Targeted Killings: What impact will this have on US use-of-force policies.

The killing of Osama Bin Laden underlies the correct use of force against what might be known as a “ticking bomb”. There is no question in anyone’s mind that the perpetrators of 9/11 are guilty of one of the most heinous crimes against humanity, the indiscriminate slaying of 3000 Americans with no provocation other than their own twisted interpretations of Islamic Law. There is even less question that he was planning further attacks, and in fact it has been noted in the Press that attacks against the Railway system were imminent as a kind of celebratory 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attack. Thankfully, Bin Laden’s last thoughts were of the Seal that pulled the trigger.

However, there is still – unbelievably – some large questions in use of force policies amongst our Law Enforcement. In particular, and taking just one State as an example, the State of California has the following general statement of policy: Deadly force is allowed only when an employee must defend himself or others from great bodily injury. According to the California Code of Regulations, great bodily harm is defined as an injury that can result in death. Deadly force can also be used to prevent escape of a criminal, to stop riots or arson, or to dispose of a dangerous animal. A firearm is prohibited from being discharged if there is a possibility that someone other than the target will be harmed. In institutional facilities, a correctional employee may fire a warning, but only if that specific facility allows the use of deadly force.

How does that definition leave a US law enforcement officer, approaching an apartment where say, Anwar Al Awaki is staying – knowing full well that the American born Muslim, now thought to be in Yemen, is actually holding a gun. He has clearly been implicated in the deaths of many people at Ft.Hood and other instance of Jihadi violence in the USA as the instigator and inspirer of the deed. He is known to be about to incite other attacks and he is well armed. What should the law enforcement officer do? In a climate where college professors of law, elevated to positions of power, suggest that terrorists apprehended in the field should be Mirandized , before they push the detonator on their suicide vest, but hopefully not afterwards, it is a valid concern for all law enforcement officers.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding with Bin Laden. After Bin Laden, there should be a policy concerning targeted killings to enable our law enforcement officers to protect us from “great bodily injury”, the kind that Radical Islam is so fond of imposing. We need the change and we need it now BEFORE a brave officer is killed by one of these fanatics because he saw fit to conduct a policy of restrained use of force dictated by some skewed idea of political correctness.


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