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Thoughts on tasers - Journal of Omnifarious

Feb. 4th, 2008

04:54 pm - Thoughts on tasers

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I think that the police or security officers should on no account be allowed to use tasers, but the general public should be allowed to. I've come to this conclusion after a fair amount of thought, and it is a somewhat surprising one.

The reason is that use of a taser has way too few physical consequences. It's very hard to hold the police appropriately accountable for using them. It's hard enough to hold them accountable for shooting people or beating them up. But at least there you have physical evidence. With tasers the subject looks fine afterwards. Sure they may have just been tortured, but they don't have any scars or bruises to show for it.

In multiple videos I've seen over the past year I've seen instances of the police or security officer using a taser not because of any real immediate threat of any kind to anybody's safety, but because the person they tased wasn't doing what the security officer wanted them to do. It was used as a tool to silence and punish, a tool of torture, not a tool to make people safe or defuse a dangerous situation. In fact, in a couple of those situations the security officers came close to causing a riot. IMHO, they deserved to have the whole room of people surround them, put them in cuffs and call someone cart them off to jail. I hope the next time an incident like that happens in a crowd situation that someone has the presence of mind and ability to quickly get a group to do what they want to make that happen.

OTOH, ordinary citizens are not insulated from the consequences of indiscriminate taser use. And they don't have the position of authority to use to avoid being held accountable. For them, a taser is just fine. There are situations in which it's extremely useful for defusing a situation without costing someone their life or causing permanent injury.

Current Mood: [mood icon] contemplative

Comments:

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From:hourglassfull
Date:February 5th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC)
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You know, I think I agree with you. I recently saw a show on Discovery in which a guy actually volunteered to be used as a "guinea pig" for non-lethal police weapons. (The premise of the show basically that this guy puts himself through all kinds of hell). I was appalled to see the damage done by a bean bag gun. Enormous contusions that took weeks to heal. There was a note at the end of the show that the guinea pig required the use of a cane several days later.
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From:mabelmundane
Date:February 5th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
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I don't agree. People have died from being tasered. This isn't the first story I've read about death by taser. Although I suspose its a bit more humane than guns....I dunno...what's wrong with pepper spray?
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From:ladon13
Date:February 5th, 2008 04:36 am (UTC)
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There are cases (at least one in arizona) where people have died from asthma attacks or other allergic type reaction attacks from pepperspray as well.
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From:omnifarious
Date:February 5th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
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I think the average person would have to be in a fairly dire situation before considering using a taser. And if they weren't there would be real consequences just like there are for normal people using other kinds of weapons.

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