I've been half-heartedly following the London-Brazilian shooting furor
over the past few days and have read both sides of the argument. Brit Prim Minister Blair defends the police force's actions that killed a young Brazilian man running from police as a mistaken terrorist, and Brazil posts protests and sends angry letters. Normally, there is one side that takes all of the blame. Some people are placing full blame on the London Police, others are saying that the Brazilian man shouldn't have been running from the cops in the first place. In the end, both sides are right.
If nothing else, this is one case of a supreme tragedy in which both parties involved in the shooting, both the victim and the aggressors, bear some responsibility.
Argument: He should not have been running from the police.
Response: Good point, but the man did not speak English very well and who knows what reputation the Brazilian police have out on the streets. The man may very well have thought that the men rushing him were street mafia or something (although I doubt a group of British cops would resemble street mafia). Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. This fellow ran because he didn't want the cops to find out about something out there.
Argument: He should not have been wearing a parka in hot weather on the subway while obviously bearing resemblance to nationalities of non-English origin.
Response: True. Wearing heavy clothes during warm weather in a target recently recovering from a string of terrorists attacks is NOT a smart idea. I mean, after 9-11, I didn't go buy a burkha and run around buying one-way plane tickets all over the country. It's just not smart.
Argument: The London Police should not "shoot-on-site."
Response: It's up to Great Britain to decide which policies best defend the nation. These upstanding fellows were perhaps a bit trigger-happy following the terrorist activity in London, but who can blame them? I'm not absolving them wholly of the culpability of the death of the Brazilian, but I do sympathize with them.
You see, not one side can take full responsiblity. If the man had never dressed inappropriately and acted suspiciously, he would never have been singled out by the cops. If the man had not run from the police, he would not have been shot. If the police had perhaps tried harder to apprehend as opposed to obliterate, the results may have been different.
It was an accident, a tragedy, and an eye-opening awareness of the high tensions running through London right now.
But I think the London Police are doing the best they can.