Last night, London police chased an Asian man (which in the UK usually means South Asian) onto a tube train and shot him dead. They had been following him for some time as a terrorist suspect, and when they confronted him, he ran. The worry, expressed by the British Muslim Council, is that the British police will now shoot to kill whenever an Asian, or an Asian terrorist suspect, refuses to halt for a police search, for whatever reason. One witness did describe the victim as wearing a “bomb belt with wires coming out,” and after the second set of blasts in two weeks, the police have very little choice but to react as if they are under attack. But it’s still frightening.
Meanwhile, my subway conductor this morning announced that beginning today, bags will be subject to search, and never mind about that pesky Fourth Amendment (“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”). I suppose the question is what constitutes “unreasonable.” But what I fear is that people carrying things they shouldn’t be — a bag of pot or coke, say, or large sums of cash — will panic and run and wind up full of bullets on the subway floor.