Iceland grieves after police kill a man for the first time in its history
December 5, 2013
It was an unprecedented headline in Iceland this week — a man shot to death by police.
"The nation was in shock. This does not happen in our country," said Thora Arnorsdottir, news editor at RUV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
She was referring to a 59-year old man who was shot by police on Monday. The man, who started shooting at police when they entered his building, had a history of mental illness.
It’s the first time someone has been killed by armed police in Iceland since it became an independent republic in 1944. Police don’t even carry weapons, usually. Violent crime in Iceland is almost non-existent.
"The nation does not want its police force to carry weapons because it’s dangerous, it’s threatening," Arnorsdottir says. "It’s a part of the culture. Guns are used to go hunting as a sport, but you never see a gun."
In fact, Iceland isn’t anti-gun. In terms of per-capita gun ownership, Iceland ranks 15th in the world. Still, this incident was so rare that neighbors of the man shot were comparing the shooting to a scene from an American film.
The Icelandic police department said officers involved will go through grief counseling. And the police department has already apologized to the family of the man who died — though not necessarily because they did anything wrong.
"I think it’s respectful," Arnorsdottir says, “because no one wants to take another person’s life. “
There are still a number of questions to be answered, including why police didn’t first try to negotiate with man before entering his building.
"A part of the great thing of living in this country is that you can enter parliament and the only thing they ask you to do is to turn off your cellphone, so you don’t disturb the parliamentarians while they’re talking. We do not have armed guards following our prime minister or president. That’s a part of the great thing of living in a peaceful society. We do not want to change that. "
Meanwhile in America….
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” - Nelson Mandela.
RIP Madiba. Hamba kahle, Tata Madiba. Go well.
— Said every college student, when asked what they are doing that night (via pauliio)
Houston Police have refused to explain why they took a 13-year-old white girl from her two black guardians over the weekend and placed her in the custody of Child Protective Services.
Landry Thompson’s mother had signed notarized papers giving dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd full guardianship over her during a trip from Oklahoma to Houston for training,according to KHOU.
Thompson, Hurd and another dance instructor had stopped at a gas station in Houston on Saturday night when they were surrounded by police cars.
Thompson is a 13-year-old blonde white girl and both dance instructors are young African-American men.
“We were on the GPS trying to figure out where the hotel was,” Hurd recalled. “They just pulled us out of the car and put our hands behind our backs like we were criminals.”
“The officer asked me ‘who’s the girl?’ and I said ‘she’s my student,’” Hurd continued. “I told him I had a notarized letter from her parents stating that we have full guardianship over her while we’re here.”
All three told the police the same story, but the officers apparently weren’t buying it.
“They still put handcuffs on me and it really scared me,” the 13-year-old said. “And they put me in the back of a cop car and I was terrified.”
Thompson’s mother, Destiny, was shocked when she found out that her daughter had been placed in the care of Child Protective Services.
“She was with the people I wanted her to be with,” the mother remarked. “She was with people I trusted. And now she was taken away from those people and in a shelter with people I didn’t know.”
At first officials reportedly demanded that the mother fly to Houston to get her daughter, but 11 hours later, the girl was released back into the custody of Hurd.
Destiny Thompson insisted that the police owed her and her daughter an apology. However, the department refused to comment for KHOU’s report.
Someone should probably tell them Rosa Parks ended racism.
Houston. No. Stop.
Women on the frontline (NATO Review)
Scott Dalton. Ciudad Juárez.
Images from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.