Monday, November 19, 2007

Tasers = torture.

Time magazine attempts to address the uncontrolled increase in the use of Tasers by law enforcement for reasons other than self-defense.

Early concerns about Tasers centered on the issue of safety, but the controversy has recently taken a new twist, focusing on the conflict between civil rights and police procedure. Though the device was initially developed as an alternative to lethal force, it has become a go-to weapon in situations of noncompliance even when the use of firearms would not be considered — like the incident with Meyer, who agreed to 18 months of probation on Tuesday in order to avoid criminal charges of resisting arrest. "I think because it's electricity, and because of past use of electricity in torture across the world, there's a thought that law enforcement could use [the Taser] to the same end," says Lt. Dave Kelly of the Phoenix Police Department. "In other words, not to use it to gain control over somebody but to punish somebody, to create pain for someone."

Because these devices are being deployed more frequently in situations where the officer is attempting to force compliance with unexplained orders, it is necessary to consider the ramifications if parents or teachers were to start using them on their children to make them behave. If you have a problem with parents zapping their kids with 50,000 volts every time the kid opens his mouth out of turn, then you have a problem with law enforcement using these weapons in the same manner. So stand up and let them know you.don't.approve. of these uses.

Unfortunately, the only way law enforcement can be reigned in is for Tasers to become commonplace in citizen's hands on the street, and let society and particularly law enforcement experience their indiscriminate use. THEN you will see some municipal action to reign in these instruments of torture.

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