Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...

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The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Criminal Code of Canada - on 'torture' (analysis)

So, what the heck is a "lawful sanction"? Because if you read the 'torture' section of the Criminal Code (copied below) carefully, you will see that the ONLY allowance for what would otherwise be called 'torture' is when it is applied in relation to a "lawful sanction".

The phrase "lawful sanction" only appears once in the entire Criminal Code of Canada, at that one instance is under 'torture'. So it is not really well-defined.

But I think that it is obvious that field operatives such as police have not been given the authority to determine when application of severe pain is to be considered a lawful sanction as opposed to plain-and-simple torture. They're not qualified, and frankly a civilized society should never put such powers in the hands of the police. That's the fine line that is crossed to become a police-state. Determining sanctions of any sort is the power we have given to the courts alone.

And note this: If somehow things get so twisted that certain authorities claim that this torture escape clause ('lawful sanctions') is applicable to the police using the taser as a pain-compliance device, then realize that this sort of twisted interpretation would also permit tasering (or torturing) a third person, for example: your child, to force (verb) you to obey their direction. So it seems pretty clear that this one-and-only exception is off-limits by any reasonable interpretation.

Obviously the taser causes excruciating pain. And 'severe pain' (including excruciating pain) is torture. And torture is an illegal act when administered by any Canadian officer anywhere in the world. If the police think that they have an exception, then they're mistaken. There is no exception except 'lawful sanctions' which isn't even their department.

The Kennedy Report, which recommends moving the taser devices back up the 'force' (noun) scale to just before guns, is exactly right.

Damn he is good.


By the way - I've read something about how the Canadian military (DND) now has some very good training about all the legal issues surrounding torture. I understand that DND is now in really good shape on this topic (no doubt world-class). Perhaps the DND Legal Big-Brains should meet-up with the RCMP Legal Medium-Brains, and perhaps they could agree that the policies and procedures that are good enough for the Taliban prisoners might also be good enough for Canadian citizens.

(Credit to Michael Moore for this sort of comparison.)

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