‘Preventive violence’

Had he been asked, he might have declared himself in favor of the state exercising «preventive violence» in order to curb the phenomenon of indiscriminate terrorism which is at risk of becoming part of the daily reality in London and the capitals of many other ostensibly «guilty» countries. But the young Brazilian electrician shot dead by police outside London’s Stockwell Underground station earlier this month did not have a chance to be asked the question. He was killed, with eight bullets to the head, because he was regarded as «suspicious» for wearing heavy clothes in hot weather and for running away after being told to stop by armed police. It is hard to say whether one would have stopped or fled in the same situation as an immigrant in a foreign country. In any case, the 27-year-old Brazilian did not stop – and this decision, made in a split second, cost him his life. Perhaps this young man believed that, in democracies, one is innocent until proven guilty. How could he have known that this fundamental principle has changed, that today one is guilty until proven innocent – unless, of course, one is shot dead before the authorities have the chance to determine either. The most hair-raising aspect of the entire affair is that, after apologizing for killing an innocent man, the British police went on to say that they would continue to carry out their «shoot to kill» policy should a similar situation arise…

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