I'm going to include this comment (which I posted to the National Post website) because it is a pretty good summary. It covers most of the major points and is fairly easy to read.
Taser are far more often misused than used. RCMP admits to 500 taser deployments per year. Ottawa City Police recently claimed 10 per day. I don't think that anyone even bothers to track the whole picture. But at least the media tracks the deaths.
These taser deployment numbers are orders of magnitude above the [historical/accepted] rate of police shootings (with their revolvers). Also, CBC News studied the stats and found that tasers do not reduce police shootings. But apparently they do reduce the time spent trying to talk to someone, for example to just 24 seconds in one well-known case.
The numbers, and the video evidence, CLEARLY indicate that the claim that tasers save lives (by replacing the gun) is nothing but whimsical propaganda. It's not even a good lie. It's clearly obvious that tasers are pretty far down the Use of Force Scale [even replacing talking] - and that is what I call misuse. Mr. Kennedy was kinder with his choice of words: usage creep. Creepy indeed.
If only it were true that tasers replaced guns, then we wouldn't even have to worry about the safety issues. I'm glad to see Mr. Smith continuing his slow and almost imperceptible retreat from the position that tasers are perfectly safe. People with some degree of common sense could see that already.
So we're left with the facts.
Tasers are being misused as a pain compliance device as opposed to a replacement for a gun.
Tasers are not as perfectly safe as Taser has maintained even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
Taser has launched legal action against coroners that dared to place the blame squarely on the taser. They're proud of their "perfect record", but fail to spend much time discussing how they maintain it.
On top of all this, the Scale of Force tables used by police forces fail to demarcate a reasonable boundary between those that might be less than fully cooperating, and those that are violent.
Because of this blatant omission, we have fairly normal citizens (just like you and me) being tasered (tortured) for the most minor incidents such as mouthing off to a possibly-rude police officer, or being uncooperative.
Also, last time I checked the Canadian Criminal Code, Lawful 'force' was clearly a noun. The police seem to think it can also be a verb as in, 'Do what I say or I will taser you.' This approach is clearly illegal on several points (eg. 269.1 in case you want to look it up).
If someone is being uncooperative or passively resisting arrest, then charge them with that crime. Do not impose 'severe pain' to 'coerce' them to cooperate.
Even the courts aren't allowed to impose severe pain electric shock as a punishment, or an inducement to be obedient. So why the police?
There are also important questions concerning some technical issues. Taser claims a 100:1 safety margin because of the high frequency (50kHz) of the M26 model. But the similar and more common X26 model is only 19 Hz and is therefore (even by their analysis) forced to walk away from a claimed 100:1 safety margin.
Finally, other companies are now offering similar products with added safety features (better timers) for a fraction of the cost. Better and cheaper.
And someone should audit the Taser training because virtually all of the reprehensible behaviour that we see on YouTube is being done by officers that have received Taser training, and much of the training is traceable back to Taser.
There are so many issues that it's no wonder that the average citizen doesn't understand what's going on here.
Many of them will cling to the belief that "Yeah, but being tasered is still better than being shot...", and the endless loop begins. GOTO 10.
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