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Friday, May 09, 2008

Old man deserved to be zapped

May 9, 2008

by Kelly McParland, National Post

RCMP says old man deserved to be zapped

Bunnies and small children are key targets of RCMP Taser squad

We noticed this item from from the RCMP about a rather odd case of Taser use by the RCMP in Kamloops, B.C. Officers used the stun gun three times on an 82-year-old who was carrying a knife. The man was recovering from bypass surgery and even carried a device that provides him with oxygen. We can't make this stuff up. The following satirical column is almost entirely made up.

"I didn't like the way he was looking at me," constable explains.

Kamloops -- The RCMP today defended their use of a stun gun to subdue an 82-year-old man with a heart problem who was Tasered in his hospital bed after undergoing bypass surgery.

Frank Lasser, 82, was Tasered three times after nurses complained that the frail old man had become delusional and pulled a knife from his pocket. Mr. Lasser said he couldn’t explain pulling out the knife or why he continued to hold onto it, which, since he was delusional, shouldn't come as a big surprise.

A spokesperson for Kamloops RCMP said the three officers who confronted Lasser were fully justified in using the high-intensity weapon repeatedly against an ailing octogenarian in a hospital bed.

“Whether the person is 80 or 20, we are dealing with a person who had a deadly weapon in their hand,” Cpl. Furd Burfel explained. “Some of these old folks can be quite wily; first it’s a pen-knife, then next thing you know they’re flinging their Jell-O at you.”

British Columbia RCMP have established something of a track record in the use of Tasers, which administer an intense jolt of electricity through probes fired at a victim from up to 10 metres away. Previously they Tasered a Polish man who had spent 10 hours in Vancouver airport looking for his mother and was getting upset; and a man who made some noise in the street outside a building where Governor-General Michaelle Jean was appearing. Vancouver Transit police have Tasered riders who refused to pay their fare, or just ran away when asked.

“In my opinion that is a wholly justified use of the weapon,” Corp. Burfel commented. “I’ve been on the transit myself and some of these blokes can be 100, 120 pounds and more. And you never know what they’re carrying in those backpacks. Many carry lunchbags, and they can crumple those things up and hurl them quick as you can say “Ouchie!”

Vancouver police on Thursday told an inquiry into Taser usage that they would hesitate to use one on a pregnant woman, even though they can get pretty grouchy at times. Const. Philomena Ducktape told inquiry lawyer Patrick McGoohan the force feared a Tasered woman might stumble and fall over, skinning her knee. The potential health risks to the woman or unborn child hadn’t occurred to them.

“Gee, I guess you might have a point there,” Const Ducktape allowed. “Do you think 50,000 volts of electricity passing through a fetus might have a negative effect? You think we should be using Mace instead?”

Cpl. Burfel said Kamloops police have put similarly deep thought into limitations on the use of Tasers.

“Essentially we can Taser anyone we feel like, for any reason at all, as long as they’re smaller, older and frailer than us, and represent no physical threat whatsoever,” he said.

“Tasering is especially effective if administered in the company of several other officers, against a lone victim with no capability of defending themselves. The other fellas get a bit of a giggle, and the victims are usually too dazed to identify anyone.”

Cpl. Burfel said the Mounties have used Tasers against bunny rabbits, kittens and small children in wheelchairs, but draw the line at Tasering their own mothers.

“Now hold on there -- we’re not inhuman you know. There are limits. Pepper spray is usually quite enough to subdue an angry mother, especially if she’s handicapped. I would never use a Taser against my Mom. Unless of course she had a pocket knife, in which case I’d zap the hell out of the old bat.”

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