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12/10/2005 Archived Entry: "Lila Rajiva on Alpizar"

The following article by Lila Rajiva from CounterPunch, Straighten Up and Fly Normal...Or Else: Shooting the Mentally Ill, is the clearest enunciation of my own evaluation of the shooting death of Alpizar by two air marshalls in the Miami International Airport. Rajiva raises several important questions:
The air marshals claim that Alpizar was acting aggressively even when he boarded. If so, why was he allowed to board and not just escorted away immediately?
They say he might have blown up the plane. If so, why did he run out of it?
They say he intended to blow up the terminal. I so, why did he board?
And why was he shot 4-6 times?
[Click 'more' to continue.]

Rajiva raises several compelling points, e.g. no one other than the air marshalls heard the mention of a bomb and we must take their word entirely...their careers (and, perhaps, criminal charges) hinge on Alpizar's mention of a bomb. Moreover, Rajiva puts the incident in the context of the increasing militarization of civilian functions, such as travel; the militarization of everything from planes to subways etc. is almost certain to promote excessive force and inappropriately violent repression. She raises a good point and one I'd not expressed to myself in those terms before.

I have additional questions of the shooting. The air marshall said they did not 'interfere' with Alpizar on the airplane even though he was acting oddly, aggressively because they did not want to blow their cover. Thus, neither of them spoke with him, questioned him, attempted to isolate him, or addressed the situation in any manner that would control it. (Of course, one wonders why they are there at all if they do not control possible aggression before the point of having to kill someone to death...but I digress) If the air marshalls wanted to keep an undercover presence, then what explains the passenger pilot who was reassuring other passengers about the air marshalls' presence by pointing them out? Clearly their cover was blown already. Moreover, why couldn't just one of them question Alpizar with the other one continuing to blend in...or ostensibly so. (It is difficult to say he was blending when he was being pointed out as an air marshall by other passengers.) Moreover, air marshalls are supposed to be the best trained, elite force in home security. They shoot someone up to six times in a confined area as their first resort?

I could go on and on. The account simply makes no sense. Buteveryone involved in what I believe to be a cold-blooded act of murder will almost certainly be exonerated. At this point, home security could blow up a school bus, killing all children aboard, and the White House would back up the act as being "by the book."

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