Confronted with a furtive individual who reportedly refused to obey orders, dressed suspiciously, and fled over a turnstile towards the subway train, London authorities made a fateful split-second decision in a moment of great danger. I have a feeling that no one who works in law enforcement–here or around the world–will blame the police for the actions they took, and I doubt the majority of Britons will either.
Well, yes. The majority of Britons will accept that the police had to respond to a perceived threat and had seconds or less in which to act. I really do hope that the officers involved in this will not face repurcussions — I suspect that the death of an innocent man will be enough to cope with. Even so, I doubt that Mr Menezes’ family will accept his death as merely a tragic inevitability in the “war on terror”.
But just as this episode shouldn’t be used as an opportunity for “police-bashing”, I hope it will also give pause to those who were quick to jump in with rejoicing when the shooting was first announced. But I’ve said that before.
One last, more trivial, thing.
Can I please urge US commenters on all this business to stop referring to “the subway” in London. In our capital it is called “the tube” or “the Underground”. I don’t know why it should irritate me so much, but it does.