Monday, November 21, 2005

Murder they wrote (unless it sounds better as 'killed')

What's the difference between these two opening paragraphs from the BBC's news website?

"The family of a man mistakenly killed by police hunting London bomb suspects is calling for a public inquiry."

"The father of murdered policewoman Sharon Beshenivsky has visited the spot in Bradford where his daughter was gunned down by armed robbers."

On the face of it nothing. Someone has been shot and killed and their family is now grieving.

However, in only one of these cases can we realistically expect the police to do their utmost to find and prosecute the perpetrators.

And only in one case will the media (as the example above demonstrate) describe the death of the victim as a MURDER.

The dictionary defines murder as

1. The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.

Sharon Beshenivsky was shot and killed on last Friday, as she responded to call at a Travel Agency that was being raided.

Despite the fact that the last time a female officer was shot and killed in the line of duty was over 20 years ago, I'm certain she would have considered facing an armed assailant at some stage in her time as a police officer a possibility.

She knew this risk yet still volunteered to be a police officer. Her murder was dispicable .

The person who shot her did so with the knowledge that it was likely he would kill her.

Jean Charles de Menezes was an electrician that was shot by plain clothed police officers on a train at Stockwell Tube station on July 22nd this year.

He was an innocent man that had been incorrectly identified as a potential terrorist.

In a stark contrast to the misinformation released by the police at the time of Jean Charles murder;

- he was not challenged until he was wrestled to the ground and shot.

- he was wearing a light jacket, not a big suspicious looking coat.

- he did not jump over the barrier at the tube station and run down the platform.

The police officers followed him from his flat to Stockwell Tube, down to the platform and as he entered the train he was pushed to the ground and shot repeatedly in the head and chest. He was murdered with extreme prejudice.

Yet despite his story the case was and is repeatedly referred to as 'an accidental shooting'.

No, wrong, JUST LIKE SHARON BESHENIVSKY, he was MURDERED. Just because it was the police that did it, doesn't make it not so.

Yet have those who committed the act been charged? It's still under investigation. Do you think the police, who arrested 5 men and 1 woman in conjunction with Friday's incident will take as long to decide if there is grounds for prosecution? Hardly.

Yes, of course it's a tragedy that a police officer was murdered, but I fail to understand why it's deemed a more heinous act than killing an unarmed, innocent man on a tube train and warrants a more explicit 'SHE WAS MURDERED', rather than just 'She was intentionally shot...'

Of course it sells papers and grabs the opening spot on the News for a couple of nights, but it doesn't help us grow as a society and live up to the principle of our leader's God, that we are all created equally.

We pretend we're oh-so more sophisticated than our predecessors, with our access to wider information base, and our media savvy ways, yet still we put up with or simply fail to notice this manipulative double standards - even from the BBC (which I still try to hold in high esteem - but then again, after the Andrew Gilligan incident it appears the Beeb are now running scared of another Hutton enquiry and another kicking)

The fact of the matter is we can't and we shouldn't allow a situation whereby the Watchmen become more important than those they serve. Because we all know how that story ends...

It we certainly shouldn't allow the media to control our emotions the way they do - they should stick to delivering facts and allow us to respond in our own instictive way.

But they don't and it's all becoming newspeak.

PC Beshenivsky Mr Menezes


Ship Creak said...

"Who Watches the Watchmen", eh?

garfer said...

The police used dum dum bullets to kill de Menezes. The use of these was proscribed by the British army in 1897 as barbaric.
The police shouldn't be allowed to use force of this type. They are neither competent nor properly accountable.

Herge Smith said...

Bollocks Garfer!!! They are certainly competent when it comes to killing.

I presume we invented dum dums, along with all the other nasties we went onto denounce as barbaric, like concentration camps, cricket and mustard gas.

Sniffy said...

Oh don't get me started. As alluded to in a recent comment back at mine, next up for an attack is local radio. Today's heated debate was "in the light of the murder of the policewoman, should our police force routinely carry arms?".

HELL NO! And the reason is Jean Charles de Menezes, and others like him. They have shown time and again that they cannot be trusted with weapons and we have been shown time and again that the judicial system will not protect us from those coppers who are trigger happy. The coppers who murdered Jean Charles were allegedly highly-trained, armed response guys and they fucked it up big style and they got away with it.

Of all the ones where you'd expect a full prosecution, you think it would be this lot. Since there is no prosection, even given the circumstances of their training and the overwhelming evidence against them, can you imagine how difficult it would be to bring a normal bobby to court if he or she happened to murder somebody because they thought they were up to something?

The circumstances in which Jean Charles was murdered is no different to the way that Anthony Walker was hunted down and murdered. But this has been mentioned by nobody. The police need to be seen to be doing something when a racist crime is committed by members of the public, but it's a completely different story when it's their own officers who are the perpetrators.

Herge Smith said...

The worry is, now the police are saying they should carry guns and if they are killed there should be the death penalty - what!?! They doesn't sound right, or healthy.

When a society starts to kill its citizens its out of control.

Sniffy said...

I think Garfer's point about the police not being accountable is the main problem here. Anybody with a gun can kill with a great level of competency - they're even given lessons in how to do it. However, there must also be a level of accountability that is still woefully lacking. While senior police maintain their positions of telling the politicians what the people want, there will be no accountability on their part.

red one said...

Spot on, Herge. I nearly did a similar post myself. Yours is better though.

Sniffy said...

And why put the value of anybody's life above another person's?

"Child killers and those who murder police officers should be hanged"

You do hear this, but why? What about if a nurse, or a heart surgeon, or a schoolteacher is murdered? Why are their lives worth less than a child's or a copper's?

It's a stupid and very dangerous argument.

And state-sanctioned murder is just that - murder.

Herge Smith said...

Just look at that poor bastard shot for having a table leg under his arm.


And they want to arm these people.

Even if they were armed, my understanding of Fridays shooting was as soon as the officers entered they were shot.

How would a shooter have helped?

I suppose with a gun in hand the coppers would go in guns blazing - fuck it if more innocents get shot.

They'll get away with it - with the blessing of the media, with a 'It's a hard job/ they need to make split second decisions'.

Who fucking doesn't?

"Do I ram my car into that bus in front or not?"

Sniffy said...

Our police simply cannot be trusted - with anything.

I've always maintained that there is a fine line between taking the path of the police or that of a petty criminal. In too many cases, the police are just thugs in flash cars and uniforms. Give them guns and they'll become even more alienated and aloof from the people they're supposed to serve.

I'd prefer martial law to arming our coppers.

garfer said...

The majority of rank and file police don't want to carry arms.
If the bad guys knew the police had guns we'd probably end up with more dead coppers.

Sniffy said...

And, more worryingly, more dead innocent members of the public.

Craig said...

Since Ship Creak took the obvious line that I was planning to post, I'll borrow a quote about abuse of power from a completely inappropriate source:

"Give a man a gun and he think's he's Superman. Give him two and he thinks he's God."

The really bad thing is that once you've armed them you can't go back.

The Antagonist said...

Nice article, Herge.

1/ Harry Roberts, SO19 and the Police Dependants Trust.

2/Sharon Beshenivsky, arming the police and the re-introduction of the death penalty.

See any parallels?

Rickontour! said...

Charles de Menezes as I understand it was on an expired visa. Tragedy or fate playing a hand? If he had been in his own Country………..?

The police statement after the shooting was based on what was known at the time. Hindsight being 20-20 and all that.

Ask any of the surviving London bombing victims how they would have acted if presented with a similar set of circumstances as the armed police.

The police involved in the shooting will all still be suspended and will remain that way until the outcome of the hearing. This will probably take some time as its a rather different scenario comparing people (The armed Police)who are working with the publics interest and safety in mind and have killed albeit accidentally an innocent citizen as opposed to a group of immigrants who murdered an unarmed police officer answering a call to a robbery?

No, I'm not a copper and I don't think they should be routinely armed but I do think they have a very difficult job and I for one praise them for it.

Garfer, where did you get your info on the dum dum bullits?
I would like to read that one myself.

thordora said...

From the outside looking in, the "police state" in England is rather frightening. I don't know what it really is, but between the cameras in some cities, and the seeming omniprescence of the police, it's freaky to watch.

And great post. Murder is Murder is Murder, uniform or not. White girl or brown boy.

Rowan said...

Herge, this is one of those topics that I am frequently arguing with anyone who'll listen. I hate the slant the media puts on top stories period and yes, I agree with you that the police officer is no more important than anyone else save that they protect and serve. Their life is as valuable as the next IMO. Unfortunately, as you suggested, it's part sensationalism and part the law being above the law.

Another point you touched upon is our advancements. I truly believe that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I was a young mother in the mid 1990's and yet, I was thrown out of school, called an epidemic and a contagious disease, that if I refused to leave school, they would fail me becuase of the imminent hospital stay (meaning I'd be breaking a school rule and that equals automatic f's across the board) and I was treated like a slut. I'm not saying that the fact I was pregnant at taht age was admirable, but I was a straight A student, never got in trouble, well liked by staff to this point and a good, clean cut kid actually. People as a group are wicked, biggotted mobs. I hate it, but it's true. We are still barbaric.

Sniffy said...

Rickontour, you're wrong, wrong and absolutely wrong.

With hindsight the police might've known not to pursue an unarmed man without warning him before restraining him and then offloading 7 bullets in his face.

Utter bollocks, hindsight.

Ask any of the victims of 7th July my arse. That tired argument is sickening. Ask any of the victims of 7th July bombings whether they'd want fellow unarmed commuters (i.e. people like them) hunted down and murdered by plain-clothes police officers and I wonder what response you might get.

Time and again, the police in this country have shown that they cannot be trusted with guns and, worse still, there is a complete lack of justice whenever the police fuck up. Until they are shown to be properly accountable, they shouldn't be allowed near anything that might endanger the public.

Spirit Of Owl said...

Given the swathes of newspaper space given to the oh-so-thrilled pro-gun nutjobs, I really don't think that any contrary opinion on the matter is going to be given a moment's thought. If they want guns, they'll just do it.

Superb, emotionally controlled but spittingly angry post Herge, and for me, right on the nail.

Rickontour! said...

The way you are all going on you'd think that the armed officers involved got up on the morning in question and thought
"fuck it, today I'm going to shoot someone!"
It was a judgment call, a split second decision, they got it wrong, no doubt there.
Tina, I don't know where you've got the "time and again" idea about the police shooting innocent people? It's not something I remember happening on a monthly or even yearly basis? Is it perhaps our friends in the media not letting things go again? How often do we hear about the police shooting an armed criminal? Not very often, now this I'm sure is in part due to the lack of a headline grabbing news story but also due to the fact that the armed police in this country go through exhaustive training and vetting procedures to ensure we dont get any crazy gun-ho shoot em up cops in the first place. I also wonder how much attention we'd be giving this if the man shot was actually a terrorist?
As for justice! It will happen, not now, probably not even in the next year but it will happen. Those involved ARE accountable for their actions, they didn't do their job properly and will be punished accordingly but to call it murder in my view is ridiculous.
I work in the aircraft industry and if I don't do my job properly then people could die as a direct result of my actions or lack of them. Would I be tried for murder? Of course not!

Steve Dix said...

Dum-dum bullets? A particularly nasty invention. Although illegal, it is easy to make any bullet into a dum-dum by filing the tip. Both my father (ex-RAF) and my ex-bro-in-Law (ex-marine) were shown how to make them whilst in the forces. It's interesting that the B-in-L was approached to become a member of an armed unit when he joined the police. To his credit, he refused.

I'm cutting this short, it's turning into a rant.

Sniffy said...

Rick, Rick, Rick.

Two white youths hunt down a black youngster and bludgeon him with an axe - a racist murder for which they're being tried.

A bunch of ununiformed, armed policemen, without warning, hunt down a bloke with "olive skin", restrain him, sit on him, shoot him seven times in the face. They get sent on holiday. This was not a judgement call, it wasn't a split-second decision, it was coldblooded murder. How can it be anything else? How? How can any reasonable person justify what these men did? It was murder and they need to be tried accordingly, along with their superiors.

Time and a again? A man is in bed with his girlfriend, the police burst in, shoot him dead. Mistaken identity, they say.

A man is carrying a table leg - a table leg?? He is shot dead by armed police. No conviction.

Fuck, I'm not going through the whole catalogue of monumental cock ups, but those three examples are three too many.

Strange how you don't hear of them shooting armed robbers though. Is that because they never actually tackle people who pose any real threat? They'd rather gun down innocent members of the public.

I'd rather have the army running the show than the police. They have experience of showing restraint humility and compassion in the most trying of circumstances, too many police are just smug, cocky bastards who do fuck all to safeguard the public or solve crimes that affect most of us.

Rickontour! said...


I can see were never going to get along on this one but I find your anti armed police rant a little disconcerting! As for letting squaddies run the show????? That would be a hoot, I can only imagine as to how our mainly uneducated friends in the army would handle delicate situations?
Whats that U2 song called........?

Herge Smith said...

Blimey, lively political debate on my blog - who'd have thought.

Hello Rickontour, and welcome. I'm very happy for anyone with an opinion to stop by, you are most welcome - don't mind the locals, they get a bit twitchy at new people.

Ohhhh and the Antagonist - welcome back - let me ask you guys a question, do you stop in regularly or did you just happen upon me - I know the Antag has visited before, but only when I get political... hmmm

The Antagonist said...

Hello Herge,

The Antagonist abides and has been known to stop by the House of Chimp every once in a while.

I particularly liked the range of greetings cards and I'm impressed that you haven't let the police murder of Jean Charles de Menezes drop off your agenda.

I'm still trying to fathom why an investigation into the murder of Mr de Menezes suddenly needs to be split into two investigations to include investigating a certain Mr Ian Blair.

Not only did they lie about the murder of Jean Charles, they also lied - and continue to lie - about the movements of the alleged bombers on 7 July.