Progressive politics, ideas & culture


“Shoot to kill” makes no sense

This Magazine Staff

Britain does not have the death penalty. So say you were to walk onto a subway, drop off a backpack full of explosives, and subsequently kill a few dozen people. If they managed to catch you later, and were able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law (where you would have a team of lawyers defending you) that you did indeed perpetrate the atrocity, the best they could do is jail you for life.
But Britain does now have a “shoot to kill” policy that has already claimed one innocent victim. According to this protocol, if a policeman merely suspects that you are about to commit an atrocity of the sort described above, he can pump eight bullets into your brain right there on the street.
So to summarise: In Britain, it is now legal for a lone policeman to execute someone whom he believes is about to commit mass murder (no judges, no warrants, no lawyers), while it is illegal for the state to execute you after they have indeed proven that you did commit mass murder.
So to summarise even more: you can be killed for something they think you are about to do, but once you’ve done it, they can only put you in jail.
Does anyone else find this weird?

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