Picture from NYTimes
The law is clear when it comes to failing to stop at an army checkpoint. The soldiers must fire in the air at first as a warning, then at the car and the tires and LAST if the car fails to stop they can fire at the driver. If it happens that the driver fired at the soldiers at first, then they are allowed to fire back and kill him.
Having said that, the killing of Charbel Rahme at the Madfoun army checkpoint yesterday seems reckless to me as it is impossible to get past this checkpoint. in fact, you have to zigzag between concrete blocks before and after it and there’s a soldier at the end of the checkpoint with spikes ready to deploy if someone is trying to run away.
I will not draw any conclusions before the official report is out, but according to most media reports, the driver did not shoot at the army and his car hit a concrete block and stopped. The question remains whether he was killed before his car crashed or after. He was 38 and died immediately as the gunshot struck his head.
I am not trying to defend the guy by any means, as he definitely was hiding guns or drugs or whatever in his car to flee the checkpoint, but the army canâ€™t just go around and shoot people dead, especially after what happened with Sheikh Abdel Wahed and his companion in Halba. I mean imagine you are going fast and your brakes fail when nearing the checkpoint, you get a bullet in the head?
I sure do not envy army men these days as they are facing a lot of pressure given how tense the situation is, but the solution is quite simple: Set up decent checkpoints and train the soldiers and officers to stop vehicles without having to kill the driver. After all, what good is this guy if heâ€™s dead? You canâ€™t investigate with a dead man now can you?