Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

August 1, 2005

British Police, Treatment of Suspects, and Double Standards (2)

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:26 pm

When the British police held a suspected terrorist to the floor and shot him dead, I speculated that perhaps this Middle-Eastern-looking suspected terrrorist who had in effect been summarily executed might not in fact have been an actual terrorist.

By now we all know that in fact he was not a terrorist, the “wires trailing from his jacket” were probably related to his job as an electrician, and that he was not an Arab or a Pakistani Muslim but in fact a Brazilian (presumably Christian).

Which is precisely why there are supposed to be investigations and trials before criminals are executed — you are supposed to make sure, at a minimum, that the person you are executing is actually a criminal!

I am utterly horrified by this. And, one of the things that makes me proud to be an American is that American police did not react this way after 9/11/01. A lot of “suspected terrorists” were arrested, some were tried and convicted, most were released, and none were summarily executed. (In fact, none were executed at all.) Even many of those captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq — captured in the act of armed attacks in defense of terrorist camps — were sent to Guantánamo rather than killed on sight — or beheaded on videotape like they would have done to our people.

I’m sure the terrorists view the fact that we imprison and feed them rather than behead them as a sign of our weakness, but it is really a sign of our (moral) strength.

One Response to “British Police, Treatment of Suspects, and Double Standards (2)”

  1. Tom Perkins Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you less.

    The man fairly closely resembled the ones they were after, had wires coming out of his unusually heavy clothing (London was having about the same heatwave, proportionally, that we are), and when ordered to stop by the police he turned, jumped a turnstile, and ran towards the subway.

    I do not know if this particular following circumstance was obtained, but you don’t either, and it is crucial.

    If after they tackled him they could not see his hands, then he may have been attempting to trigger the bomb which the sum of other circumstances made it reasnable to presume he was carrying.

    Since we don’t know that, then I think we do not know enough to judge.

    If he had had such a bomb, then destroying his central nervous system as quickly and completely as possible was the safest thing for them to do, and there are times it is better to be sure than to be fair. A suicide bomb threat is certainly such a time if there ever is one.

    Now if they were executing him for his supposed crime, then you have a very good point and their behavior was as criminal as any ever has been; but if they were attempting to forestall an immediate (to them) threat, then that is something very different, and laudable if also regrettable.

    Yours very sincerely, Tom Perkins,
    molon labe
    montani semper liberi
    para fides paternae patria

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