Saturday, July 23, 2005

"Asian suicide bomber" turns out to be Brazilian "not connected" to bombings...

This story is now developing quickly, and things change so rapidly in cases like these, that we are probably best to be cautious about what we say.

The man shot dead by London police earlier in the week has now been identified as Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Now perhaps Mr. de Menezes was of Asian descent, but the fact that eye witnesses identified him a "Asian" does peak my curiosity (and my fear that eye witness testimony might not always be that accurate).

And I wouldn't want to turn this tragedy into a partisan issue, but I do feel the need to point out that I am somewhat dissappointed by some of the commentary out in Blogging Tory land on this, or more accurately the seeming refusal of some of the bloggers there to modify their previous posts. I won't name names, but at least one blogger was quite upset that papers refused to identify the suspect as a suicide bomber (a decision that now appears was quite correct), and called the press release from the Muslim Council of Britain asking why the man had been shot dead a "stupid question". No corrections or retraction there yet (although perhaps said blogger is waiting cautiously for more information before posting again, a thought that might have occured to him earlier...).

And while I whole-heartily support the perogative of bloggers to delete posts without comment or explanation, another conservative blogger quite upset me. This blogger had a post declaring that London police were taking care of "Homeland Security", and the post consisted simply of 5 pictures... the four suspect pictures from the CCTV cameras, and the outline of a man's head with a X through it, with the comment "1 down, 4 to go". I commented in the post that now that the man shot by police had been confirmed as being "not connected" to the bombings, and Scotland Yard had called the event a "tragedy" that said blogger might want to take down the "X" image, and the "1 down 4 to go" comment, and modify the post. Well, rather than print a retraction or correction, the post has simply disappeared, with no comment from the blogger. As I said, your blog is your blog, and I support your right to edit it as you choose, but this did turn my stomach a little.

As for myself, I'm determined to hold off on any calls for police to be "held accountable" for the shooting until I have more information. This must have been a very difficult situation for the police, who are under a great deal of stress and pressure, and while if mistakes have been made, someone will need to be held responsible, it seems clear that we must all wait for more details, before rushing head-long into judgement.

Update: One of our cousins at Blogging Tories does seem to be on the path to the high road. His latest comment to his own "stupid question" post was not as contrite as I might have liked, but at least he didn't just delete his post as though it never existed. I've suggested that he also modify his original post, now that the question "why was this man shot?" doesn't seem quite so "stupid", and I hope that he will avail himself of that opportunity.

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Jim said...

I don't know what to think anymore. The world is getting worse and worse.

PR said...

Where was the 1 down 4 to go comment?

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Well, I told myself I wouldn't name names, but I hardly draw that much attention in the blogosphere, so what's the harm in answering your question Peter?

That post appeared in "Colbert's Comments", under a post called "London taking care of Homeland Security" (the post's pictures are gone now... and that's all the post was, the 4 pictures from the CCTV cameras and a blank head with an X through it... Google does have it cached, but all you can see is the title, and that there was an image labelled "4 to go"). Now I applaud Mr. Colbert, I guess, for taking down the post. I just thought it would have been more appropriate for him to print a correction, or partial retraction, given what we now know about the shooting, rather than simply make the post disappear.

That said, I do support the right of bloggers to delete posts at a whim, so I guess I shouldn't really complain much (I might want something to disappear from my own blog one day, and I wouldn't want to appear to be a hypocrit).

John Murney said...

The barbarian trolls on my website seem to think it is OK that the police murdered an innocent man. How sad.

Mike said...

Well said LKO.

This tragedy need explaination, if for no other reason than its not repeated. its ok to make nistakes, as long as we learn from them. More information needs to come out.

wonderdog has great series of posts on this. He, like John Murney, seems to have a great many commenters that don't quite get that questioning this shooting does not equate to siding with terrorists or advocating that the police do nothing.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


For myself, I'm going to hold off on calling this a murder (for now). Don't get me wrong, I think the police should be held accountable for what happened, but I'm not at all convinced yet that this tragic mistake rises to the level of murder. I think it's at least possible for the police to mistakenly kill an innocent person, and still have done nothing criminally wrong. I think we really won't know what happened with any clarity for weeks to be frank.

That said, I certainly understand your frustration with bloggers who automatically hold the police blameless, without all the facts, and who demonize Mr. de Menezes, as though this were all his fault for wearing inappropriate clothes, and running from police.

For my part, until I have reason to believe otherwise, I think I'll trust that the independent commission investigating the incident will do so thoroughly and without bias, and that they will let us all know what happened, what went wrong, if the officers involoved should be held criminally responsible or if some other measure is appropriate and, most importantly, what can be done to ensure that this never happens again.