Saturday, July 23, 2005

The downward spiral

I had a suspicion the day it was reported. On Friday, the London police chased a guy down at the Stockwell Tube and, apparently acting on a new "shoot to kill" policy, plugged five bullets into his head because he was wearing a "suspicious" parka and lived in the same building as someone currently under investigation for the recent bombings. Of course, almost inevitably, the guy was innocent; a 27 year old Brazilian named Jean Charles de Menezes. I have to wonder if even stopping and throwing his hands in the air would have prevented him from being gunned down by cops convinced his parka was stuffed with explosives. At the moment, I'm very eager to learn a) why, if Mr. de Menezes was a suspect in the bombings, he was allowed anywhere near the station in the first place and b) if he was a key suspect, why he hadn't been questioned earlier which would clearly have eliminated him from the cops' list of potential terrorists. As has been revealed, the London police are basing their counterterrorism tactics on advice from security forces from Israel and Sri Lanka. Naturally.

"This tragedy has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility." says London Mayor Ken Livingston. I gather the same thing can be said for the Pakistani man beaten to death in the streets of Nottinghamshire last week. Or the Muslim teacher beaten in South London on Monday. It's all so easy once The Terrorists give you the go-ahead to act out your racial hatred. Right-wing extremists and football hooligans are now teaming up to "exact revenge" on Muslims and immigrants and we wonder why some dark-skinned guy feels the need to run from more than a dozen screaming, gun-wielding men in street clothes. But that's the way things work in our self-defined Age Of Terrorism. Oops. Our bad. Sorry we killed your son/husband/father/brother. But he did act funny. And it was all in a good cause, you know. Here's a check and some coupons.

Some eyewitnesses say the cop who shot de Menezes was holding him down at the time. Were any anglos living in that building similarly tracked by the police? Would they have been? At least the Metropolitan Police Service has admitted the mistake and I'm certain there will be a full investigation. I wish I could expect the same if this incident had occurred in NY or LA.

Terrorists kill innocent people. Cops kill innocent people because they may be terrorists. Soldiers kill innocent people because they may be terrorists or because they happen to stumble into the line of fire. Sounds like innocent people get shafted one way or the other. And, to the joy of the powers that be, the greedy, amoral politicians, the arms dealers, and the blood-hungry religious extremists, the rift grows wider...

And now another massive attack in Egypt. More than 90 dead. Around and around we go.


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