September 25, 2007
Pierre Tristam, Daytona Beach News-Journal
This guy hits the nail on the head more than once.
"... the stun gun, the single-most savage addition to police arsenals since the back-alley interrogation, has done the opposite of its intended purpose. Rather than lowering the level of violence necessary to subdue dangerous individuals, the stun-gun has lowered the threshold of excusable police violence by making the use of brutal force seem protective. Briefly electrocuting someone, the story goes, is better than shooting him. But before that choice between two brutalities, there was a choice between brutality and reason — between Rambo with a shield and good policing. A cop who’d never dream of unholstering a firearm against a lout or a big-mouthed student isn’t hesitating to unholster the stun-gun and use it repeatedly under the guise of restoring control.
What a convenient perversion of reality: a 5-second torture session, often repeated many times, often unnecessary, overwhelmingly directed at non-violent individuals, is called “improving safety.” For whom? Earlier this year the Houston Chronicle analyzed the Houston Department’s use of Tasers since they were introduced two years ago to that same crock fanfare — “to reduce deadly police shootings.” Since then, the paper found, “officers have shot, wounded and killed as many people as before the widespread use of the stun guns.” Houston officers used their Tasers more than 1,000 times in the past two years, “but in 95 percent of those cases they were not used to defuse situations in which suspects wielded weapons and deadly force clearly would have been justified.” Tasers, in other words, are instruments of punishment, not safety. They’re enabling cops to be executioners rather than law enforcers, not just metaphorically."
"... the moment a cop appears on the scene and metes out orders, not following them can mean an immediate charge of resisting or battery if you so much as graze the cop’s ego. Judging from public comments responding to incidents like the one at the University of Florida, that’s what people want from their cops — uncompromising control. In a cop’s presence, your job is to conform, submit, accept that you’re guilty until proven otherwise.