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A Picture Is Worth Thousand Different Words

I agree with a substantial part of Michael Borucke’s opinion piece [“To Serve and Protect Whom?” August 8, 2001] on the atrocious actions of the Genoa police. But on one crucial issue he grounds on the rocky facts and sinks his credibility.

In discussing the death of Carlo Giuliani (incidentally, not “Guiliani”) Borucke neglects to mention what Mr. Giuliani was doing when he was shot. Fortunately, those “grim photographs” tell us that Giuliani was one of a crowd that had surrounded an immobilized police jeep and were attacking it: thrusting through the windows with a stick, a wooden plank, a long metal pipe, and a heavy fire extinguisher.

In photos at , Giuliani can be seen at the back of the police car, holding the extinguisher. The web site claims to be able to discern that Giuliani was not going to throw the extinguisher through the window onto the policemen inside, and was perhaps only carrying it around with him in a “defensive position.” I cannot discern that from a still photo, and I suspect that the police officer beside the threatened window could not discern that either.

When throwing dangerous things at armed men, or threatening to, one must not be surprised or dismayed if they defend themselves. Referring to that defense as “murder” cheapens the word and distracts attention from the brutalities inflicted on others.

Unfortunately, the violence of a small number of the protestors (and even possibly provocateurs) distorts the news from Genoa and other demonstration sites around the globe and serves as a trigger for violent police attacks against journalists, peaceful protesters, and ordinary citizens. Building up Giuliani as a martyr will do nothing to help the serious protesters keep their marches and witnessing peaceful and their message clear.