Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

This Bull Is Shifting

When the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead at Stockwell tube station in London just weeks ago, I put forward a bullish defence of the 'shoot-to-kill' policy which took his life. I argued that police have to be trusted, that they should not be emasculated as they seek to protect our lives and our society and that that young man, according to the official account of his behaviour, posed the greatest threat to our safety on that day.

Well, this bull is shifting his ground. It appears now that the events of that fateful day were not quite so clear-cut as we have been led to believe. Jean Charles de Menezes, it has been said, was not running away from police. He was not quite the threat the police on the ground thought he was.

Perhaps we will never find out the full truth about what happened. Perhaps we might not like to hear it. But there are some serious and important lessons to learn from that tragedy about how to employ the 'shoot-to-kill' policy.

I still support the policy as a necessary evil, to be used only in extreme cases, and with all the necessary caveats attached. Only certain types of officers should be allowed to use the policy, and only when they are wearing uniform, and only when all other available and appropriate forms of restraint have been exhausted.

The family of the young Brazilian who was shot want the policy suspended, but that could prove to be disastrous for the safety of Britain. I believe the policy needs to stay, as unfortunate as it is to conclude that the police need to be heavily armed to defend our country, but only with the strictest conditions attached.

After my hurried, hard-faced and single-minded assessment of this shooting, I have, through this latest post on the issue, reverted to a more conciliatory tone. The bull has shifted.

4 Comments:

At 3:42 am, Blogger David Stewart said...

And what about Sir Ian Blair, he had a similar reaction to yours.

What should he be saying?

 
At 8:39 am, Blogger Mark O'Brien said...

First off, he should be on his hands and knees grovelling to the family of the Brazilian that they do not take him to court.

And then it's not unreasonable that he should be thinking about his own position. A part of me really does wonder if he's the type of man we need in charge of our police force at a time like this.

 
At 8:26 am, Blogger Serf said...

Sir Ian Blair should resign and make a public apology to the family of the deceased.

Isn't it strange that the cameras had no recording disks in them on that day. I mean its not like they are expensive or difficult to find is it.

 
At 9:03 am, Blogger Mark O'Brien said...

If I remember rightly, Jean Charles de Menezes was in Britain working to earn money which he was sending home to his family to help with his father's cancer treatment.

The best thing Sir Ian Blair could do (not just for is own career, but for his own conscience) is to offer the family the full amount of the cancer treatment out of his salary. Then he might salvage a bit of respect.

 

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