Friday, October 03, 2008

Tasers don’t kill people…

Tasers won't kill anyone, says Scipione
"There has been no documented death from the use of tasers here in Australia, and they are in widespread use." The tasers would be a "less-than lethal option" in subduing violent offenders, he said. Herald Sun October 02, 2008

Taser guns have been rolled out to general duties police officers across New South Wales. ABC

I’m inclined to support the role of police in our communities, which doesn’t mean I believe they can be universally trusted with blank checks. Despite Commissioner Scipione’s protestations there is clear evidence, in countries like Canada, that people are dying after taser ‘treatment’.

I’ve seen reports of up to 20 deaths in Canada, with their 30 million or so population; but the apologists still argue alternative causes of death. Like:

“The naked subject then fell through a window…”
“The subject had consumed a cocktail of drugs…”
“The subject suffered a Cardiac Event…”

It doesn’t wash, not at a time when Canada’s Mounties are being forced into a major investigation on taser use we in NSW have decided to go all out. Twenty plus deaths from a ‘non-lethal’ remedy is not acceptable, and certainly not acceptable to talk away the obvious consequences of this weapon’s use.

I have known a good many fine police, most of whom do a great job without the need to be heavy handed. The taser perhaps represents a shortcut, but good policing requires more than that, even if the dealing with the job becomes frustrating at times. Those being killed by tasers aren’t the tooled up mobsters the Commission would like us to picture, they would have more sense than to confront such a situation.

At the same time there is another element among the police which does worry me. An example: Not so many years back a cop made a big show on the way to a call to remove an injured cow from a nearby country road. “Better bring the Glock’s and just hose it off the road,” he called to his partner. Fortunately that boofhead has moved on, to a non-armed job one hopes, but they are out there.

Just a few story links:

globeandmail.com: Questions hang over taser death

“…man who died after being jolted with a Taser following a bank robbery in Langley, B.C.” CTV Oct. 2 2008

A third death in five weeks linked to the use of taser stun guns

NY policeman commits suicide after Taser death

3 comments:

abi said...

Good points, Cart. Tasers are a shortcut, and the people being killed by them aren't doing anything that remotely warrants that possible result.

Kvatch said...

I am always very skeptical when I hear about so-called 'non-lethal' weapons. Tasars, rubber bullets, retch gas...all of which can be misused. Like a gun, all are lethal in the wrong hands.

Nothing substitutes for training and restraint. So in an ironic way, the first sentence is correct.

Cart said...

I guess I will just sit back now and collect the data on Aussie taser deaths :(