Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Telegraph Jumps The Shark

It's been a long time threatening, but today is the day The Telegraph finally went over to the dark side. Look at this story here. It's almost like a textbook example of how not to do journalism.

The Telegraph’s breathless revelation is that St Jean the Martyr was shot with hollow point rounds, a type of ammunition ‘banned in warfare under international convention’. Really – that’s what counts as logic at the Telegraph these days, claiming that something would have been illegal if it was used somewhere else.

Contrary to the crazed panting of the usual suspects(see here for an example), there’s absolutely nothing underhand about police officers using hollow point rounds (or, more likely, frangible rounds). The idea is that these rounds are designed to dump more of their kinetic energy in the first thing they hit. This has the dual advantage of decreasing the risk of overkill – a round that goes through the target and into the civilian behind – and ensuring that the target is taken out...

Maybe it’s that second bit that’s got them all batey, except - what’s their point ? Why would a police officer fire at someone he doesn’t want to kill ? Police officers are only permitted to open fire as a last resort – someone needs to be killed right now. There’s no question of shooting to wound – not only because it’s almost impossible, but also because in any situation that doesn’t require deadly force, the officer has no business firing.

Seems to me that this is the perfect microcosm of the whole War on Terror. Here we have a charge that doesn’t make any legal, technical or moral sense, yet these people have been screaming it from the rooftops. They don’t advocate any alternative course of action, in fact they can’t even say what they don’t like about current policy. It’s all just innuendo, ignorance and, most of all, loud, foot-stamping, tantrums.

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