Friday, August 05, 2005

Losing Our Heads

A few tidbits from a WaPo piece today:
The International Association of Chiefs of Police, which represents the heads of police departments in the United States and across the world, has issued new guidelines saying that officers who confront a suicide bomber should shoot the suspect in the head.

It recommends that if an officer needs to use lethal force to stop someone who fits a certain behavioral profile, the officer should "aim for the head" to kill the person instantly and prevent the setting off of a bomb if one is strapped to the person's chest.

The person might display nervousness, an unwillingness to make eye contact or excessive sweating.

The police group's guidelines also say the threat to officers does not have to be "imminent," as police training traditionally teaches. An officer just needs to have a "reasonable basis" to believe that the suspect can detonate a bomb, the guidelines say.

"You need to get him dead as quick as possible," said Timoney, the Miami police chief. "The easiest way to do that is a head shot. That's the only way to guarantee.
So remember: while they're rifling through your bag, maintain eye contact at all times. And nervousness or sweating? You better have a note from your shrink pinned to your sleeve; it's out of the ordinary in New York or any other city, even in summertime.

More people died today in car accidents in the U.S. than were killed in the London bombings. But to guard against the possibility of the same type of attack here, we're willing to roll back civil rights permanently for everyone via random personal searches, and institute new "shoot in the head on suspicion alone" procedures for average beat cops. We saw how well the latter policy worked in London.

Warren Buffett once said, "It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked." Isn't it fascinating to learn about ourselves and how we react to adversity as a society?

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who trade their freedom for safety, deserve neither freedom nor safety, but in our circumstance, I think we are trading away everything for the illusion of safety.

8/05/2005 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I agree that the shoot in the head policy is riduculous, the guy that was shot in London was running away from armed police toward the tube - after leaving a flat being monitored by the police. To do that a day or so after the bombings was stupid to say the least, he shouldn't have died of course, but there was more than enough reason to suspect him.

The wording of the policy in your post is very vague and scary however..

8/05/2005 4:13 AM  
Blogger Mark Jones said...

That’s an interesting comment that you quoted by Warren Buffett. And, it made me think of something that a senior officer, Marine Lt. General James Mattis, stated earlier this year: “It’s fun to shoot some people”. The tide has gone out the last few years, and what it has revealed about many members of the military, as well as law enforcement personnel, is not very pretty.

8/05/2005 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Scott_api said...

"The Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me. By that time there was no one left to speak up for anyone."

Martin Niemoller, a German Pastor said this regarding Hitler's Germany. Anyone who does not see similarities between this and current events in the good old US of A is either willfully ignorant or woefully so.

8/05/2005 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The claim that Mr. de Menezes left a flat being monitored by police is misleading at best. He was seen leaving the same block of apartments where one apartment was under surveillance (the suspects being Ethiopian and/or Somali). So he is just a turnstile jumper, or someone with an expired visa, who runs from police.

8/05/2005 9:54 AM  
Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK said...

Seems like everyone in New York is blogging about this topic:

http://funkybrownchick.blogspot.com/2005/07/arabesque.html

8/05/2005 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whilst I agree that somebody jumping turnstiles should not be shot, it was not the sort of thing anybody in their right mind would do in the days after the bombings.

Having read some more recent news it seems that there are multiple accounts of what really happened, but none of these accounts justify shooting the poor fellow.

8/05/2005 12:15 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

As a Philadelphian, I recall that Mr. Timoney has favored pre-emptive work for some time, as in arresting people before they did any protesting at the 2000 Republican Convention. Those actions led to the city losing quite a bit of money in lawsuits, but by that time Timoney had already headed south.

8/05/2005 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beyond the ineffectivness of the policy and the message it sends are the practicalities.

I know police are trained and retrained on weapons - but the head is not a large target (unless you are talking some big headed pundet) and gets smaller the further away target and shoter are. I do wonder if they have the skill and yes nerve to do it. I doubt that is an easy shot to to make either physically or mentally.

8/05/2005 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Buffet quote; and absolutely agree. Although, the police have a tough job that requires great skill in many areas.

TPM had an interesting note on Gitmo. Our admin has repeatedly said there are only hardened terrorists at Gitmo. Do we do a Bill O'Reilly and execute all of them? So much for the rule of law and justice, not to mention humanity. What if you were that person, in the wrong place at the wrong time; you have/had a wife and kids. How can our President be so pro-life, anti-science that he'll prevent scientific advancement and change school curriculums, yet destroy all these lives without a second thought. TPM makes an interesting point about our future plans to return prisoners.

This is a quote I've often thought applies when I hear some speak:

"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering." - Dr Who

8/06/2005 1:59 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Very good post. Thank you for writing about the things you do. Very thought provoking.

nathanbutnet.blogspot.com

8/06/2005 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wonder what the Bush administration is doing about real threats and nuclear proliferation. Story is they are making it as much of a mess as Iraq.

Ye hah, ad hoc nuclear proliferation prevention.

8/08/2005 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like what Bill Gross said in his recent commentary, "And, oh yeah—about the title and the sub-quote. Bag searches at public events, airports, and subways? Fine. But let’s be mindful of more intrusive escalations down the road. If we sacrifice liberties and freedoms in the blind pursuit of “the terrorists” then we potentially give up more than our daily conveniences. We risk our free society. And if we lose that, then “they” will have won."

8/14/2005 2:23 AM  
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