Don’t Tase me, bro
These weapons deliver an electrical punch to the nervous system of “violent offenders” through either a 35-foot-long projectile or through the gun itself, if the projectile is removed. Physiologically speaking, getting nailed with a Taser is a more painful way to reboot one’s nervous system. Those fortunate enough to experience the thrill of brushing into an electric fence, grabbing onto a live wire or sticking a digit into an active light socket can likely relate to the sensation of being “Tased.”
The difference is that a Taser projectile embeds into the body and delivers 50,000 volts of energy at a rate of 19 pulses per second every time the trigger is pulled; far longer and far more juice than one is likely to get grasping onto a split wire or an electric fence. The other main difference is that a sadistic cop can be on the other end of this device, gleefully pulling the trigger whenever he or she feels like getting a few jollies.
Advocates claim Tasers are “less than lethal” weapons and save lives by preventing cops from using more lethal forms to bring a subject under control. They also claim Tasers prevent officers from close-quarter engagement with a violent subject, thereby preventing them from sustaining injuries on the job.
In truth, Tasers can be lethal. In fact, the weapon has a dubious history of being connected with “apparent drug overdoses” when used against people high on stimulants or narcotics. In other words, it’s generally not a good idea to send enough electricity to stop a cow through the heart of some guy freaking out after a cocaine bender. Taser International vehemently denies their weapon contributes to these deaths –one recorded just about every week –and stridently lashes out against any source that tries to link their product with death.
Deaths aside, the real problem with Tasers is that most law enforcement agencies don’t have a concrete rule governing their use. Taser International calls the folk being shot with their weapon “violent offenders.” But what exactly categorizes someone as a so-called violent offender? Is this someone who breaks a traffic law and then punches his steering wheel after getting pulled over by a cop? Is it the drunk on Caroline Street who won’t obey a police order to move along? Is it anyone in a crowd that won’t disperse?
There have been numerous reports of Taser use at times when less than lethal force was needed. In some instances, the weapon has been deployed in cases where no force was needed: Against a pair of protesters ceasing an order to disperse; shot at a man as he was fleeing through a second story window; et cetera.
Technically speaking, the Taser is supposed to be used as a last resort before lethal force is used. Some circles place it above the use of pepper spray when it comes to degrees of force. Yet when faced with the decision of which to use, officers usually decide it’s better to shock a subject into soiling his or herself than to be washing errant Capsaicin spray from their own face.
It remains to be seen how Ed Moore’s boys and girls will wield these weapons when faced with throngs of belligerent drunks this summer. However, it is disturbing that only “a number of them” volunteered to be “zapped” with the weapon, according to the Post Star. In most departments introducing the Taser, getting nailed by one is a prerequisite so officers understand the degree of pain and discomfort it causes. Without this knowledge, pulling the trigger on the X26 is a pretty easy thing to do.
On a somewhat related note, the Post Star suggests more than one local reporter is interested in receiving a volt from these guns, but have had their overtures thwarted by Assistant Police Chief Chris Cole. This is a prime example of the retarded nature and mindset of today’s reporters; spend half the afternoon trying to fulfill every cop’s wildest wet dream. Seriously, does this look like fun?
But if you’re a member of the media and still think it fitting to get hammered by one of these things, here’s an exercise for you during the coming weekend: First, get yourself lubed up with a few dozen gin martinis and maybe a quick hit of speed. Then take to Caroline Street around midnight and see which of your fists fit best in the ear of a Taser-carrying cop. Chances are pretty good you’ll get a taste of the good stuff; maybe even a Paul Amato-style beating. Just make sure you’re allowed a wireless device to transmit the story from city lockup.