Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Innocent, but not entirely so


Well, at least that is an honest statement.

Yes, Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by mistake – but in the heat of the chase it was an honest mistake. No consolation to his family, of course, and personally I think it’s a shame that the real terrorists hadn’t been found and shot dead instead of him. In any case, there was this backpacked man, who ran when he saw the cops, who didn’t stop when he was ordered to - so what were the police to assume at that point? They didn’t shoot him for fun, they certainly didn’t shoot anybody else just for “looking like a terrorist”, did they? They shot him because he ran when he caught sight of them and didnt stop running, exactly what a guilty person would do. Had he actually been a terrorist, had he actually had a bomb in that backpack and killed dozens or even hundreds more people, the police would have been excoriated for letting a potential terrorist escape when they could have stopped him.

And for all that Jean Charles de Menezes was innocent of terrorism or plots to murder the innocent, he wasn’t quite the blame-free little angel. The man was in the UK illegally, having overstayed his visit. His visa was no longer valid. THAT was why he ran when he saw the police… most unfortunately for him, as it turned out. If he had stopped, he would not have been shot. He ran because he was afraid of being caught out as an overstayer. He wouldn’t have died if he hadn’t run, and he wouldn’t have needed to run if he hadn't been there in the first place - that is to say, if he had gone back to Brazil as he should have, when his visa expired.

Death is rather too steep a price to pay for being in the UK illegally, that’s for sure, and I am definitely sorry for him and his family. But isn’t it true to say that if Jean Charles de Menezes had been a law-abiding person and returned to Brazil as stipulated, he would most likely be alive today?

And how come nobody seems to have mentioned that little point in the reams of newsprint and air-time that has been given to his case and to his family?


Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Maybe because honest and fab writers like you are not workng for these newspapers anymore?

shyam said...

Teesu: Are you out to embarrass me? in PUBLIC???? whyyyyyy?

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

A compliment is a compliment.