Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Be VERY careful where you are going with this....

The shooting of the Brazilian Menzes on the London Underground last year by armed officers who suspected him of being a suicide bomber was a tragic accident. Nothing more or less. Nothing less than tragic. But nothing more than an accident.

If the Crown Prosecution Service decides to go ahead with prosecuting the officer(s) involved in the shooting then they are likely to make the job of the Police untenable. Imagine for a moment if Menzes HAD been loaded up with a few pounds of C4, and the officer involved had hesitated just for a split second to consider if what he was about to do would lead to him being thrown in jail. And in that split second, the explosives had gone off killing the officer, his colleagues, and everyone in the carriage. What would be the outcry then?

These are highly trained professionals who put their lives on the line day in, day out for us. The pressures they face in these situations are unimaginable. I cannot imagine for one moment that the officer involved enjoyed pumping several bullets into that boy's head, but I am equally sure that at that precise moment, he was convinced that he, his colleagues, and the general public around them was in grave danger. He made a choice in that split second with which he will have to live for the rest of his life. That he should subsequently be subjected to protracted public enquiries and possible prosecution is unconscionable.

We cannot second guess our police officers and soldiers when they are on the battle field - we need to accept that bad things happen in war and in the fight against crime, and that accidents happen also (how many British soldiers were lost to friendly fire in the Gulf war?). We need to leave all disciplinary measures to the bodies involved - the police and army are well able to handle these matters, and it does nothing but undermine confidence in those bodies, make those poor sods on the front line every day question why in hell they are bothering, and line the pockets of lawyers and others who see such situations as a good way of making a quick buck.

1 comment:

darkh@eskimo.com said...

Extreme measures adopted to save dozens can eventually lead to the death of millions. Virtually every law Hitler employed to tyrannize and murder was adopted long before as an "anti-terrorism" measure by the democratic Weimar Republic. There is a story that George Bernard Shaw once asked a countess if she would sleep with him for five million pounds. She said "I might..". Shaw restated the offer, offering a shilling. "Mr. Shaw! What do you think I am?" "We've established that madame; now we're talking price.." If you,ve embraced the concept that an individual may be executed without due process, upon suspicion of a constable, then you have established what you are. It remains only to see how high the price shall be.