing with someone who might be a suicide bomber?" If I am in London (and I cannot imagine anybody in their right mind wanting to be there anytime) do I need to wear a sign saying I am not a suicide bomber?

The guy, Jean Charles de Menezes, the police shot and killed — with five rounds into the head — was:

Profiling by clothing

According to various press stories the now very dead guy was in a hurry and tripped while attempting to board a train at the Stockwell station. The officer, for reasons unknown, then fired 5 rounds into the innocent person's head. Police say the dead guy was wearing clothes that made the plain clothes officer suspicious.

That does not give me a real warm feeling about traveling to London (not that I ever would, mind you). Wear the wrong type of clothing and your brains may just end up seeing the light of day. All courtesy of the London Metropolitan Police and Mayor Livingstone. Isn't that just lovely.

I don't know whether any warnings were issued, the reports I read did not so state. Further, how in the world is a foreigner or anybody else for that matter going to factually know:

It seems to me that person is screwed. No, actually he or she is shot dead.

I can fully understand police attempting to keep the underground safe. I can fully understand them wanting to catch those scurvy cowards who build and detonate bombs. However killing an innocent person is not the way to do it. It tends to make matters worse. And in this particular case it may get much worse.

A fatally flawed policy

The MET's leadership stated, in the wake of the killing, that "somebody else could be shot" and that the shoot to kill policy for dealing with suspected suicide bombers would remain in place.

It appears that Mayor Livingstone and the leadership of the MET have put into place an 'end justifies the means' policy. I do not at all agree with the 'end justifies the means' philosophy. Stalin tried it. It did not work for him nor any other Soviet leader. The Soviet Union no longer exists. It did not work for Hitler either. Most tyrants have used that philosophy and they are no longer around to tell the tale. That should tell you something. As such, I do not think it shall work for Mayor Ken Livingstone either.

The 'big deal', if you will, is that government, when bad things happen and government cannot stop them from happening, tends to sink to the same level as the people that they are trying to catch. While this maybe a novelty in jolly old England, here in the U.S. it happens with alarming frequency. And it never, in the long run, succeeds. Ask Stalin or Hitler. Oops, they are dead aren't they?

Mayor Ken Livingstone's policy, if it is indeed his, of allowing police to shoot-to-kill people based upon mere suspicion only is not only wrong and immoral, it is dead wrong.

By reacting to the cowards and their cowardly bombings the leadership of the MET and the Mayor of London have hand delivered, complete with a colored bow no less, a victory to the cowards. London is not safer now. People are not as secure now. London is actually less safe than it was prior to the killing of the innocent Brazilian. And because of that the people in London are less safe and secure.

Can people now trust the officers of Scotland Yard? That is a question of no small import. Mayor Livingstone may not realize it — yet — but once you begin traveling down the road that he and the MET have taken it is very, very difficult to get back to the road that travels the high moral ground. Once trust is broken it takes a long, long time to reestablish and subsequently fully regain the same level of trust that was once earned and respected.

The officer who killed an innocent man should be held responsible for his actions. More importantly though, the chief of the MET and Mayor Livingstone must be held accountable for their actions. They were the ones who instituted the shoot-to-kill on suspicion policy. Not the officer who pulled the trigger — five times at point blank range. Whatever, if any, punishment is handed down to the officer who killed the innocent man, the punishment for the chief of the MET and Mayor Livingstone should be at least three fold harsher. They instituted the policy in the first place.

The flip side of the coin is had the officer seen the guy carrying a bomb or some other weapon, or had the officer seen the guy actually trying to do something such as detonate a bomb or what-have-you, then yes, shoot that dirty son-of-a-bitch and shoot him dead.

As it currently stands we now have one dead innocent person. We further have one of the most highly respected and trusted police forces in the world now standing in disarray and distrusted by quite a few people and London is not the least bit safer than before. That is a lot of casualties to suffer because of a bad policy.

In the end, however, bad policies always lead to mass casualties.

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