Saturday, 25 July 2009

Unheard words

Join the dots and find out what's going on here.

The bereaved family of Jean Charles de Menezes are asking for 'a permanent memorial to be placed outside the south London Tube station where he was killed by police.'

As part of their highly political campaign they entered Britain and immediately set out their mission purpose as follows:

On 16 August 2005, the Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign, also known as "Justice4Jean", began calling for a public inquiry into the shooting. In 2005, the Justice4Jean campaign stated its aims as being to:

* find out the truth about Jean’s unlawful killing
* bring those responsible for his death to justice
* end the ‘Shoot to Kill’ policy and so prevent a similar tragedy happening again

A fourth objective, "to campaign against the rising tide of racism and the attack on civil liberties in the UK", was removed from the site in a subsequent site redesign, but was present at the site's inception and in early press releases.

Now in their grief, it is possible that they may have gone over the top with that last one, and they did withdraw it, or maybe their helpers posted it on their campaign website without consulting them, but later, and throughout the investigations and trials that took place, they made it plain that in some ways they wanted to change the governance of Britain and the methods used to secure life and property in the face of terrorism.

This is from their website:

One key area that the Rule 43 report and MPS response fails to tackle adequately goes to the heart of the ‘shoot to kill’ debate. If an armed officer has no intelligence or other information that tells him that the suspect has the means to detonate a bomb, he must issue a challenge or we risk repeat killings by the police.

A proper public debate about the ‘shoot-to kill’ policy is now long overdue. As Nick Hardwick, the chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said after the inquest in December 2008, “The inquest and health and safety trial have necessarily focused on the specific events of 22 July 2005. They have not examined the broader issue of how the police should respond to the threat of suicide terrorism. I call again for this to have much broader debate and scrutiny by the public and their representatives.”
So people acted within institutions and the rules and beleifs and customs that govern them and a very bad thing happened.

They go on: It is now time for that debate to begin without delay.

Setting aside the arrogance of deciding that it's necessary to give warning to a possible suicide bomber - would the 7/7 lot have hesitated or surrendered if challenged so, do you think?, it seems a reasonable principle to me to seek the causes and circumstances of cases such as violent deaths, and to seek to change the arrangements by which power is used and lives are led if that will in turn lead away from further bloodshed.

But back to that key principle of improving government: if there's a killing which might have a background in, say, the culture of those who did the killing - and of their way of life and assumptions, isn't it a good idea to investigate that and change it? Isn't it necessary to have an open debate about it, too?

Well then, let's see, shall we?

Three men have received life sentences for murdering Ben Kinsella, who was the 17th teenager to die in a violent killing in the UK capital last year.

The 16-year-old brother of Eastenders actress Brooke Kinsella was stabbed 11 times by Juress Kika, 19, Michael Alleyne, 18, and Jade Braithwaite, 20.As with so many similar cases, the words "retribution" and "respect" were recurring themes.

I guess that a full and open investigation about respect and retribution would be a great idea here, as they seem to have been part of this deliberate and premeditated murder.

Ben's killing was due to the culture of young people ensuring they were "respected," Det Ch Insp McDonald said.

During the prior argument in the club, Braithwaite had been posturing and was heard to say, "tell your boy if he wants trouble, I've got my tool on me and it will open you up".

Det Ch Insp McDonald added: "They've got to seek some sort of retribution, that's what this is about. Braithwaite thought he had been embarrassed by a younger kid and wanted to get retribution.

"Now they resort to knifing someone, it's an extreme response to what is a relatively minor issue. Instead of punching, or using verbal means, they decided to stab someone many times."

Oddly enough, the BBC's photo library seems to have suffered cut-backs or something here, because though they had stock pictures of poor dead Ben they couldn't find any of his killers.

The Mirror could, as could The Times and The Daily Mail.

Back to 'respect.' More. More. More. More.

'Respect' in this term of reference is not common amongst polo players and used casually in badminton clubs - it comes from the heart of many of our cities.

Ben's bereaved family too wanted to change the way we live, to the extent of demonstrating against the carrying and use of knives.They don't seem to want an investigation into it, though; just action against being armed.

What might an investigation find?

But, to paraphrase the gun lobby in the USA, knives don't kill people - people kill people. Gang members kill people. Predominantly black gang members kill - mostly - black people.

As The Guardian (fiercely racist as ever) put it:

In Peckham, where the black population is the majority, both gang members and their victims are usually black. "What we are seeing is more extremes of violence among teenagers and young kids. We are seeing extreme lifestyles and a willingness to use weapons. There is a thing among young people to use violence at the moment," says one black police officer, who works with families affected by violence in this area.

This person from Unheard Words puts much of it down to racism and poverty, so that's all right.

But it's not all right.

If poverty can cause violence, and if institutions and beliefs can cause violence, and if some of those institutions and beliefs are predominant or disproportionately concentrated along racial or national lines, as are the victims, them why are their fellows so afraid of it being discussed? Do they seriously believe that if a public inquiry judged that gang violence is common in areas with large amounts of, say, fatherlessness and truancy and that such areas are particularly common in black areas, that the British state would immediately or gradually start building up institutions of oppression, repatriation or genocide? Getting Lenny Henry or Ainsley Harriott in to schools or remand centres to lecture black lads is hardly going to lead to burning crosses and necktie parties, now is it?

What kind of crazy world view prevents even the possibility of doing peaceful, humane things to deal with - that is, prevent or amend - such habits of life?

If liberals believe that sex education can help prevent teenage pregnancy, then why can't its equivalent deal with the macho gang culture that has grown up in black areas and amongst black youths?

I mean, it's not as if they're going to give people like me the job anyway.

Mercy and understanding and probably a wish not to be too harsh towards black youths by punishing them too much or incarcerating them for too long doesn't always do them any favours - nor did they help Ben Kinsella.


He was given a one-year detention and training order in 2006 for trying to rob a schoolboy of his laptop, but his sentence was reduced to a supervision order on appeal. A promising youth footballer, 6ft Braithwaite had played as 6in a goalkeeper at youth level but did not secure a club contract. By the time of Ben's murder, the 20-year-old had no job and was living at home with his mum and brother.


The 18-year-old - also known as "Tigger" because of his dreadlocks - was under the supervision of a council youth offending team at the time of the murder. He had been released three months earlier, having served half an 18-month sentence for drug dealing. In 2006, he was given a 12-month supervision order - for robbery, stealing a car and possession of cannabis - which he breached in 2007.


Dad-of-one Kika, 19, received his first caution for ABH and shoplifting aged 11. He was handed a three-month referral order in 2005 for possession of cannabis and another four-month order for the same offence later that year. He was given a 12-month supervision order in 2007 for robbery and, at the time of the murder, he was wanted over a drug-related robbery and stabbing 10 days earlier.


Ross said...

I feel sorry for the De Menezes family but if Brazil memorialised everyone killed by the police in the way they want Jean Charles to be remembered you wouldn't be able to walk 12 steps without tripping on one.

ivan said...

It is obvious those that want or advocate a shoot-to-kill policy have not heard of a dead-man-switch - a simple device that requires a person using it to have concious control or it sets off the big bang.

James Higham said...

It seems a reasonable principle to me to seek the causes and circumstances of cases such as violent deaths, and to seek to change the arrangements by which power is used and lives are led if that will in turn lead away from further bloodshed.

Yes, I agree that that seems the more sustainable way to go. You know you're up at Letters from a Tory, by the way?

North Northwester said...

Ivan. Dead man's switches are hand-held and operated - as far as I know - so that when the terrorist dies, his hand opens and boom.

It appears that the Met and its military advisers are aware of this and calculate that an empty-handed suspect:

A) has no such switch, but may instead have a simple trigger or detonator hidden about his person (as a precaution perhaps against being accidentally bumped into and dropping the dead man switch somewhere where there aren't enough victims and so spoiling the intended effect of mass carnage) - in which case the head shot and keep shooting till the head's gone policy that worked so well on Gibraltar would seem to be the right thing to do, or

B) may not be a terrorist at all, which doesn't improve the armed officer's dilemma one jot, but at least doesn't make it worse. In any case, a hidden dead man's switch is no more likely than the existence of a hidden trigger, and the possibility of either or both just adds to the fun.

It would be better to destroy and demoralize the jihadist cause in Afghanistan and Iran by other, more impressive means, and so bring despair and surrender to the jihadists here as governmental resolve did to the IRA.

Let's hope that, in that case, the bureaucrats don't give away the farm and invite the jihadists into the heart of government as they did in Northern Ireland.

North Northwester said...

James, you posted after my reply. Am I really on LFAT? I'll have to go and see, thanks.
What have you got planned for Sily Week's official start tomorrow, I wonder? Better check..


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