Thursday, August 14, 2008

These tactics need to be addressed

Tasers may be helpful tools, but they are used more and more for things they shouldn't be used for.

There is a class of weapons that law enforcement and military used to refer to as "non-lethal," but it was discovered that this was not always the case, so now they are called "less than lethal" devices. In my understanding, they are used as a last resort before a firearm is introduced in an effort to stop a threat before he or she can harm themselves or others. I've watched Tasers being used and they are, no doubt, effective. The problem that I see with them is that police are more commonly using them as a compliance tool, instead of that whole last resort thing. This may just be how the officers are trained, but not all of the cases that hit the news are products of training. See the above linked case if you don't believe me, or read this piece from it and save yourself some time:
A coroner's report found that Pikes was handcuffed and on the ground when first stunned with a Taser and might have been dead before the last two 50,000-volt shocks were delivered.

This would be a case of stupidity. How a dead man could confuse a police officer into thinking that he was still a living threat can not be corrected with training. So where is the bottom line? Radley says it best in one of his many posts about Tasers:
"As for (b), witness the glut of videos of Taser-ees who don’t seem to pose much of an actual threat to police, themselves, or anyone else, who get the shock treatment for little more than mouthing off, being uncooperative, or otherwise not showing due deference and respect to a police officer. I think you should, in most cases, show due deference and respect to a police officer. But people who don’t oughtn’t be subjected to a paralyzing jolt of electricity. Not unless they pose a threat. There are better ways of dealing with people than assaulting them. Even if you do think not immediately obeying a police officer’s orders warrants a stun, there have been plenty of incidents in the news over the last few months showing how such a policy can go wrong–see the stories about Taserings of people in insulin shock, people who don’t speak English and can’t understand officer commands, or, like the story above, people who simply can’t hear, for example."

No one sheds a tear for the thug who wrestles with police while biting and spitting as these things are a dangerous hazard to everyone in the area. It's the poor guy who gets zapped for protesting a traffic violation, or for being a punk that make everyone pissed. I'm all for the cops having the tools they need, but I'm not into buying said tools with my tax money if they're going to be used to shock some mouthy kid.

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