A coroner’s jury has decided Mark Saunders was lawfully killed. It was a majority verdict, so someone thought the killing was unlawful. I have not seen a decent outcome from any case involving police shootings. This is no exception. The questions for me are these:
1. An alcoholic depressive had a shotgun. Why had no one stopped his access, including family members?
2. How many victims of antisocial crime networks, or on the streets police have abandoned, got unsatisfactory responses from police whilst this mega-officered tragedy played out?
3. 59 armed officers were deployed, but couldn’t get a woman with a baby out from next door and left her in a lot of fear. Even in ‘over-kill’ there is a failing of victim here. Is this recognised?
4. Why are we so concerned about anyone levelling a shotgun in the direction of others?
5. The trained negotiators sounded like heartless cretins. Why was this?
6. I think it would be a good idea to let relatives talk to people like this, and used to do it. I haver no idea what the ‘expert’ advice is on this is, but find it very difficult to accept a jury should be making comment about it as though they are. We used to ‘talk down’ people like this, but then we had to as armed response was negligible. I would rather have shot some of the clowns dealt with than gone through the trauma of facing them down – trauma that persists into the present from many years ago. We should be asking ourselves whether we would allow a gun to be levelled at us without firing, not forever expecting cops to hope the other guy won’t shoot. I only didn’t shoot because more likely than not I wasn’t armed. I do no believe it would be better to go back to putting the risk into the copper’s court. Some of the softly, softly comment I’ve heard is just the upper class treating cops as expendable.
7. Armed response is still, somehow, too gung-ho and OTT. This said, it’s still better than sending unarmed cops, or even having the majority of our response cops fearing they may be sent to such situations without back-up. Anyone want to volunteer to to first on at ‘drunken man with shotgun’ calls?
8. When are we going to get some genuine responses from senior cops that don’t make our flesh crawl? The female hair-greaser commander turned out on this one was dreadful, possibly an evidencer of enlightened Met diversity quotas.
9. Was so much fuss made over this case because there was nothing to hide?
10. Should we spend any time talking to these clowns? Maybe the ‘answer’ is just to shoot them once they’ve been asked to put the gun down, or before if the question can’t be asked safely and for this to be known to be our policy?
11. The deaths and bullying of ordinary, often disabled folk, and police-CJS total failure to protect victims across our society is much more important than the death of a shotgun toting, pissed lawyer. I’d have shot him, though had I found him in the street unarmed in this condition I would have tried to get him home to care rather than nicked him – though this latter tolerance wouldn’t look good if the next call was ‘armed drunk at that place you just left’!
12. Our enfeebled fourth estate is chasing the wrong stories and is almost no help in getting the changes needed.