In the Symposium’s keynote speech, former US army colonel and long time advocate of non-lethal weapons, John Alexander issued a dire warning against the ‘flawed logic’ of opponents to less lethal weapons. He said that if we were to focus on the repressive capabilities of technology, then recent revelations about Guantanamo interrogations would require a prohibition on water exports. Alexander's view is that people, not technology, are to blame when things go wrong. [LINK]
I might be convinced to buy that twisted logic (at least in part), provided that we acknowledge that a major part of the problem with tasers are the false claims of essentially-perfect safety with respect to inherent internal risk factors (such as cardiac effects of any sort).
If the manufacturer of flame-thowers pinned the blame for the fried humans on 'spontaneous human combustion', then that's a big problem. In my view, and this view is widely held, 'excited delirium' is in the same category.
Where the technology has gone wrong is that it isn't as safe as they claim. It appears to be many orders of magnitude more dangerous (but that's just my opinion).
Let's think about another example that might help to clarify some thoughts:
Imagine that some idiot-genius invented a foam ball that could be fired at people and it would expand on contact and envelop the subject in a sticky mess. They claim that it is perfectly safe. They conduct some trials and it seems to work.
But then, when it starts to be used in the real-world, the manufacturer slowly turns up the power of the "non-lethal" weapon. Eventually the ball of sticky foam expands to about ten feet in diameter. People begin to suffocate (to death). The non-lethal foam-ball has become more and more lethal with each passing version.
Is this just a 'people problem'?
But those 'people' should be bankrupted and put in prison.
PS: The "dire warning" from John Alexander is pure crap. One major study showed that gun-fire deaths went UP when tasers (and taser training) was introduced. And I've noted that the public uproar in Canada against tasers (starting in late-2007) has apparently saved many police lives. If you're new to the blog, I'll leave it up to you to scroll down and down to find the back-up for these claims.
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