Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Brit Cops & Bloggers

Tim Worstall responded robustly to my 50 caliber burst on the witch-hunt against London's police chief (confusingly called Blair). But I still don't agree with him. The Typepad Comment system is broken, so I've posted my Comment on his post below.

The first part of TW's post is:

The shooting of de Menezes was not an accident. It was a deliberate action....we just don’t know quite yet who made that deliberation.

Here’s what really worries me. Over the years we’ve had a number of people trying to kill random members of the public. Anarchists, the IRA (several times) and now (in Alex Harrowell’s delightful phrase) the Continuity Taleban. I’m sure there are others we can add to the list. I have no doubt that in the future there will be similar other groups who wish and attempt to do the same. It’s a sad part of life.

I am much more worried about the ability of the State to kill people without being upbraided for it. To say, "It was just an accident" makes the next one more likely. Perhaps I am paranoid on the subject....I live in a country which only 31 years ago was a fascist dictatorship....that dictatorship being the one that Amnesty International was first founded to protest against.

Here's what I think.

Of course we should vigorously defend our liberties. But the Brit bloggers are choosing the wrong targets.

First, (London Chief Cop) Blair is the typical CEO you'd expect to climb the greasy pole. But that doesn't mean he's a liar. The "damaging" information bloggers are convicting him on is being leaked by the IPCC, which is headed by a former London cop. It looks like score-settling to me. Bloggers should wait until they have hard facts before demanding heads.

Second, of course every outcome has a causal sequence that triggers it. But it can still be an accident, since real life is not perfect. We make faulty identifications, we mishear, weapons jam, radios pack up, and so on. That's why about 20% of all combat deaths (and rising) are "friendly fire". And, make no mistake, suicide bombers bring combat to you!

Next, do you really believe that (head cop, not Prime Minister) Blair will suffer if you succeed in hanging the blame on him? He has bags of political capital, and the worse he'll get is early retirement on a fat pension. Whereas the cops and soldiers who had to make the split-second judgment calls and (they thought) risk their lives will be picked to pieces by the Brit courts when the MSM and blogosphere has finished with them, and end up in jail with ruined careers. If you don't believe me, count the number of Brit officers and non-officers who've been convicted for malfeasance in Iraq.

And if that doesn't bother you because you think Brit cops with guns spend their time plotting to shoot innocents. Imagine you (yes, you!) are an armed cop on patrol tomorrow. You see what you believe to be a bomber, complete with backpack, boarding an underground train. Or a petrol tanker speeding toward a crowd. Will you shoot? Of course not - the Brit bloggers & MSM have made the personal cost of that so high that its easier to hold your fire & let lots of Brits die - after all, nobody is being harassed for letting the 52 be killed on 7/7!

This is a lousy outcome.

UPDATE 8/24: Oops, left in a few of redundant prepositions, now edited out.