I left this comment on CommonDreams.org.
Most of the arguments presented by Taser and the police fall to pieces with even a cursory examination. Better than a gun? Taser deployments are about two orders of magnitude (~100:1) more frequent than the historical/accepted rate of police shootings. It’s not even a good lie that tasers replace the gun. Tasers replace talking; to just 24 seconds in the Vancouver Airport incident for example.
Tasers are safe? The technical details are a bit too complicated for the average person. But, putting it simply, the characteristics (frequency spectrum of the waveform) that Taser claims are safe on the older less-common M26 model are the opposite for the newer more-common X26 model introduced in 2003. It appears that they wanted to ensure that the newer model would ‘drop’ more criminals, but perhaps they overshot the mark a bit? There are also a few other examples of technical statements made by Taser or their Directors that are not accurate. These errors bring their technical competence into question. I’m sure that they’re well educated, but it appears that their confidence/competence ratio has slightly exceeded unity at times. When you’re dealing with life-and-death issues, you never (!) allow that to happen.
Ethics and money? Taser shows some signs of being an ethically-challenged organization. Former directors facing 142 years worth of criminal charges. Stock options everywhere you look. Friendly coroners accepting paid travel, but those that make findings that are not aligned with the company position are sued. Present “independent” (sic) director(s?) being heavily involved financially.
The police have major issues to address. Their Scale of Force tables appeared to be legally flawed. They appear to have confused lawful ‘force’ (noun) with illegally ‘force’ (verb) and thereby stepped over the fine line between The Rule of Law and A Police State. Example, “Do what I say or I will taser you” is illegal on several counts. If someone is illegally disobeying a lawful order, then add that charge to the list and bring them before the court using reasonable force. Nobody ever gave the police the right to apply ’severe pain’ to ‘intimidate’, or to ‘coerce’ obedience. Even the courts cannot apply electric shock as punishment. What lunatic police officer was the first to make the assumption that he now has more power than even the courts?
The above is in the situation of passive resistance or failure to cooperate. If the subject is violent, then the police are obviously allowed to defend themselves.
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