Saturday, July 23, 2005


Friendly Fire

Man killed in London not connected to blasts - Police officials express regret in shooting death of Brazilian man

"LONDON - Police identified the man who was chased down in a subway and shot to death by plainclothes officers as a Brazilian and expressed regret Saturday for his death, saying they no longer believed he was tied to the recent terror bombings.

Friday’s shooting before horrified commuters prompted criticism of police for overreacting and expressions of fear that Asians and Muslims would be targeted by a “trigger-happy culture” after two well-coordinated attacks in two weeks.

The man shot at the Stockwell subway station was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him in the head and torso."

I am familar with "friendly fire", which is sadly more common during war than you think. Soldiers are trained yes - to shoot at silhouettes on the target range, but in real time where there is absolutely Chaos and everyone is running around jumping at "shadows" doesn't take much to make a mistake.

In this incident, adrenaline and abject terror combine for a tragedy.

Original reports had Mr. Menezes running, seemly ignoring commands from the police to stop. We are told he spoke english, so there was no language barrier. He's dead, so we don't know why he continued to run. Was he just "freaking out", terrified as everyone else and so just running for his life? Was he "fearful" of the police?

We really don't know.

Most police incidents involving charges of abuse are usually attributed to a rush of adrenaline. Unless you're a cop and have be involved in chasing someone, whether in a car or on foot, you haven't a clue what "the rush" means. Every sense is hightened. You are "charged". All your training helps, but again, you're interpretation of "what is on the line" is all that is on your mind. The goal - Survive.

Witnesses state the subject was "chased" into a subway car, held down and shot. If true, there may be charges against the officers involved. However, we have to understand that this story via AP carries no mention that he was chased, BECAUSE he ran.

Suicide bombers carrying detonation devices cannot be "stopped and frisked". They could set the detonation, or it could be timed. In "Nam" 'decoy's' - were known to run around a 'hooch', leading soldiers into a chase and subequently into an ambush. This guy was running INTO a subway car. Officers thinking, "He could detonate!" and mostly likely following instinct and training, resorted to "Neutralizing the threat".

Brutal yes. War is brutal. London is at war. We are at war. Let's keep that in mind.

I can't judge these officers, nor what they did, but I do understand the mindset - I've been there. No doubt there will be an inquest to determine if any action needs to be taken. For know, I'll withhold judgement. Yet I will say that we might see more of this take place if certain "Civil" procedures are not implemented.

One suggestion - which is used in the Republic of Korea (South), is during time of emergency sirens sound all over the city involved, such as Seoul. People are told beforehand to "stop movement" or "freeze frame" if you will. During my tours there in 77 and 83, I remember these alerts well. Everyone, and I mean everyone, cars, etc. stops right where they are at until they are signaled to move again by authorities.

Would that kind of system work in London, New York or elsewhere? Probably not, but it or something similar could be implemented so that these incidents don't repeat.

Captain Ed's take here.

Wizbang: "If it walks like a duck,...It must be a duck" here

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