Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

19 June 2008

Finally Some Sense on Tasers

A parliamentary comittee is putting pressure on the RCMP to change its rules--or come up with some--on the use of tasers.

Let's get this straight: I do not, and few people seem to, object to the taser in use for its designed purpose: protecting law officers and the public from lethal threats. But there's been some "scope creep."

A man in Edmonton was tasered when he laughed at the officious fathead who tried to ticket him for jaywalking and tried to walk away.

In my own dear province, a man was tackled to the ground and shot full of zap three or four times--even though he was pinned under four men collectively weighing some 800lbs (400 kg) and no longer represented a threat to anyone.

And just a ways away, a pensioner was zapped for driving away from a cop who was writing him a ticket. This I really don't get. I mean, it's not as though they didn't have his plate number.

Is a man receiving a ticket such a flight risk that the only alternative to the taser was to shoot him?

Because that's when the taser should be used: When the only possible alternative is to shoot someone.

A disproportionate number of people on the other end of the zap are mentally ill or handicapped, as well. These are people who can usually be talked down if the first thing you do isn't shoot them full of 10,000 volts.

Yes, the cops are supposed to be there to protect us from the crooks. But they're there to safeguard the crooks, the crazies, and us "ordinary citizens" too.

And the Taser company? The organization whose name has become a byword meaning "police brutality"?

They've won 69 victories in court. Oh, and they've had at least one loss--but that was acutally another victory:
Taser executives responded to the court loss by calling it a victory, releasing a company statement titled "Jury Finds Extended Taser Device Application 15 Percent Responsible for Arrest Related Death.” But as New York Times blog The Lede noted yesterday, the company's stock nonetheless dropped 12% in trading Monday and Tuesday, with one analyst telling Barron's that "investors will assume heightened operating risk in the Taser model in the short term."


The @$$#013 who heads up Zap! Inc. calmly testified to the House of Commons that his weapon was "safe."
During an appearance before the committee in January, Tom Smith told MPs that the devices reduce injury and save the lives of police officers and suspects. He referenced dozens of studies that he said prove Tasers do not cause death and that his company has its own medical advisory board to help answer questions about safety.

He'd better watch himself if he has one of these delusional episodes in an airport.

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