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.
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’.