Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sorry, Tom Swift

The more I think about it, the more I believe the solution to the Taser problem is to ban them.

Tasers are supposed to be used to stop someone from doing something, not make them do something.

Would a cop shoot a man to make him leave a building? Of course not. It makes no sense. And it makes no sense to use a Taser for the same purpose. But, because the Taser is supposedly “non-lethal,” the cop thinks he can use it like a cattle prod, as if simple pain-avoidance will make someone follow orders.

Tasers, however, incapacitate people, especially when used over and over, as in the UCLA incident. How can someone who’s just gone limp from being Tasered be expected to do anything but scream? Aren’t there simpler ways to make a man leave a building? Didn’t it occur to the cops in the UCLA incident that they could carry the student out of the library? There were, after all, several cops and only one student.

But, of course, I forget: The student was already leaving! Which makes the incident all the less comprehensible. Also, there was the matter of the cops threatening to Taser those students who asked for their badge numbers.

No, the Taser itself is the problem. Somehow, the apparently “non-lethal” nature of the weapon creates a mindset in cops that causes them to be too ready to use it. Yes, I know, some cops may use Tasers responsibly sometimes, perhaps even the majority do so, but there are just enough cops who use them for compliance, punishment, or intimidation, as to constitute a threat to public safety. As we do not seem to be able to get rid of these cops, the simpler solution would be to get rid of the weapon. Tasers should be banned. I see no other solution.

Sorry, Tom Swift. The negative effects of your "electric rifle" far outweigh any perceived benefits.