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More urban chaos – London police kill man at the Underground

Was he or wasn’t he a terrorist? An earlier report referred to this man as “a would-be suicide bomber .” This AP report below seems to blunt any sort of description.

If he wasn’t a bomber, then you know the threshold has been crossed when you have to start worrying about public safety on both sides — the terrorists and the nervous, trigger-happy police — an urban nightmare.

Police shot and killed a man wearing a thick coat at a London subway station Friday, a day after the city was hit by its second wave of terrorist attacks in two weeks. The man died after being shot by officers at the Stockwell subway station in south London, police said.

Passengers said a man, described as South Asian, ran onto a train at Stockwell station in south London. Witnesses said police chased him, he tripped, and police then shot him. “They pushed him onto the floor and unloaded five shots into him. He’s dead,” witness Mark Whitby told the British Broadcasting Corp. “He looked like a cornered fox. He looked petrified.”

Whitby said the man didn’t appear to have been carrying anything but said he was wearing a thick coat that looked padded. Alistair Drummond, of the London Ambulance Service, said paramedics had been called to the station at 10:10 a.m.

Service on the Northern and Victoria Tube lines, which pass through Stockwell, was suspended because of the shooting, British Transport Police said. Stockwell is one station away from the Oval station, which was affected by Thursday’s attacks.

Meanwhile, NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg rolls out the new bag search policy on the Big Apple’s subway system. As I pointed out yesterday, this is a feel-good measure. The searches are going to be “random”. You know what that means, even despite the “no racial profiling” statement. Like they are going to admit to it? Even more ridiculous is the claim that it will be a check of every certain number of passengers. How is that going to be effective if you check person #5’s bag and person #7 has the bomb? Come on, what a f*cking mess.

“We just live in a world where, sadly, these kinds of security measures are necessary,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in announcing the new police searches of subway passengers’ backpacks and packages.

“Are they intrusive? Yes, a little bit. But we are trying to find that right balance,” he said.

Similar random searches will be conducted by Metropolitan Transportation Authority police on suburban commuter trains.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said passengers would ideally be searched before they pass through the subway turnstiles, although they could also be checked once inside the system. “It might slow individuals down, but we will do it in a reasonable way,” said Kelly, vowing that police would search “every certain number of people” and not engage in racial profiling.

The commissioner said the new policy, effective immediately, would last “as long as necessary” and asked the public to help by avoiding bringing backpacks or bulky packages onto subway trains.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding