Damned if you do,... Dead if you don't!

In the wake of the fatal shooting of a passenger yesterday at Miami International by Federal Sky Marshals, the press today is performing the expected "post mortem" review...

Via MSNBC: Marshals defend Miami airport shooting - Officials say man claimed to have bomb; friends say he was a ‘nice guy’

"MIAMI - U.S. marshals say two agents were justified in using lethal force against an agitated passenger who said he had a bomb in his backpack, as a local and federal investigation into the incident got under way Thursday.

The man, Rigoberto Alpizar, was shot Wednesday on the Miami International Airport jetway and died.

Before he ran off the plane he “uttered threatening words that included a sentence to the effect that he had a bomb,” said James E. Bauer, agent in charge of the Federal Air Marshals field office in Miami.

No bomb was found, and federal officials later determined there was no link to terrorism. Witnesses said his wife frantically tried to explain he was bipolar, a mental illness also known as manic-depression, and was off his medication.

As I said here, in assessing a threat the operative word is MOI. Which is M= Motive (Does the subject have a possible motive?), (O = Opportunity - does he have the opportunity?) and I= Intent (Is the suspect showing intent).

If so you have nano seconds to decide whether or not to act and take out a threat, or face death - it's that simple.

Mr. Alpizar showed evidence of all three. This is textbook.

However, moreover, there is the issue of "personal responsibility" here. Regardless of Mr. Alpizar's mental status, he was reponsible for his own actions, even if just to insure he took his medication. We can't alliviate the factor of personal responsibilty.

No law enforcement officer likes to shoot someone. Apart from the personal grief an officer goes through that are human (would have, should have, could have..), after a fatal shooting, there is also the feeling sometimes that "I'm damned if I do, I'll be dead if I don't".

Yet you're taught from early on in your training, "Hesitation kills".

These guys did the right thing. This is a tragedy, and I feel for his family, friends, as do I'll bet those officers do too. But they did their duty, and whether or not we like the outcome, in a post 9/11 world, there is no other way.

UPDATE: It would figure that the media (Time Magazine) would search until they found one passenger who didn't "hear" the subject say he had a bomb. CNN too here. Pathetic. Doesn't change a thing.

Tracked to Tom Mcguire