Deadly Hesitation

I wish I’d had a gun, not a camera.

The gunmen were terrifyingly professional, making sure at least one of them was able to fire their rifle while the other reloaded. By the time he managed to capture the killer on camera, Mr D’Souza had already seen two gunmen calmly stroll across the station concourse shooting both civilians and policemen, many of whom, he said, were armed but did not fire back. “I first saw the gunmen outside the station,” Mr D’Souza said. “With their rucksacks and Western clothes they looked like backpackers, not terrorists, but they were very heavily armed and clearly knew how to use their rifles.

“Towards the station entrance, there are a number of bookshops and one of the bookstore owners was trying to close his shop,” he recalled. “The gunmen opened fire and the shopkeeper fell down.”

But what angered Mr D’Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. “There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything,” he said. “At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.”

One police officer, one armed citizen who was willing to step up and fight back would have made a difference in Mumbai. That nobody did step up until it was already too late meant that at least 195 people died in Mumbai in the past few days. The Mumbai police need some very, very extensive retraining. Because this is not going to get any better in the short run.

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7 Responses to Deadly Hesitation

  1. Foxfier says:

    *gut drops*

    Oh dear Lord….

  2. John in Dublin California says:

    While I have the deepest sympathy for the Indian people and all those who lost loved ones in Mumbai, I was constantly amazed at how inept the Indian forces seemed to be. Perhaps it was the coverage, perhaps the perspective, but they looked to me like Keystone Kops.

    I’ve believed for a long time that India, not China, would become the dominent Asian economic power. Now I have to revisit that idea. The apparent, and I hope I’m viewing this incorrectly, incompetence of the Indian government startled me.

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  4. Just sickening. Those cowards should be cashiered in disgrace.

  5. Gaius says:

    It may have been bad training or the culture itself, Anthony. If they were trained only to shoot on orders and nobody was there to tell them to shoot, this would be the result. It may also be part of a cultural thing not to take life. If the former, they can be retrained. If the latter, it will take some serious effort to fix the problem. Pacifism only works if everyone else is equally passive. Obvoiusly, these killers were not worried about taking lives or worried about the cultural high ground, so to speak.

  6. With my initial disgust past, Gaius, I lean more toward training. I remember reading a Marine DI’s comments that one purpose of training was to get recruits to act on instinct, so they wouldn’t have time to think, since stopping to think could lead to that “deadly hesitation” you talked about.

  7. MizDi / HMIL says:

    something in my gut tells me that some of them may have been sympathizers. But maybe I’m just paranoid.

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