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Good policy, poorly executed

When the London subway shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes was first reported, I spoke up in support of the police. From all the reports, Mr. De Menezes had done everything wrong, and the police had taken pretty much the only action they could to prevent a likely bomber. The circumstances the police outlined showed him to fit nearly every single element one would look for in a bomber, and he had taken numerous acts that one would not expect an innocent person to take.

I said at the time that anyone who acts like he did, especially the day after a second round of bombings, pretty much is asking to be shot and killed. And I still stand by that.

Unfortunately, the facts of the De Menezes shooting as reported by the London police have turned out, to put it politely, an utter crock of shit.

What this is looking more and more like is a police fuck-up of Biblical proportions. And as Richard Nixon proved for all posterity and nobody ever seems to learn, it isn't the mistake that will get you, it's the coverup. The London police had a bad situation on their hands, so they apparently threw gasoline on the fire and decided to re-write the facts to make it appear that they had, indeed, acted correctly and that Mr. De Menezes had done everything wrong.

And the worst part of it is that this tragedy very well may end up costing more lives than Mr. De Menezes. The "shoot to kill" policy on those who are absolutely believed to be suicide bombers is an ugly necessity, but in light of the De Menezes shooting, London police will find themselves second-guessing and hesitating in future instances -- and that could end in yet another successful bombing.

The authority to shoot to kill is a tremendous power granted to the police. But with it comes a tremendous responsibility. And in this case, there must be a full accounting. Severe consequences must befall those who ordered, arranged, planned, and carried out the fraudulent story of the shooting.

Others are saying that "heads must roll," but I'm going to stop short of that. When we are facing an enemy that takes that phrase literally, it's time to cede it to them and find a new cliche'.


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Comments (12)

I must at least compliment ... (Below threshold)
neil:

I must at least compliment you on this posting. I guess it is for you is as much an apology as you can begrudgingly bring yourself to give for your previous stance on the execution of an innocent. The lesson here is threefold...
1. dont rush to judgement before all the facts are in...a bit of thinking goes a long way;

2. dont trust authorities to tell the truth, politicians and public servants generally rush to CYA, ethical and moral poli's and bureaucrats are few and far between;

3. Shoot to kill policies can incur severe costs and should be allowed sparingly and only by those that are properly trained, experienced and fully aware of the consequences...failure like this case only raises severe mistrust issues that eventually helps the terrorists

All of the solutions to ter... (Below threshold)
Fred Z:

All of the solutions to terrorism put forward by the state have been statist; no surprise there. I am at a loss to understand why even right wingers ignore this. Shoot to kill authority, Patriot Act, searching backpacks in the NYC subway - it's all nonsense, just more friction which damages our morals and economies more than the terrorists ever could.

How about right wing solutions. No laws governing airports or airplanes at all and let the private sector decide what and how to provide security. Unsafe or uncomfortable airlines/airports will lose. Handguns with safety bullets on planes or subways allowed, even encouraged.

Yes, people will die, because private action is imperfect too. But people will die from the statist solutions too. First of all, they don't work well and the terroists will score successes. Second, every economic action causes death. Anyone planning a major project knows this. You build a bridge, people die. Someone (actuarians? engineers?) can calculate how many. Has anyone analyzed the current statist lunacies to see how many they will kill?

We now know that Marx was a loon and that state action is better and more efficient than private action only in a small set of circumstances. Is resistance to terrorism in that set? I think not.

Of course, the training the... (Below threshold)

Of course, the training the officers received from Israeli consultants will be blamed, yadda yadda yadda.

We might also consid... (Below threshold)
B Moe:


We might also consider if we want to base our future security measures and philosophies on the basis of one (1) cops fuck-up.

Awe Jay, you gave’em a foot... (Below threshold)
JEW:

Awe Jay, you gave’em a foothold to push the argument to the far left, but I do admire your follow up.

I too agree this mess is going to cost more lives through hesitant trigger fingers and embolding the terrorist further. But I’m not willing to lift the “shoot to kill” orders. I also did not read an apology in your post, nor do I think you needed to give one. Your position was taken from the info you had.

Neil wrote “don’t rush”. Boy if that isn’t an easy position to take. When can anyone be 100% sure all the information is in? Crying out loud we are still debating the Kennedy assassination.

Please pass the duct tape, pressure is building!

Hey!! Did anyone else noti... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Hey!! Did anyone else notice that his shoes came off? They shot him out of his shoes...JESUS!!!

Good policy? Other than on... (Below threshold)
blueeyes:

Good policy? Other than one single aspect, the shoot-to-kill suspected bombers, this whole thing is a pile of stupid or debatably illegal policies.

First we have a bunch of undercover police officers stalking an individual. Then we give them guns, which are illegal to anyone else in the country. Oh, and then don't require them to even state that they're police officers when trying to stop an escaping mark.

Why didn't they say "Stop, police!" instead of just waving guns? Why didn't they just arrest the guy when they first suspected him?

Shooting to kill is fine. It's the other fourty steps that really need to be thought over first.

It is unfortunate that Mr. ... (Below threshold)
spider:

It is unfortunate that Mr. De Menezes was the victim of mistaken identity. If he were alive today he would still probably support the shoot to kill policy. We deal with this every day with our pass thru legal system. The idea that it is better to let a hundred guilty men go free rather than put an innocent man in jail is romantic bs. When you look at the economic impact of a bus or subway bombing versus an accidental shooting to stop terrorism I side with the good guys on this. I'm sorry they made a mistake. So are they. I am sure they feel almost as bad as De Menezes.

If Mr. De Menezes had been hit by a drunk driver he would still be dead and the terrorists would not think twice about it. Now we've created a situation where we might as well post billboard in our most crowded terminals that say "Bombs Away". At least with the threat of early termination, the terrorists will have to plan better.

I think De Menezes is an unfortunate victim in the fight against terrorism. Don't try to blame him. He was just one more victim of the bomb blasts. We should compensate his family for their loss. Find where we can improve the approach and move on. We can't sit around and blame ourselves for terrorism. If we take our eye off the ball the terrorists will put a fork in all of us.

As far as blowing his shoes off. Does it really matter how many shots he took. By the time his shoes came off he was already with Jesus. The gruesome details do not change the point that he was a victim of terrorism.

This is something Cindy Sheehan does not understand about her hero son. He was a victim of terrorism. As long as we let terrorists flourish we are all victims. Some will be killed by them. Some will be killed by us. The rest of us have to deal with the aftermath.

They did say "Stop Police".... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

They did say "Stop Police". They did identify themselves. They did have him physically detained. They did everything by the book.

Then one cop for reasons unknown as yet decided to open fire, while other cops were detaining him. ONE COP. That is the information we have now.

And as for all the conflicting stories immediately following the event, it may have been a official cover-up, but alot of it was "eye-witness" reports by local news media, so it may have been simple confusion.

It is the equivalent to fri... (Below threshold)
spider:

It is the equivalent to friendly fire. While tragic. We only arm the terrorists if we are too public about this. We all know it was a mistake. People make mistakes. Everyone parsing through the gory details reminds me of the rubber necks on the interstate. Keep driving people. The poor cop or cops who shot De Menezes already feel bad about it. Let them sort out the problem in PRIVATE. Their misery should not be our entertainment and certainly should not give comfort to the terrorists who are learning from our unfortunate mistake. Stop making a sad situation worse.

It is unfortunate that M... (Below threshold)
mantis:

It is unfortunate that Mr. De Menezes was the victim of mistaken identity. If he were alive today he would still probably support the shoot to kill policy.

I didn't think there was anything funny about this, but spider that comment is hilarious.

Wait, here's one more:

They did everything by the book.

Keep me away from that book!

Good points to tie with wha... (Below threshold)

Good points to tie with what Jim R said:

The British tabloid press (the BBC included) is behaving as expected. Smearing and accusations are flying all over the place. But facts seem few and far between. This is starting to come across as "what everyone knows was said". Yet no one is actually producing direct police statements and their source. I have Googled, Yahoo'd, searched the Beeb's site and waded through the Telegraph, and I haven't yet found clear comments from Sir Ian Blair or police spokespeople on details of the Stockwell chase, confrontation and killing of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Indeed, other than ONE comment quoted from Scotland Yard about Menezes' "clothing and behaviour", official police accounts of the shooting have been utterly lacking. (That is a comment which, given the ultimate outcome, hardly seems all that dramatic or revealing; it also doesn't seem to be on the Met site.) What I have seen all over the place from Sir Ian and other police spokespeople are guarded, carefully worded, "wait and see" statements and references about the "tragedy" of it.

... it appears that as the investigation into it unfolded, the Met decided to say, well, very little regarding the entire horrific episode.

Yet now we are being told that because the media interviewed witnesses whose statements given at the time may -- MAY -- be proven to be ultimately less than reliable, and a leak may -- MAY -- have demonstrated that, Sir Ian Blair should resign. That's ludicrous.

From: http:www.expatyank.blogspot.com

my addendum: Note that the leftie lawyers like Gareth Peirce et al have judged, sentenced and are now demanding execution of sentence BEFORE any inquiry has even finished. Justice shall be served but only if it suits their political purposes......




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