UK police shoot dead innocent civilian in the name of the 'war on terror'
UK Police have admitted that man they shot dead in Stockwell tube station yesterday was not connected to the attempted bombings of London on July 21.
In other words - he was an innocent civilian.
This wasn't just a shooting - this was a summary execution, as NRT points out.
"They pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him" - Witness Mark Whitby
This amply demonstrates the reason why shooting people dead on the 'suspicion' of being involved in a terrorist activities is a foolish and dangerous precedent.
I simply do not buy the argument that the only way to stop a suspected bomber in a tube station is to ensure he/she dies by shooting them 5 times. Incapacitating/injuring someone may be justified in some circumstances, but death should only be the absolute last resort, and only when a threat is established as being genuine. In this case it is pretty clear the evidence of a threat was circumstantial at best.
While one passenger may have reported the man wearing a belt with wires coming out of it - the man was only guilty of being an electrician.
And last I checked, running away from plain clothes armed men was not a capital offence, even if they did attempt to identify themselves. While we may hear calls for sympathy for the officer who was forced to make a 'split second' decision, we should also have some sympathy for an civilian who was understandably freaked.
A tube station is a very controlled and predictable environment - there are few places for a person to go. The first thing I would have done in this situation if I was the police would have been to clear the station of any trains - and given the word, this can happen very quickly.
Given that most tubes have CCTV and the train was in the station at the time there is a high chance there will be video evidence of the execution.
Chefen from Sir Humphreys attempts to justify the police action on the basis of a cruel utilitarian logic.
"When it comes to mass murder, the numbers say take a hardline because you'll save more people that way. Tough, but such is life."
In a sense Chefen is arguing that innocent civilians should die on account of the slightest chance it may save others - and this is only a short step from celebrating them as martyrs in the war against terror. In doing so, we would only be adopting the justifications of the terrorists, as well as providing Mr Bin Laden rhetorical means to recruit more martyrs for 'his side'.
And if you want to justify actions on the cold calculation of numbers, Iraqis may also see the logic in taking a 'hard line' against the UK, given the mass murder of 39,000 Iraqi civilians since the American/UK invasion.
Worst of all, Chefen erroneously attributes the guilt for terrorism to racial groups.
"I'm sure all those out there who are expert in the deployment of root-causes arguments can word it much better than "Sorry missus, but your son was running away from armed police towards a tube station and we had four terrorist attacks yesterday and we couldn't take the chance he was going to murder a few dozen commuters just for jollies. I can't wait for the crowd who plead for understanding of why certain populaces have brought terrorism on themselves to try and wiggle this one around 180 degrees."
And 'bought it on themselves' sounds a lot like how the Nazi's attempt to justify the infamous persecution of another racial and other groups - the holocaust.
I was talking to someone last night who compared the Stockwell incident to the bus bombers in Israel. But this example really crystallizes the point - the vast majority of people do not want to live in a society where the police and the armed forces are permitted to kill on sight those who are suspected of a crime.
Perhaps a reason why right wing 'liberals' rail against the 'Nanny State', a state that aims to care for and value the lives of its citizens is that such misnamed 'liberals' really want another type of state altogether - an oppressive state, governed by fear, where the state has unlimited license for indiscriminate violence and persecution. Mostly in the name of defending gross property and income inequalities from the democratic majority.
Bush and Blair harp on about 'defending our values' yet pass draconian anti-terror legislation that takes away the values worth defending, such as the right to a fair trial and the assurance no free person will be imprisoned without charge.
When the terrorists are caught and convicted I don't want them to be executed or put in a jail cell 'with the key thrown away' - that's too easy. Following an open and public court process I would like to see prison, along with an involved and challenging restorative justice process that will allow families of victims the chance to force the terrorists to face the human costs of their actions.
The best weapon we have in the 'war on terror' is the maintenance of our own humanity and the highest level of respect for human life - this is one thing the terrorists can never have.
Categories: London, Politics, Shooting, Police, Bombings
PS: I do think it would be unfortunate if the good work of the UK police in the aftermath of the July 7th bombings was overshadowed by the latest incident. While they were unable to stop the bombs, they were on the case quickly with some good leads, information they shared with the public. I have a suspicion we will find the 'police' involved in the shooting were not ordinary bobbies.