Unloading on the Underground

So …. a guy got shot on the tube this morning. I’ve not seen any TV news today but I’ve followed it on various news sites. What struck me the most was the apparent eyewitness account:

“… and unloaded five shots into him”

Not “they shot him 5 times”, or “he was shot 5 times” but unloaded five shots into him. What does this guy watch ? Or did he have the presence of mind to “think hip” while in what he described as a scary situation – man, is he cool or what ? Unloaded. Well, yeah.. they did take the bullets out of the gun but not in the way that word suggests. I wonder what TV program that comes from ? If he was my neighbour I’d keep an eye on him… Wierd.

And anyone else noticed all the righteous ones blogging today about how absolutely shocking it was that a man – an unarmed man – was shot (sorry … unloaded into) on the Tube ? Yep …. well maybe the police there – who must have been scared too – did what they thought was best. “Kill 1 man, or let him kill many”. It’s not a tricky sum is it ?

17 thoughts on “Unloading on the Underground

  1. Must have been one hell of a call to make. Imagine if they got it wrong and he was just a very nervous foreigner with no English. I’m not sure how I would react in say Taiwan if 3 plainclothed guys came after me with a gun and shouted at me. I may have run too.

    Saying that its probably the right call, just a tough one to make. When I heard the reports on the radio I actually thought it may have been SAS due to the severity of the reaction – it was almost an execution!

  2. Claire – I don’t. At what point does he become guilty ? When his stomach is several feet away from his head ?

    If they left him and he killed others, the Police would not get a “There there.. don’t worry about it .. we know suicide bombers have rights too”. The Police would have been screamed at for not doing something about it.

    So they did, and they are still screamed at.

    What exactly should they have done ? And I do mean exactly.

    Do I think a copper (or whoever it was) woke yesterday morning and thought “Hey, let’s blow someone’s brains out” ?
    Do I think that whoever it was that pulled the trigger deserves our total support ? Hell yes I do.

    If he is innocent until the moment he detonates, then by that way of thinking the security may as well be stopped. After all, wouldn’t want to kill an innocent suicide bomber would we ?

  3. If he is innocent until the moment he detonates, then by that way of thinking the security may as well be stopped.

    Very sad but true. The rules have changed. We’re all confused about how to deal with it, how to make our way through without giving away all our civil rights.

    But until a thorough investigation is completed I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the people who face the guns and the bombs daily, whether they be in the UK, the US, or Iraq, rather than save it all for a guy who runs from the cops in a crowded subway.

  4. “Think. Then type.”

    I’m thinking so much I really don’t know what to say, except that the murder of this bloke was totally wrong and if that’s how the police are going to act in the name of prevention of terrorism, I don’t think I want to live here anymore.

    Jeez, you lot will be advocating carrying ID cards next… 🙂

  5. Hang on …… with 20/20 hindsight, yes it was wrong.
    But the guys who WE expect to protect us had to make a call there and then.
    Let’s say this guy had blown up a train.
    And let’s say a colleague of yours was on it.
    And let’s also add that the Police appear on TV and say “Yup, we could have taken him out, but we could not be 100% totally and utterly sure he was a terrorist. Although our peers in the security services told us that he had come out of a house under surveillance, that the said house was known to be used by terrorists, that the guy was wearing clothing that is known to all security services who deal with suicide bombers as being typical and that the guy refused to stop when challenged and indeed vaulted the ticket barriers, ran down the stairs and onto the train, our officers took the decision that as they could not be 100%, bet_your_grannies_life_on_it sure of his intent to cause harm, they allowed him to proceed about his lawful business.
    Unfortunately, 20 seconds later, his business became unlawful and 20 lives were lost. While we, the Met, apologise for this tragedy, we can take pride in the fact that we did not interfere with someone who was – until the moment they went BOOM – totally innocent. The Met recognise that the rights of the one far outweigh the rights of the many. Oh yes. Sorry about Granny though….”

    That would go down a treat eh ?

  6. have to admit, I’m thinking that if youre gonna go live in a foreign country, its a good idea to learn some of the language. Aside from the moral and social reasons for this, one excellent reason is that if the police yell “stop!” at you, then you have half a chance of surviving.

    I’m sure they wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t genuinely believe it was him or the general public. If he’d had a detonator, and had set it off, everyone would be screaming about how fucking slow the police were, and they should have taken him down before he even had a chance to do any damage. I find it reassuring that our police are finally moving away from the stiff upper lip bobbies of yore and are actually able to take drastic action when drastic action is called for.


  7. I know, I know. It’s easy to imagine how someone would feel if one’s colleague or friend was hurt or killed by a terrorist that got away because the police failed to shoot them while they had the chance.

    Now try and think how you’d feel if the man who was killed was somebody you knew. That bloke was somebody’s son, brother, friend… there has to be an inquiry, but I have so little faith in it being independent I wonder what’s the point.

    I wonder how long it will be before ‘shoot to kill’ will be standard police tactic in dealing with certain situations?

    I’m not some wet liberal. I think rapists should have their balls cut off and the death penalty should be used in certain situations, but I do believe in liberty and the fact this bloke was killed for no reason is just really scary.

  8. Yes there does have to be an inquiry. But ….
    (1) if those officers are severely disciplined / lose their jobs, then effectively our streets are left unguarded. That sends a clear message to the bad guys.
    (2) the officers – who are only human and must be kicking themselves stupid right now – are ‘let off’. That would be the term used by anyone who thinks they should stand trial for murder. That tells the bombers that they WILL be shot, and it tells the people they will be protected.

    Politically, I know which decision I would take.

    And all sympathy I have goes to the Police and others involved. I would not want their job, and as such I totally support their actions.

  9. This is a bit like saying “HAHA I’ve got a bomb” in an airport isn’t it?

    What kind of fare dodging tit jumps a barrier and runs for a train when it’s pretty evident that there’s a whole bunch of gun toting nutters all over the place?

    Mind you, I bet the real bombers walked, maybe the police should ignore the ones running and shoot all the calm people.

    I’m so confused by this stuff. At least it’s possibly making us all aware how shit we all are at being cultural and national ambassadors.
    I wish we’d not fucked with so many people for so long. I feel like there’s a lot we should take back, but we can’t.

    I’m fairly relaxed though, the IRA missed me in Warrington, and Al Quieda in the twin towers. Seems pretty unlikely to get hurt.

  10. Well, here’s 20/20 hindsight:
    A man shot dead by police hunting the bombers behind Thursday’s London attacks was a Brazilian electrician unconnected to the incidents

    Most unfortunate indeed. It’s hard to 2nd guess cops when they make critical decisions, the reality is that most of us placed in similar situations would make the mistake and kill when it was unnecessary. If they were only 50% sure he was going to bomb the train I think it would have been better if they had held their fire.

    As much of a pacifist as I am, even in hindsight I don’t think the cops should be disciplined very badly. What’s the karmic consequence I wonder for killing an innocent in this way? If you believe in that… IN the least, I hope that Charles de Menezes’ loss of life will guide British police toward being more on their toes about making good judgment calls.

  11. Police apologise, but say will shoot suspects on head

    Like I said, the rules have changed. I see terrorist attacks as a hybrid: part criminal act, part act of war (declared by an organization, rather than a country). Terrorist attacks need a hybrid response, part criminal justice system, part martial law.

    Treating them as criminal acts greatly increases the opportunity to condemn huge numbers of civilians and law enforcement personnel to death. Treating them as acts of war when war has not been declared steadily erodes our civil rights.

    So we scramble up a hybrid response, like shooting suspects in the head if they run from cops into crowded carriages on a day when bombs are going off in subways. It’s not perfect, people still get killed and we lose some of our rights anyway, but it’s all we’ve got until somebody comes up with something better.

    Unfortunately, at least with martial law there is a formal declaration as to when it begins, when it will end, and what your rights are during the time it is in force. We have no such declaration for terrorism. We’re relying instead on common sense, something Charles de Meneze apparently did not have.

  12. Bonnie,

    I totally agree with your analysis, but the end statement stating that the victim didn’t have common sense is quite harsh. The man is 1) innocent and 2) dead… we’ll really never know what he was thinking; who’s to say what common sense is based on his life experience? Plainclothes cops can look a lot like criminals if they’re pointing a gun at you.

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