Not A Bomber Afterall. Damn.

Thanks to Tim Worstall for the heads up in the comments below that the guy shot in the Tube turns out not to have been a bomber. As I commented over there

Oh gosh, Tim, the worst possible outcome, as I feared too. But unless clearly shown otherwise I won’t subscribe to the suggestion that “the police” as an entity are racist, which is the implication of yours and Nosemonkey’s statements. This guy was shot because the police thought he had a bomb and was going to blow up. Under an incredibly stressful situation they had to make a snap judgement, and it appears to have been horribly wrong. I fear for, and honor, and respect, the next poor officer who is forced to make such a decision, and I truly pray that the firestorm of negative and scathing press and political posturing and outright whoring that will surely result from this awful, awful incident will not cause that next officer to hesitate too long when there really is a suicide bomber standing on the platform next to you over there or me here in New York.

I just hope the political folks in Scotland Yard are made of sterner stuff than politicians here, because the political/media fallout from this is going to be huge.

7 Responses to “Not A Bomber Afterall. Damn.”

  1. It’s a horrible choice to face as an officer of the peace. The British police have been hamstrung for so long, that this result was, perhaps, inevitable. They need to apologise and get training in place to cope with this, as any major American police dept. has had to do when dealing with the same thing. But they NEED TO REMAIN ARMED and British citizens must realize that. Or, as Marines expostulate in “Aliens”, when the SgtMaj is collecting their rounds:

    What are we supposed to do? Use harsh language??!!”


  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, and as well that, unfortunately, when the cops yell something, even if you don’t understand it and irrespective of your skin color, you STOP. Having the cops find a gram of coke in your backpack beats the shit out of getting shot.

  3. First rule of police encounters: don’t fucking run from them. Star-Trekkian stunners haven’t been invented yet, so running from a cop is a good way to get yourself beaten or killed.

  4. Heh, you beat me to it.

  5. Bill McCabe says:

    Yeah. People without guns do what the people with guns tell them to do.
    When you’re wearing heavy clothing in a subway system which has recently seen a bombing, and a person in a uniform points a gun at you, you do what he tells you to do and you do not make any sudden moves. Period.

  6. Rob says:

    It was bad all around. These were plain clothes police officers. They’re hard to distinguish from vigilantes, particularly in a life and death millisecond. The “look” of the day is Arabic-Mediterranean-South Asian. This Brazilian guy had that “look”, had to know he had that look, was wearing a heavy jacket in summer, and had difficulty with the language but its not really fair to say or think he “was asking for trouble”. The police and the dead man are victims of the environment created by the terrorists. The policy is correct. If its determined the suspect is acting like a terrorist would act and is suspected of carrying a bomb, you must kill him, kill him until he’s dead, and repeat, if necessary. Had the determination been correct, the five shots and the extreme nature of the killing were justified. The determination was wrong but its easy to see how it was made. I think the public should be sensitive to what the police are looking for and the enormous difficulty and stress that it entails and act accordingly. In tense surroundings, don’t do anything to add to the tension.

  7. Excellent post, Rob. Damned if you do, maybe blown to bits if you don’t ~ helluva choice there. I’ll be posting a thought on those of other cultures reacting in ways we think suspicious when I have time to lay it out. (A personal experience thing.)

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