Today (22/05/2005) has been a follow up of the second terrorist attack on the London transport system. Police have been active and are showing CCTV shots of suspects. Evidently the public like to see the authorities get tough in response to events such as those we have experienced recently.
News reports that a man was shot at Stockwell Underground Station are coming in. Passengers were sitting in the tube when a man fell into one of the carriages. The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, said at a press briefing that “it was connected with the response to the terrorist attacks”, at least that was the way he put it. An eye witness spoke of the man stumbling into the carriage pushed by the armed police officers in pursuit. At this moment the witness says that 5 shots were fired at close range. The police commissioner went on to say “any deaths are regrettable”. At this moment we do not know who this person was. He has been described as of Asian appearance, and we are told he didn’t respond when challenged. Instead he lept over the barrier into the underground system.
Now he’s dead with 5 bullets in his head. No one can now ask him any questions. I can understand if the man posed a threat to the police, but since he was held on the ground the act of killing him appears unnecessary at the very least. This was done in full view of passengers which was traumatic in itself.
It is good to be reassured, but this act of violence seems to me to be wanton and could well inflame the situation. What now if there has been some sort of mistake? Too late to ask questions, shoot first.
Concern has been raised about members of the armed forces facing war crimes charges in Iraq. When and why were “War Crimes” put into place? It was surely because there was widespread concern and horror at what inhuman acts had been carried out. It appears now that these measures are intended to apply only to “the enemy” and that our own forces and police should be allowed to act with impunity. It is believed that in crisis situations fundamental principles about killing or violating hman rights can be deleted.
Any killing by the police must be investigated by the “independent” Police Complaints Authority. To date they have never succeeded in bringing about a prosecution.
It is good that the police, or anyone else, are not above the law and now it is necessary to find out just why someone who is apparently powerless to act is dealt with in this horrific way. I await to hear what the other Mr Blair has to say on the matter.
Reports speak of Muslim reaction: “A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said Muslims he had spoken to this morning were “jumpy and nervous”. Inayat Bunglawala said: “I have just had one phone call saying ‘What if I was carrying a rucksack?’.”
“We are getting phone calls from quite a lot of Muslims who are distressed about what may be a shoot to kill policy.”
“He said in the current atmosphere Muslims were very afraid and other people were looking at them in a very suspicious manner.”