Saturday, July 23, 2005
London crosses a once-unthinkable line
Yesterday morning in London, a plains clothes policemen emptied, at point blank range, the contents of his gun into the body of a young Asian suspect who had not stopped when being chased.
An unfortunate witness on the underground train in Stockwell where it happened ,Mark Whitby, told the BBC: "I looked at his face. He looked sort of left and right, but he basically looked like a cornered rabbit, a cornered fox. He looked absolutely petrified, and then he sort of tripped, but they were hotly pursuing him...he half tripped and was half pushed to the floor, and the policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand. He held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him."
Even as we feel Mr Whitby's anguish about this, we notice his correction from "rabbit" to "fox" and we notice five shots. Five.
The young man was a suspect. It seems that suspects in Britain who do not stop when challenged can now be shot five times at point blank range. Many may rejoice at this. Perhaps it will make them feel safer to know that with suspects collared on a train by a large number of policemen, five consecutive shots into the body are better than handcuffs.
Alan Cowell of the New York Times, however, wrote this today,
"The moment defined the price London might have to pay to fight back -- even though it remained unclear late Friday who the man was or even whether he had anything to do with the London bombings."
All this raises the same question as that asked by Macduff in Macbeth (2.3.106-107). Is anyone else asking it - or has the asking of such questions become not only irritating but treasonable?