Last Tuesday, Kathryn Johnston, a ninety-two year old grandmother was gunned down by plain clothes narcotics officers in her own home. The case created headlines around the globe, highlighting the brutal tactics employed by US law enforcement in its long-running, yet vain attempts to win the “War on Drugs”.
Yesterday, Sean Bell was shot dead by police as he was leaving a New York nightclub where he and friends had been holding a stag-party. Sean was to have been married later that day.
According to police, the club was under surveillance “due to a long history of drug dealing, prostitution, and weaponry complaints….”. There was no evidence Sean Bell and his friends were involved in any of those matters. Indeed, the police had no reason to believe they were. It didn’t stop them firing over fifty rounds at their vehicle as they drove away.
The police excused their actions saying the group had an altercation with another man outside the club and they “feared a gun may be produced”. As Bell and Co began to drive away their car hit an unmarked police vehicle. It was then the police opened fire, killing Bell and seriously wounding two other men in the car. One of the injured men sustained eleven gunshot wounds and is in a critical condition.
Does any crime, other than perhaps murder, justify such legal butchery? Is America, beneath its thin veneer of civilization, still living by the law of the gun as it was in the days portrayed by such ultra-machismo characters as Wayne, Widmark and Cooper, when Hollywood perpetrated the myth that the only good outlaw was a dead outlaw?
Sean Bell wasn’t even an outlaw. Other than careless driving there seems little the police could have charged him with. His only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He was just another innocent victim of overzealous, cold-blooded, legalized terminators who consider even the possibility of illegal drug possession sufficient cause to gun someone down.
Another sad news item flashing around the globe, reinforcing the outside world’s opinion of life in America.
Filed under: War on drugs