this isn’t yet being reported very widely but http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2011/aug/07/tottenham-riots-police-duggan-live#block-44
Initial ballistics tests on the bullet that lodged in a police officer’s radio when Mark Duggan died on Thursday night show it was a police issue bullet, the Guardian understands.
Which somewhat undermines the initial reporting that he was shooting at them. We have to bear in mind here the way the police acted after they shot Jean Charles De Menzies; they released a tonne of misinformation which made it sound reasonable that they acted the way they did, and it was incrementally discredited and they version which was settled upon looked like a terrible shambles in which they shot an innocent man because they made a series of appallingly bad mistakes. Apparently, the way they incrementally broke the news, instead of just coming clean that they’d made a mistake, seemed to stem the reaction against them, because public opinion was so utterly confused. We might be seeing something similar here. And we might not. WHO KNOWS. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that nobody is trustworthy right now, so maybe he had a gun and maybe he shot at the police and maybe he fully deserved to get shot right back, or maybe he didn’t. Don’t form any strong opinion just yet.
According to the other information there they use ‘dum dum’ bullets which is noteworthy because those bullets are designed to flatten on impact. They are safer in that they generally don’t go through things and hit other people, but most bullets zip straight through you and carry on. This means that most of their energy is not spent in their impact with you, which is as you’d like it were you to be hit by one. The flatten on impact bullets, by contrast, plough through your organs and spread out and come to a stop inside you. They use all their energy up on you, or more precisely, they use all their energy up tearing up your organs causing you massive internal damage. Bullets are not designed to be nice, but these take it to a different level. They are not legal to use in warfare, but they are used by the police. This does not make much sense to me. If there’s a risk of hitting a bystander then the police shouldn’t be shooting at all. And they definitely shouldn’t be shooting with extra-lethal bullets.
Also, Paul Lewis on Twitter has some pretty interesting rolling first hand experience of the events plauging various districts of north greater London.