12.08.2005

there's something happening here

What was this?
Air Marshals Shoot and Kill Passenger in Bomb Threat

MIAMI, Dec. 7 - Federal air marshals shot and killed a passenger at Miami International Airport on Wednesday after the man claimed he had a bomb in his backpack and ran from an aircraft, officials said.

The incident - the first case of an air marshal opening fire since marshals became a common presence on flights after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 - prompted dozens of heavily armed police officers to surround the plane.

Luggage from the flight was laid out on the runway, and at least two bags were exploded by a bomb squad.

But the man, Rigoberto Alpizar, an American citizen from Maitland, Fla., was found to have no bomb. One passenger on the flight told a local television station that Mr. Alpizar's wife had tried to follow her husband as he ran off the plane, saying he was mentally ill and had not taken his medication. [emphasis mine]

Law enforcement officials refused to answer questions about Mr. Alpizar's mental state or his wife. [New York Times story here.]
This is deeply disturbing. I haven't read any bloggers about it yet, I just wanted to post it as soon as I heard.

Any difference between this and the Brazilian man who was killed by "police" in the London metro in July, or the four gentle souls who will be executed by their captors in Iraq?

Why should this happen?

11 comments:

James said...

There is a slight difference between this case and the British case -- the victim in question here actually did make a threat. That dosen't excuse anything, but in the Brit's case, there wasn't even a fake threat against the police.

As for the hostages in Iraq -- their captors set out planning to find innocent victims. The same is not true of either the British police or the US air marshals.

One side point:

The incident - the first case of an air marshal opening fire since marshals became a common presence on flights after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001

It's actually the frist case since long before Sept. 11, 2001. No air marshals short anyone on that day, either. As a date, Sept. 11, 2001 is irrelevant to the story, but apparently they had to work it in, presumably to help evoke sympathy for the air marshals.

Speaking of terrorists, Jose Padilla, the "dirty bomb" terrorist who has spent three years in prison without legal representation, was charged a week or two ago. But none of the charges had anything to do with making dirty bombs -- the justification behind denying him access to a lawyer.

hemlock said...

I was truly shocked to hear about this yesterday. What ever happened to taking someone down with a shot rather than taking them out??

We've certainly entered a new realm here.

L-girl said...

There is a slight difference between this case and the British case -- the victim in question here actually did make a threat. That dosen't excuse anything, but in the Brit's case, there wasn't even a fake threat against the police.

A technicality, if you ask me. Results are the same. Innocent people being murdered in "the war on terror".

As for the hostages in Iraq -- their captors set out planning to find innocent victims. The same is not true of either the British police or the US air marshals.

Well, I would say we don't know that. The British police tracked their victim for a long time, following him on a bus for miles. They were out to get him, for some reason that we don't know. And we don't know anything about the Miami incident yet, and may never.

I know you're not excusing these actions. But to some extent, the specifics of every situation is going to be different, yet they all have something in common.

In all honesty, I included the hostages in Iraq because (a) I feel deep sympathy for them, (b) they are also innocent victims and (c) I anticipated my sympathy for the Miami victim being met with hostility from wingnuts who feel this violence is necessary, because of the hostages in Iraq. I've already heard from one.

What ever happened to taking someone down with a shot rather than taking them out??

Yes, exactly. Why is on-the-spot execution acceptable???

I am 44 years old, like the victim.

I have a relative who is mentally ill.

This could have been anybody.

orc said...

Yes, exactly. Why is on-the-spot execution acceptable???

Because the United States is converting itself into a banana republic, where it's okay for the secret police to gun you down.

And that's perfectly OK with a majority of the United States. [sfx: collapses into a frothing heap]

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

-- the victim in question here actually did make a threat. That dosen't excuse anything, but in the Brit's case, there wasn't even a fake threat against the police.

Or maybe he didn't. All we have is the word of the guy who shot him that the "b" word was mentioned. Remember how the Brits weasled around the truth as well until it turned out to be a blatant lie.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

The above link came from the LRC blog, after one poster asked:

"I've heard the news report that the man who was shot at the Miami airport yesterday by a federal air marshal said "I have a bomb." After doing a little searching around I've been unable to learn whether this was verified by any passengers or crew. We know the federal marshal who shot the man said it. But my suspicions were immediately aroused by remembering how the British government lied about the man they murdered in cold blood in the London subway not too long ago. If anyone has found an article that documents the passengers backing up the federal marshal a link would be useful."

L-girl said...

Good point. Thanks for the link, Kyle.

Rebecca said...

What really struck me about this story, as reported by the NYT, was that they "refused to answer questions about [the victim's] mental state or his wife" and that instead, the spokesman made haste to reassure the public that "There is no reason to believe right now that there is any nexus to terrorism, or indeed that any other events are associated with this one." In other words, "Don't worry, people! There's no terrorist threat here at all!" Well, yeah, that's the PROBLEM, you moron -- if there's no terrorist threat involved, don't go around shooting people!

L-girl said...

Well, yeah, that's the PROBLEM, you moron -- if there's no terrorist threat involved, don't go around shooting people!

Exactly. If you could prove someone was about to blow up a plane, then the shooting is a necessary evil. But shooting someone and then declaring he was no threat???

This is so upsetting. I know I'm just repeating myself all day, but I can't stop thinking about it.

nataleo said...

On a bit of a side note...does anyone know the rationale for blowing up his luggage?

L-girl said...

Making it look good - covering their asses?

Seriously, I haven't heard. It's a good question, I'm going to check around.