I have a few questions

This entry was posted on
Monday, July 25th, 2005
12:43 pm and is filed
under The War on Stupid.

BBC – Shot man not connected to bombing
Guardian – Short walk and the No2 bus – a very ordinary journey to death
Perfect – They shot the wrong guy
Perfect – They shot the wrong guy (redux)
Europhobia – UK race relations improve no end…

Why did he run?

My best guess is that he ran because he was the wrong colour and he knew it. I’m reminded of the woefully incomplete report of a man silly enough to run away from an explosion last week: “Suddenly, I saw a guy coming from the stairs. He was running and at the same time people were running after him. I wanted to catch him but I was carrying heavy bags. The guy said something like ‘what’s wrong with these people’. He was a skinny Asian guy, with a little beard. He was about 19.

Why was he allowed to board and ride a bus?

We can only assume that the bus was empty. Why else would officers find it acceptable to allow him to board and ride a bus when boarding a train calls for 5 bullets to the head? Perhaps the bus was only partially full, in which case they were simply playing the numbers. 5 passengers (and a varying number of bystanders)? Acceptable losses. 50 passengers? Target the brain.

Why is it so important that he’s not at all connected to any terrorist group?

For many people, this was the clincher that prompted outrage. Jean Charles de Menezes was not connected to terrorists in any way, therefore the shooting was wrong (or perhaps merely unfortunate). But how would it be OK if he had been connected to a terrorist cell? The police suspected he was connected to terrorists and further suspected that he had a bomb. Perhaps acting on this suspicion in such a way is fair enough given the circumstances, that’s not the point I’m arguing. Had they acted in this way and found that there was no bomb, but the man was directly connected to the attacks of the 7th or 21st of July, that would still make this far from OK. Unless we’re holding public executions without trial these days and no-one has told us.

Why wasn’t the public informed of the ‘shoot to kill’ policy?

Perhaps they thought it would be less distressing for us to find out about it this way.

Who’s to blame?

The message we’re being sold at the moment is that an anti-terrorist officer pulled the trigger, but the terrorists are really to blame for creating the conditions that contributed to the event. But if you dared to suggest last week that Tony Blair created conditions that contributed to the events of the 7th or 21st of July, you were constantly reminded that he didn’t actually pull the trigger.

Maybe The Sun can explain things to me. In the scant coverage they afford this today, they helpfully explain that we can expect more people to be shot as part of the ‘shoot to kill… to protect‘ policy (ah, we’re getting closer) and a further article that doesn’t appear online points out that;

The harsh reality of life in London, July 2005, is we are at war – and a war like no other that this country has ever had to fight. But the one thing this war does have in common with others is that nasty cliche “collateral damage”. That means innocent people die. But to quote another cliche, they are dying so the rest of us can live.”

Now there’s a comforting thought… but you’ll pardon me for failing to hang onto it if my brains happen to spill out onto a railway platform.

It appears that we have the right not to get blown up, but to protect that right we have to surrender a few civil liberties… like the right not to get shot 5 times in the back of the head.


Better make that 8 times.

The UK Today – State of Terror

Also, given recent events, please note that I may soon have to revise this post.

About Tim Ireland

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