Recent news from Canada is that taser 'use' (of any sort, including 'display') is down about 30% from 2007 to 2008, and actual taser deployment (in Touch Torture mode, Dart Deployment mode, or both modes) is down about 50% from 2007 to 2008. [LINK]
"Overall, I am encouraged by the decrease of taser usage and increased restraint show by RCMP members in the field," said Paul Kennedy, Chair of the CPC (Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP). [LINK]
Yes, the Excited-Delirium blog is also encouraged by this 50% decrease.
But I attribute the sudden drop to the RCMP having 'burnt fingers' after having taken the manufacturer's claims at face value.
[ I can only imagine that the telephone lines from Ottawa, ON to Scottsdale, AZ must have carried the occasional screamed obscenity starting in late-2007 (just a guess). It must be extremely frustrating to realize that you've been played like a trumpet for several years. ]
But what's the goal? How much reduction are we looking for?
The reported rate of tasering people has been about one hundred times (varies widely) as high as the historical and accepted rate of police shooting people. What this means is that if the taser is going to go back to its original justification as 'a replacement for the gun', or 'a less-than-lethal alternative', or "saving lives everyday" [sic(k)], then we need to see a roughly 99% reduction in the rate that the taser is being deployed in Canada.
That sort of reduction is extremely unlikely. Which makes the original justification for the taser's introduction to Canada into a damn lie.
And even if we allow the taser to be justifiably deployed in situations where gun-fire has traditionally not been employed, even by a generosity-allowance of 'several' times (for example: accepting a very generous usage rate of five times more than guns), then we are still looking for a 95% reduction!.
Yes, a 50% reduction is a good first step. But we have a long way to go before the day-to-day usage of tasers will meet the existing legal (s.269.1, and [LINK]) and basic moral standards.
See also [LINK] (upon which this post is partially based).
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