Jul 23, 2005

The Aftermath of the London Shooting

Ends up that the shooting victim was actually Brazilian, and not South Asian, as was widely reported in the coverage immediately after the take-down/shoot-down. London police took the plain-clothes approach that has cost lives in New York City and elsewhere, just as it, I'm sure, also thwarts would-be felons and worse. They showed that they aren't afraid to use extreme force to stop enemies of the people, the state, or the British way of life.

But what's going to happen next? Will it be treated as another case of "collateral damage" in the War Against Terror? Or will it be viewed as crossing the line in a city where the history of violent attacks and the lines of privacy and rights are clearly different from in the United States?

It is such a public attack and killing, and there were many witnesses. I wonder if the case of mistaken identity, if that indeed is what it was, will cause more or less of an outcry from the general public in the UK? For instance, will this create the polarizing debate of "good immigrant", in this case, English speaker from Brazil, vs. "bad immigrant" - the South Asian masses, breeding extremism and fanaticism in their neighborhoods cordoned off from the rest of London? Will the public speak out against the new tactics taken by the law enforcement agencies in the nation, or will they think, well done - what if that were really someone trying to blow-up the tube?

I'm writing without enough context about the way that conventional wisdom, and unrest, work in the United Kingdom. I don't even know if I can fully place the way that they work in the United States anymore, the cold blank stares of Americans who are not affected by the countless incidents and tragedies that are fodder for the small minority who pay attention to these things. The automatic response, sometimes repeated verbatim from an invisible teleprompter linked to the top list of the President's favorite catch phrases about "resolve" and "freedom" and "not letting the terrorists win."

But who knows if that's what the response will be in Britain. I don't expect an outpouring of sympathy, the nation still reeling from what could have been another tragic catastrophe on 7/21, save for the full-on explosions that never came. I don't know if one mistaken casualty will be grieved. We will have to see.

Previous post: 1

No comments: