Mailvox: spelling out the differences

Cedarford equates two scenarios:

If the killing of a Brazilian who by every objective measure and standing rules of engaging a dangerous subject refusing obey public safety commands to freeze was murder…So too, I guess, every US soldier is a murderer because they will waste any car that fails to obey commands to stop at a checkpoint. I am not ready to label American troops doing their duty murderers, VD. Are you?

And MikeT agrees:

Seriously Vox, since you think that the London PD was simply not justified at all here, do you consider the American soldiers who destroy Iraqi vehicles that speed at check points murderers? If you don’t, then there is simply no logical reason that you can argue that the London PD committed murder of any kind here.

However, the two situations are completely different:

1. Iraq is an occupied war zone. London is not.
2. A Tube turnstile is not a military checkpoint.
3. Firing from a distance at a car that is ignoring clearly posted directions and might contain a car bomb coming towards you is very different than firing five shots at very close range at a man who ignored shouted orders and is running away from you.
4. Police in plain clothes are not uniformed military servicemen. The Geneva Conventions make it clear that soldiers are not expected to recognize combatants out of uniform, much less foreign civilians.
5. Shooting a helpless and unarmed man is considered murder even in wartime.
6. The lethal act of the London policeman could easily have made things worse had his victim been a suicide bomber. The policeman had no way of knowing if the bomber was rigged with a dead-man switch, in which case killing him would have set it off in the middle of a bunch of a crowd.

It is remotely possible that the London killing might have been justified. But this is unlikely, and in any event, any such justification cannot reasonably be made with the information available to most of us here on this blog.