Saturday, December 16, 2006

Are you glad to be in America?

You have to laugh at the media coverage of the murder of Sean Bell (and the injuring of Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield) by police. There are serious debates going on about whether fifty shots is excessive force or not. I don't recognise the concept of 'excessive force' when you've just shot an innocent man's brains out. Nevertheless, the whole matter now apparently hangs on whether the jury is willing to accept that the cops "reasonably" could have believed that the men they shot at were an immediate threat. Also, there is a miraculous theory known as "contagious shooting": this explains that fifty shots were fired because, well, one shot was fired and everyone else couldn't help but join in the fun. The police have a good sense of rhythm, you know. But then why stop at fifty? And now there's surprise - surprise, mark you - that the police's story seems to be different from that of the victims. Because the police claim, of course, that they only started blasting when the Sean Bell put his foot on the gas and tried to drive off, thus crashing into a police van. Benefield says the spur for accelerating away was the sudden appearance of an undercover cop shooting through the wind screen.
You read correctly: in our nation there are many here who would actually consider the question of whether fifty shots fired at an unarmed man is excessive to be up for debate. Of course this is the same nation where our elite pundits are willing to consider waterboarding to be something less than torture.

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