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Friday, July 29, 2005


"Ici c'est bon de tuer de temps en temps un emigre, pour encourager les autres"

The good news is that it seems all of the sad excuses for hominids behind last Thursday's damb squibs have been caught.

The bad news is that before they got around to actual terrorists, London police whacked a perfectly harmless wetback.

"Stupidity", Robert Heinlein observed, "is the only universal capital crime". Running from armed police officers who identify themselves as such, and moreover running into a subway station the day after several of them have been bombed (and by someone who lived in your house)... this may not be stupidity, exactly, but I'd hate to live on the difference.

(I know. I know. He was Brazilian; in Brazil the police have "the IQ of a mango and the integrity of a daffodil". And he was worried about being deported - and contrary to some beliefs, the UK government has occasionally been known to stir out of its habitual torpor and deport the odd illegal alien; one friend of mine outstayed his welcome from this island of lost souls and was deported- two, if you count a Kiwi who got a very nasty letter from The Home Office saying, in effect, "Make my day, punk". Still. Better in Brazil than dead; better in Brazil than in Britain, perhaps; Brazil is no place to be middle-class and aspiring, but nowadays Britain is hardly better).

As for the cops who shot him, I have two observations:

1. If they thought this man looked like a member of an Al-Qaeda affiliate, then I fully expect them descend on next year's Wimbledon tennis tournament and arrest the Williams sisters for membership in the Aryan Nation.

(Maybe they were just trying not to profile anyone? And the next time there is a rape committed in London they will pull in a bunch of women as suspects? I mean, it wouldn't do to confine the investigation to people who are actually likely to have committed the crime; that would be profiling).

2. Having shot the wrong guy, couldn't they at least have planted some kind of excuse on him? I mean, don't these people watch The Shield?

(I mean, say they planted some drugs on him. Nobody cares what happens to drug dealers. Over in Thailand, the Bangkok police have been quietly offing meth vendors for the last two years and aside from the occasional hand-wringing op-ed piece in the Financial Times and some more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger footage from the travel channel, there's been nary a squeak in protest. Or suppose they planted a gun on him: this is Britain, the land of the hoplophobe; most people in these parts seem to believe that carrying a firearm through the streets is a worse crime than abusing a child - that's certainly the message that judges send out when they hand down sentences for felonies).

They didn't, though, which suggests that for all their trigger-happy ways, the London police remain closer to Dixon of Dock Green than Mackey of Farmington.

It is my fervent hope that the twisted medievalism of Al-Qaeda and its asshole buddies can be overcome by "Dixon" methods rather than "Mackey" methods. We'll see. Meanwhile, I shall raise a caipirinha to the memory of Jean Charles Menezes, who died in the War on Terror and is with the angels.

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