To Be or Not To Be

By sizemore Last edited 156 months ago
To Be or Not To Be

There's a thought provoking piece in today's New York Times casting doubt on whether the four men who died in the explosions on the 7th of July were suicide bombers at all.

"Technically they're not suicide bombers," said one police officer familiar with the investigation. "Scotland Yard has not said they are. Even if we may think they probably were suicide bombers, the police have not said this outright."

The article points to the facts that all four dead men had purchased return tickets from Luton to London, that their car had a seven day parking sticker on it, that the explosives in the car were for a later attack (and not a booby trap as some of the British media surmised), that all four men retained their driving licenses and that no notes, videotapes or website declaration was left behind.

If indeed the men were not intent on dying it puts a different spin on the attacks and more importantly how the police handle suspects. One man has died already because police believed he was about to trigger a device (despite the fact that he had ample time to trigger a device elsewhere and kill just as many people) so of course if it can be ascertained that suicide bombers are not loose on the transport network it means that the police can act as they would with regular criminals as opposed to fanatics.

If the men were not suicide bombers, some of the most basic assumptions of the investigation would change. On one level, the idea makes the plot less ominous. It is much easier to recruit "mules" who will carry and deposit explosives than people who are prepared to die.

The New York Times requires a quick (but annoying) registration to access the story. There is always Bug Me Not for our more impatient readers.

Last Updated 27 July 2005


Who knows what goes on in the minds of nutters?
Who knows why murderers do what they do?
Who knows if the bombmaker had a sense of humour?
Who knows if virgins will be waiting for the lads?
Who knows who shot Kennedy or where Elvis is living?
Who knows if 8,000 more actives are out there?
Who knows what makes a good yarn?

Not me.


All very well, but I'd suggest that the guy in the second attack, lying spread-eagled on his rucksack and then looking all bemused when it dodn't go off, was probably expecting to die (eye witness report:


Or perhaps knocked to the floor by the small blast and then looking bemused that it had gone off early?


Why don't you tell us the answer Mike, as clearly you were there and have all the answers.

Put us, the police and the other bombers out of our collective misery mighty oracle.


Did I imply I was there? Don't think so.

Do I have an opinion on what may have happened? Sure. Just like James had an opinion. That particular account is open to interpretation either way (unlike the fact that another bomber simply legged it before his device went off - which does suggest he wasn't aiming to get himself killed).

I thought it was clear that I was already suggesting a solution (if we're talking about the problem of shooting innocent people) by saying that it was a mistake for the police to have a shoot to kill policy when the tiny target they have is a) invisible and b) surrounded by seven million innocent people.


Alec - I think you're being rather unfair on Mike. He, along with a lot of us, are struggling with how we balance freedom with security, and trying to understand what happened with the poor bugger who got shot is part of that process. Just as some people are libertarians and some prefer more control in other parts of politics, so it happens that people will fall on different sides of the fence on this matter. (And some of us just sit on the fence.)

Sarcastic comments don't really help the debate. If you disagree with Mike, try and do it in a more constructive way.


Yeah Ken, but it's all guess work and wank.People are just filling in the gaps and heading off on their own tangents to slag off the police or the muslims.

Why can't we just keep cool and wait for more information to come out, and stop all this dissing?

Strikes me that Mike has a chip on his shoulder, and it's getting in the way of some proper reportage.

Me? I think it's a papal plot by the right wing police, decided in their Lodges, to send Ratzinger a message. Stands to reason given they mowed down an innocent catholic boy .... and so on.

Let's chill it huh?


Yep... best not to speculate and just wait for the authorities to let us know what happened. Better still to allow them to carry on regardless because they know best.

There's no chip on my shoulder. Only last month the police helped me a great deal and I praised them at the time both off and online.

That doesn't mean I think they were right in this instance and it doesn't make me think it's best not to question their actions this time round or in the future.

Now I HAVE got a chip on my shoulder about the Pope but we won't go there...


trikes me as mike's chip is smaller than yours, alec.

Why can't we just keep cool and wait for more information to come out, and stop all this dissing?

well, quite.
so sarcasm and scorn are chilled and cool, yeah?
you werent dissing anyone when you said
Put us, the police and the other bombers out of our collective misery mighty oracle
were you?

its just in this current climate of jumpy cops and jumpier bloggers, that might have been construed as negative and critical without beig in any way constructive.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.