Judicially Executed Karma

It’s reasonably well known that when an incident is viewed by a half dozen people, those people  will provide half a dozen different accounts of what happened. There are lots of different factors that cause conflicts between eyewitness testimonies. Seeing the incident from different angles and distances are the obvious ones. But perception and bias are also at play. I recently had a conversation on Facebook with a couple of people after posting a video. Watch the video first, before reading on. Although, beware….

This video contains footage of someone being shot in a robbery. There are no close ups, no blood, no gore. It did not, as I understand it, result in a fatality. But watch at your own discretion.

I added a small comment when posting the video to Facebook. Karma was the key piece of vocabulary. Some comments referred to in, in essence, as an execution. I imagine they assumed he was killed, although the news article containing it suggests the two wounds were in the gut and leg and neither was fatal. I can’t confirm this. I offered comments supporting the policeman. If the local constabulary can’t intervene in a crime, what’s the point of having a police force in the first place. Opposing that view were comments pointing out the unruly and trigger happy attitude of many police officers, and the fact that robbery, even armed robbery, aren’t usually capital offences. Good points.

I’ve given their comments some thought. I still stand by my opinion. You see, I view this from the point of view of a Brit. I automatically make a couple of assumptions when police shoot a criminal. Firstly, that the criminal would have been given a firm verbal warning. Secondly, that the criminal would be shot only if he presented a danger to either the officers or the public. In other words, that he went for his gun. On that basis, the criminal deserved everything he got.

I believe that those assumptions probably weren’t shared by those offering a different point of view. Maybe they’ll comment here and let me know! I wouldn’t blame them. Police officers elsewhere in the world tend to behave very differently from British police officers. Which of us are right? There’s no knowing. The video doesn’t show us whether or not a warning was provided, not whether the thief went for his gun. So we fill in the gaps, perhaps unconsciously. For the record, if there was no warning, then I’d switch sides in this argument. But either way, I’ve got no sympathy for the bike thief. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Karma. How did you view the video?

We often see things through our own bias. Did you watch Breaking Bad? If not, you’re a lucky fellow/lass. You’ve got five seasons of the most wonderful television still to watch. You’ve possibly seen plenty of people gushing about the show. I rank it, without hesitation, as the finest made for TV drama ever. You don’t think much of my opinion, generally speaking? Well listen to the great Anthony Hopkins then. Read his letter to the star of Breaking Bad by clicking here. Brian Cranston plays Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who turns into a drug manufacturer, murderer, child poisoner, general bad guy. And you can’t help but empathise with him, relate to him and cheer for him from the first episode to the last. Nicest mass murderer you’ll ever meet…

4 Comments

  • A quick search in google news reveals that the thief has left the hospital and is now under custody, awaiting trial. Apparently, the police officer has been decorated for his actions. Brazilian police claim that the assailant actually aimed at the officer after he identified as a law enforcement agent. I have no idea if they concluded this from the video or from witnesses’ accounts. If this was actually the case–that is, if non-lethal force was used and the officer’s life was actually in danger–then I’m definitely on your side of the argument.

  • I would suspect that the rider was wearing a camera on his helmet. When the hold up occurs we see the video turned upside down and then placed upright again. This is how one would see it if the rider remembered to place it upright after removing the helmet following the attempt. It is possible that it was a sting. As regards Karma, I suppose if you live by the gun you will die by the gun, it is not very forgiving and severe damage occurs in close proximity. I’d say he deserved what he got. As you say in England things are done differently, very few people are shot in robberies there and police are unarmed anyway other than a truncheon. Many years ago I was riding through France on my motorcycle, I was pulled over for some small infraction after negotiating a roundabout, as I was pulling over another motorcyclist shot past at speed and one of the armed Gendarmes fired at him with his machine pistol. It was unexpected and a surprise but did he get what he deserved? I don’t know! 🙂

  • It also means that the next would be armed robber won’t be him. He will be out of action for a while, methinks.

    The video is not particularly graphic. But, as someone who’s had the misfortune to find themselves looking down the business end of a gun during a robbery, it resonates. That incident no doubt adds to my bias. I’d have been perfectly happy if someone had come along and shot down the *$%*?%* who took off with my stuff. Delighted, in fact.

  • Well, I think the motorbike thief had it coming to him. It also doesn’t look like the cop was well-prepared for a shootout either, since he had neither helmet nor bullet-proof vest. I’d guess that little scenario took place in Brazil, a place known for violence, rather different than the UK. Obviously the cop shouldn’t have shot to kill, but merely to disable. And based on what you wrote, it seems like that’s what happened.

    There are loads of things the police are doing that they shouldn’t be. But I’m 100% on their side if they shoot the perpetrator of an armed robbery that they personally witnessed.

    And it’ll make the next would-be armed robber think twice, another good outcome.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where overall we think that’s a pretty horrifying video on many levels.

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