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London Terrorism
July 22, 2005 3:45 AM   Subscribe

Man shot 5 times in London. Around 10am, suspected suicide bomber runs into a tube station and is shot and killed at close range by plain-clothes police officers. News still developing, high risk of further incidents.
posted by Acey (247 comments total)

 
East London mosque was also cordoned off after a specific threat, Police have now given the all-clear.
posted by Acey at 3:46 AM on July 22, 2005


Mr Whitby, told BBC News: "I was sitting on the train reading my paper. I heard a load of noise, people saying, 'Get out, get down'! I saw an Asian guy run onto the train hotly pursued by three plain-clothes police officers. One of them was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him. I saw the gun being fired five times into the guy - he's dead."

Sky news:

Teri Godly, who was also in the carriage when the suspected bomber boarded, said: "A tall Asian man with a beard and a rucksack got on after me. Then about eight or nine police with shotguns boarded after him and started shouting to us all 'get out, get out of the station'."

"People started screaming and we all started running quite calmly up the stairs. There were six or seven gunshots behind us. It was very surreal. No one was pushing or shoving. We were in a state of shock. It was only afterwards that I realised how lucky we had been."

Chris Wells, a 28-year-old company manager, said he was travelling on the Victoria Line towards Vauxhall when he left the train at Stockwell. He saw about 20 police officers, some of them armed, rushing into the station before a man jumped over the barriers with police giving chase. He said: "There were at least 20 officers and they were carrying big black guns. The next thing I saw was this guy jump over the barriers and the police officers were chasing after him and everyone was just shouting 'get out, get out'."

Christopher Scaglione, 35, a fashion designer, was also on a Victoria Line Tube train shortly before the incident. He said: "The train didn't stop at Vauxhall and so I got out at Stockwell. I was just on my way out when I heard at first a little bang, not like a bomb more like a gun, and then people were shouting. People then started to run and I heard two or three more bangs like people shooting."

posted by Acey at 3:49 AM on July 22, 2005


they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him.

If verified, I guess the new policy in our post-renewed-PATRIOT empire is shoot first, ask questions later. What if he wasn't a terrorist, or didn't have a bomb? If he was a terrorist, can't we try to keep these folks alive so we can ask some questions, like, "Are you part of a larger attack"?
posted by Rothko at 3:50 AM on July 22, 2005


One of them was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him.

yeah that freaked me out as well, Rothko. I figured they would want to question him...
posted by Livewire Confusion at 3:51 AM on July 22, 2005


Rothko, you seem to be confusing the US and the UK.

I think there's a case to be made for shooting people who wear rucksacks on a crowded Tube train.
posted by veedubya at 3:52 AM on July 22, 2005


Rothko, you seem to be confusing the US and the UK.

No, not really. Read the Ireland thread further down the blue to see what I'm hinting at. Sovereignty apparently is a quaint notion to neocons.
posted by Rothko at 3:53 AM on July 22, 2005


Rothko, you seem to be confusing the US and the UK.

I think there's a case to be made for shooting people who wear rucksacks on a crowded Tube train.


Not when he's already apprehended.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 3:54 AM on July 22, 2005


"Unloaded". And I bet they held their guns sideways too so it looked cool.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:55 AM on July 22, 2005


they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him.

If true, this is scary. It sounds like an execution. If five officers have him pinned down, wouldn't it be more useful to arrest and question him?
posted by aidanf at 3:58 AM on July 22, 2005


Early indications are that he was one of yesterday's failed bombers, and the police had reliable intelligence that he was a suicide bomber, so of course they would shoot to kill.
posted by Acey at 3:58 AM on July 22, 2005


so of course they would shoot to kill

rather than all that messy internment camp stuff.
posted by machaus at 4:00 AM on July 22, 2005


So, you're seriously suggesting that armed Metropolitan police are roaming the underground, looking to shoot brown people, at the request of the US government?

As a Brit, living in London, who also happens to be an Irish citizen, I can safely say that you're getting your underwear knotted over nothing. We don't know how the bombs yesterday was triggered. The police do. Maybe they had good reason to suppose that even though apprehended, a bomb could still be detonated.
posted by veedubya at 4:00 AM on July 22, 2005


Since when have British plain clothes police been carrying automatic handguns? Or by "Police" do they mean "MI5"?
posted by chill at 4:01 AM on July 22, 2005


s/was/were/
posted by veedubya at 4:02 AM on July 22, 2005


Early indications are that he was one of yesterday's failed bombers, and the police had reliable intelligence that he was a suicide bomber, so of course they would shoot to kill.

I could see shooting him if he wasn't already caught. Arrest him and put him on trial. Don't shoot him when he already down. I don't care is he was Osama Bin Laden, everyone deserves a trial. That is what makes us democratic.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:08 AM on July 22, 2005


Hmmm Think I'll probably avoid wearing a backpack when I visit in a few weeks...
posted by doogyrev at 4:09 AM on July 22, 2005


What if he was about to blow himself up? I understand the concerns spoken here, and they tell a worrying story, but that is the angle the BBC are giving; that it was correct procedure.
posted by Acey at 4:11 AM on July 22, 2005


As a Brit, living in London, who also happens to be an Irish citizen, I can safely say that you're getting your underwear knotted over nothing. We don't know how the bombs yesterday was triggered. The police do. Maybe they had good reason to suppose that even though apprehended, a bomb could still be detonated.

Via what, telepathy? If his hands are bound then he's not gonna trigger anything and if it's a cell phone trigger shooting him will make no difference.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:11 AM on July 22, 2005


Suicide bombers just have to flick a switch on their belt. If I was the police I'd be concerned that the guy could just wiggle and toggle the switch, with his waist or finger or someone else's shoe.
posted by faux ami at 4:13 AM on July 22, 2005


Don't shoot him when he already down.
I'm pretty sure these guys would have loved to have been able to take him in for "questioning", so it is inconceivable to me that they would shoot him dead without a damn good reason.
posted by chill at 4:15 AM on July 22, 2005


the angle the BBC are giving; that it was correct procedure.

Clearly possible, BUT the eye witness didn't tell it that way. BTW, the TV lies... So do papers too though.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:16 AM on July 22, 2005


What's the lady from Sky News talking about/smoking? Her account differs greatly from the others. Rather than being chased onto the train, she says the guy was wearing a rucksack and got on just after her, and then the police boarded with shotguns.

I am also finding it hard to believe that the police had this guy cornered and "cowering like a fox/rabbit" (again depending on which source you read) but still emptied a pistol into him. Surely they could have restrained him enough to stop him triggering a device (there were 15-20 police according to different accounts).
posted by bpdlr at 4:16 AM on July 22, 2005


If I was a police man sitting on top of an unexploded suicide bomber I'de just captured, I'de probably prefer he was dead.
posted by Damienmce at 4:17 AM on July 22, 2005


His hands weren't bound, at least not from all the reports I see. He was running from them, tripped and they unloaded. Word is he was wearing a big, bulky coat and they suspected he had explosives underneath. Shooting him in the head would probably seem like a good idea if that's all true.
posted by grey_flap at 4:18 AM on July 22, 2005


Getting the guy onto the floor is probably not going to stop him detonating his bomb. I'm sure there are ways of doing it from the floor. Similarly, it's conceivable that a bomber could detonate a bomb while handcuffed. Who knows what methods they have for detonation...the Police who shot him maybe?
posted by fire&wings at 4:19 AM on July 22, 2005


Newspapers have been running headlines of '4 suicide bombers on the loose', so I think the atmosphere is pretty jumpy. I really hope this doesn't prove to be a horrible mistake, but we have to have some faith that our intel/mi5 know what they are doing.
posted by Acey at 4:20 AM on July 22, 2005


I'm pretty sure these guys would have loved to have been able to take him in for "questioning", so it is inconceivable to me that they would shoot him dead without a damn good reason.

That's what I would hope, but again, the EYE WITNESS was pretty clear about the event.

I just hope shoot to kill isn't the new London Police moto.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:20 AM on July 22, 2005


I guess the new policy in our post-renewed-PATRIOT empire is shoot first, ask questions later.

Or is it assume you know what happened first, then find out what actually happened later?
posted by shoos at 4:24 AM on July 22, 2005


His hands weren't bound, at least not from all the reports I see. He was running from them, tripped and they unloaded. Word is he was wearing a big, bulky coat and they suspected he had explosives underneath. Shooting him in the head would probably seem like a good idea if that's all true.

Agreed.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:24 AM on July 22, 2005


the EYE WITNESS was pretty clear about the event
Yeah, he SAID the guy was "was WEARING a thick coat THAT looked padded.".
posted by chill at 4:25 AM on July 22, 2005


While I don't disbelieve the eye witness, an eye witness can also be wrong. It will be a while before we know what is going on or already happened.
posted by skarmj at 4:27 AM on July 22, 2005


Or is it assume you know what happened first, then find out what actually happened later?

Shoos, thanks for omitting "IF VERIFIED" from what I actually said. Very convenient of you.
posted by Rothko at 4:27 AM on July 22, 2005


Eyewitnesses aren't so reliable. Many of these reports conflict and lots of people only heard what happened. We may never know what really happened unless it was caught on security camera.
posted by Acey at 4:29 AM on July 22, 2005


Getting the guy onto the floor is probably not going to stop him detonating his bomb. I'm sure there are ways of doing it from the floor. Similarly, it's conceivable that a bomber could detonate a bomb while handcuffed. Who knows what methods they have for detonation...the Police who shot him maybe?

"Yes, let us not question the leader or his minions." We've used that logic in the states and it hasn't exaclty paid off, if you know what mean
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:36 AM on July 22, 2005


Another eyewitness account on BBC news said that the man actually made it onto the train and grabbed someone, police rushed in another door and shouted for everyone to get out, and the eyewitness heard shots behind him as he left.
posted by Acey at 4:40 AM on July 22, 2005


Also, according to my coworker here in London (I'm new here), the attitude towards police from people in Stockwell isn't great. So the guy might be remembering from a pretty police-hostile point of view. Eyewitnesses will often report something that fits their existing prejudices.
posted by wilberforce at 4:43 AM on July 22, 2005


"Yes, let us not question the leader or his minions."

In the hours after the event, when all we know officially is that "a man has been shot and he died at the scene," then that is a fair course of action. Shooting people dead in the street isn't a common occurance here.
posted by fire&wings at 4:43 AM on July 22, 2005


Eyewitnesses aren't so reliable. Many of these reports conflict and lots of people only heard what happened. We may never know what really happened unless it was caught on security camera.

Very true.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:43 AM on July 22, 2005


Similarly, it's conceivable that a bomber could detonate a bomb while handcuffed. Who knows what methods they have for detonation

Yeah, I hear that they sell hands-free kits for suicide bombers now.
posted by tapeguy at 4:49 AM on July 22, 2005


If I were a suicide bomber...

You know, I just thought of two separate reasons why they'd want to pile onto the guy AND make sure he was dead, having to do with dead-man switches and all. I'll bet that at least one officer on each side of the suspected bomber was assigned to keeping the man's hands closed TIGHTLY. And I wouldn't be suprised if one or more of the cops was carrying a cell-phone jammer, just to be on the safe side.

Then again, I don't know just how sophisticated these bombs are. Setting up a SPNC (single pole, normally closed) handswitch wouldn't be hard at all.

I can't say this was the wrong course of action. It would have been nice to take the guy alive, but if it comes down to possibly taking him alive or risking a trainload of people, the police have an obligation to go for the lesser risk.

JB
posted by JB71 at 4:49 AM on July 22, 2005


I feel sorry for the police in this situation, because, reading the response to this thread, they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. I suspect that many of the same people complaining that the suspect was shot would have been moaning about police inaction if the police hadn't shot him and he detonated a bomb.

It's probably best to reserve judgment until all of the facts come out, but my admittedly uneducated opinion is that, when a suspected suicide bomber is running into a crowded subway station, it's probably not the time to worry about intelligence gathering.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:50 AM on July 22, 2005


>the attitude towards police from people in Stockwell isn't great
Say what you mean, why don't you? I'd point out that the vast majority of people travelling through Stockwell on the tube don't actually live in Stockwell.
Anyone know why Angel station was evacuated? I'm sitting in an office block right on top of it.
posted by mleonard at 4:52 AM on July 22, 2005


> Since when have British plain clothes police been
> carrying automatic handguns?

Up here in Liverpool, it's been a fairly common sight to see the armed response units sporting their Heckler and Koch sub-machine guns for at least the last ten to fifteen years now.

As for plain clothes police, guns are issued to those officers who are trained to use them on a case-by-case basis. Presumably, hunting suicide bombers is just another one of those cases.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:53 AM on July 22, 2005


MLeonard:

Hmmm. Don't you have a rather long dentist's appointment scheduled after lunch today? Why, you might not be able to make it back into the office until tomorrow. (grin)

JB
posted by JB71 at 4:54 AM on July 22, 2005


"Arrest him and put him on trial. Don't shoot him when he already down."

It seems fairly common for suicide bombers to have manual control of the detonation, if so and your information is realiable it would be folly to "try and apprehend this guy alive.

If he was already in proximity to civilians, then the only real option is to kill him as soon as possible, as dead as possible.
posted by soulhuntre at 5:02 AM on July 22, 2005


Another passenger on the train, Anthony Larkin, told BBC News the man had been wearing a "bomb belt with wires coming out".

"I've seen these police officers shouting, 'Get down, get down!', and I've seen this guy who appears to have a bomb belt and wires coming out."

If this is true, I don't see how they could not shoot the guy.

BTW, I had to evacuate a Brixton-bound Victoria line train at Oxford Circus and people mentioned the closure of the Northern line, which would explain the closure of the Angel station.
posted by zarex at 5:02 AM on July 22, 2005


Livewire Confusion : "BUT the eye witness didn't tell it that way"

True, but one of the eye witnesses also reports him wearing a rucksack, whereas others say he had none.

Livewire Confusion : "the EYE WITNESS was pretty clear about the event."

Again, the EYE WITNESS was pretty clear about the event. The other EYE WITNESSES were also clear about the event, but say things that disagree with the first EYE WITNESS. Being an EYE WITNESS, and clear about something, does count for something, but it doesn't count for everything.
posted by Bugbread at 5:03 AM on July 22, 2005


- The guy in question was specifically targeted by police before he entered the station. He vaulted the barriers to get in, and kept running.

- He was wearing a bulky winter coat in London at this time of year. It would be an understatement to say that you rarely see that; you never see it.

- Mobile phones don't work on the deep-line stations in London. You can't even send a text to someone sitting next to you. No signal.

Given all the above, I'm not surprised they opted to pile on top of the man and kill him. Remember that these weren't just some random police guys that saw a suspicious-looking brown guy and decided to chase him. They were previously armed officers, specifically chasing him, and they opted for what they would have seen at the time to be the lesser risk.

Whether or not they were right to do so will emerge in time.
posted by paperpete at 5:06 AM on July 22, 2005


- The guy in question was specifically targeted by police before he entered the station. He vaulted the barriers to get in, and kept running.

- He was wearing a bulky winter coat in London at this time of year. It would be an understatement to say that you rarely see that; you never see it.

- Mobile phones don't work on the deep-line stations in London. You can't even send a text to someone sitting next to you. No signal.

Given all the above, I'm not surprised they opted to pile on top of the man and kill him. Remember that these weren't just some random police guys that saw a suspicious-looking brown guy and decided to chase him. They were previously armed officers, specifically chasing him, and they opted for what they would have seen at the time to be the lesser risk.

Whether or not they were right to do so will emerge in time.
posted by paperpete at 5:09 AM on July 22, 2005


sounds like a beauty bit of zero-tolerance
posted by Frasermoo at 5:11 AM on July 22, 2005


Some of you people... so quick to blame the police.

Here is a summary of what is known.

Stockwell is the next station on the Northern line next to Oval, which is where one of the "explosions" occurred yesterday.

An Asian man, dressed in a bulky coat, jumped the gates and was challenged by police. He ran.

It is 70 degrees Fahrenheit today in London.

Three plainclothes police chased this guy down the escalator, he ran into a train that was stopped at the station, tripped as he got onto the train and the cops jumped on him.

He was shot five times. He is dead.

The rumor is that this is one of the four bombers from yesterday. He had been identified by the plainclothes officers who were chasing him.

Draw your own conclusions. My immediate reaction is to wonder why the police didn't shot him dead earlier.
posted by three blind mice at 5:13 AM on July 22, 2005


If verified, I guess the new policy in our post-renewed-PATRIOT empire is shoot first, ask questions later. What if he wasn't a terrorist, or didn't have a bomb? If he was a terrorist, can't we try to keep these folks alive so we can ask some questions, like, "Are you part of a larger attack"?

It's amazing that some people are more concerned with vilifying police rather than worrying about public safety. The suspect was running from police after acting suspiciously the day after a series of attempted suicide bombings.

Instead of saying the police were being reactionary and stupid for shooting the guy instead of contemplating whether he was still capable of destroying everyone in the area, how about saying the suspect was being reactionary and stupid for running from armed police in the situation (assuming the he wasn't a bomber)?

For the record, I think that cops are generally stupid bullies in place to protect the staus quo. But JESUS H. CHRIST! Can you see why they didn't stop to have a dialogue about whether the guy was still dangerous? It's really easy to condemn them from the safety of your desk. So easy, in fact, that everyone who wants to politicize the cops' actions as part of some police state machine is a huge (let me emphasize this-- huge!) fucking asshole.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:13 AM on July 22, 2005


The BBC reported that the police issued a warning, fired a warning shot, and that an air ambulance was on the scene within minutes of them firing. But, given that the guidelines on suicide bombers are to go for a headshot to minimise the risk of hitting explosives, the air ambulance didn't do him much good.
posted by influx at 5:14 AM on July 22, 2005


Oh one more detail: the train was full of passengers.
posted by three blind mice at 5:15 AM on July 22, 2005


I think this means 3 out of the 4 are in custody or dead now... can anyone back this up?
posted by Acey at 5:17 AM on July 22, 2005


Well, I'm tolerant of a lot of things, but having a suicide bomber go off next to me is something I'm pretty intolerant about. What, should we arrange "Bombing" and "No Bombing" zones? Or special hours for it, with severe fines for blowing yourself up outside of posted hours?

No, in this case 'Zero Tolerance' is a wise policy, IMHO.

And on preview... What Mayor Curley said.

JB
posted by JB71 at 5:17 AM on July 22, 2005


chill - plainclothes officers of SO19 and associated units are issued firearms when plainclothes on a by case basis. Special Branch and MI5 would usually defer to SO19 on issues like since they crosstrain regularly with CT units such as the SAS and since MI5 (at least to my knowledge) are not allowed to prosecute actions within the UK.

Oh, and ARU teams dont carry submachinegunes - the MP5s they are issued are semi-auto carbines (I know that sounds petty, but the distinction is important - no UK police force issues fully automatic weapons).
posted by longbaugh at 5:23 AM on July 22, 2005


From what's been reported, it sounds to me as though the officers responded in precisely the correct manner.

I'd have tried to take him down before he got on the train, but maybe they couldn't get a clear shot.

The five shots to the head thing sounds a bit excessive, but after the first one the guy in the padded coat probably didn't care all that much.
posted by dsquid at 5:23 AM on July 22, 2005


I agree with Major Curley, but isn't firing five shots potentially dangerous considering he was likely covered in explosives? I wouldn't like to see his head if they were all headshots!

As an aside, we had a bomb scare at my work today. The Melbourne Police's bomb squad got called in with their robot but it turned out to be a hoax. Apparently the cops said there's a lot of hoaxes going on at the moment, suprise, suprise.
posted by Onanist at 5:29 AM on July 22, 2005


Of course they should have killed him. Why the fuck would anybody run away from armed police? You don't run away from armed police unless you want to get shot! It's all very well analysing logically the hypothetical hand positions of the guy in the exact instant he was apprehended using nothing but pure conjecture and declaring that he most probably posed no threat, but the fact is that the police had just chased this guy down the escalators not knowing whether there was about to be a major tragedy which they would fail to avert, and their utmost priority was to do anything they could to try to ensure that there wasn't one. I think shooting him was the safest course of action considering that they could not be certain that he didn't pose a threat. In my view the consequences of him having had a bomb and detonating it, claiming more innocent lives, fully justify what they did.
posted by mokey at 5:29 AM on July 22, 2005


Rothko, I think the account can be considered basically "verified." Whether they "bundled" on top of him, or just "tackled" him or "tripped" him, may, however, indeed be left for our speculation. Or if they fired 3 or 5 rounds.
posted by shoos at 5:32 AM on July 22, 2005


Also, if you know the layout of Stockwell Tube station, it's a pretty long way from the barriers down to the platform (with long stretches of fairly straight corridor and escalator). He would have had plenty of opportunity to stop when ordered to, and equally the police would have had plenty of opportunity to shoot him before that if they just were feeling a bit trigger-happy, and weren't genuinely concerned about a bomb risk.
posted by flashboy at 5:38 AM on July 22, 2005


Good for London.
I like to think of these follow-up bombings as a venting of the neophyte terrorist pool. Maybe they overslept two weeks ago, but the hasty deployment of further terrorists is lowering their effectiveness (especially when countered with elevated British police force).

If he had a bomb belt, I see no problem with shooting him. You don't know where the detonator is, and while interrogation might prove fruitful, that's an awful risk they don't need to be taking.

So I guess I concur with Curley.

Good show, London!
posted by Busithoth at 5:38 AM on July 22, 2005


It's alway scary when the police shoot someone. It's more scary when bombers blow themselves and everything near them to high heaven. Bombers tend to be less discriminating than police are in even their worst moments.

Mayor Curley is right.
posted by OmieWise at 5:41 AM on July 22, 2005


Livewire Confusion : "BUT the eye witness didn't tell it that way"

True, but one of the eye witnesses also reports him wearing a rucksack, whereas others say he had none.

Livewire Confusion : "the EYE WITNESS was pretty clear about the event."

Again, the EYE WITNESS was pretty clear about the event. The other EYE WITNESSES were also clear about the event, but say things that disagree with the first EYE WITNESS. Being an EYE WITNESS, and clear about something, does count for something, but it doesn't count for everything.


Talk about kicking a dead horse. I already agreed to as much. Jesus.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 5:43 AM on July 22, 2005


I trust the British police far more than the US police. It's not as if many US police officers carry arms in the first place. So if they send armed officers out there, one has to assume they're targeting a particular threat. That's not to say the armed squad haven't made mistakes before, but on balance I trust them.

The bigger issue now, I think, must be: is the five shots thing true? And if so, could there be any justification for more than two or three shots to the head? It's only going to inflame the situation more.
posted by skylar at 5:44 AM on July 22, 2005


Ah, sorry, I posted that as I read through the thread. I missed your "Very true" agreement. Apologies.
posted by Bugbread at 5:45 AM on July 22, 2005


skylar : "And if so, could there be any justification for more than two or three shots to the head?"

Once you've shot someone two or three times in the head, additional bullets are nothing more or less than a few pounds of expense. It's not like additional bullets are cruel or evil. They're the equivalent of waiting 15 minutes for your cookies to cool, instead of 10 minutes, or taking 12 quarters to the coin laundry instead of 10.
posted by Bugbread at 5:47 AM on July 22, 2005


The bigger issue now, I think, must be: is the five shots thing true? And if so, could there be any justification for more than two or three shots to the head? It's only going to inflame the situation more.

How is that at all an issue? This is complete armchair quarterbacking. I commend the UK police for accurately firing their weapons, and doing it accurately. Who are you to say whether or not five shots is enough? Depending on the caliber of the weapon, stopping power can be an issue, for example. A .45 cal round has a lot more knockdown power than a 9 mm. The man could have been amped up on PCP and thus much harder to stop than you can imagine. Head shots don't necessarily kill, and due to the lack of information, I find it interesting that so many here are having difficulty wrapping their heads around the concept that sometimes shooting someone can be a perfectly legitimate course of action.
posted by tweak at 5:57 AM on July 22, 2005


eh, strike 'and doing it accurately'
posted by tweak at 5:58 AM on July 22, 2005


"They pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him. He's dead,"


What, no hugs?

All the "Monday morning quarterbacks" should take a pill and relax.
posted by a3matrix at 6:02 AM on July 22, 2005


You cannot question a suicide bomber if he is strapped with death, as the weapon he must be disarmed. I wish there had been a fast shooting undercover on every 9/11 plane.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 6:04 AM on July 22, 2005


It is .... difficult ... to break out of old thought patterns when faced with conflicting information and changing situations.

On the one hand, if the police hadn't shot him, would he have set off a bomb? Obviously, they thought that was a very distinct possibility.

On the other hand, would you prefer that the guns remained unused even if it meant that a tubeful of people were hurt or killed?

We are entering a time where such questions aren't simple academic speculation but the stuff of cold reality. It's fun to argue about such stuff, people have been doing it for decades. The best thing about such arguements is that you don't have anyone losing their life if you choose the wrong answer.

If you're anti-gun and anti-police, that's your priveledge - but I'd think you'd be anti-bomb even more than you'd be anti-gun, and anti-bomber even more than anti-police. The police, at least, make SOME attempt at discrimination as far as their targets go. Terrorists just go for body count, and could care less beyond that.

I myself wish the terrorist wasn't dead, simply because with him dead it's harder to find the information needed to roll up his cell and hopefully find links to cells above them. But better him than a trainful of people. The results do justify the means.

JB
posted by JB71 at 6:15 AM on July 22, 2005


Gunshots in the head are like prunes; Three, enough? Six, too many?
posted by Floydd at 6:16 AM on July 22, 2005


Now let's just hope he wasn't a random immigrant who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
posted by smackfu at 6:17 AM on July 22, 2005


If he was already in proximity to civilians, then the only real option is to kill him as soon as possible, as dead as possible.

No, the best thing to do would be to issue the police a small katana they could carry around with them, then in such a situation they could quickly "disarm" the individual without killing them, and without risking detonation.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:17 AM on July 22, 2005


"If verified, I guess the new policy in our post-renewed-PATRIOT empire is shoot first, ask questions later. What if he wasn't a terrorist, or didn't have a bomb?"

What does "if verified" mean? How do you know the police do not know anything? They said the man was identified from CCTV footage from yesterday? How do you know what they saw? Why do you assume you know more about this man's innocence than the police? I'm as liberal a s the next guy. When there's evidence the police are abusing their powers, I want to hear about it: until then, I take their word against idle conjecture from antiestablishment internet no-clues.

"Via what, telepathy? If his hands are bound then he's not gonna trigger anything and if it's a cell phone trigger shooting him will make no difference."

Yes! Please don't shoot the insane terrorist! There's a good chance he might not detonate the bomb intended to kill lots of people! Please. Put yourself in the practicalities of the situation for just a moment.

I'm all for reason. I'm all for caution. I'm against the nanny state. But for God's sake let's be realistic, and remember that the UK legal system, for all its failings, isn't a patch on the horrors of the U.S. system.
posted by nthdegx at 6:19 AM on July 22, 2005


It's a dark day when suicide bombers can't go about their business without being shot at. And FIVE times? That's just disrespectful. The terrorist community is going to be up in arms about that and the out-of-control London PD.
posted by shoos at 6:20 AM on July 22, 2005


The police may or may not have been justified, depending on what the circumstances turn out to have been. If they were shooting him just because he was running, for instance, then I think they were possibly wrong - in that case he may, for instance, have just been some gutter criminal who panicked when he realized how suspicious he looked with such a big coat. I'll decide how I feel about it when I found out what really happened and justified the police were in feeling certain he was carrying a bomb.

Either way, I don't think there's such a thing as too much scrutiny of a police shooting. It's essential, if we're to keep our current style of unarmed British policing. On-the-street execution must be kept to an absolute minimum.
posted by Drexen at 6:21 AM on July 22, 2005


This latest news comes as no surprise really. And you can bet it's highly likely more stuff will happen. I mean there's still three alleged suicide bombers at large for example. Last I heard they really want to kill themselves too.
posted by sjvilla79 at 6:24 AM on July 22, 2005


Another incident at Harrow Road according to BBC TV.
posted by nthdegx at 6:30 AM on July 22, 2005


If he were wearing a thick winter coat he sounds like he was cut from the same cloth as Richard Reid. An abaya would have been a much better way of hiding a belt bomb, or an entire bomb laden jacket. Not that his bombs would have detonated, or been fatal to him if they had, if they were from the same manufacturer as yesterdays.
posted by asok at 6:30 AM on July 22, 2005


Some of you are barking up the wrong tree. I think what some people are missing in this thread - and what I tried to suggest but must now make more explicit - is what the PERCEPTION will be of the five shots story, especially here in London.

Whether five shots is necessary in a medical or financial sense is neither here nor there. As a Londoner, what I'm more concerned about is what happens as the story about police firing five shots into the head of an Asian gets out.

The denizens of MeFi can cheer from the sidelines all they like, but I live in the epicentre of this month's terrorist attacks.

I don't want a generation of Moslems being given any cause to think that London's police are anything other than reasonable. The last thing we need is for stories such as the "five shots" account to become memes which spur on another round of terrorist attacks.
posted by skylar at 6:35 AM on July 22, 2005


No police quarterbacking here - but smackfu's scenario "a random immigrant who was in the wrong place at the wrong time" has been flickering through my brain...
Gets off the plane - unaware of yesterday - wearing all his heavy clothes (i.e. padded appearance) because unsure when UK winter starts, tube travel to link up with relatives - Very Stupid Panic Behavior...no idea that backpack wearing is a red flag...
Agree we should all wait - but those alternative scenarios do flicker.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:35 AM on July 22, 2005


A little off-topic, but couldn't suicide bomber easily set up a trigger that acts when a circuit is broken? Then he could put two contacts on his thumb and finger and hold them together. If he broke the circuit by, say, getting shot and involuntarily moving his hand, he'd still trigger his bomb.

Do any suicide bombers do stuff like that, or would we even know?
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:36 AM on July 22, 2005


1300: The Muslim Council of Britain calls for the police to explain why the man at Stockwell Station - described as Asian in appearance - was shot dead. A spokesman says Muslims are concerned police may have a "shoot to kill" policy in force.

The MCoB sounds a little Sharptonesque here. (Assume racism first, ask questions later).

I haven't read anything suggesting the actions of police today were anything that could've have been prevented. And what Mayor Curley said.
posted by dhoyt at 6:40 AM on July 22, 2005


Blah, skylar. Being in London gives you less perspective, not more. I know. I'm in London too.
posted by nthdegx at 6:42 AM on July 22, 2005


For the record, I think that cops are generally stupid bullies in place to protect the staus quo.

This kind of thing is usually said by people who would last about 3 seconds in a world without them.
posted by jonmc at 6:46 AM on July 22, 2005


It's fascinating to watch positions harden and calcify in the presence of nothing more than hearsay.
posted by aramaic at 6:46 AM on July 22, 2005


Also, the five shots is based on a witness account. Another witness says three.
posted by nthdegx at 6:47 AM on July 22, 2005


shoot to kill orders indeed:

here
and here
posted by Substrata at 6:47 AM on July 22, 2005


Assuming someone's behaviour is reasonable until there is evidence to the contrary is not "hardening". The Guardian take on the Stockwell situation. Has anyone more on the Harrow Road story?
posted by nthdegx at 6:48 AM on July 22, 2005


sonofsamiam - that's called a dead man switch ... the chechen bombers used them in moscow when they invaded that theatre ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:50 AM on July 22, 2005


Since when have British plain clothes police been carrying automatic handguns?

By the way folks, by automatic they mean your standard police handgun, ie 9mm Automatic or .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), we're not talking about submachine guns of a paramilitary nature (though I have seen some of those around Britain, I think there would have been more than 5 shots fired).

It simply means that when you pull the trigger the gun automatically cycles so that when you pull the trigger again it fires again. I would assume that someone at the London police have been carrying automatic handguns since the turn of the 20th century if not earlier with some sort of double action revolver.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:50 AM on July 22, 2005


Sky News, quoting its own correspondent ( wtf? - but still):

AIM WAS TO ARREST MAN

Specialist officers had been tailing the man shot at Stockwell Tube station from his home, says Sky News Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt.

Police believed the Asian man was responsible for an attempted attack on the nearby Oval Tube on Thursday and had set up surveillance on him.


Brunt said officers had followed the man from his home and that the initial plan was to arrest him.

But from his home to Stockwell Tube, events overtook police and marksmen were forced to shoot.

posted by nyterrant at 6:55 AM on July 22, 2005


I'd like to repeat that they'd identified this man from CCTV footage. I refuse to believe, as some of you have implied, that it is dangerous to get on the tube with a back-pack. He was an identified suspect, not merely suspicious looking.
posted by nthdegx at 6:58 AM on July 22, 2005


It simply means that when you pull the trigger the gun automatically cycles so that when you pull the trigger again it fires again.

Not to get off topic, but isn't that generally known as a semi-automatic?
posted by unreason at 6:58 AM on July 22, 2005


sonofsamiam: that's called a dead man's trigger.

with all the unexploded bombs left behind, I'd guess they aren't using them (yet).
posted by modernerd at 7:01 AM on July 22, 2005


You know, I think it's pretty great that these officers didn't worry about getting themselves blown up, but rather jumped all over the guy they were pretty sure had a freakin' bomb attached to himself. Jebus, I'm a bleeding heart liberal, but I'd want cops here in DC to do the same thing if an identified suspect were running onto a crowded train a day after a bombing. I don't know much about suicide bombs, but it'd seem that a dead-man switch would be pretty much standard issue, so the multiple shots at point-blank range sounds right, too. Sure, they'd rather have him alive--that's why they didn't shoot him earlier, outside, when they had the chance. But, c'mon, this appears pretty justified, to me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:03 AM on July 22, 2005


skylar : "I think what some people are missing in this thread...is what the PERCEPTION will be of the five shots story, especially here in London."

Ah, sorry, I didn't realize that was the angle you were after (though on reread, it was pretty clear. Sorry about that.)

Pollomacho : "It simply means that when you pull the trigger the gun automatically cycles so that when you pull the trigger again it fires again."

As with unreason, I was under the impression that that was the definition of semiautomatic. An automatic being that a single trigger pull can fire multiple bullets. Is my impression incorrect?
posted by Bugbread at 7:09 AM on July 22, 2005


Now let's just hope he wasn't a random immigrant who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Note to future random immigrants to London: A day after an attempted bombing attack, don't run away from armed police officers while wearing unseasonably bulky clothing.
posted by dsquid at 7:11 AM on July 22, 2005


Please note these cops jumped on what they believed to be a live bomb carried by a guy who ran into a crowd. They put their lives at risk to save other people.

As far as shoot to kill orders go, anytime police fire a gun they have already lost all the options and will always shoot to kill. Nobody is trained to do otherwise.

Put yourself in their shoes for just a minute and imagine what had to have been going through their heads. They wanted this guy alive real bad.
posted by warbaby at 7:15 AM on July 22, 2005


If verified, I guess the new policy in our post-renewed-PATRIOT empire is shoot first, ask questions later. What if he wasn't a terrorist, or didn't have a bomb?

My main concern will be whether we find out if people like this were actually terrorists or innocent victims -- and not after a spirited campaign to hide the truth. Do we even get to find out about the mistakes so that we can evaluate the methods used is what I want to know.
posted by dreamsign at 7:18 AM on July 22, 2005


Note to future random immigrants to London: A day after an attempted bombing attack, don't run away from armed police officers while wearing unseasonably bulky clothing.

For God's sake read the news stories. He was identified from the previous day's activites, and they were attempting an arrest. Are you at all interested in the facts, or do we want MetaFilter to become a nutball conspiracy-theory discussion site? Honestly: do better.
posted by nthdegx at 7:19 AM on July 22, 2005


The Scotsman article linked above, about a potential shoot to kill policy, actually only seems to say that armed police have been told to aim for the head instead of the chest. I don't think it's at all true that the policy used to be to incapacitate, and I think this is just a case of the media sensationalising a story -- this Guardian article from 2001 states unequivocally that police marksmen have always had a shoot to kill policy, even when dealing with ordinary criminals:

But experts point out that it is not practical for a firearms officer to attempt to wound a suspect. The officer would open fire in any case only if he or she believed an officer or member of the public was in mortal danger. And merely to wound a suspect armed with a gun would not necessarily stop the suspect returning fire.

Firearms specialist Mike Yardley, who gave evidence to the Cullen inquiry after the Dunblane tragedy, said: "The police are taught to shoot to kill. They shoot for the centre of the chest. The idea is to instantaneously stop the suspect."


Also, note re. the five shots that this same article is about a man erroneously killed because he was carrying a silver cigarette lighter shaped like a gun -- he was shot six times. Perhaps repeat shots are also part of standard marksman training.

(on preview, warbaby's "already lost all the options" comment succinctly echoes the point the Guardian are making here...)
posted by melmoth at 7:20 AM on July 22, 2005


For God's sake read the news stories.
On the first day, I don't believe the news stories. They are often based on single sourcing and turn out incorrect.
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on July 22, 2005


"Our attack in the heart of the infidel British capital is nothing but a message to all European governments that we will not rest until all the infidel troops leave Iraq," said the statement by the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades dated July 22."

Same group claims responsibility.
posted by nthdegx at 7:25 AM on July 22, 2005


Unreason & Bugbread:

Yep - semi-automatic IS the pedantically correct term for handguns. Calling a semi-automatic handgun an automatic saves a half-second of time when creating sound bites, and a scattering of letters when typing out the story. Besides, "He was shot with a semi-automatic handgun" sounds so much less serious than "He was shot with an automatic." Kind of 'semi-serious', so to speak. It's simply a convenient contraction.

An 'automatic' rifle is one that fires one shot per pull of the trigger. A 'selective fire' rifle will fire either semi-automatically, or fully automatic.

Unfortunately, when you get into convenient contractions a lot of precision in the definition is lost.

JB
posted by JB71 at 7:25 AM on July 22, 2005


bugbread, unreason: I think it's likely that J. Random Joe on the tube, who's also now supremely freaked out by having seen a dude get shot to death and realizing that he was almost blown to little bits, isn't employing dictionary-correct definitions of words. Realistically, "automatic" in common use probably just means "scary-looking and fast." "Automatic" in handguns also seems to get used in place of semi-auto, hence the old term .45 auto for the classic pistol.

My first reaction to "they looked automatic" was "What, not single-shot muzzleloaders?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:26 AM on July 22, 2005


melmoth writes "police marksmen have always had a shoot to kill policy"

Sure, but then marksmen aren't called in at the slightest hint of anything irregular as they tend to be in the US.
posted by clevershark at 7:26 AM on July 22, 2005


Yeah, but that group claims responsibility for everything. They claimed responsibility for dismissing England's five top-order batsmen yesterday...
posted by flashboy at 7:27 AM on July 22, 2005


Our attack in the heart of the infidel British capital

What is this, 1066?
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:28 AM on July 22, 2005


On the first day, I don't believe the news stories. They are often based on single sourcing and turn out incorrect.

I agree that details can be sketchy, and it can be frustrating getting a clear picture. All the more reason, in my opinion, to deal with what we have realistically rather than using the situation to expound political ideology. It's not necessarily conjecture that I have a problem with, it's bloody-mindedly skewed conjecture that's the problem. Whether it's people with the same ideology as me, I really don't want MetaFilter to be a place where people go to find out what the liberals are saying.
posted by nthdegx at 7:30 AM on July 22, 2005


Not to get off topic, but isn't that generally known as a semi-automatic?

Semi-automatic handguns and shotguns are referred to as automatic (particularly in British English), as in the examples I gave, 9mm automatic or .45 ACP. Gandhi was killed by a Beretta 9mm Automatic, this gun was not a machine gun. Rifles on the other hand when called automatic generally mean machine guns. Here is an other explanation (though it claims there are no true automatic handguns, which is not correct).
posted by Pollomacho at 7:31 AM on July 22, 2005


They claimed responsibility for dismissing England's five top-order batsmen yesterday...

Are there no depths to which they will not sink?!
posted by nthdegx at 7:32 AM on July 22, 2005


Automatic, I thought, was used to distinguish between "revolver" and "self loading cartridge fed." When you pull the trigger and the gun continues to fire until you let up, it's called "fully automatic"

So, an old west .45 is a revolver.

A colt 1911 (.45 ACP) is an automatic.

A Thompson .45 submachine gun is fully automatic. (not sure if thompsons can be set to selective fire)
posted by Yellowbeard at 7:34 AM on July 22, 2005


ROU, JB71, Pollomacho, Yellowbeard, thanks for the answers.

Just for reference, I wasn't particularly concerned that anyone else (especially a random and shaken witness) was "using it wrong", I was more worried that I was using it wrong.
posted by Bugbread at 7:38 AM on July 22, 2005


Note to self, leave black trenchcoat and fake beard at home before taking the subway into the office.

I haven't had a chance to read through all the comments yet so maybe this has been covered but did they find a bomb strapped to his chest after they killed him? Okay, finally got to that point in the article.

Isn't he less a suspect and more of a failed suicide bomber if they find a bomb strapped to his chest?
posted by fenriq at 7:41 AM on July 22, 2005


So...did they guy have a bomb or not? Or have they just left him lying on the platform and haven't looked yet?
posted by cmonkey at 7:43 AM on July 22, 2005


The Harrow Road situation is apparently a house-raid following yesterday's attacks. "Shots fired". "More soon". This from the BBC news front page. Can't get the ticker-tape links to do anything useful.
posted by nthdegx at 7:44 AM on July 22, 2005


On the "five shots" topic ...

My understanding of police firearms training in the UK is that once the officer has made a decision to shoot, they're trained to fire two groups of two shots. Two trigger-pulls to the torso (or head, if the suspect is believed to be carrying explosives), then pause to adjust aim, then two more shots. The point being, even a .45 doesn't kill someone instantly: normally shots won't be fired at all unless the officer believes there's a clear and present danger to somebody (including themselves or members of the public), so if shots are fired the intent is then to take the target down hard enough that they won't be able to fire back.

I would hazard a guess that a single warning shot might have been fired first, along with an order to "get down". The target failed to comply, tripped, and was then treated to the takedown procedure outlined above.

Caveat: I'm probably wrong (I am, after all, blowing smoke and speculating wildly here). However, there will have been continuous CCTV footage of the incident from the moment the subject of the shooting entered the station, and there is always an enquiry -- it's mandatory -- when officers discharge a firearm, even if nobody is actually shot. (Officers have also been charged with murder or manslaughter -- involuntary homicide -- if the public enquiry decided they'd behaved recklessly.) There'll also be a major politican incentive to answer the questions fast (to damp down concerns raised by the muslim community). So I expect we won't have to wait long for at the very least a press conference and then an enquiry.
posted by cstross at 7:45 AM on July 22, 2005


I really don't want MetaFilter to be a place where people go to find out what the liberals are saying.

Ease up on the stereotyping a little, please. A liberal versus conservative political leaning doesn't automatically define how you are viewing this specific (or any) situation. We're all much more complex than that...I believe our reactions exist on a spectrum. For example, if forced to choose in black and white terms between shacking up with liberals or conservatives, I would choose to stand with the liberals. But I am inclined to give the police the benefit of the doubt in this instance.
posted by jeanmari at 7:45 AM on July 22, 2005


" For example, if forced to choose in black and white terms between shacking up with liberals or conservatives, I would choose to stand with the liberals. But I am inclined to give the police the benefit of the doubt in this instance."

jeanmari -- that's my whole point.

We're all much more complex than that

On the evidence of this thread? Nope.
posted by nthdegx at 7:47 AM on July 22, 2005


What is this, 1066?

Uh, dude, that's Hastings. I don't think the Normans and Saxons saw each other quite that way ;)

Maybe you're thinking of the sack of Jerusalem in 1099?
posted by mkultra at 7:49 AM on July 22, 2005


Does "Asian" include "Arab" in England?
posted by callmejay at 7:52 AM on July 22, 2005


More on shoot to kill at the BBC from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
posted by jackiemcghee at 7:56 AM on July 22, 2005


Does "Asian" include "Arab" in England?

It wouldn't obviously rule it out -- put it that way.
posted by nthdegx at 7:57 AM on July 22, 2005


Regarding the five shots: law enforcement is trained to use different rates of fire at different ranges - the closer the target, the more rapidly you fire. A tour of the FBI building in Washington used to end (and maybe still does - haven't been in years) with a demonstration of this technique. We also don't know how many shooters there were, or whether all shots were aimed at the head. To be honest, we don't know shit.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2005


"Will police now shoot to kill?"
posted by Rothko at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2005


callmejay : "Does 'Asian' include 'Arab' in England?"

Normally, no. But it does include Pakistani (as Pakistan is, in fact, in Asia), which is what the terrorists from last week (2 weeks ago?) were.
posted by Bugbread at 8:01 AM on July 22, 2005


Callmejay - I believe that whereas in the USA the term Asian is used to apply to Japanese, Chinese people etc, in the UK it is more often applied to people of Indian descent, and sometime to Middle Eastern, and then only to a lesser degree people from China and Japan.
posted by skylar at 8:04 AM on July 22, 2005


I don't think the Brits use revolvers anymore. Browning Hi-Power (9mm) is the most common sidearm, though Walther PPK (9mm) was widely used undercover.
posted by warbaby at 8:05 AM on July 22, 2005


Maybe you're thinking of the sack of Jerusalem in 1099?
posted by mkultra at 7:49 AM PST on July 22 [!]


Yes, yes I am. Thank you!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 8:05 AM on July 22, 2005


this gun was not a machine gun

Just some more clarification:

The term "automatic," when applied to handguns, refers to the feeding mechanism. When applied to a rifle, applies to both the feed and firing system.

A fully-automatic weapon that uses handgun ammunition is called a submachine gun. A fully-automatic weapon that uses rifle ammunition is a full-blown machine gun.

"Automatic" handguns are really semi-automatic, as mentioned previously, because they do not use the energy derived from the initial firing to sustain fire. You have to keep pulling the trigger, but you don't have to load the bullet into the chamber -- this is done automatically. If you want to use proper terminology, semi-automatic handguns are appropriately called pistols.

I can't think of any manufacturers that produce fully automatic handguns, though some enterprising (and stupid) individuals have modified pistols to be full-auto.

An "assault rifle" is a full-auto rifle chambered for smaller rounds. Originally stemming from the German sturmgewehr (Storm rifle), the idea was that regular rifles were far too high-powered for most normal combat situations, and that in a close-quarter battle, putting out a bunch of smaller rounds continuously was more useful than just a few high-powered rounds.

Finally, bullets aren't the things you load into guns. Those are called cartridges. Bullets are the things that come out of the cartridge when it's fired, and into whatever you're shooting. What's left over are the cartridge cases. So:
  1. Case + Bullet = Cartridge. This gets loaded into the gun.
  2. Cartridge - Case = Bullet. This is the little piece of metal you find in whatever got shot.
  3. Cartridge - Bullet = Case. These are the empty shells that are ejected after shooting a gun.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:08 AM on July 22, 2005


Gunfilter - heh. Carry on.
posted by warbaby at 8:12 AM on July 22, 2005


C_D: Wow. Thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2005


Police issue bomb suspect images.
posted by nthdegx at 8:14 AM on July 22, 2005


British Met Police use Glock 17s and H & K MP5SF carbines (they've also recently taken on G36SF carbines). They are trained to double tap the torso or aim for the head in instances where instant kills are preferable (if the gunman has a weapon pointed at a bystander or directly at the officer. SO19 are probably the best trained armed police unit in the world (discounting the FBIs HRT who are effectively a paramilitary unit).

Right now I am trying to get in touch with an old friend who is a training officer for SO19 to see if I can get hold of some more info regarding today's events and any changes in "unofficial" policy.
posted by longbaugh at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2005


Who are SO19?
posted by nthdegx at 8:21 AM on July 22, 2005


nitpick: H&K made an experimental select-fire version of the P9S. Nice job, C_D.
posted by warbaby at 8:23 AM on July 22, 2005


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SO19
posted by fire&wings at 8:24 AM on July 22, 2005


isn't firing five shots potentially dangerous considering he was likely covered in explosives

Not as dangerous as allowing someone to press a trigger. I remember my dad saying they used to dispose of C4 by burning it. Without a fuse, some explosives aren't very . . . explosive.
posted by yerfatma at 8:25 AM on July 22, 2005


>For the record, I think that cops are generally stupid bullies in place to protect the staus quo.

This kind of thing is usually said by people who would last about 3 seconds in a world without them.


Aren't you the one who's deathly against generalizations? I just wanted to make it clear that I hate pigs. But they occasionally get it right.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:28 AM on July 22, 2005


Not to nitpick your nitpick warbaby, but that would be a machinepistol - much like the Glock 18C, the Stechkin, the Beretta M951R/93R etc.
posted by longbaugh at 8:30 AM on July 22, 2005


From those CCTV shots, though admittedly not of the best quality, these guys look more Ethiopian / Somali to me rather than "Asian" in the British sense.

Of course, your mileage may vary.
posted by LondonYank at 8:33 AM on July 22, 2005


SO19 are the Metropolitan Police's firearms unit, similar to SWAT teams in the US.
posted by influx at 8:35 AM on July 22, 2005


Via WaPo:
Britain is drawing up a new blacklist to block alleged terrorist sympathizers from entering the country and deport those already here, officials announced Wednesday, detailing expanded efforts to head off violence such as the July 7 bombings.

For London's sake, I hope the deportations include people like this.
posted by dhoyt at 8:40 AM on July 22, 2005


dhoyt writes "For London's sake, I hope the deportations include people like this."

Did you notice that the very headline of your linked article mentions that the guy was born in the UK?
posted by clevershark at 8:52 AM on July 22, 2005


I may be wrong, but I am under the impression that you can deport people from the country they were born in.
posted by Bugbread at 8:54 AM on July 22, 2005


So if they were following this guy from the moment he left his apartment, why did they wait until he was in a crowd on the train to attempt to apprehend him?

Wouldn't it be wise to keep a suspected suicide bomber from getting near big crowds of people? It sounds like the police lost control of the situation well before they shot him.
posted by beth at 8:57 AM on July 22, 2005


"People like this" : radical clerics who pose violent danger, from any country or any religion

I was also under the impression that native citizens can be exiled/deported -- it has happened in extreme situations throughout history

/countdown to comments about Pat Robertson and the dangers he poses...
posted by dhoyt at 8:58 AM on July 22, 2005


Man, I tell you, that Pat Robertson poses a danger!
posted by flashboy at 9:05 AM on July 22, 2005


Thanks for the answers on the "Asian" description. I was wondering what effect it would have on the racial profiling debate.
posted by callmejay at 9:12 AM on July 22, 2005


Man, I tell you, that Pat Robertson poses a danger!

(Uses best Robot for Lost in Space voice)

Danger! Will Robinson! Danger! Pat Robinson approaching!
posted by unreason at 9:12 AM on July 22, 2005


For America's sake, I hope the deportations include people like this.

``I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say "you helped [9/11] happen."'

``AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.'

etc. etc.

Were it only convenient to expel hate-filled people for beliefs we don't agree with. Life would be so much easier and safer, right?
posted by Rothko at 9:13 AM on July 22, 2005


One little voice in the back of my head says "good. he was running around in a fucking station with a rucksack disobeying police after these bombings" and another part of me dies a little bit as well.
posted by Dean Keaton at 9:16 AM on July 22, 2005


The police say the man they shot is not one of the four men from yesterday: bbc
posted by handee at 9:16 AM on July 22, 2005


It seems like every other post is someone else guessing the situation that happened, then criticizing the police for their actions. You probably weren't there. Guess all you want, but keep that in mind.
posted by Dean Keaton at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2005


I may be wrong, but I am under the impression that you can deport people from the country they were born in.

Er, no, because if they're born there, it means they're citizens. Where could a British citizen arrested in Britain be deported, if not to a British prison?
posted by funambulist at 9:26 AM on July 22, 2005


funambulist : "Er, no, because if they're born there, it means they're citizens."

Yes and no. I'm not sure about the birth location=citizenship angle (as that probably varies from country to country), but setting that aside: the assumption would be that the person would be stripped of citizenship, and then deported. I don't know exactly where they would deport you to, though. Perhaps it would just result in incarceration, as they would have to deport you for being an illegal alien, but having no location to deport you to.
posted by Bugbread at 9:30 AM on July 22, 2005


Sorry, "Perhaps it would just result in incarceration" → ”Perhaps, as you say, it would just result in incarceration"
posted by Bugbread at 9:31 AM on July 22, 2005


if they're born there, it means they're citizens

No it doesn't. I mean, I agree with your main point, but no, being born in a country does not necessarily confer citizenship. I believe that currently the requirement is that at least one of your parents must be either a British citizen or permanently resident here. Which probably is the case in this situation. But if they have citizenship rights within another country as well, I think the government's looking at if they're allowed to strip them of their citizenship rights here. Or, you know, something.
posted by flashboy at 9:36 AM on July 22, 2005


Some interesting eyewitness accounts on BBC Have Your Say.
posted by Idiot Mittens at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2005


I don't think you can just strip someone of UK citizenship and deport them to a random country. Where would they be deported to?
posted by laukf at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2005


Regarding birth and citizenship in the UK: It really depends on the exact situation (age, parentage, etc.) of the person in question.
1. Before 1 January 1983, almost every child born in the United Kingdom...was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. The only exceptions were children who were born to certain people holding diplomatic or consular status...

2. A child who was born in the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983 will be a British citizen if either the father...or the mother is a British citizen. A child who was born in the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 1983 will also be a British citizen if either the father or mother, although not a British citizen, is legally settled...in the United Kingdom...
posted by Bugbread at 9:44 AM on July 22, 2005


laukf : "Where would they be deported to?"

Depends on the situation. If the person has dual citizenship, it would be the other country of which they're a citizen, for example. If they have made official oaths or served in the military of another country, they would also be deported to that country. But, for the most part, as you say, there would be nowhere to send them.
posted by Bugbread at 9:46 AM on July 22, 2005


bugbread, yes, of course incarceration is enough, because deportation is by definition deportation of foreign citizens, back to the country they are citizens of (and yeah, I was assuming birth location equals citizenship, as in someone registered there as a citizen since birth).

If they're not foreigners, they definitely cannot be deported anywhere. It wouldn't even be necessary. They can be arrested and tried right there, exactly. It would be crazy otherwise.

(And you can't strip someone of their citizenship anyway, can you? I mean, unless they've taken another).
posted by funambulist at 9:47 AM on July 22, 2005


flashboy: yes you're right of course, I was assuming the case of a citizenship by birth in which whatever requirements for citizenship to be assigned at birth are already satisfied (as opposed to becoming a citizen later as an adult, like).
posted by funambulist at 9:50 AM on July 22, 2005


funambulist : "If they're not foreigners, they definitely cannot be deported anywhere."

Again, not true. At least with what I've Googled of US law (which may, of course, be different), if someone is a dual citizen, they are not a foreigner, and if they then do something that would result in their being stripped of their citizenship, they would be deported to their other country of nationality. (Strictly speaking, they would become a foreigner a few minutes before they were deported).

And a person can be stripped of their citizenship (again, in the US, so UK law my well vary), even if they haven't taken another, if they've served in the military (any level, I believe) of an enemy nation, or if they've served as an officer in the military of another nation (enemy or friend), or if they've taken other "equivalent oaths" (dunno what those entail).
posted by Bugbread at 9:51 AM on July 22, 2005


To clarify: the conditions for being stripped of citizenship are (from what I can tell) considered to be "functionally equivalent" to taking another citizenship. That is, from the point of view of the US, once you've served in Kim Jong Il's army in an official capacity, you have taken on North Korean citizenship. However, that's the rub with functional equivalency: it is possible for you to satisfy the conditions of being stripped of country A's citizenship, without necessarily being granted country B's citizenship. So country A would then try to deport you to country B, but country B may or may not take you (and I don't know what happens with folks like that, or which country's prisons get to host them in the meantime)
posted by Bugbread at 9:55 AM on July 22, 2005


BBC:
1700: Police sources say the man shot at Stockwell was not one of the four men whose photos were released earlier in connection with Thursday's blasts.
posted by warbaby at 9:57 AM on July 22, 2005



non-citizen = deportation to home country

citizen = extradition to a different country.


Loss of citizenship must more or less be a voluntary act right now. In the past people could lose it by joining the military in another country or becoming president in another country and such.

Dual or even triple citizenship is allowed by many countries. However, if you commit a crime in a country in which you are a citizen, you cannot be deported, only tried in that country.
posted by turner13 at 9:58 AM on July 22, 2005


bugbread writes "I may be wrong, but I am under the impression that you can deport people from the country they were born in."

Where do you send them then? If one is born in one country he (normally) will only have citizenship in his country of birth.
posted by clevershark at 10:08 AM on July 22, 2005



if someone is a dual citizen, they are not a foreigner, and if they then do something that would result in their being stripped of their citizenship, they would be deported to their other country of nationality

bugbread: yes, that's what I was thinking when I said "unless they've taken another" (or had another citizenship already).

(And even then, we're talking the UK, and laws in the UK may be different from the US. I really don't know what the conditions for stripping someone of a second UK citizenship are, if any, but I don't think it involves serving in the military of some enemy nation... The UK doesn't even have designated enemy nations as such, does it?).

Anyway, that's a different case from someone who is only a Biritish citizen, no dual citizenship, just someone ordinarily born and lived in Britain, that's what I assumed was being talked about here?
posted by funambulist at 10:09 AM on July 22, 2005


clevershark : "Where do you send them then?"

Countries to which they've declared allegiance or countries which they have dual-citizenship with.

I'm not saying that you can deport anyone from the country they were born in, just that deporting people from the country they were born in is sometimes possible.

(And, for the record, I was born in the UK but have citizenship in the US. My mom was born in Spain and has citizenship in the US. Konishiki was born in the US but has citizenship in Japan. Being born in a country ≠ being a citizen of the country. However, that's not the hair I'm trying to split, I'm just mentioning it because many people are talking about "the country you are born in" instead of "the country you are a citizen of", which is much more germaine)
posted by Bugbread at 10:12 AM on July 22, 2005


Arab or Asian Repellant
'Squishi' repellant gel will deter A suspected Black/Asian man from your property, when smeared liberally. Also cats.
posted by lunkfish at 10:18 AM on July 22, 2005


funambulist : "Anyway, that's a different case from someone who is only a Biritish citizen, no dual citizenship, just someone ordinarily born and lived in Britain, that's what I assumed was being talked about here?"

I've actually lost track of the original discussion, but I think it was about whether Mufti Zubair Dudha could be deported, even though he was born in the UK. I've looked at the Central Mosque's homepage, but I can't find anything about what country he is a citizen of, whether he has dual or not, etc. He was born in 1976, so he definitely qualifies to have UK citizenship, but then again, I had triple citizenship (US, Spain, and UK) until I was 16, and gave up UK and Spain, so it's possible that he has his parents' citizenship (South African), or dual, or UK only.

If we're talking about someone who is only a British citizen, no dual citizenship, no renunciation, no overseas military duty, etc., then I agree deporting cannot happen. My initial comment was just in response to the implication that you can't deport someone from the country they were born in.

(Obvious evidence being that I can be deported from the UK to the US if I commit some greivous crimes during a visit to the UK, despite the fact that I was born near Lakenheath)

Still, I'm an incredibly anal person, so I'm not trying to argue that it's common or frequent, just that it can happen in some cases, and, as I don't know enough about Mufti Zubair Dudha's case, I can not categorically deny that it couldn't happen to him.
posted by Bugbread at 10:20 AM on July 22, 2005


bugbread, now I'm really confused. How does one get triple citizenship? I never imagined it was possible to have more than dual.
posted by warbaby at 10:27 AM on July 22, 2005


Basically, what happens (or what happened) is that until you are of legal age, you have your choice of the citizenships you are legally entitled to (being the son of an American grants the option of US citizenship, being the son of a Spaniard grants the option of Spanish citizenship, and being born in the UK in 1974 granted the option of UK citizenship). On more sober reflection, I may not have actually had triple citizenship (three at the same time), but I had the ability, on reaching legal age (18th birthday?), to choose any of the three citizenships without the usual rigamarole involved in getting citizenship as an adult (taking classes, establishing tax base, etc.). Note, also, that once I reached legal age, triple citizenship was not an option, and any citizenships which I chose not to take would be permanently "gone" (that is, if I opted, for example, for dual US-UK, and then later wanted to become a Spanish citizen, I'd have to give up either US or UK, and would have to go through the same Spanish naturalization process that any other random person seeking Spanish citizenship would.

Anyway, my point there (because my memory of the triple citizenship is extremely weak at best) was just to say that being born in a country may automatically grant the right to citizenship, but it does not indicate that you are a citizen of that country, just that, statistically, you're very likely to be one.
posted by Bugbread at 10:36 AM on July 22, 2005


So everyone is knee-deep in discussing this whole deportation / citizenship stuff, and nobody wants to discuss that the police might have killed the wrong guy?

Any word on whether the guy they killed had explosives on him at all? Shouldn't this matter more than a little?
posted by beth at 10:36 AM on July 22, 2005


Depends on local law, I know a Hungarian man who married an Aussie and had kids in the UK. They have triple-citizenship.
posted by asok at 10:44 AM on July 22, 2005


warbaby -
Triple citizenship isn't that hard. I worked with a guy that was born in Italy, emigrated to the US and became a naturalized citizen, and also had an Israeli passport that he was entitled to because he was Jewish.
He had all 3 passports.
posted by w0mbat at 10:45 AM on July 22, 2005


bugbread - Still, I'm an incredibly anal person

No, really? :)
It's ok, I got it, and you're right, you were thinking of all possible cases, I was just taking for granted we were talking of a single citizenship already assigned at birth and not revoked or renounced in favour of another citizenship.

Yes, I think it all started with the suggestion that this Mufti Zubair Dudha could be deported. I guess citizenship is not always enough to strip someone of their foreign status in terms of perceptions.

beth: Any word on whether the guy they killed had explosives on him at all? Shouldn't this matter more than a little?

Yes it does matter a lot, but nothing is known about that right now. The police didn't say they found explosives on him. Or if they had reasons to suspect he was carrying explosives at that moment. They just said they were pursuing him in relations to the attacks, and they "fired after the man was challenged and refused to obey police".
posted by funambulist at 10:47 AM on July 22, 2005


beth writes "nobody wants to discuss that the police might have killed the wrong guy?"

There's not really any indication of that now. The police has said that the guy was not among the four whose photos were displayed, but it's a leap to go from that to saying that he's an innocent bystander. It's a possibility, but you need more than just the bombers to mount a terrorism operation (i.e. bombmakers, coordinators, etc.)
posted by clevershark at 10:49 AM on July 22, 2005


Just as a reminder, you can also be a stateless person with no citizenship. And there are people with so-called United Nations passports in these situations. Granted, usually this happens with refugees when their home country collapses, but still, it is not an impossible thought that somebody's citizenship be rescinded without anything taking its place. See UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
posted by keijo at 10:50 AM on July 22, 2005


beth : "So everyone is knee-deep in discussing this whole deportation / citizenship stuff, and nobody wants to discuss that the police might have killed the wrong guy?"

Well, yeah, because we don't have any damn idea, whereas we can actually research and find answers to things like dual and triple citizenship, deportation, and the like.

I mean, sure, we could go back to making wild speculation about stuff which we don't know yet, and then making conclusions based on our wild speculation, if you'd like. Here's my try, then: the police were heroes for shooting the guy, because he was actually a reptiloid from inside the hollow earth. However, the police who showed up after the shooting were clearly evil mole agents of the reptiloids.
posted by Bugbread at 10:56 AM on July 22, 2005


If the police killed an innocent guy, it is a tragedy. But no less a tragedy than the deaths of ANY innocent people, including many thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is one of the problems that a civilized society has when terrorists bring a war to your neighborhood. The rules have changed. A suicide bomber would consider it a major success to attract a number of law enforcement to him and then detonate. If this was an innocent person, he does bear the responsibility for running from police in a time and area of heightened tensions. If innocent, he did not deserve to die for that, but neither have thousands of civilians when war is brought to their neighborhoods.
posted by spock at 11:15 AM on July 22, 2005


I think this means 3 out of the 4 are in custody or dead now... can anyone back this up?

Actually, I saw on the news that of the two people arrested yesterday, one has already been released and the other is being held on charges unrelated to the bombings. Can anyone else confirm?

On the news this morning they were saying that guy who got popped in the subway wasn't one of the four suspects, but I see here that it was in fact one of the four from the CCTV photos.

So that menas there are anywhere from 1 to 3 of the suspected bombers in custody now?
posted by b_thinky at 11:30 AM on July 22, 2005


From the BBC's continuously updated page of bulletins:

1854: Police say the man shot at Stockwell had been followed by surveillance officers because he had emerged from a house linked to the investigation into Thursday's blasts.

They say the man is still subject to formal identification.


So, not necessarily one of yesterday's bombers -- but quite possibly connected to them.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2005


bugbread, now I'm really confused. How does one get triple citizenship? I never imagined it was possible to have more than dual.

I have British, Canadian and US citizenship. The US State Department requests that you use your US passport as your primary travel document. I don't know what capability they have to enforce this request, however.
posted by Rothko at 11:39 AM on July 22, 2005


I have British, Canadian and US citizenship.

And in how many different names?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Nothing personal.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:52 AM on July 22, 2005


Were it only convenient to expel hate-filled people for beliefs we don't agree with.

I'm surprised you'd want to boil down the issue of "radical clerics who support a violent holy war" to a niggling little "some folks with opinions I don't agree with". Please.

If there are clerics who support al-Qaeda, support attacks on civilians, support jihad and call for violence against non-Muslims in the UK, then yes, I support monitoring/imprisoning/or exiling them, and I would say the same of anyone of any religion in the US who was calling for, or instigating, holy war on civilians. Your opinion may vary, but don't paint these clerics and militants as poor, put-upon or misunderstood. They are none of the above.
posted by dhoyt at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2005


I'm surprised you'd want to boil down the issue of "radical clerics who support a violent holy war" to a niggling little "some folks with opinions I don't agree with". Please.

Dhoyt, would you prefer I quote Phelps, instead, or someone else who advocates violent annihilation of gays and lesbians? Falwell checks himself in public but I'm certain he agrees in spirit.

Maybe we should extradite Phelps. Would that be reasonable behavior with homegrown rabble-rousers, domestic right-wing terrorists and the like? What are the criteria you'd suggest the DHS employ to this end?
posted by Rothko at 12:15 PM on July 22, 2005


Re: Phelps. Yeah, I could give a damn if he stayed here or if he was exiled to the furthest reaches of the planet, and I'd hazard a guess that most Americans agree. But there are pragmatic reasons we are discussing radical clerics endorsing global holy war vs. some domestic religious hick who almost no one associates with. I'll quote myself:

When Christian and white supremacist groups pose a micro-fraction of the threat of current Islamic factions—ie, when the spare groups of rednecks in the US organize globally with significant financing and government endorsement—and when the numbers of random innocents they kill en masse goes up 100fold, all over the world, and when civilian deaths are celebrated by religious statements and "Allahu Jesus!" and AK-47-waving, perhaps then the dialogue can begin in earnest.

We've been around this tree again and again. And there's no convincing me that the example of Fred Phelps, et al, are bent on—or have the support for—global holy war. The same cannot be said of the endless string of radical Islamist clerics, suicide bombers and harsh theocratic regimes. We obviously disagree here, but I honestly think you don't realize how lucky we have it.
posted by dhoyt at 12:36 PM on July 22, 2005


So I am driving up the M4 motorway with my window open in the sunshine at about 70 towards London this afternoon when I'm overtaken by two bearded Asian guys in a red coupe. The driver has the white skullcap . The passenger has the window down and shouts "BANG" as they pass close to my window. They do the same to other drivers in front, who swerve slightly with surprise. We are at 70 in heavy traffic on a hot day remember. Hilarious. I pull up beside them as the idiots queue for the sliproad. We both roll down our windows. No need for abuse. I point my fingers like a gun and shout "5 each!". There is a lot of anger in London at the moment. Sorry
posted by terrymiles at 12:44 PM on July 22, 2005


beth: They also serve who only stand and wait.

*whistles Rule Brittania*
posted by warbaby at 1:00 PM on July 22, 2005


We've been around this tree again and again. And there's no convincing me that the example of Fred Phelps, et al, are bent on—or have the support for—global holy war. The same cannot be said of the endless string of radical Islamist clerics, suicide bombers and harsh theocratic regimes. We obviously disagree here, but I honestly think you don't realize how lucky we have it.

I realize how lucky I have it, that's why I became a citizen of this great nation. I probably love this country more than most native-born citizens I know.

That said, I recognize the threat right-wing terrorism plays in this country, which has been discussed here at great length, which I will not elaborate upon.

While you may not agree about the severity of their actions, they do bomb clinics, buildings and public spaces, shoot people from sniper perches, etc.

They publicly advocate violent overthrow of the US government and a return to law based upon more "serious" precepts in the Bible. Further, there has been more domestic death and misery caused by right-wing terrorists than by all Muslim terrorist acts combined to date, even including 9/11.

While these individuals may not call their actions a "global jihad", it is a holy war against American citizens nonetheless, and deserves as much attention as threats from overseas.

I doubt much that deportation or extradition would do much to change the underlying culture that promotes hate-filled agendas that people like Phelps, Falwell, Santorum, Robertson, et al. promote, and my question to you is whether you honestly think that the UK would have as much success doing something similar.

From a security standoint, I'd even argue that being able to keep an eye on what these nuts are up to is easier when they live in your country.
posted by Rothko at 1:10 PM on July 22, 2005


And there's no convincing me that the example of Fred Phelps, et al, are bent on—or have the support for—global holy war.

The bible in which Phelps et al profess to believe predicts just such a war. Many xtians think that the war in Iraq is the opening battle in a broader world-wide holy war. Some are extremely excited at the prospects and of course, expect to win...over all their enemies, gays included.
posted by telstar at 1:11 PM on July 22, 2005


Rule 7b of travelling in the UK : If you are a paranoid, foreign-looking, overdressed man, stay well away from the London Underground.
posted by DirtyCreature at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2005


The bible in which Phelps et al profess to believe predicts just such a war.

No it doesn't. It predicts a evil, non-Christian nation (Satanic, not athiest) conquering the world, which is then defeated by Christ. It does not predict that Christians launch some kind of global Jihad on the unbelievers. Before you begin speaking authoritatively on the Bible, you might try reading it.
posted by unreason at 1:21 PM on July 22, 2005


I realize how lucky I have it, that's why I became a citizen of this great nation. I probably love this country more than most native-born citizens I know.

It's hard to believe that without a scrap of evidence. Of all the users at this forum you've made some of the most suspicious, withering, condescending and dismissive remarks about the US and Christianity without so much as a whiff about anything you supposedly love. Funny that. It's convenient now to turn around and say you love the country more than most natives? Ann Coulter is good for at least one quote: some of you "love" your country like OJ loved Nicole.

Many xtians think that the war in Iraq is the opening battle in a broader world-wide holy war.

Many? What are you basing this on? I'm a media addict and a news addict and I cannot name but a tiny handful who've remotely hinted at that. It sounds more like the kind of thing someone truly detached altogether from exposure to Xtianity would say based purely on stereotype. I've lived as an atheist in the South among very religious folks for much of my life and not once has anyone ever emphasized global holy war, nor has anyone put the Iraq war in this context. Sorry, but the same cannot be said of any number of Islamist militants and clerics. It's sounds like you're projecting here. And it's ironic that when somene does the same thing in regards to Islam, there are immediate calls for "Islamaphobia!", "Racism!", et al. It's no wonder conservatives—hyperbolic as it may sound—say liberals secretly empathize with terrorists and hate their country. You're giving them the ammo to say it.

Why is it so unfashionable to take a strong, unforgiving stand on Islamist fundamentalist killers? Are you afraid your Liberal cred points will go down?

Preview: what unreason said
posted by dhoyt at 1:35 PM on July 22, 2005


Of all the users at this forum you've made some of the most suspicious, withering, condescending and dismissive remarks about the US and Christianity without so much as a whiff about anything you supposedly love.

I don't confuse dismissive remarks about the Bush administration with hatred of this country. Informed dissent and criticism are about as patriotic as it gets.

Anyway, keep it above the belt, dhoyt.
posted by Rothko at 1:49 PM on July 22, 2005


Police have said a man shot dead by police at Stockwell Tube station in south London is "directly linked" to anti-terrorist operations.
posted by warbaby at 1:55 PM on July 22, 2005


And there's no convincing me that the example of Fred Phelps, et al, are bent on—or have the support for—global holy war.

I can think of a number of groups in any western country who advocates violence against society to meet their aims. (Top of the list: neonazis).

So what's your deciding factor, "support" or "holy"?
posted by mr.marx at 1:56 PM on July 22, 2005


neither, "global."
posted by warbaby at 2:11 PM on July 22, 2005


Informed dissent and criticism are about as patriotic as it gets.

Sure are, but in your time here you haven't offered the faintest insinuation that you enjoy anything about your country, so I why would we assume otherwise? In fact, you seem derisive toward those who do express love of their country — assuming that country is the United States. That's not below the belt, that's a cumulative impression based on your comments, and I'm afraid it's the kind of tone which leads some to create the "X hates America/blames America first" stereotype in the first place.


I can think of a number of groups in any western country who advocates violence against society to meet their aims.


How many of them are going through with it, every day, all over the world? How many of them are currently doing these kinds of numbers? (Excuse the vulgar site, but it appears a pretty accurate record of the deaths occurring almost daily in the name of Islam).

neither, "global."

This is true. I fear rightwing groups in the US, but they simply do not compare to the global threat involving jihad.
posted by dhoyt at 2:14 PM on July 22, 2005


I don't know much about Fred Phelps, but has he or anyone known to have associated with him physically attacked people he preaches against?
posted by shoos at 2:16 PM on July 22, 2005


Hm. Well, by my logic, deporting elements who want to wage global wars while keeping the domestic violent-anti-government elements seems kinda upside-down.

(I don't support any deporting.)
posted by mr.marx at 2:41 PM on July 22, 2005


deporting elements who want to wage global wars while keeping the domestic violent-anti-government elements seems kinda upside-down.

You misunderstand--if it were up to me, the militia folk who plot civilian deaths would be set on a raft to float into the middle of the ocean, and same goes for religious radicals advocating holy war. But that's why no one's electing me a lawmaker ;)
posted by dhoyt at 2:52 PM on July 22, 2005


In fact, you seem derisive toward those who do express love of their country — assuming that country is the United States.

I think I'll call your bluff. Do you have some evidence of this or is this just some vitriolic spittle?
posted by Rothko at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2005


You misunderstand--if it were up to me, the militia folk who plot civilian deaths would be set on a raft to float into the middle of the ocean, and same goes for religious radicals advocating holy war.

Well then the next thing you know, you are at war against Freedom.
;)
posted by mr.marx at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2005


Confirmed the change in Rules of Engagement with the SO19 instructor. Apparently head shots are now authorised if there is a threat of bomb detonation. He hasn't heard any further information from the men involved in the shooting yet, though he may of course not be able to pass this information either. He did indicate that from what he has been able to assess that it was a clean shoot (i.e. not dodgy) although I am sure conspiracy theorists will no doubt have their tuppence thrown in soon enough. Still no news on whether the victim was a terrorist, a sympathiser or just plain unlucky.
posted by longbaugh at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2005


rothko: if that's a mischaracterization, then I apologize. As I said, after viewing a user's comments over a long period of time, we make assumptions & generalizations, and the people I've often seen you butt heads with were known to support their country outspokenly, right or wrong, and all I ever heard from you was derision. If you've treat patriotism, and indeed those self-identifying patriotic users, with tolerance, then I apologize. I may be conflating your comments with matteo's.

My concerns about why MeFites are so timid to condemn militant Islam openly & outspokenly is still a valid point, though, I think, I'd love to hear a sober answer. From the sense I get, it's horribly unfashionable to do so because one's peers might mistake him for a Bush-supporter or a conservative. It hardly needs pointing out what a vapid approach this is; sort of like any garden variety hipster who meticulously centers his every action around not wanting to appear to "sell out".
posted by dhoyt at 4:44 PM on July 22, 2005


dhoyt writes "My concerns about why MeFites are so timid to condemn militant Islam openly & outspokenly is still a valid point, though, I think, I'd love to hear a sober answer."

If that timidity existed elsewhere than in your head, dhoyt, maybe it could be explained. You seem to have a very tough time, though, accepting that Americans may have their faults too.
posted by clevershark at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2005


dhoyt : "If you've treat patriotism, and indeed those self-identifying patriotic users, with tolerance, then I apologize."

The first part makes sense, the second does not (unless you mean "tolerance for their patriotism"). One can treat patriotism with tolerance, but not be forced to treat, for example, patriotic Klansmen with tolerance. I suspect, of course, that you meant "If you treat patriotism, and indeed the patriotism of self-identifying patriotic users, with tolerance", but that does seem to be a bit redundant.

dhoyt : "My concerns about why MeFites are so timid to condemn militant Islam openly & outspokenly is still a valid point, though, I think, I'd love to hear a sober answer."

I suspect it entirely depends on the person, both the person not condemning, and the person interpreting that as timidness to condemn militant Islam. For example, some people find trying to understand a terrorists motivations as somehow condoning them. In that case, the only "timidity to condemn" is in the eye of the beholder. In a similar example, some people may interpret a defense of some aspect of Islam to be a defense of all aspects of Islam, in which case, again, it's in the eye of the beholder. Another pattern I see is when someone points out that some Xians do some of the same bad things that some of Muslims do, which I often see interpreted as a defence of Islam (always struck me as strange. Kinda like, Person A: "Ted Bundy was a serial killer." Person B: "Jeffrey Dahmer was also a serial killer." Person A: "Why are you defending Ted Bundy?!")

I'm sure some people have been timid, for some reason or another, to condemn militant Islam, but I haven't seen much of it. The most common thing I've seen is the final Bundy vs. Dahmer example. Do you have some examples?
posted by Bugbread at 5:06 PM on July 22, 2005


dhoyt, you do realise your comment says more about your premature value judgments. I guess in your world people have to openly display their core beliefs, if they have any, on their sleeve -- a bit like the infamous Cricket test. Or maybe our MeFi userpage should openly denounce X,Y or Z to make things clear for you. I mean, GOD forbid things become nuanced or complicated.
posted by gsb at 5:17 PM on July 22, 2005


I'm sure some people have been timid, for some reason or another, to condemn militant Islam, but I haven't seen much of it.

An example would be amberglow's (deleted) post which was, essentially: the US military gave candy to Iraqi children today. Then a suicide bomber arrived and killed them all. When are the military going to stop their insane methods??

That attitude speaks volumes. Same goes for so many of the threads in which a Muslim terrorist has vaporized a crowd of people and suddenly eager-to-please MeFites who seem to know little about Islam are treating it like this beautiful, fragile little egg, and lord help anyone who voices anger toward the extremist cancer which is affecting many Muslim communities these days because they'll get tagged an Islamophobe, a racist, a fascist or worse. (It should be noted, this protective treatment is never afforded to other religions, and certainly not Xtianity). How many posts have we seen which blame the US first, blame Bush next, blame the military, then maybe the police, and then maybe as an afterthought, pay some attention to the source: the terrorists? This can be seen on so many threads, I wouldn't know where to begin searching. I don't believe any of you actually support the terrorists' actions. There's just an undeniable lack of balance to your supposed outrage.

I guess I'm not seeing a lot of the particularly informed, cerebral, sober analyses of Islamic terrorism you mentioned. What I do see are Nyah nyah comments like this which glibly & conveniently ignore the culprit. Or responses which attempt to hastily create feeble comparisons between the Fred Phelps's of the world & al-Qaeda just so we're being fair and not judging the jihadists too harshly. Upthread, Rothko characterized a fundamentalist cleric as someone who simply holds "beliefs we don't agree with." Do you think the same kid-glove treatment would be given to their Western Christian counterparts? It hasn't been, and isn't, and I predict, will never be, because it's always more fashionable to try to "understand" the underdog, even if the underdog wants to blow your infidel soul to bits.
posted by dhoyt at 5:46 PM on July 22, 2005


I hate people who can't love. Especially Muslims that can't love. I hate those un-loving jerks.

And I am for deporting everybody. But me. Now get the fuck out of here all you guys.
posted by tkchrist at 6:07 PM on July 22, 2005


I'm sure some people have been timid, for some reason or another, to condemn militant Islam, but I haven't seen much of it.

One reason is the unstated belief, among many Mefites, in the noble savage.
posted by shoos at 6:14 PM on July 22, 2005


dhoyt:
Seriously: Relax, unclench, take a deep breath. No terrorist, muslim or not, is going to take you, your life and your family away. Well, some might, but then again, your car might too. And more likely so.
Just stop being so damn afraid, will you?
You seem like a nice enough guy, but some of the ideas you have are just not reasonable. I understand you love your country - I love my country too - but step down from your idealistic american horse for once. Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, is absolutely correct in his assertions on why this is happening. Spot on. But it's not up to you to defend it. It's not your job.
But you are american. You have power to work to make past mistakes never happen again, to make up for past wrongdoings. Work for peaceful solutions, promote acts of peace instead of war, work for fair treatment of every country, every people. Soon enough, I'm sure your car will still be far more dangerous to you than some terrorist promoting a fucked up agenda.
*violins*
well, yes, but I mean it

posted by mr.marx at 7:35 PM on July 22, 2005


I love VDH
posted by ParisParamus at 7:44 PM on July 22, 2005


At one point, the train's driver was chased by police and had a gun pointed at his head after he leapt from his cab and ran down a tunnel on hearing the commotion.

Yep. Nice tidy job London. Real nice. Now onward to Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite!
posted by DirtyCreature at 7:57 PM on July 22, 2005


ParisParamus wrote, "I love VDH"

Indeed! It's time to start acting like there's a war on. Starting by putting on trial for treason (a cpital offense) those whose actions recklessly jeopardized national security, dontcha think?

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot that standards of conduct don't apply to Republicans...
posted by clevershark at 8:07 PM on July 22, 2005


dhoyt: How many posts have we seen which blame the US first, blame Bush next, blame the military, then maybe the police, and then maybe as an afterthought, pay some attention to the source: the terrorists?

I don't if anyone is still following the thread, but I have one answer for you: I think about the things I can control (or that, as a citizen, I theoretically have control over). I can't stop the one particular psycho who wants to blow me up. In fact, standing around yelling invective at Islam will only make things worse, because I am not one of them, and people don't listen to the "enemy." But I can, in theory, effect American policy. So I condemn the stupidity of Bush, the military, and Ray Kelly, because they belong to my culture. I mean, I don't imagine how you can look at Iraq, poor distibution of anti-terrorism funds, or the fake-ass New York subway policy and not see how those endanger me, as a New Yorker, how they encourage people to blow me up. As a citizen, I should be able to convice my fellow citizens to make policy changes. But by the time some bomb-laden guy gets on my train, I can't stop him anymore. So I'm not going to worry about that part--because I can't change it.

Anyway, there's one reason.
posted by dame at 10:40 PM on July 22, 2005


Thanks dame. Those are good points.
posted by dhoyt at 10:52 PM on July 22, 2005


Another little bit I forgot: It seems more effective to stop someone from wanting to be a terrorist than to stop them once they've begun planning. I happen to think that some American policy alienated Muslims. So there again, you have me focusing on the Americans.

Also, dhoyt, you drive me insane sometimes, but you are usually willing to consider people who disagree, and I really appreciate that.
posted by dame at 11:06 PM on July 22, 2005


I don't know much about Fred Phelps, but has he or anyone known to have associated with him physically attacked people he preaches against?

That is an excellent question, shoos. Thanks for asking.
posted by shoos at 11:38 PM on July 22, 2005


On the BBC's Newsnight last night they suggested that the bombs were of a form with explosives in a backpack with the detonator connected to a wire running down the inside arm of the bomber's coat. It could then be triggered by attaching a battery to the wire. They showed a discarded battery from the shot of the unexploded bomb in the bus from Thursday. Knowing that explains the Police's actions a bit better.
posted by kerplunk at 3:36 AM on July 23, 2005


We should have started shooting fare dodgers years ago. Let's all learn a lesson from this and just make sure we buy a ticket next time we travel.
posted by terrymiles at 6:36 AM on July 23, 2005


dhoyt : "How many posts have we seen which blame the US first, blame Bush next, blame the military, then maybe the police, and then maybe as an afterthought, pay some attention to the source: the terrorists?"

But that isn't in any way a defense or refusal to admit the problem of militant Islam. An example might help: If somebody goes up to a yakuza and says, "Hey, fuckhead, I fucked your mom last night", and then gets all his fingers cut off, people are going to focus their blame on the idiot first, and maybe as an afterthought, pay some attention to the yakuza, even though the yakuza's actions are far and ludicrously horrible. But that isn't timidity or fear of going against the mainstream, it's just ellipsis of the obvious part.

dhoyt : "What I do see are Nyah nyah comments like this which glibly & conveniently ignore the culprit."

Well, since that post isn't about the culprit, of course it ignores the culprit. In this post, for example, I'm ignoring the chemicals used in detonators, even though they're one of the key points of the topic. And your post ignores London, even though it's a key point of the topic. Not all comments have to address every point.

dhoyt : "Or responses which attempt to hastily create feeble comparisons between the Fred Phelps's of the world & al-Qaeda just so we're being fair and not judging the jihadists too harshly."

If you think that's the objective, then you are reading Mefi completely different from myself. If anything, I read the comparisons between Phelps and al-Qaeda as an effort to not judge Phelps too softly. It's not saying "the jihadists are only as bad as Phelps", but "Phelps is so bad he's as bad as the jihadists". (Note that, while I hate Phelps, I don't consider him on the level of the jihadists. I'm just describing how those statements by others read to me).
posted by Bugbread at 7:28 AM on July 23, 2005


Eric Rudolph was as bad as the jihadists--Phelps is the equivalent of the radical Mullahs who preach hatred and violence and feed those jihadists.
posted by amberglow at 8:34 AM on July 23, 2005


and dhoyt: An example would be amberglow's (deleted) post which was, essentially: the US military gave candy to Iraqi children today. Then a suicide bomber arrived and killed them all. When are the military going to stop their insane methods??

I stand by that post--We're endangering children's lives by handing out candy in public. We repeat it over and over--and it's terribly wrong. Knowing that our soldiers are targets every time they're in public there should make the military aware of the inherent danger of attracting children to a tank or convoy, etc. It is abhorrent and must stop.
posted by amberglow at 8:37 AM on July 23, 2005


From the BBC:
A man shot dead by police hunting the bombers behind Thursday's London attacks was unconnected to the incidents, police have confirmed.
A Scotland Yard statement said the shooting was a "tragedy" which was regretted by the Metropolitan Police.
posted by smackfu at 9:37 AM on July 23, 2005


Shot man not connected to bombing

"We believe we now know the identity of the man shot at Stockwell Underground station by police on Friday 22nd July 2005, although he is still subject to formal identification.

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday 21st July 2005.

"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."

posted by ZippityBuddha at 9:39 AM on July 23, 2005


Shot man not connected to bombing.
"...A Scotland Yard statement said the shooting was a "tragedy" which was regretted by the Metropolitan Police...

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday 21st July 2005.
For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."
I wonder if anyone will try to justify the public and brutal assassination of an innocent man because he was South Asian and panicked under the wrong cirumstances.

Were it a fact that the terrorists "hate our freedom" they should be hi-fiving each other now. It no longer exists.
posted by talos at 9:39 AM on July 23, 2005


talos : "Were it a fact that the terrorists 'hate our freedom' they should be hi-fiving each other now. It no longer exists."

It's a horrible, horrible thing that this innocent guy was killed, but I don't think that a single mistake freedom kills. Or, rather, in the event that it was a legitimate mistake (not racial profiling, indiscriminate killing, policy change, or any other of the raft of possibilities), when would freedom be "restored"?

If an accident ends freedom, I would posit that no freedom has ever existed anywhere before, as an accident could always happen.

Again, I'm not saying this was an accident, or that it wasn't due to some type of freedom-restricting changes. Just that I have seen no evidence to make a vague decision either way, let alone to declare "freedom no longer exists" as fact.
posted by Bugbread at 9:49 AM on July 23, 2005


If you've treat patriotism, and indeed those self-identifying patriotic users, with tolerance, then I apologize. I may be conflating your comments with matteo's.

ah, the usual ad hominem, cowardly attack hurled against people absent from the thread. see, dhoyt, strangely enough, not all of us are as scared as you of the brown people who worship a God you neither know nor understand -- even though we're the ones riding the subways and trains and buses in New York, London, Milan and Rome.

so you're perfectly safe behind lines, in your neck o' the woods. if the terrahists make you extra-afraid lift some weights, learn karate. or buy yourself some guns -- Allah knows it must be quite easy to purchase them in your local gun shop. or listen to some New Age music -- waterfalls and stuff. maybe it'll help your knees stop shaking

and re: your point on "patriotism", well, for your brand of "patriotism" I defer you to Samuel Johnson. it's the perfect refuge for people like you.

keep waiting for people signing your loyalty oath, though.

***

you can now go back to your Islam-bashing program. I'd love to stay, but I have a train to catch.

boo!

*snicker*
posted by matteo at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2005


not that I dislike your squealing -- it used to bother me a little, then it just amused me. now it's just a minor inconvenience. so keep it going if it makes you feel less afraid.
posted by matteo at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2005


matteo : "brown people who worship a God you neither know nor understand"

Er, Muslims worship the same god that Christians and Jews do.
posted by Bugbread at 10:44 AM on July 23, 2005


matteo: You know my points are valid, and it frustates you greatly, so you deal with it via insults & sarcasm to make yourself feel better. *shrug*
posted by dhoyt at 10:47 AM on July 23, 2005


dhoyt, you really need to try looking at things objectively. If it was another country or government taking the same actions that we talk about, you'd have a different opinion. Kneejerk "you hate this country" "you're attacking the soldiers" "you are anti-American" doesn't help fix problems, nor does it allow for open discussion, something this site is for.

Now, back to London, why did they shoot this guy? What did he do? (In my entire life of riding the NYC subway, i've never seen a cop shoot anyone--arrest yes, drag away yes, but never shots to the head in front of other passengers.) Will there be actions taken against the cops?
posted by amberglow at 10:56 AM on July 23, 2005


Let's let dhoyt have his one-man circle-jerk, shall we...
posted by clevershark at 11:30 AM on July 23, 2005


why did they shoot this guy?

That question is still unanswered, however, officially, for now, this is the explanation from the official statement from Metropolitan police:
"The man emerged from a block of flats in the Stockwell area that were under police surveillance as part of the investigation into the incidents on Thursday July 21.

"He was then followed by surveillance officers to the underground station. His clothing and behaviour added to their suspicions."

Scotland Yard said the circumstances of the man's death were being investigated by the Met's directorate of professional standards, and will be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
posted by funambulist at 11:43 AM on July 23, 2005


Looks like this further discussion about this is now directed to this thread.
posted by Bugbread at 12:37 PM on July 23, 2005


bugbread: what's horrific and ominous for a democratic state isn't just the fact that a person who was (by all accounts now) innocent was executed publically "by mistake". It's that allowing the Police to shoot pretty much at will against anybody they might consider suspicious, was deemed by the British government to be the appropriate response to the 7/7 bombings.

That this is exactly the kind of response the bombers were praying for (because raising social tension and discrimination serve as excellent recruiters for the fundamentalists), didn't seem to have crossed anyone's mind. Rather they were detrmined to take advantage of the bombing to push through their draconian surveillance society agenda (which they are keen on exporting to the rest of the EU), regardless of any analysis or, indeed common sense.

So the freedom is endangered by certain Western governments (with Blair's being quite in the forefront and Dave Blunkett leading the charge), apparently with the goeal of restricting civil freedoms in the name of the terrorist threat.

Take note, also, how effective in stopping terrorist attacks a semi-dictatorship with a rather strong police surveillance and no questions asked about police behaviour, is : Egypt.

PS: Kudos to Rothko for asking the right question early on.
posted by talos at 12:45 PM on July 23, 2005


talos : "It's that allowing the Police to shoot pretty much at will against anybody they might consider suspicious, was deemed by the British government to be the appropriate response to the 7/7 bombings."

Is that, however, the case? The fact that the shooting happened after the turnstile, not before it, indicates that they were likely to have been operating with some sort of threshold of suspicion: i.e. that the government isn't allowing the Police to shoot pretty much at will against anybody they might consider suspicious, but that they're allowing the Police to shoot at anybody that they consider suspicious under certain specific conditions.

Taking the situation to further extremes may help clarify what I'm saying: If a policeman sees a person holding a gun, pointed at some random person, saying "when I count to three, you're getting a bullet in the head", I believe the policeman is justified in shooting them. The fact that the gun might be empty or might be a replica or might be full of blanks does not result in it being true that the government allows the Police to shoot pretty much at will anybody they might consider suspicious.

Or, rephrased: it would appear that the government's permission to shoot at people hasn't changed, the only change has been in which conditions are considered sufficiently suspicious, and which aren't.
posted by Bugbread at 1:20 PM on July 23, 2005


Aaaand...it looks like this side discussion has been warped back over to the new thread as well, so it would probably be best continued there.
posted by Bugbread at 1:40 PM on July 23, 2005


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