Friday, November 16, 2007

Tom Swift and his amazing electric rifle

By Capt. Fogg

I was sick to my stomach after watching the man die screaming on the floor, a policeman's knee on his throat while another hit him with a Taser, again and again. Of course the immediate response was to lie and insist he had attacked the police, but the camera doesn't lie. His crime was being unable to speak English in an international airport too disorganized to have an interpreter on the staff.

I felt the same way when a handcuffed man died in a neighboring town after being hit one of these devices earlier this year and again today about the man described by BBC News who was comatose on the seat of a bus and yet was Tasered by zealous policemen when he couldn't answer their questions.

It's unlikely that any officer will be prosecuted for doing anything wrong by attacking or killing defenseless, unarmed people in this fashion even though all of them had other alternatives. The Taser, which derives it's name from the early 20th century boy's adventure books, is an acronym for Tomas A Swift Electric Rifle. Unfortunately, we're arming people with the emotional stability of a teenager with these things and convinced that it's non lethal, even though scores of people have died after being Tased, they will used them as a substitute for professional police work. Witness the Canadian police, whose first words were "Can we tase him?" and how they ignored the information that he simply needed an interpreter and tased him; tased him again when he was down on the floor screaming and then again until he died.

Taser International's assertion is that the Taser has never killed anyone although many people have died from related causes - like the cardiac arrest caused by being hit by a Taser. That's a bit like saying bullets don't kill people, it's the bleeding. Over 220 people have been killed by them in the US alone.

A quasi-lethal weapon like this is a dangerous thing. It allows or encourages inappropriate and sometimes reckless force without the appropriate restraint. It is being sadistically used against non-violent prisoners. It is being used as a first response on anyone suspicious looking, or anyone angry or shouting or stubborn or unresponsive.

It kills people at its worst, traumatizes and humiliates them at best and quite obviously is a joy to use for those authorities who enjoy traumatizing and humiliating people or are simply too cowardly to be policemen. It's time to ban the things.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share


  • Canada govt seems to have changed their policies towards new immigrants.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 PM  

  • Sad story Capt. Fogg. I guess there are jack booted thugs about everywhere these days.

    By Blogger cwilcox, at 12:24 AM  

  • There are indeed, cwilcox, even up here in Canada. Indeed, this is a reflection, I think, of the new Canada (as anonymous indicates), the Canada of Stephen Harper, who is, I think, following the Bush playbook on war, patriotism, and the culture of fear.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:54 AM  

  • Oh what a bunch of bollocks. I suppose you'd rather have police clubbing people over the head like the good old days.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:55 AM  

  • What an infantile response. I'll pick my own alternatives, thank you.

    What I'd rather have is police that don't go into every situation like Thor with his thunderbolts instead of professionals. I'd rather have police that don't electrocute anyone who doesn't or can't ask questions fast enough.

    I'd like to have an international airport equipped to deal with international people and while I'm dreaming, I'd like to live in a culture where people with two digit IQ's aren't encouraged to think they're smart. If you saw that video and didn't think you saw gratuitous violence, there's something wrong with you.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 8:33 AM  

  • I just watched the video and, in this case, the cops' behavior was inappropriate. When they fired the taser, you could see that the man didn't pose a threat to them. Also, at one point in the video, I saw a cop using a club. Clearly these cops should be prosecuted.

    Having said that, there are times when cops are threatened and must subdue someone by force. The taser gives the cops an advantage over the violent individual. Most of the time, the taser is not lethal. Compared to the 220 times it was, there are thousands of other times it was not. When you put your life on the line protecting the public, you too would find comfort having an effective tool to subdue the perpetrator.

    While you labeled the the previous commenter's response as infantile, I must say that your conclusions in this post are just as immature. It is your bigoted attitude towards cops as having "two digit IQ's" and enjoy traumatizing and humiliating people. What is required by the police force is better screening to avoid employing people such as those in the video and better training to assess situations more clearly to make better decisions, not some petulant knee jerk reaction from some sophomoric individual with a blogger account.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 AM  

  • "What did Police do before TASER?"
    Simple sherlock, they used JACKS you know Slap jacks, black jacks, and glove jacks.
    A jack is a simple device made of leather in a pattern flat or semi flat or as leather gloves all loaded with lead and some attached to a spring handle.
    What's deadlier a TASER or a half pound of lead and leather in the medullah region?
    Before that they used night sticks.
    before that they would slap a revolver barrel upside the suspects head back when Cops used steel Colts/S&W handguns instead of plastic Glocks.
    I vote for the TASER Bro.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:34 PM  

  • when I see that polish man violent action in airport, the first thing cross my mind is he kiss the death.

    Do you remember several months ago a jewish girl died in Oregan airport holding cell.

    Those are no incident. whenever I made in airports and custom area, I am scared like entering war zone.

    I experienced custom offices mostly in America.

    they are much like under drug influence while doing duties.

    I havd to say it is too much big to correct. not only offices but the policy let them do this way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 PM  

  • average views or people use words like inappropriate. It showed they are thinking so naive. The RCMP just do their duty in this way. they see it as right way.

    How poor this guy dont know North America culture? In North America, the most scared is not killers in crimianl terms. It is police offices or lawenforcment since you can seek justice from crime but never win a case against RCMP. You all are naive. HA ha ha

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:11 PM  

  • They need to do away with pepper spray and tasers and return to billy clubs and beatings. Seriously. If someone resists, a crack on the head with a baton will subdue them, while the other things will exite them and make them freak out.

    If the situation warrants a taser, than it also warrants a crack on the noggin

    By Blogger Mr. Smarterthanyou, at 10:06 PM  

  • For what it's worth, the two digit crack was directed at people who make comments about how they love a police state, not at the RCMP.

    I absolutely agree about training better cops, but I think the taser is bringing out the worst in some of them. Rather than resolve a conflict or take the time to find out what's going on, they tase first and ask questions later. It's being used on old ladies in wheelchairs, children, unconscious people and all sorts of people who offend the egos of some policeman.

    And of course this is not a non-lethal weapon - it's a less lethal weapon.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:54 PM  

  • this is simple. How many instances of nightstick use were there? How many injuries? How many tasers? How many injuries?

    this is simple stuff.

    Some people will misuse anything. Some cops are lowlifes. Lets use real evidence not anecdotal evidence.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home