Friday, 4 October 2013

Flying bullets

The woman who led D.C. cops on a wild chase through downtown Washington apparently was troubled by mental health issues. I know it’s tricky to second-guess police procedures, but we have plenty of precedent in our modern world for seeing that cops reach for the firearms far too quickly before knowing if there is a real danger to them or others.

I will be interested to see if there is any opportunity for questioning whether an unarmed woman carrying an infant in her car really should have been the target of a volley of bullets and whether that was the only proper response to this incident. Raising the question does not mean pre-judging the security forces’ response, but not raising it does. We should insist that such episodes are carefully reconstructed to learn lessons about what level of force is required and to prevent future cases from bringing harm to bystanders, which luckily did not occur this time but often does. (Recall our own Empire State Building shooting last year in which police bullets injured passers-by.)

More likely, no one will dare raise such questions about police action because they were protecting Government Officials from "terrorism".

No comments: