Saturday, July 21, 2001

What has happened and is happening in Genoa, btw, leaves me speechless.

I am no fan of these kinds of protests, really and find the whole thing behind these kinds of protests - protest against whatever you want to protest against - childish and ridiculous. I do understand and support some of the causes that the peaceful protesters want to shed some light on (debt relief for the third world and all), but really: violence is NEVER a way to bring you point across. Never ever.

So while I do not agree with the protests and the violence that accompanied them at all, the death of 23 year old Carlo Guiliani makes me incredible angry.

CNN on the matter:

"The Italian Ministry said Giuliani was shot twice in the head in an act of self defence. It promised to release results of an investigation into the killing on Monday.
The policeman who shot Guiliani has been charged with homicide. The charge is a preliminary measure under Italian law that will allow prosecutors to investigate and establish the intent of the shooting, Vinci reported.
"This is not a murder charge against the policeman, who police say shot the protester in self defence," he said.

So I happen to know some criminal law (which is very similar all over continental Europe). And I've seen this photo here, that shows Guiliani before he was shot (photo via nonharmful).

So let me share some thoughts here:

Self-defense is the defense that is needed to counter the unlawful attack against yourself or someone else.
From what it looks like, what Giuliani did was an unlawful attack (for there were no reasons for justification of his attack of the police car with a fire extinguisher), so self-defense against that attack with the fire extinguisher was okay.
The action of self-defense (what the police man did), however, needs to be necessary, imperative and knowingly in self-defense. It can only be against the attacker. The action of self-defense also has to be suitable to counter the attack. All self-sefense that can put an end to the attack is suitable.
The real question here is: was the action of self-defense in the form that it took place necessary?

In theory, you can use any thing you have at hand to counter an attack that you suddenly face. One does not have to take a possibly less effective method (i.e. when I have a knife and my hands, I can use the knife). However, even when I have a gun at hand - just like the policeman had, I can still choose between several options: I can decide: Where do I shoot?

In German law, a shot warning shot, followed by a shot in the feet or other extremities is *always* regarded as effective to counter an attack. The shot in the head of an attacker should be the final resort, if all else has failed. It should be ultima ratio.

When I now look at that situation, the protestor with the the fire extinguisher, and the policeman with the gun in the armoured vehicle, I just do not see that the policeman used an action of defense that was the least intrusive.

Two shots in the head.

Why didn't the police maze him? Or if the policeman had to shoot, why not shoot into the legs or arms? Why the head? Twice?

Looks like over-reaction to me. And not like self-defense. At all.