The news that another suspect has been arrested in connection with last Thursday's bombing attempt has failed to make the headlines in the wake of Jean Charles de Menezes' death. That alone is a gage of the public and media's shock that the 27 year old Brazilian could be shot five times in the head after being mistaken for a terrorist.
The police remain pig headed in their reaction, releasing little fresh information and going so far as to suggest that more innocent people may be shot. Sir Ian Blair:
It wasn't just a random event and what's most important to recognise is that it's still happening out there. Somebody else could be shot but everything is done to make it right.
It definitely wasn't a random event and of course it's still happening - the poor bastard was only on his way to work. This morning 7 million other people are doing the exact same thing. Already wary of others around them following the attacks are Londoners now going to have to think twice before running for a train in case plain clothes armed police have them in their sights?
All it takes for a repeat of this tragedy is one kid to rush for a train wearing a backpack with his hood up and iPod plugged in. He'd hear no warning, see nothing from his peripheral vision and therefore be deemed a legitimate target when he failed to stop.
Friday's response by the police (if that is who the armed officers were - there is speculation that they were MI5 or even special forces) was overkill in more than one sense of the word. Friday evening experts were still justifying these actions, but before the five headshots were confirmed. At that point we were told time and time again that five shots to the torso would have little chance of setting off the explosives as the small detonator would have to be hit before triggering an explosion. Now it seems that there is only one sure way to stop a suicide bomber determined to fulfill his mission: destroy his brain instantly, utterly.
Great. Now all we need is a foolproof way to identify that a person is a suicide bomber before he reveals himself. How many people do we shoot until one of them turns out to be a bad guy? 3 million people use the tube daily and less than ten people so far have tried to blow it up - you do the maths.
The excuse that this man MAY have been a bomber and therefore the police were acting to save innocent lives was a weak one when it was used as a reason for invading Iraq. Sure Saddam MAY have had WMDs and the US and UK acted only to save innocent lives, but the fact that that also turned out to bullshit kind of weakens the argument.
London is not under siege. We do not need a level of protection that MAY result in more deaths of innocent people. It seems that the tactics used on Friday mimicked those used by Israeli security forces, but again does it really need pointing out that the menace we face is NOTHING like the one faced by Israel.
Why are the populace being told time and time again to go about their business as normal if the police are allowed to over-react and act completely out of character?
More clarification and questions still remain unanswered about the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. When exactly did his surveillance begin and why wasn't he stopped before the tube station? Did he really jump the barriers? When and exactly how was the police presence revealed to him? Was his entrance to the tube station captured on CCTV and if so why hasn't that also been released along with the suspected bomber's footage? Londoners are keen to see for themselves the 'bulky' jacket and 'odd' actions that resulted in this man's death.
New York Times: Regrets, but No Apology
As always, comments and discussion below are welcome.