Dressed To Kill

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man with curly black hair and olive complexion set out on his early
morning run in the downtown section of a major metropolitan area.
Uncertain of the fall weather, he dresses in layers, the last of
which is a billowy parka. In a pack strapped to his waist is a music-playing
device, with wires running from his pack to earpieces tucked almost
invisibly into his ears.

the end of his run he is breathing heavily, his face dripping with
sweat. As the music continues to play loudly in his ears, he is
singing along with it. Remembering that there is a coffee shop in
the nearby transit station, he turns to jog up the stairs into the
station, passing police officers on the way. Before entering the
shop, the man, slows to a cool-down walk, pacing back and forth
to slow his breathing. He continues to listen to the music and repeat
the lyrics to himself.

later, a crowd gathers, as the man lays dead on the pavement, the
victim of a single gunshot wound to the head, music still playing
into his now blood-filled ears. What happened?

to USA 2005. No, this is not a new video game. The International
Association of Chiefs of Police, following a week of schooling in
Israel, decided that they liked what they saw and heard enough to
recommend its adoption on America’s streets.

guidelines issued by the International Association of Chiefs of
Police authorize a police officer to shoot-to-kill any suspected
terrorist by shooting him in the head. "You need to get
him dead as soon as possible." Says Miami Police Chief
John F. Timoney. (Washington Post.com, August 3, 2005).

will police identify a terrorist before they put a bullet through
his head? The IACP lays down the following terrorist profile: "wearing
a heavy coat or jacket in warm weather" (no definition
of what constitutes a heavy coat or what is considered warm weather)
"carrying a briefcase, dufflebag or backpack with protrusions
or visible wires" (make sure it zips neatly shut and get
Bluetooth) "might display nervousness" (take a
Xanax before leaving your house) "unwillingness to make
eye contact" (shyness is now punishable by death) "excessive
sweating" (no definition of how much you are permitted
to sweat without risking your life) "might mumble prayers"
(such as praying that nobody shoots you in the head) or "pacing
back and forth in front of a venue" (no definition of what
constitutes pacing or what constitutes a venue).

this scenario cannot get worse? Think again. While previous use-of-force
guidelines required police officers to be faced with an imminent
threat before deploying deadly force, the new guidelines eliminate
this pesky threshold. "An officer just needs to have a u2018reasonable
basis’ to believe that the suspect can detonate a bomb"
under the new guidelines. (Washington Post.com, August 3, 2005).

guideline has not been adopted by every police agency in the United
States. You still have time to clean up your act. Get in shape to
avoid sweating, take a Dale Carnegie course to get over shyness,
learn to pray in silence, invest in wireless technology, buy a large
enough backpack or briefcase, and above all else, do not overdress
for weather conditions.

10, 2005

M. Peters [send him mail]
is a practicing attorney in Michigan.

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