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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Editorial: Not the Taser, it's the user

"They are used INSTEAD OF GUNS because SHOCK is a BETTER OPTION than BULLETS ... Our cops "shocked" suspects using a Taser ABOUT 150 TIMES DURING 2007 and 2008 with ONLY ONE DEATH ... It's ONLY A LETHAL WEAPON WHEN PROTOCOL ISN'T FOLLOWED."

Mr. Rutherford, not only do you entirely miss the whole point, there are some serious inconsistencies and gaping holes in your logic, which leads us to conclude that, had tasers NOT been an available BETTER OPTION in 2007 and 2008, the police would have used BULLETS 150 times - including on Michael Langan and Jane Doe. HIGHLY unlikely.

Sorry, Mr. Rutherford, but it's the MISUSE of tasers that has become DISGUSTINGLY ROUTINE.

January 8, 2009
Paul Rutherford, Winnipeg Sun

It's becoming disgustingly routine for everyone shocked by a Taser to claim they didn't deserve it or that it was used improperly by RCMP, provincial or municipal police officers.

The nature of law enforcement is such that decisions must be made in a split second -- many times with lives on the line. Police officers here in Winnipeg and across the country make these decisions every day.

Our cops "shocked" suspects using a Taser about 150 times during 2007 and 2008 with only one death.

Let's be honest here.

The majority of times a Taser is deployed it's legitimate. They are used instead of guns because shock is a better option than bullets.

Winnipeg police chief Keith McCaskill told the Winnipeg Sun last July after the Taser-related death of Michael Langan -- the one death mentioned earlier -- that the devices are an appropriate "intermediate" weapon for the officers.

Langan was shocked with a Taser in a William Avenue alley after he refused orders from two officers to drop a knife. An inquest is pending to determine what caused Langan's death.

Thousands of Canadians think the Taser should be taken out of the hands of law enforcement officers because it is too lethal. They also point to the misuse of the device in the hands of a rogue or careless cop.

Now the father of a 14-year-old girl from a remote Ontario First Nation is making news by suing the Ontario Provincial Police claiming the girl shouldn't have been shocked with a Taser while in custody last summer.

The girl, identified only as Jane Doe in court documents, was being held inside a jail cell in Sioux Lookout, Ont.

"To pass the time in the cell, Jane Doe began scratching at the chipped paint on the walls of the cell," the court statement said, according to a report by the Canadian Press.

The girl was told to stop but then resumed the activity and court papers claim her behaviour didn't "present a danger." It was then, court records say, two OPP officers used the Taser.

"Jane Doe screamed in pain," the statement says.

If Jane Doe was doing nothing but scratching paint and she was shocked with a Taser because cops got a little too anxious or went on an ego trip, that's a serious problem. Any weapon in the hands of a careless law enforcement officer becomes lethal -- McCaskill's opinions aside. But frivolous lawsuits against every cop that uses a Taser because some parent thinks they had no reason to is just as bad.

It's only a lethal weapon when protocol isn't followed.

1 comment:

Excited-Delirium.com said...

"ABOUT 150 TIMES DURING 2007 and 2008 with ONLY ONE DEATH."

Only one. Gotta love the word 'only'. Indicates a sick and disgusting attitude towards life.

Anyway - do the math.

First - remove the extraneous deployment and estimate how many times the taser barbs actually landed on the subjects' chests. Maybe as many as one-third of those 150. Pick your own number. Say fifty, and that is the high end (I'm trying to be fair here...).

And one death (of a 17-year old).

.: Death rate when barbs hit the chest is therefore something in the range of 2% plus or minus. Obviously not "one in X millions" as claimed by the manufacturer or their supporters, and as brainwashed into the naive police officers and officials.

This is the inherent risk of death from internal risk factors when all external safety factors are removed.

Low end - single digits. Risk of DEATH!

Many many many orders of magnitude higher than admitted by the manufacturer.

All the training is WRONG.

Time for a moratorium to fix the brainwashing presented as training.