Police in London shot dead a man in connection with the attempted bombings there. According to witnesses, the man was shot five times after plain-clothes officers had pursued him as the suspect ran on to a subway train carriage. The man apparently slipped while entering the train.
"I saw them unload five shots into him — bang, bang, bang, bang, bang," passenger Mark Whitby, 47, said. "Five shots and he's dead. It was no more than five yards from me" (source: Reuters).
Police say the man failed to heed their calls to stop, and that he was connected to the investigation of the attempted bombings. Muslim groups say they are concerned that police have adopted a "shoot-to-kill" policy.
This leads to a brutal question: should police shoot to kill if the suspect is a terrorist linked to suicide bombings? I'm inclined to give police the benefit of the doubt. All a terrorist has to do is fall down and set himself off. If a suspect in such a case refuses to stop immediately, don't police have an obligation to kill the suspect?
Or is that going too far? Might innocent people be harmed?
Certainly, we've entered a troubling age post 9-11 and post 7-7. Terrorists have demonstrated a complete disregard for their own lives and the lives of others. They are so engaged in their religious jihad they have set aside every common decency. As regards their kind, governments will deal much more harshly than with common crime.
I am reminded that in Egypt, awful acts of terrorism were stymied in the 1990s after the government implemented extreme measures. (After the recent bombing in Egypt, will the government enact even harsher measures?) Frankly, since the 1972 massacre of Olympic athletes, the world is growing weary of terrorist acts. Perhaps it's time to really put our foot down.