Britain's top cop, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, today called for a national debate on the type of police force the British want. In the aftermath of the coldbloded murder by police of young Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, we say to him: Accept responsibility, ditch the shoot-to-kill policy, and resign:
The Metropolitan Police have pulled all the strings within their grasp to land this public relations coup - the Richard Dimbleby lecture.
Or it could be that some fan involved with the Dimbleby platform felt it okay to allow Sir Ian Blair (pictured, right) to say his piece, given the mauling he has received since the cold-blooded murder by his officers of an innocent man who just happened to look non-white in the immediate aftermath of the London bombings.
Jean Charles de Menezes - the "suspected terrorist" - was a young man, an innocent man going about his lawful business when he was cut down in the prime of his life, going to work to send money to his impoverished parents in Brazil the very moment he was killed by officers executing a shoot-to-kill policy sanctioned by Blair.
Blair may mouth all the Hail Marys and apologias he likes, but that will not change the fact that the police have been operating a shoot-to-kill policy for as long as I can remember. Forget about the so-called Operation Kratos, the policy of shooting to kill suspected suicide bombers. The Met's policy has always been to shoot-to-kill.
I do not have the statistics to hand, but can confidently say that all reports I have read or heard of, involving the police attending a scene where a member of the public was carrying a weapon, the result has invariably been that the police shot and killed that person.
There was the guy who was carrying a table leg that was allegedly mistaken as a firearm. He was killed, as many others. The police never shoot at a suspect's leg or arm or shoulder. They always shoot to kill. They may be trying to send a message to prospective arms-carriers, but that is beside the point.
Those who have the resources to do the research can do so, but what I do know is that this shoot-to-kill policy did not begin with Mr de Menezes - and will not end with him.
Even when they have not used firearms, the history of police intervention in many interpersonal disputes and arrests has been the deaths of many suspects.
It is a case of the police becoming investigators, then arresting officers, then - depending on the demeanor of the arrestee or the officers - prosecutor, juror and, finally, executioner.
The researchers should also look at the numbers of deaths in police custody - mainly, as a matter of fact, of "threatening" black men.
The only reason Sir Ian has come down a notch to address the public on their shoot to kill policy is because he feels threatened. He knows that he has to play his PR cards right if he is to maintain his cushy position at the head of the police.
We do not need a debate about this. It should be self evident: if people do not pose an immediate threat to life - even if they happen to be armed - do not shoot to kill them.
Is that so hard to understand?
Now, Sir Ian, please take responsibility for your officers' actions - and in the process signal that this inhuman policy has been chucked into the dustbin of history - by handing in your resignation like the honourable man you claim to be.
Of course when someone is armed s/he is by virtue of that very fact a danger to the public. It also follows that the appropriate response would be to despatch an armed response team to the scene.
But that does not mean that they have to to shoot to kill the suspect on every occasion. The cliche of having to make a "split-second" decision may apply in some cases but not each and every one.
Take the man carrying the table leg and who was shot and killed, please tell us the circumstances in which that
"mistake" occurred. How could his killing have been the consequence of a split-second decision?
Pray tell, and while you're at it contact Sir Ian's massive public relations operations to join the debate they asked for - and tell us about all the instances of the police shooting to kill and the so-called split-second decisions taken in each and every one.
This philosopher-king of a police chief does not want to remain in the relative shadow of just quietly and conscientiously doing his job, but instead wants to be both a media star and defender of his Downing Street namesake.
By all means let us have a debate - and don't forget to explain all the other deaths - black and non-black - in police custody. Police are paid to protect and serve the public - not to murder them as you choose.
Yes, let us have your debate by all means, but not on your terms. And, as the debate progresses, Sir Ian might find an opportune moment to tender his resignation.
We need his badge. Nothing less will do. He has presided over a shameful and shameless shoot-to-kill policy, he needs to go.
He tried to cover-up the circumstances surrounding the coldblooded murder of Mr de Menezes - and in the process perhaps irreparably compromised the investigation by the independent Police Complaints body, he needs to go.
Has the era when men owned up to their responsibilities - especially men in public office - gone forever?
Changes need to be effected, no doubt about that. It's just that Sir Ian Blair should hold his hands up and say he is sorry this monumental blunder occurred under his watch and then fall on his sword. The Japanese have a word for it, seppuku - and there they do it literally, with very sharp swords!