Saturday, July 23, 2005

Running from police into a subway station can be a capital offense 

The BBC is reporting 'Shot man not connected to bombing' The former police commander told the Beeb that "he expected officers to face criminal charges, and other officers could even refuse to carry weapons. "
I hope that criminal charges are not laid -- sounds like it was an honest, though horrendous, mistake.
He exited a house connected to the subway attacks, he looked like he was wearing explosives, he ran when police tried to stop him. then apparently he vaulted over the subway turnstiles and ran to the train. Perhaps he didn't speak English; perhaps he thought he was some hitman's target, not realizing that the people chasing him were police, or perhaps he did know they were police but he had committed some other crime and that's why he ran. But its understandable why police would think he was a suicide bomber determined to complete a mission, so they had no choice but to shoot him before he could trigger his explosives. In fact, police threw themselves on the man even though they believed they were risking their own lives, trying to protect the public.
Its very sad, but I think we all have to realize that in large cities or in sensitive locations like airports and subway stations, there is a very limited tolerance now for strange behaviour.
Just as people had to learn not to joke about hijacking at the airport, and teenagers had to learn not to joke about shooting their classmates, so people now need to recognize that running from police toward a subway station can be a capital offense.
When we visit a foreign country, we need to find out whether everyone will be on edge due to a recent terrorist activity, and we need to learn what "This is the police. Put your hands up" sounds like in their language. And the people for whom this new caution is most important -- the people who are most at risk in any of these security situations -- are men aged 15 to 40.

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