Saturday, July 23, 2005

shoot to kill

Update: Scotland Yard announced that the man shot dead in Stockwell Station was not connected to the bombings. the innocent Brazilian man was killed for nothing! he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and made the fatal mistake of running. to say that it's tragic couldn't even begin to describe the sadness of the situation! Apparently the young man had emerged from the address linked to the bombers. He was shot after not obeying police challenges.

one thing's for sure, it's not healthy to be a South Asian in London now, especially if you'r carry a rucksack onto the tube.

after the 7 Jul bombings, I was shocked by the obvious second attempt on 21 Jul, followed by the shooting of a man on a tube train on Friday.

Guardian: "Muslims gathered for afternoon prayers, voicing renewed concerns about a backlash. One mosque was evacuated after a bomb threat. Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said he had spoken to nervous Muslims since Friday's shooting.

"I have just had one phone call saying `What if I was carrying a rucksack?' he said. "

the question is how do you stop suicide bombers? How would the British handle this, compared to the Israelis?

"Heavily armed officers patrolled the British capital with clear instructions to stop suicide bombers - if necessary, with a shot to the head. "If you are dealing with someone who might be a suicide bomber, if they remain conscious, they could trigger plastic explosives or whatever device is on them," said Mayor Ken Livingstone. "Therefore, overwhelmingly in these circumstances, it is going to be a shoot-to-kill policy."

The shooting took place about 10 a.m., when jittery commuters spotted a man, who witnesses said appeared to be a South Asian, wearing a padded coat in the Stockwell subway station in south London. Police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him in the head and torso, an eyewitness said."

"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," witness Anthony Larkin told the BBC.

Another passenger on the train, Mark Whitby, said the man didn't appear to be carrying anything but that his coat looked padded.

"They pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him," Whitby told the BBC. "He looked like a cornered fox. He looked petrified."

five rounds at close range? that's brutal. but again how are you going to stop a guy who's finger might be on the trigger. You are going to make sure he's deader than dead. It might take five rounds. and it's the lives of the officers and the public on the line, how are you going to balance or rationalise that?

I shudder to think what would be the situation in Singapore if London's bombings had happened in S'pore. On one hand, I hope and believed that Singaporeans could act with the same quiet courage as Londoners. but I'm also concerned with the atmosphere of fear and inevitable suspicions that can rip apart any society. Singapore was lucky because we cracked the JI before they could pull off their plans. but I still recall the shaky video footage taken by one of the JI, they were recce'ing Yishun MRT! If it could happen to London, it could happen to any major cities, like Singapore. yes, it's cliche'd, but the price of freedom is eternal vigilance...

on fear and tensions: "It was another day of high tension, disruption and fear on the London Underground. The union for subway and bus drivers said workers would be justified in staying away from work if the government fails to take more precautions to make the operators safe, and newspapers printed headlines like ``City of Fear,'' and ``Is this how we must live?"

in Beijing, we seemed to be distant from the events in London or even Singapore. but yesterday, I spotted this bearded, turbaned man on the streets near the Embassy district, he's probably Pakistani or Saudi. the first thot that popped into my head was "bin Laden"! (actually he's does look a bit like Osama :-P) Immediately, I laughed at myself for this absurd stray thot. This was like the funny photos of Bin Laden flipping pratas in Serangoon Rd that was floating on the net after 911.


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