... Last fall a plan to introduce taser stun guns into Canada's prisons was indefinitely shelved amid intense public scrutiny of the powerful weapons. ... [LINK]
Why were those plans shelved?
Because it has become obvious to anyone paying attention that there is something very strange about tasers (and the associated training).
Something strange that - inexplicably but inevitably - leads to directly to continuous news reports of insane electro-abuse.
In November 2007, a 16-year-old girl was tasered after being taken to an RCMP detachment in Selkirk, Man., for being intoxicated. Admitting to being drunk and obnoxious and even jumping on the back of an officer in the holding cell, the girl, who weighed 130 pounds, said four male officers -- one for each limb -- held her on the ground and tasered her. The girl, who was never formally charged, showed CTV the burns to her body. [ibid]
"...never formally charged..." That's interesting - a ploy sometimes used is to pile-on charges to justify the unjustifiable tasering.
And last year, in a case that just became public through a lawsuit and got the attention of Elman, a 14-year-old girl from a remote First Nation was zapped by Ontario Provincial Police while in a holding facility in Sioux Lookout. In a statement of claim, it is alleged that two OPP officers entered the cell without warning and applied the taser to her upper thigh for three to five seconds. The girl, who has fetal alcohol syndrome, was arrested for underage drinking, her lawyer said, and was allegedly zapped because she wouldn't stop picking at the paint on the wall of her cell. [ibid]
Any excuses made by the authorities regarding these examples simply have to be inherently pathetic.
So what the heck is going on with tasers?
If you shoot somebody with a normal gun, then the result is probably going to be quite visual and it's obviously dangerous. But these two girls (above examples) wouldn't have been shot, so any comparisons of guns and tasers are based on ignorance.
If you beat someone with a baton, then it's going to leave bruises and (depending on how and where you hit them) it might be obviously dangerous.
But when you whip out your handy-dandy taser, then you'll be thinking that the taser surface damage will be small (and therefore not require much justification), and, having been brainwashed that tasers-R-safe, you and your supervisors (and all the way up the Type-A personality chain of command) will be thinking that it's perfectly safe.
Now - if the taser barbs were changed from little tiny hooks to large, multi-bladed knives that left gaping, blood-gushing wounds, then it would change the mental equation totally.
And even if the wounds left by the new larger taser darts were more visually disturbing than actually dangerous, it would still shift the mental balance towards the officers not being so damn taser-happy.
So this is the fundamental flaw with tasers...
The effect of a taser hit often appears to be innocuous.
Which makes the officers too quick to use them.
It's because the level of moral, ethical and legal justification required (by 'the system') is based on only the visually-apparent surface effects.
With zero regard for the excruciating level of pain imposed on the victim (it's legally called 'torture'). If you're not present at the time, you just don't see it. Perhaps all such events should be recorded (video and audio) for later broadcast on the CBC.
With zero regard to the possible internal risk factors (such as 'contributing to' death via cardiac effects). We've seen the outcome of the tasers-R-safe brainwashing... [LINK].
I'm not sure if this flaw is solvable (except by making a tasering more bloody as described above).
Perhaps if the training and policies where changed and strictly enforced...
But it'll probably require a moratorium to capture the attention of all the brainwashed low- and mid-level decision makers, and the front-line officers. Anything less appears likely to be ignored.
Update (8 Feb 2009) - it looks like others are coming to basically the same conclusion ("No blood is spilled, no vital organs are supposed to be damaged." [LINK]) about the relationship between the taser's deceptive seemingly-innocuous effects and the resultant too-damn-low threshold for its use.
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