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The appropriate use of force

British police shot dead a man strongly suspected to have been one of yesterday’s would-be suicide bombers as he tried to board a train full of people at Stockwell Tube station.

It has also been reported that British Muslims are worried there is a ‘shoot to kill’ policy in force. However contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, anytime a policeman shoots someone, they are prepared to kill them (the usual policy is to shoot at the ‘centre of mass’). Technically they are ‘shooting to incapacitate’ and that often means killing the target. If a person who has been shot and incapacitated subsequently survives, that is a bonus.

However in the case of a suspected suicide bomber, once the decision to shoot has been made, taking the extra step of a bullet through the brain of a fallen suspect who under other circumstances would not be shot again may well be justified, given that the ability to so much as touch a button makes them a continued threat. This is particularly true if they have gone down near a number of civilians as was indeed the case this morning.

I am only surprised it has taken Al Qaeda this long to get around to attacking us here in London, given that they thought nothing of slaughtering hundreds of African civilians in Kenya and Tanzania and dozens of Australian civilians in Bali over the last few years since 9/11. We are in a war against an implacable enemy and although we have every right to demand our security services only use appropriate force in our defence, unless the facts turn out to be quite different than so far reported, this looks like it was a ‘clean shoot’.

96 comments to The appropriate use of force

  • GCooper

    Hear hear!

    We can only hope that the person killed at Stockwell today really was involved and not just an innocent bystander.

    Either way, complaining about “shoot to kill” is both ignorant and almost certainly disingenuous. I’d be among the first to complain about a police force that had got out of control, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Whatever some people like to pretend, we are at war. Normal rules cannot be applied.

  • Euan Gray

    According to “security experts” quoted on BBC, it seems highly unlikely these were actually police since the police are not trained to kill/incapacitate in anything like that manner. Apparently this includes Special Branch and SO19.

    It is reported also that whoever did it tried to revive the man, which makes sense – a dead guy can’t tell you very much. For this reason alone, a “shoot to kill” policy – unless someone is actually about to set off a bomb – is not sensible and I doubt very much if there is such a policy.

    EG

  • JuliaM

    It’s certainly a shame to lose any information that the police could have got from this terrorist (if any, given that these seem to be very low level operatives), but they are the ones on the spot & if they felt there was no option but to shoot, then good luck to them! Not that this will prevent the usual do-gooders from whining about ‘excessive force’. They’ve already started, on the usual suspects’ blogs.

    If the reports are accurate, the police/special forces piled on top of the suspect before shooting him. Given that the suspicion might have been that he had a suicide device, then wow….. Hats off to them, and no pay rise is too big. Perhaps they should be awarded the money that would otherwise have gone on the legal aid for this scumbag’s defence..?

  • Verity

    Bravo!

    But this is an example of the typical, divisive fear-mongering we get from “spokesmen” for “the Muslim community”. It is absolutely typical. The police killed this piece of loony garbage and by so doing may have saved the lives of around 50 or 60 normal people going about their business. But the Muslim “spokesmen” are right in there, stirring up suspicisions and resentment in Muslim minds, sneering at the host community for protecting itself.

    Given that their informal punishments involve hacking off the heads of living, conscious humans, and who kill and maim through suicide bombs, force women to marry men who have raped them or stone to death women who have been raped and issue fatwahs against anyone who says them nay. Bunglawala is not an arbiter of behaviour in an advanced, enlightened society.

    There’s a great advertisement for Islam, Bunglawala – “Religion of Choice of 100% of Suicide Bombers”.

  • The whole point is that there is not (and never will be) a ‘shoot-to-NOT-kill’ policy. Moreover (and what makes this situation different) is that a ‘coup de grace’ in the head of a fallen suspect can actually be entirely justified in the case of suicide bombers. If putting one into the head of a fallen person is not ‘shooting to kill’, then I don’t know what is.

  • Verity

    Julian Taylor says Perhaps they should be awarded the money that would otherwise have gone on the legal aid for this scumbag’s defence..?

    What? And take money out of Cherie’s pocket?

  • Does anyone know if the bomber was going into the mosque or out of it? OK the probabilities say out but would still like to know.

  • It has to be pointed out that there is no such thing a shooting to wound or incapacitate warning shots can offend, irritate or annoy,perhaps frighten,but where shooting at people is involved all bets are off,there are simply too many variables.There are only two choices shooting or not shooting,the rest of it is fiction.

  • I will expose my ignorance here: was this a special police operative of some kind? I thought London police were famous for being unarmed.

  • There are armed response units and special branch who do carry on a regular basis.Any police entitled to bear arms have training.There are far more of them tha you think.

    BTW Any bets that if there is a scintilla of doubt about the shooting Blair will hang the shooter out to dry?

  • lucklucky

    Shot to kill has the inverse effect in case of Palestinian terrorists bombs. They have the button pressed and when it is released it explodes, that was their counter measure to the well armed and atentive Israeli society . So the idea that the terrorist have to press a button isnt necessarely true.

  • Verity

    Thanks, Peter. Good pics! Very interesting.

  • I remember touring FBI Headquarters many years ago. After a firing range demonstration, the shooting agent came out and answered questions. One person asked if agents were trained to “shoot to kill”, and he replied that agents were trained to “incapacitate suspects”.

    “Of course,” he added, “the most effective way to incapacite someone is to kill him.”

  • So the idea that the terrorist have to press a button isnt necessarely true.

    Even so, it is better ther bomb goes off when they are shot dead than when they choose (i.e. when standing next to a mother and child as was the case in London yesterday).

  • Ian

    I cheered when I heard the news!

    The gallant action of the police, which isn’t an easy burden for them to carry, has saved a dozen people from violent death and dozens of others from lives without sight or limbs.

    Wasn’t the MCB bleating about not rushing to judge Islam or Muslims the other week, and now they’re rushing to speak for someone they presume is Muslim?

  • Kristopher

    You shoot to stop an agressor from jeopardizing your life and that of others.

    A splodydope wearing a bomb-vest requires a more thorough stopping ….

  • Verity

    According to the BBC site, it looks as though the police have caught one of the wannabee splodeydopes whose photos they posted a couple of hours ago. The site says more details soon

  • Kristopher,
    The shit is about to hit the multicultural fan,race relations,human rights,grievance mongers of every hue are now going to disect this action in the finest detail.
    It is the five shots that are going to be the central point,especially since the police are reported to have had him down.
    It is to be hoped that he was carrying a bomb,if not the shooter can expect no help from this government

  • kalikan

    a la guerre, comme a la guerre

  • In listening to some of the interviews today with Muslims I found that many of them just don’t get it. There was one complaing how heavy handed tactics by security services that scared a couple of Muslim older ladies. I am not surely the realise that Londoners have begun to realise that they are at war and are far less patient with those who attempt to take advantage of the normal good nature of the British people.

  • Pete_London

    Let’s sincerely hope that it was indeed a muslim terrorist being killed. Chalk that one up as a ‘deferred success’, Abdul. The fact that Our Boys tried to revive him suggests he wasn’t killed instantly. God I hope he was in pain.

    Peter:

    BTW Any bets that if there is a scintilla of doubt about the shooting Blair will hang the shooter out to dry?

    None in my house. He’ll spend the next few years having his arse roasted by an army of liberals who hate him, not the terrorist he put down. He’ll be in and out of court more often than Rumpole. No doubt we’ll spend the next 10 years working to pay for the legal aid. Islamic terrorism will be a distant memory before this man is allowed to get on with his life.

  • Commuter Hell

    There was one complaing how heavy handed tactics by security services that scared a couple of Muslim older ladies.

    Too fucking bad. We are way way way past the point where the feeling of the “muslim community” are matter all that much. Any government that intends to stay in power had better get that fact through their tiny heads or expect to be out of a job and soon. I live in London and people are really really really PISSED OFF at these lunatic fucks.

  • Ian

    Pete_London, I hope you’re wrong, but I realise what these things are like.

    That police officer is a hero. He – if it’s a man – put his duty before any personal distaste he might have had. And – since I read the evil corpse had explosives on him – he’s saved lives.

    I annoyed liberals at work only yesterday by saying that if government hadn’t disarmed the people, the terrorist fleeing Oval could have been shot.

  • Verity

    According to the BBC’s site, the police also searched a house in Harrow Road. A resident of the street says she heard six shots.

  • Rob

    As I commented in my blog, it may simply be too soon for us to judge on the matter. Personally, I am entirely willing to give the police the benefit of the doubt in this case, as I’m sure most of us here are.

    We should be in no doubt; even if the police had shot Osama Bin Laden himself, with a bomb strapped to his back, there are those who would have condemned the action. The fact is, the present situation calls for the police to be able to take the action they deem necessary to protect the public. So long as they use this power responsibly, they will continue to have the full support of all right-thinking people.

  • Verity

    I am 100% behind the police, who had to make a split second decision. Kill the perp or risk him detonating a bomb and killing many.

    Police have arrested a man on a platform at Birmingham station.

  • kalikan

    The MCB are making noises at how concerned they are the apparent shoot-to-kill policy. Why are they making these statements? Surely they aren’t suggesting that the corpse was Muslim? Weren’t they warning us last week about jumping to conclusions that the bombers were Muslim?

    Also, once again we cannot praise highly enough the bravery of the policemen involved. Just like on 7/7, they (and firemen/ambulance crews) were quick to put themselves on the line.

  • lucklucky

    “Even so, it is better ther bomb goes off when they are shot dead than when they choose (i.e. when standing next to a mother and child as was the case in London yesterday).”

    That’s true, but security forces must have steel nerves and fast brains to judge and make a split second decision.

  • Samsung

    It has also been reported that British Muslims are worried there is a ‘shoot to kill’ policy in force.

    Two words….. “Tough Shit!”

    The Israelis deal with their Pali/Arab murder-bombers in exactly the same way. It is a tried and tested technique that the Israelis have perfected over the years. After all, it’s damn near impossible trying to negotiate with someone hell bent on blowing themselves up and taking as many infidels as they can in the process. How do you try stop someone from vapourising into a million pieces with a host of innocent civilians and collecting 72 virgins in Islamic Porno Paradise? A shot to the torso could trigger off a the explosives strapped to the body, thus in trying to prevent an explosion, you could invariably end up creating one. Putting hot lead in the brain usually leads to instant death and prevents the ability of a would-be murder-bomber from triggering an explosion whilst injured or dying. Best to kill the bastards outright and have done with it. It works for the Israelis, and we are going to have to take lessons from them in dealing with these backward-assed Fascist Islamo-Neanderthals. Put lead in their brains. End of.

  • John

    This incident would seem to be a partial answer to
    Mark Steyn’s(Link) question
    Oh, dear. “Britain can take it” (as they said in the Blitz): that’s never been in doubt. The question is whether Britain can still dish it out

  • Julian Taylor

    Perry wrote,

    The whole point is that there is not (and never will be) a ‘shoot-to-NOT-kill’ policy.

    Actually I rather think there was a ‘shoot-to-NOT-kill’ debate recently in the Met. There have been a number of incidents where the professional handwringers have accused the police of unduly aiming to kill, especially in the cases of ‘death by police’ – someone points a fake firearm at armed police who obligingly open fire. The Metropolitan Police Authority and a number of local community groups (yes, including the now famous Muslim Council of GB) complained that since the police were issued with ‘precision’ firearms they should be able to ‘shoot to wound’ rather than assist in a mentally disturbed individual’s termination – ‘death by police’ is now recognised by UK coroner courts as a means of suicide.

    I would imagine that in regard to today’s events the police and certainly the security services would have just loved to take that creature alive, but of course it is far better that he was prevented from his intended course of action.

  • guy herbert

    Verity: I am 100% behind the police, who had to make a split second decision. Kill the perp or risk him detonating a bomb and killing many.

    As ever I’m astounded by your omniscience and that of other commentators. I was within half a mile. A friend of mine was in the next carriage at Stockwell. Neither of us has any idea what happened or why or the nature of the police decision, and will have to wait for a coroner’s inquiry to find out what is knowable to the public about it. Yet you seem to be confident of exact knowledge and perfect understanding from half-way round the world.

  • Verity

    Thank you, Guy. I do my best.

  • HJHJ

    Guy, the problem is that Verity’s best is so woefully poor. I don’t think she can help it.

    She wasn’t there and doesn’t know the facts, but that doesn’t stop her making up her mind about them. It makes her life so much simpler not having a brain to engage before issuing an opinion.

  • Andrew M

    To those who have already decided that the shooting was wrong, what exactly would you have done if you had been in those police officers’ shoes–i.e., trailing a man who was already suspected of being a bomber, who was wearing a thick coat in summer, who had refused to surrender when challenged, who had fled toward a train, and who was just now getting into it with commuters all around? Not an easy question, I think we can all agree.

    But as you think about it, remember that you cannot control a suicide bomber by threatening to shoot him or her dead; you can control many other suspects in this way, of course, but not someone who may be quite willing to die for his or her cause. So it won’t do to say the police should have pointed their weapons and said, “Freeze!”. Nor is it plausible to say that the police should have piled on top of him and pinned him to the ground. Would you have been prepared to take that risk with a suspected suicide bomber? Do you expect that police officers should take such a risk–with the lives of others as well as their own?

    On the other hand, if it is found that the police held the suspect down, keeping him under full control, and then shot him, then they have a lot of explaining to do.

    Let us await more information about what exactly occurred.

  • Hank Scorpio

    I’m not sure how cops are trained (I’d expect that a minimum force doctrine is taught), but pistol training for the US Army emphasizes center mass shooting and, if close to the target essentially emptying your clip on the enemy. We called it “ringing the school bell”, but the idea is to make sure that the enemy is deader than Elvis.

    I can guarantee you that if I’m on top of a guy with a faulty bomb strapped to his back I’m sure as hell not going to just wing him. He needs to die, and he needs to die right now.

  • The standard police sidearm is the Glock 17,9mm.most combat shooting is most effective in three round bursts,two hits in the central nervous system and the target is finished.I suspect that the witness miscounted.

  • Verity

    An appeal to Mullah Perry, sir, who issued the fatwah against personal attacks, please see HJHJ’s continued obessive stream of abuse two posts above. I don’t mind being pulled up short and smart when I can be proved wrong. Indeed, I normally apologise.

    I don’t mind a civil, or even a sarcastic, accusation of sloppy thinking, or of not being in possession of all the facts, if that’s what a fellow poster thinks, but over these threads today HJHJ is unable to post anything – except one reasonable post addressed to you personally – without grossly insulting behaviour directed at me.

  • Dave F

    I find it hard to believe this discussion is happening at all in the light of what is going on in London right now.
    56 Londoners are already dead. and the city can be assured this war will continue until it is snuffed out or Tony Blair does what the terrorists are telling him to do.

    People are worried about the police shooting dead a suspected suicide bomber on a Tube train when dozens of innocent lives are at stake? They have got to be kidding.

    What on earth is happening to the British people?

  • Verity

    Dave F – Where did you read/hear that people are worried about the shooting of a bomber? If this is the case, then the British are well down the path to dhimmitude and there may not be a critical mass of rational people large enough to stop it.

    Hank – agreed. I’ve never been in the police or the military, but people who are comfortable around guns, plus the police in Texas, will tell you that if you are threatened to the point of knowing you are going to pull the trigger, pull it to last. The idea that you can just humanely wing someone who means you (or in the London tube case, many others) deadly harm is an infantile misconception. If you shoot, you must shoot to kill.

  • Dave,
    What conversation? Me I’m pre-empting what is goingt o be in the Guardian,BBC et al.If the bloke was not carrying a bomb but was an ordinary perp,or heaven forbid an illegal immigrant,Mastrix Chambers is going to be working overtime and the British taxpayer is goint to lose a wad of money an Phony Tony will never order another shootimg like this again.
    Whilst Ian Blair (no relation) might happily lose his job,the whole security effort of the UK will be well and truly buggered.That is why it is of interest,that and the fact that the police have been known to shoot people with chairlegs.
    We will be subject to endless “Death on the Rock” documentaries and Islamofascism will chalk another one up with the ICC trial of British soldiers.
    Finally this is a libertarian blog and this country has not yet instituted the death penalty for wearing bulky clothing and running away – we want to know.

  • GCooper

    Peter writes:

    “I’m pre-empting what is goingt o be in the Guardian,BBC et al…..”

    And very prescient you were, too.

    Tonight’s BBC news and Newsnight both very carefully presented the story in such a way as to lead both Islamists and Guardianistas in the required direction.

  • Pete_London

    Karumba, how could I have forgotten?

    There is a moderate muslim! She goes by the name of Irshad Manji and is the author of The Trouble WIth Islam.

    On the front page of her site she has a piece which begins:

    On Tuesday, July 19, British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with his country’s Muslim leaders. He wants them to help him fight the ideology behind the July 7 subway and bus bombings in London. The BBC asked me to deliver a challenge to Muslim leaders just before their meeting with Blair. Here’s what I told them — and the British public:

    Do read it, it won’t take more than a minute. Then ask yourself if you have ever heard a muslim be so frank and on honest about Islam.

  • jrdroll

    Newscaster: Kill the brain, and you kill the ghoul.

    Newscaster: All law enforcement agencies and the military have been organized to search out and destroy the marauding ghouls. The Survival Command Center at the Pentagon has disclosed that a ghoul can be killed by a shot in the head, or a heavy blow to the skull. Officials are quoted as explaining that since the brain of a ghoul has been activated by the radiation, the plan is kill the brain, and you kill the ghoul.

    Field Reporter: Are they slow-moving, chief?
    Sheriff McClelland: Yeah, they’re dead. They’re all messed up.

    Night of the Living Dead
    http://www.garnersclassics.com/qliving.htm

  • Verity

    Pete_London – Zowie! This is a truly interesting writer!

    Thanks, and I will be following her blog. Cut glass mind, that’s for sure and an off-centre perspective that nevertheless pings right onto the target.

    How bracing to find a Muslim who has resisted the brainwash and is articulate and engaging.

  • John

    The police are to be applauded and at last perhaps the scales are beginning to fall from some Muslim eyes. The extremists have believed for too long that western civilisation is a soft decadent pushover. They are fools to ignore history: The Blitz, Dresden, Stalingrad, Hiroshima, and more. We are democrats but our reactions if our backs are to the wall will be fearsome. and the supporters of the terrorists need to know that; just as in the Cold War both sides knew the rules. It is useless to attempt to convince the terrorists because they have different mind set.

  • It is probably the fact that the history of the great conflicts of the past are no longer taught in schools,the only authority figure any of our young people see is soneone desparate not to make a racist faux pas.

  • I wasn’t there, so I can’t tell whether the shooting was justified. Judging from the stories I’ve read, though, the only justification I can see is a credible belief that the perp was wearing a bomb. “Suspected terrorist” doesn’t cut it as a reason. We are all suspected terrorists now. The champion terrorists, of course, are the pilots of the airplanes dropping bombs on innocent Iraqis.

  • GCooper

    Bill St. Clair writes:

    “The champion terrorists, of course, are the pilots of the airplanes dropping bombs on innocent Iraqis.”

    That’d be the “innocent” Iraqi Ba’athist troops and secret policemen who slaughtered the Marsh Arabs and Kurds, would it?

    Is the no depth to which a leftist will not stop?

  • Verity

    G Cooper – Nope.

  • St Clair,
    What is the connection between Asians born in Yorkshire,England and Arabs born in Iraq?

  • Bill… dewd…

    Did you ever hear of the concrete non-explosive bomb-shapes GPS-guided to fall on things like SAM radars in crowded urban zones in order to just squash ‘em without ruining everyone else’s day?

    C’mon, man. I really do expect much finer discrimination from a man like you, and I’ve been disappointed for months, now.

    Why do you have to come off like any ordinary commie anencephalic?

  • Ps., Bill —

    “‘Suspected terrorist’ doesn’t cut it as a reason. We are all suspected terrorists now.”

    I say that this is indisputably true, and every thinking person should have big, big problems with the fact.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    My two pennies: in my office, which is pretty full of PC liberal types, most of the conversation about the shooting was very matter-of-fact, almost admiring of what the officer did. I sense a hardening of attitudes among most people.

    I hope the officer gets a citation and instant promotion. I have my criticisms of the police, but these sort of fellows are doing a fine job in very difficult circumstances. Raise a glass to em!

  • ThePresentOccupier

    I was bothered by the eyewitness reports that he had been held down and shot. It sounded inappropriate.

    Words fail me now that the Met has admitted their murder victim had no connection with terrorism.

  • Verity

    ThePresentOccupier – and you believe them?

  • Verity,
    Here is the latest news, if true Ian Blair should resign

  • Verity

    Peter – Yes, yes, I saw that over an hour agobut I thought the link was about calling on Ian Blair to resign. Or is that your suggestion?

    He will not resign and he will not be called upon to resign because he played his part perfectly. This whole thing reeks of a set-up. I can smell it from over here.

  • Verity,
    As was predicted this will be the cause celebre,for the grievance mongers for years ahead.How long before there is another “Death on the Rock ” campaign?
    Someone will have to resign and it won’t be Tony,any more than hw will take responsibility for the actions of the British trops he sent to Iraq.But somebody will have to resign,Ian may have been a good dog but he will still get out down to assuage Muslim sensibilities.
    You aint seen nothing yet!

  • Verity

    Peter – I take all your points, but I do not agree that an arrogant prat like Ian Blair will agree to resign. They will have to drag him kicking and screaming out of the New Scotland Yard parking lot, and they won’t do that, because he knows too much of Toney’s plans.

    Ms Paddick, of course, will not go because he never did believe that the words Islam and terrorist could appear in the same sentence.

    So what will happen? I haven’t formulated any thoughts yet. Of course, they will crucify the poor officers who were pursuing the man and had clearly been given orders to shoot to kill (and quite rightly so). This man’s life is now ruined. One more sacrifice in the cause of the multiculti destruction of Britain and democracy.

    BTW, now they’re saying the fleeing suspect may have been Brazilian. Whoever, my feeling is, he was doing something illegal because what normal, innocent person on being told to halt by three or four police officers would, instead, choose to run?

    I remember landing in Britain once in – if I recall, Scotland because the plane had been diverted from Heathrow. And when we got to the luggage area (which was smallish; just one carousel) and were standing around watching the carousel, suddenly three or four men stormed into the area with dogs on leads and the carousel stopped suddenly.

    “Step back! Step back” they were shouting. Believe me, I had stepped back smartly before they’d finished their sentence. As the luggage hadn’t come through on the carousel yet, people only had their hand luggage and one of them shouted at us to drop our bags and put our hands up. My purse was the first to hit the floor and I reached for the sky with great enthusiasm. By this time they’d let the dogs, who were also all business – these were not nice doggies, off their leads and they came and sniffed all our bags. These men were shouting orders at us all the time and shouting commands at the dogs and it was chaotic and unnerving.

    Having gone through that experience, and knowing how quickly one reacts to commands, I just don’t believe that anyone with nothing to hide would flee when given a command by three shouting, hyped up police officers. My initial thought is, this fellow was a terrorist but not one of the previous day’s bombers, so Blair or whoever decided to sacrifice him in the cause. The cause? Well, the Met has announced that because of this incident, “some officers” may now refuse to carry guns.

    Hmmmmm …. Fighting Islamic fundamentalist bombers unarmed. Now there’s a cause that would warm the cockles of Tony and Ian’s and Brian’s hearts.

  • ThePresentOccupier

    Verity, I’m not big on believing anything I haven’t seen for myself… Even then, I’ll probably over-analyse & look for alternatives.

    In this case, I would expect the Met to engage in their usual bragging about foiling evil terrorists – to have them say that they shot the wrong person is more egg-on-face than I can imagine them agreeing to.

    Having seen the complete lack of professionalism inherent in a large number of members of SO19 in particular, I wouldn’t trust them with anything as dangerous as a stick. I know I *don’t* react well to people shouting orders at me any more.

  • Verity

    ThePresentOccupier – Someone walky-talkied those officers to follow that suspect. Who?

    I believe an operation is underway to show that giving anti-terrorist officers guns is dangerous to the general public. Therefore, we won’t be able to arm officers any more. From now on they will fight desperate Islamic bombers with their bare hands. (See how Blair “slyly” – by his lights; he’s not the subtlest of men – suggested he was afraid “some officers” may refuse to carry guns. Had to get that point in really quickly, while everything was on the boil.)

    You know what? Every police officer at the Met should refuse to turn up for work. I think they will guess the motives for this themselves. Let Ian and Brian go out and patrol the streets.

  • jrdroll

    Thepresentoccupier:
    “I know I *don’t* react well to people shouting orders at me any more.”

    They’ll shoot you first my friend.

  • Joker

    Peter – As was predicted this will be the cause celebre,for the grievance mongers for years ahead.How long before there is another “Death on the Rock ” campaign?

    I dunno. After Iraq, we’re all pretty jaded, and really haven’t the strength to mount a protest of more than a week or two…

    File it under ‘we’re doing the terrorists’ job for them’, anyway.

  • ThePresentOccupier

    They’ll shoot you first my friend.

    Ignoring a thug – even one in uniform – shouting orders at you is not a capital offence. Nor should it be. Nor am I prepared to tolerate it becoming an accepted practice – this garbage of “well, he *might* have been a terrorist” is the new “it’s for the children”.

  • Beck: “Did you ever hear of the concrete non-explosive bomb-shapes GPS-guided to fall on things like SAM radars in crowded urban zones in order to just squash ‘em without ruining everyone else’s day?”

    Actually, no. If that were the only kind of munition that were dropped in populated areas, thereby completely avoiding the murder of innocents, I would have fewer complaints. But the “shock and awe” I saw on the telly included considerable light and sound, which implies explosives to my mind. Dropping explosives on populated areas is guaranteed to kill lots of non-combatants, no matter how “precision guided” they happen to be. That’s not OK with me.

    I find it interesting to be branded as a “leftist” because I refuse to recognize war as valid human behavior. I’m as ancap as they come, folks. And ZAP libertarian to boot. War violates ZAP. Dropping bombs on cities is mass murder. It cannot be justified.

  • That wasn’t a “brand”, Bill. It was a comparison. I know you. And I know the problem you’re having with all this, and I even agree with some of it.

    I have to say, however: that blanket condemnation of war is just wrong. It’s an amoral equivocation of right and wrong. Be it ever so ghastly, it is nonetheless a fact that, sometimes, good men have to go to war for the right thing. Now, there can be all kinds of room for argument over whether any given war fits the principle, or over any given action within any given war, etc. But to begin with a premise like yours is just as wrong as any air-brained commie, Bill.

    That’s why you didn’t know about what I described.

    Look: I knew, going in, that they were going to fuck this up. But I wonder if it’s possible for you and I to agree that it’s time to kill the bad guys.

    If so, then the thing to sort out after that is how to do it.

    If not, then you’re missing one crucial implication of ZAP, which is about what happens when some people don’t get it.

  • mitch

    “Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can’t help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.” —Robert A. Heinlein

  • Billy,

    It wasn’t you who branded me a “leftist”. That was G. Cooper, dittoed by Verity. You compared me to an “ordinary commie anencephalic”, the last word of which I had to look up: “Anencephaly is the congenital absence of the cranial vault with the cerebral hemispheres completely missing or reduced to small masses. The malformation results in a severely underdeveloped, or undeveloped, cerebral cortex. However, the brain stem, or lower brain, does develop and integrates digestion, respiration, and other human functions at least for a short time if the infant is born alive.”. Somehow I doubt that anyone with that condition will be having any kind of discussion on the internet. So I ignored that comment as irrelevant.

    I neglected to define my terms. By “war” I mean the military conflict that governments seem to be so fond of. Two “world wars” and the Korean war reportedly happened before I was born. I turned eighteen in 1974, shortly after the draft stopped for the Viet Nam war. I have watched U.S. military adventures since then, but not very closely. I’ve paid a little more attention to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, enough to know that there have been tens of thousands of non-combatant deaths. I agree with you that crew-served weapons used to destroy property or kill large numbers of people have become easier to control. If they ever become as repeatedly aimable as a rifle, so that those who control them can do better than trying not to kill innocents and actually cause no unintended injuries, I will admit them as weapons that can be used by moral humans. Even current explosive weapons are possibly to use in a moral manner, but only if those using them know for certain that no non-combatant is close enough to be injured.

    It’s always been time to kill the bad guys. The bad guys who killed 82 people at Waco, 22 of them innocent helpless little children, should be killed. The cretin who shot Vicki Weaver in the head should be hanged by the neck until dead. Whoever was actually responsible for the demolition of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma city should die. All of those responsible for taking down the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, should suffer slow, horrible, public deaths. The inhuman slugs who set off bombs in the London Underground and busses should perish, ASAP.

    But every one of these travesties was carried out by a group of individuals. Sharing a nationality, city of residence, language, culture, religion, skin color, whatever with the perpetratores does not make anyone a fair target. Only the individual criminals are culpable, and they are the only people who it is OK to kill. Ascertaining the guilt of suspected actors takes some doing, except by the individuals who personally witnessed it. That process is usually called a trial.

    So I agree with you. Capture the perps. Bring them to trial. Execute the guilty.
    But war as commonly fought today has way too many unintended consequences. It destroys civil liberties for the innocent who happen to live in the war’s location. It puts people with no personal stake on the ground killing other people that were not originally involved. It creates a huge cloud of evil and confusion and death and suffering. It makes more problems then it solves.

    Now if by “war” you mean a Hatfield & McCoy type feud between small groups of people all of whom have a personal stake in the outcome and where every combatant knows every other one, that makes more sense to me. Or if you mean perforating blue helmets should the U.N. ever put “peacekeeping” forces in the United States, I’m with you. For that matter, the bombs the Iraqis are using against “coalition” forces seem perfectly justified to me. U.S. and British troops have invaded their communities. They are defending them. I would do the same if someone appeared near my house and started shooting and bombing my neighbors. No matter what rhetoric their political leaders were spouting.

    -Bill

  • B. — “I ignored that comment as irrelevant.”

    Ah. Forgive my pride in claiming my own style when that’s not what you were talking about. Anyway;

    I try not to kick at idiosyncratic usage. Great writers through the ages have exploited it to worthy profit. “War”, though, should demand its own entire sub-lexicon because of all the details involved.

    However, I understand you far more clearly, and — still — agree with a great deal in principle and detail. I would put one thing like this: I could still fit a “war” in Iraq within your concepts. I maintain that private individuals could do it a lot better than these clowns, for lots of reasons, and with the crucial benefit of not forcing dissenters to have anything to do with it. I expect that one thing irreconcilable to you is my conviction that Saddam’s Iraq had to be summarily gutted. You could call that “invasion” too, but I see the imperative, even if I can’t make it clear to you.

    (This would be the part where we went our separate ways — which is what freedom is — but you know that.)

    You hit an important point in your fourth paragraph, and you’re right. It’s about the individualism. Let me put it to you that “sharing” a mission does not make every soldier a “murderer”.

    There are a lot of people out there who don’t deserve that, any more than being a Muslim deserves what some people have in mind.

    Onward.

    B.

  • jb

    Andrew M. —

    “On the other hand, if it is found that the police held the suspect down, keeping him under full control, and then shot him, then they have a lot of explaining to do.”

    Andrew–the time for explanation has arrived, and the response is found, at the moment, sadly wanting.

    BIlly Beck–I most often agree with you, but when it comes to war, you fall in, lockstep, behind the government you most often love to hate, as do most claiming independent thought and gun ownership.

    War is government’s greatest weapon/threat against our/any citizenry and others. You decry butt-fucking in prison and yet, justify abolition of the constitution in taking out a Saddam who never threatened America.

    Pray thee, tell me the rationale.

  • re Billy Beck’s and Bill St. Clair’s discussion, what justifies making war in the way the US has generally done is that all agressors we’ve even dealt with tend to hide behind their civilian populations. That, and of course, much of the civilian population is involved directly or indirectly with supporting the war effort, with Japan perhaps being the prime example.

    You can’t have it both ways. If you’re an innocent civilian who doesn’t support the war, then you need to think about getting out of the way and not allowing yourself to be used as a human shield.

    And if you can’t, then you’re a hostage. It’s a very unfortunate place to be, but reality and logic dictates that your interests cannot really be considered in the face of the threat posed by your captor. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

  • Richard,

    I disagree. In World War II and Iraq, at least, the U.S. has used those “hostages” to its advantage. Terrorising noncombatants has been part of the strategy for getting their governments to quit fighting.

    But the biggest problem is that western governments have gone places they don’t belong: Viet Nam, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq come to mind. Stop agressing, and there won’t be any need to endanger any “hostages”.

  • snide

    Bill, you might argue that the US has no real interest in the Balkans (not that I would agree) but ‘Western governments’ implies that you think European states had no interest in the Balkan powder keg, which is verging on absurd.

  • Bill and others: this article and resultant comments thread is NOT about Iraq or overseas intervention, it is about the appropritate (or not) use of force when trying to defend against suicide bombers.

    Fatwa time again…kindly stay on topic or comments will start getting deleted. Thanks.

  • Back to the topic. Now that we’ve discovered that the victim of this shooting had no intention or capability to explode a suicide bomb, the quesion of the appropriate use of force is starkly illuminated.

    Some are saying that you may no longer run from the police. That they must now assume you are a terrorist, and kill you if you do not comply.

    I hope that the police recognize the other side of that coin. If wrongly accused by the police, since resisting them in any way is now a death sentence, the only effective defense is to attack.

    Personally, I consider the terrorist threat to be rather small, much less than the risk of dying from an automobile accident. Hence, I would prefer that the police act as they always have, even if that means they don’t stop some suicide bombers.

    I’m trying to delay for a little while the necessity to shoot anything with a badge. I really don’t want to go there, but I see it coming.

    If the police are going to shoot me if I do anything but comply with their every command, my reply to the first command will have to be a violent one. I am not a slave.

  • To be frank Bill, it is views like yours which was the main reason I have pretty much stopped describing myself as a libertarian since 9/11. I do not mean that as an insult at all but rather as a reflection of how differently I see things.

    The situation in London is not an artifice created by the state to extend its power (though it probably will use it as an excuse to do just that and I will continue to argue against that). No, it is a genuine clear and present danger and if folks like you were to make it even more dangerous for folks like me, then sorry Bill, but if my tax money gets used to buy the bullet some cop puts in you because you think you have a right to make it effectively impossible for the cops to defend London against exploding Muslims, well, ciao Bill, it was nice reading your stuff.

    When you say:

    If the police are going to shoot me if I do anything but comply with their every command, my reply to the first command will have to be a violent one. I am not a slave.

    In reality, you will not have to comply with ‘every command’ if, for example, you are suspected of shoplifting. No cop in London is going to shoot you in the head if you run from a store with a bag of swag under your arm. If however you see para-military cops with G36’s pointed at you and they are screaming for you to not move because they think you might be a bomber, forgive me if I do not think your dignity is the paramount issue anymore. To put it bluntly, get real.

    Several people have been arrested at gunpoint in the last few days without getting shot. It is not a plesent experience (it happened to me quite some years ago) but context is everything.

    I have noted that many libertarians are the mirror image of the hard left: the hard left acts as if norrmal civil society is no different from wartime, justifying things that make no sense under normal curcumstances. Libertarians often make the opposite error: they cannot see that whilst you must normally be able to stop anyone walking through your house because it is your private property, if the only way that person can escape a fire next door is to walk through your house, your normal rights are trumped in that context. It does not mean that I do not think private property is the very underpinning of civilisation, it is just that in a legitimate emergency, in the real world you have to realise that the rules change, at least for a while.

    The same thing applies to the actions of the police. Yes, if the police shot you in the head for not complying with their every command because you ran from a parking warden, I would be the first one howling “Justice for Bill, down with the pigs!”. However under the circumstances we are talking about now, sorry, to refuse to put your hands up because “you are not a slave” is “suicide by cop” as far as I am concerned.

  • James Sackville

    Personally, I consider the terrorist threat to be rather small,

    Christ almighty, I take it you don’t live in central London then. I missed the Aldgate bomb by about 3 minutes. 55 dead and 750 casualties (some horrific). That could have been repeated a couple days ago but to some very very very good luck. If you think that is a small threat, you are obviously around the bend, mate. Do you have any idea how crowded this town gets every day?

  • Perry: It’s a good thing you’ve stopped describing yourself as a libertarian because you clearly aren’t one.

    James: Compare the number of casualties from the bombings to traffic accidents. I think you’ll find that you are in more danger in traffic, as Bill pointed out.

  • Perry: It’s a good thing you’ve stopped describing yourself as a libertarian because you clearly aren’t one.

    If by ‘libertarian’ you mean someone unable to understand the need to defend against collective threats by collective actions, then yes, feel free to not regard me as a libertarian by that definition.

    The quickest figures I could find on-line were for 1996: it seems London typically suffers about 300 fatalities per year due to traffic accidents (slightly less that 1 per day). One terrorist incident on one day this year (the 7th of July) killed 55 people and injured 700 more. Now are you seriously going to argue that if not strongly defended against, suicide bombing is less of a threat than traffic accidents?

    It is this sort of thing that makes me all too reluctant to describe myself as a ‘libertarian’ if it gets me associated with that kind of view.

  • How many deaths were there in 1996 due to terrorism?

    Or, if we look at this year, there are 55 deaths due to terrorism (or have I missed a couple?), and, at 1996 rates, there have been, what, about 150?

    How many non-terrorists have been wasted by police? Less than the number of non-terrorists taken out by terrorists, to be sure, but more than should be acceptable in a civilized society.

  • How many deaths were there in 1996 due to terrorism?

    Who cares? We were not being attacked by suicide bombers in 1996. I doubt the traffic death figures are much different now however.

    The point is that clearly if each successfull attack kills 55 and wounds 700, unless we can prevent all too many attacks, the threat is significent and, unlike traffic accident, which are unlikely to have vastly greater upwards potential, a suicide attack could kill vastly more (for example if they just pick different targets). The point is that unless a huge effort is made to suppress suicide attacks (and that includes shoot-to-kill policies when appropriate), it has vastly more casualty upside and hugely more economic effect (I have yet to hear of a tourist avoiding London because of traffic accidents).

    Suicide bombers will only be less of a realised threat that traffic accidents if active mesaures are taken and if your ideology cannot cope with that reality, might I suggest you might want to question your underpinning axioms.

  • Jac

    No cop in London is going to shoot you in the head if you run from a store with a bag of swag under your arm.

    Hmm… what if they suspect that that bag is a bomb?

    As Bill said, we are all suspected terrorists, now.

  • As Bill said, we are all suspected terrorists, now.

    Except that Bill is wrong. I saw someone being arrested today in fact (I will post the picture I took later) and clearly everyone is NOT a terrorist suspect. The passers by looked a greatdeal more edgy than the cops did (the guy did look middle eastern but they arrested him for shoplifting). In fact, anyone looking middle eastern and who makes a habit of shoplifting might want to consider a new career as it would be fair to say people are far more likely to be keeping an eye on you that before 7 July.

    I rather doubt they are going to suspect a bomb unless you happen to be coming out of building they are watching for terrorists.

    And just to state the obvious, the vast majority of London police do not have guns.

  • Andrew Milner

    One weakness of the British police force is there is no officer corps. Imagine the army with only squaddies and non-commisioned officers. Positions of authority decided largely by seniority with only a nodding reference to ability. Remember that story in “The Spectator” of the middle age, middle-class citizen arrested for having a Swiss Army penknife locked in his briefcase which was locked in the boot of his car. The charge? Possession of a dangerous weapon. A commissioned officer would have made sure the charge was dropped and had the two dickheads that made the arrest cleaning the toilets with a toothbrush.
    I suspect the reason hit squad members put eight bullets in Mr. de Menezes was to make sure he was really dead. The reasoning being that compensation for a dead victim would be less than for a young paraplegic. Support your local police: Emigrate

  • Andrew Milner

    After the brutal and totally unnecessary shooting of Mr. de Menzes, I suspect more rather than less people will consider putting on a semtex waistcoat and giving Blair or at least one of his henchmen the hot handshape. The all emotion, no logic breathen may well consider that payback is called for. Sow the wind …

  • Andrew Milner

    ITN’s latest report on the Stockwell shooting totally demolioshes the police version of events. To all those that supported the police in their unlawful killing of Mr. de Menezes, I say this: “Be ashamed, be very ashamed.”
    Who will ever believe the police or indeed the government ever again? Metropolitan Police Service: Brutal multiply by incompetant multiply by bare-face liars is the concept I’m trying to put across. And as for Sir Ian Blair: Resign now and you might just get to keep your knighthood.

  • As he said: “unless the facts turn out to be quite different than so far reported”

    Don’t you read the article before commenting, Andrew?

    The all emotion, no logic breathen may well consider that payback is called for. Sow the wind

    Meaning what exactly? That Brazilians will start blowing themselves up? Somehow I don’t think so.

  • fh

    dont you think that the people that do this is sick and barely human, and that the society that creates them must be fundementally flawed as well?
    They are killing people because some book writen years and years ago by uneducated people who believe god spoke to them in their dreams?
    I think that organised religon is flawed period. Having sead that all religons APPART from islam has grown up past killing people in the name of their holy book. I believe they call it enlightenment. Thats why we dont do crusades anymore. Some muslims appear to love jihads.
    The fact that muslims are defending the bomber purely because they are muslim is disgusting.
    If I was in that policemans shoes id have blown that guys head off. In the atmosphere afer 7/7, he was signing his own death warrent by running. He must have known this.
    Hats off to the police. They risk their lives for you. All you people out there who blame them, ask for them to be sent to jail, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    FH

  • Cliff Shamone

    dont you think that the people that do this is sick and barely human, and that the society that creates them must be fundementally flawed as well?

    You have a mind like a razor – sharp and narrow. You obviously have a very closed view of the world in your little middle-class house in the UK. Every society produces or has produced people who have been willing to die for a cause whether religious, geographical or otherwise. Look at Che Guevara, Martin McGuinness, Osama Bin Laden or Nelson Mandela – right or wrong they all fought for something they believed in deeply.

    They are killing people because some book writen years and years ago by uneducated people who believe god spoke to them in their dreams?

    Yes, the Muslim faith is based on the writings of a book – just like Christian faiths, Jewish ,Buddist and the rest. The vast majority of Muslims however are peaceful and will tell you that violence is not condoned by the Qur’an (their ‘Holy Book’). Suicide bombers do not exist because they’ve read something in a book or because they believe God has spoken to them, they exist because of social and environmental factors such as US foreign policy, occupation of their country by invading forces, or a multitude of other reasons.

    I think that organised religon is flawed period. Having sead that all religons APPART from islam has grown up past killing people in the name of their holy book. I believe they call it enlightenment. Thats why we dont do crusades anymore. Some muslims appear to love jihads.

    You may believe personally that religion is fundamentally flawed but many around you don’t – all over the world religion’s flourish although there are fundamentalists everywhere that use it in bad way, not least the religious right in the US to which Bush belongs. If you believe that Muslims are the only people to use religion as an excuse to kill and that ‘we don’t do crusades anymore’ then think again. The West are constantly trying to force their culture on those who don’t wish to subscribe to it.

    The fact that muslims are defending the bomber purely because they are muslim is disgusting.

    He was not a bomber, in case you missed the news. He was a Brazilian student who the police followed, held down, and shot 7 times in the head for no reason other than they had been ordered to (on false information). The man had not been acting suspisciously in any way. It was a summary execution.

    If I was in that policemans shoes id have blown that guys head off. In the atmosphere afer 7/7, he was signing his own death warrent by running. He must have known this.

    Well, it would be some world we lived in where we could be shot 7 times in the head for running, 7/7 or no 7/7. These moral panics and knee-jerk reactions are changing the world for the worse.

    Hats off to the police. They risk their lives for you. All you people out there who blame them, ask for them to be sent to jail, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Heads should roll (metaphorically of course) for this tragic and avoidable murder by the Met police. I believe personally that jail sentences should be handed out – despite the conditions the police had to work in which were understandably difficult.

  • fh, your remarks might make some sence if the facts had indeed been as initially reported (i.e. his behaviour gave reasonable cause to shoot him dead under the circumstances).

    But the facts have proved to be very very different than initially reported. In reality it becomes more inexplicable by the day to understand why this poor guy was shot dead. I would dearly LOVE for the cops to give me a reason to trust them again as these are the people who are standing between us and Al Qaeda, I very much want to believe them to be competent and honourable people. I want to be able to write this off an just a tragic but understandable and defensible error, but I fear that is not what the cops have done. Quite the contrary. Regardless of what I want to be true, the evidence so far suggests the people I hoped were honourable and competent are in reality neither of those things and that does not make me very happy.

    So why are you holding on to a position which is no longer tenable? Dogmatism is deeply irrational and there is nothing ignoble about changing your thinking when a previous theory is falsified.

  • fh

    religion is simply belief.belief that there is something/one ‘up there’.i have no problem with this. ORGANISED religion is a problem only because it gives such huge power to the priests who have no reason to have it.
    You also appear not to understand the practicalities of policing. Idealy they never fire a shot ever. Most of the time they never do. british police are VERY rare in that they do not all carry guns.but when you have to you have to. If he HAD been a bomber, and the police HADNT fired, then tens or hundreds would be maimed and killed. It is the PRINCIPLE of the situation in whch police use lethal force not the individual instance. We cannot discus this incident as noone knows what actually happened. Eye-witness statements conflice with each other, and so on. The police are trying to do a very hard job in highly adverse conditions and, as they are saving our lives, deserve our support, or at the very least the bennifit of the doubt. They do not deserve to be vitimised by idiots who do not know what is going on and prejudge the action because they dont like the police or the use of violence. whatever the excuses the bombers use is, you cannot justify what they do. and it is true that nearly all suicide bombers are muslim. you cite many other examples, however these poeple tended not to dedicate their lives to killing as many innocent poeple as they can in the most painful public way possible.

  • In other words, we should just blindly trust the police because… well, just because. You make no attempt to actually address this case. I agree they get the benefit of the doubt UNLESS THE FACTS INDICATE OTHERWISE. We guess what, the facts indicate otherwise. The Telegraph is hardly a bastion of reflexive anti-police sentiments and yet they too ran with the story that the initial police version of events was not correct. Worse that that, the official version initially release have been shown to be in fact a complete pack of lies, so it makes no sence to keep trusting someone who has been shown to be a liar. Get to grips with that and try to look at the situation critically.

  • fh

    we are not privvy to any real evidence either way. All the witness statements colflict. you cannot possible understand the reasons for the police press release. im sure investigations into the bombing on the 7th and the attempt on the 21st are ongoing and there may have been good reason to present a distortion of the truth. most goverenment press releases are the same. this is because the truth may not be in your interests to know.
    the main point is that we do not know what happened or what is happening and we may never know. and you will hate this and you will scream, but it may be nessesary. we elect poeple to positions of power to make dicisionson our behalf. on occasion you may be required to trust these people to act in the countries best interest. also, in case you forget, the officers are innocent until proven guilty not guilty till proven innocent. these officers also have orders. they dont have the luxury of questioning said orders in such situations. someone may be to blame but there may be no one to blame. throwing round accusations in such a haphazard manner is premature and foolinsh

  • Cliff Shamon

    Well…. I’m sitting here aghast. Turn on a TV fh… The man was completely and utterly innocent according to ALL reports – police, witnesses, and hard evidence including photographs. The question is no longer whether Jean De Menezes was a suicide bomber but rather, why was the order given to execute a man without warning based on information that was incorrect. Simple checks could have prevented this tragic murder. Your attitude is contemptible.

    We elect officials to power that they may protect us from such fatal blunders and to investigate and prosecute when they do happen. Granted, the police are working in difficult conditions but this is absolutely no excuse – our police force just can walk around shooting people because of the colour of their skin or because they run, don’t you agree?

    I am not victimising the police here, they made a horrible mistake that could easily have been prevented and ended up killing an innocent man – a visitor to London. And I don’t have a problem per se with the police or the use of REASONABLE force.