Saturday, January 02, 2010
There are several disturbing things about this story.
An ax-wielding Somali man with suspected al-Qaida links was charged Saturday with two counts of attempted murder after breaking into the home of a Danish artist whose Prophet Muhammad cartoon outraged the Muslim world three years ago....
The suspect, described by authorities as a 28-year-old Somali with ties to al-Qaida, allegedly broke into the house late Friday armed with an ax and a knife. The house is in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, 125 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of Copenhagen....
Officers arrived two minutes later and tried to arrest the assailant. He threatened the officers with the ax, and one officer then shot him in the hand and knee, Preben Nielsen of the Aarhus police said.
Nielsen said the man's wounds were serious but not life-threatening.
Don't Danish cops know that you can't kill somebody by shooting them in the hand and knee? Goddamn.
And then there is this:
Westergaard, who has been the target of several death threats since depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban, has been under round-the-clock protection by Danish police since February 2008.
Really? Round-the-clock protection? Then how did an ax-wielding Somali get in to his house? Were the Danish cops reluctant to profile him?
But it gets worse:
When he heard someone trying to break into his home, he pressed an alarm and fled to a specially made safe room. His five-year-old granddaughter who was on a sleep-over, sat on a sofa and saw the suspect trying vainly to get into the bathroom-turned-shelter.
Westergaard fled in to the safe room without his five year-old grandaughter? If Westergaard's kid is forgiving, he's going to have to come up with a good story for the son or daughter-in-law. I'm guessing the grandaughter is not going on many more sleepovers at Grandpa Westergaard's house.
And, finally, in the category of no good deed going unpunished:
The Somali man had won an asylum case and received a residency permit to stay in Denmark, Scharf said.
So, let me get this straight: The ax-prone Islamist lunatic trying to destroy freedom of speech is in Denmark because he was being persecuted?
Don't Danish cops know that you can't kill somebody by shooting them in the hand and knee?
I guess round-the-clock has a different meaning in the age of digital, non-circular clocks, or maybe it means Westergaard just has a special hot line in addition to his safe room.
The Danish police must have different ROEs as compared to just about any police force in the U.S. When American police draw down and decide to discharge firearms, it is almost always shoot to kill, to the point of emptying the magazine. If they carry Tasers, that is the non-lethal force that is available.
I hope the Somali revenge freak would have spared the granddaughter. It would be hard for even the most deranged sheikh to sanction her killing. It is hard to understand why Westergaard went into the safe room without her, though.
Seems to me that given the fact that the police will certainly release the criminal, kneecapping him and crippling his hand with a gunshot will probably go a long way towards making him less dangerous to the public in the future.
Ah, a couple of points need to be addressed as the story is vague:
- We don't know if the hand and knee shots were deliberate or the officer missed center of mass.
- We also don't know if there was a sofa in the safe room and that was where the granddaughter was, _along_ with his grandfather.
- The earlier comment about American police ROE's shoot to kill is, at least in Michigan, not correct. Our current use of force continuum never states "shoot to kill". Officers are trained to shoot center of mass to stop the threat. You mileage may vary in other states.
Naturally, not one outlet that I've seen has shown the "offensive" cartoon. Seems like a major part of the story, no?
Everyone should make sure their own public library stocks "Muhammad: The Banned Images," published by Voltaire Press. I requested the book at the Princeton Public Library which, to its credit, immediately purchased the book.
Here's a link to the cartoon . Not exactly a Maplethorpe, is it?
The story in the STrib apparently has been updated since Tigerhawk linked to it -- it's now an AP story saying only that the granddaughter was in the house. The account by John Burns in today's NYT positions Westergaard as heroically shielding his granddaughter -- which sounds more likely than leaving the granddaughter behind while fleeing to the safe room.
While stationed in Europe (70s) I noticed some Euro cops carried the .32ACP (think Walther PP & PPK [James Bond]) which is an anemic round. I don't know if they've upgraded to 9mm or something a little heftier since.
I was just disappointed that they did not take the dude out.
I like hearing about dead jihadis as much as the next guy, but it's really difficult to interrogate a corpse.
When are the euros going to realize that a bunch of these 'refugees' are having a hard time in their home country because they're trouble?
Actually, you can kill someone with a shot to the knee or leg. If you open a big vein or artery they'll bleed out pretty quickly. That's why we're taught not to shoot at anything you don't want to be dead.
A shot to the hand is pretty useless as a fight-stopper. A shot to the knee will sort of work. But aren't Danish cops told to aim for center of mass like everybody else?
Jeff Cooper once wrote of one of the instructors at Gunsite being a guest of some Euro police department. He went through their 'shoot/don't shoot' training routime: terrorist with submachinegun pops out, he put two rounds upper chest. They stopped the scene and lectured him that in Europe "We don't do that, we aim for arms and legs."
I don't know if that idiocy is still in effect, or if the cops here just missed the important parts.
And it is idiocy: you shoot somebody in the arm or leg, they can still trigger a bomb with the working hand. Assuming that hand isn't holding a gun and killing you.
"Seems to me that given the fact that the police will certainly release the criminal, kneecapping him and crippling his hand with a gunshot will probably go a long way towards making him less dangerous to the public in the future."
Two to the body, one to the head would also have accomplished this with far more certainty, no?
I have to agree. Danish police really need some time at the firing range or some instruction in close quarter combat.
Why bother to question the Somali? What's he going to say that hasn't already been said.
From The London Times: "He did not have time to collect the child from the living room before locking himself into a “panic room”, a specially fortified bathroom. He said the assailant had shouted “swear words, really crude words” and shrieked about “blood” and “revenge”, as he smashed the axe in vain against the bathroom door.
“I feared for my grandchild,” he told Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that had commissioned the cartoon. “But she did great. I knew that he wouldn’t do anything to her.” He went on: “It was close, really close. But we did it.” "
If this is true what a shameful act it was for him to save his own skin and leave his 5 yr old grandaughter unprotected with an axe-wielding crazed muslim in the house.
Oh, c'mon. The chances of an unarmed 75-year-old being able to fight off a young, ax-wielding lunatic were near zero. Had Westergaard chosen to stand and fight, he'd almost certainly be dead, and the little girl traumatized for life by witnessing the brutal ax murder of her grandfather.
He guessed right that the terrorist would not want to harm the girl (and if he had wanted to do so, he could easily have turned to her after finishing off her grandpa). A horrible of a decision to have to make, but it was the right one.
There are plenty of things to second guess -- should Westergaard be armed at all times, so that he wouldn't have needed to retreat? Yes. Should the cops be closer than just a panic button? Yes again. But given the situation, he made the right call.
And to call a man who has put his life on the line in defense of free speech a coward is shameful.
"A shot to the hand is pretty useless as a fight-stopper. A shot to the knee will sort of work"
Speaking as something of an anatomist, if I ever have to use a firearm in close quarter self defense, it will be two shots to the head without regrets... but I think there are different concerns between police action and military action.
To "Coach Paul"
"Everyone should make sure their own public library stocks "Muhammad: The Banned Images," published by Voltaire Press. I requested the book at the Princeton Public Library which, to its credit, immediately purchased the book."
Thanks for the plug. If you send us your ground mail address, we will send you a book for free. You can do so through the book's website: www.muhammadimages.com. Click on "contact."
I'd think that capturing a terrorist alive would be something to be applauded. Ordinary homicidal criminals, blast away, but in this case the odds were clearly pretty strong that the axman was Islamist cannon-fodder, more useful to us waterboarded at leisure than shot dead in the street.
I'm also dismayed to see so many call Westergaard a coward. That he isn't: he could easily have disavowed his cartoon and apologized, but he has not. From what I've read, it sounds as if the break-in didn't leave him more than a few seconds to react (so much for his "fortified" house!), and I know very well that five-year-olds can make themselves quite hard to find, even in a small space.
The attacker probably worked himself into a berserker rage (a time honored tradition of Denmark) in his attempt to go after Westergaard.
The granddaughter would have been an adjunct target of the attacker after the grandfather was dead.