Here’s what I know: a large majority of police offers are good people. What is “a large majority?” 50%? 60%? 75%? I have no idea. What I also know is that there are a large majority of videos of police personnel misusing their Taser weapons on civilians, let alone people who are actually guilty of a crime. I guess a Taser is better than a bullet in the back, right?
Perhaps people need to be reminded of the BART shooting back on New Years’ Day, 2009. This was the case when the defense argued that BART officer Johannes Mehserle thought he was reaching for his Taser weapon when he shot Oscar Grant in the back, inevitably leading to Grant’s death. The officer claimed that he was pulling his Taser, a non-lethal method of defense, instead of his Sig .40. I’m calling BS on that, as many have already – a loaded .40 weighs about twice to three times as much as a Taser.
Do a search anywhere on the web for Taser abuse of power articles. What you’ll find is a very ridiculously large list of articles of police officers accused of misusing their Tasers in situations that did not call for it. For example:
- ironically, another BART officer tasing a man for not paying his fare
- a mother being tased after going 50 in a 45mph zone. Watch the video.
- another speeding ticket tasing. Watch the video.
- a student at the University of Florida being tased for asking a disagreeing question to John Kerry. Video.
- prison guards in Ohio acting in a “callous, sadistic manner” with their tasers.
I don’t need to go on, right? You get the point?
This post is not about Tasers. It is about this new “non-lethal” device for Police and Military, this laser confusion device called the Dazer Lazer. However, the Taser device is not supposed to be a weapon that police use in order to force the public into compliance, like a whip or a stick. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE USED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO THEIR FIREARM, not A CONTROL DEVICE. So, in the case of the Dazer Laser, which would render someone being lased in the FACE and EYES, how would its use be ANY DIFFERENT? If our law officers cannot handle a taser, why would we give them a device that creates total incapacitation and confusion made of light that can damage their eyes permanently?
People do die when tased by police. Also, maybe without a slice of irony, taser manufacturers have started suing coroners who have called out death by taser. It’s amazing to hear stories about a police officer tasing someone for 30-55 seconds, especially since their training says five second bursts. What on Earth causes a human being to inflict that kind of pain onto another person? Also, if it’s happening with Tasers, what’s stopping angry law officers to hold a Dazer Laser a foot in front of someone’s face and burn the vision out of their eyes for 30-55 seconds?
I worry about this topic. Look, I’m not naive, I understand that someone being lased or tased is most likely better than handing their family a death letter. Also, it could be worse, I understand, it could be a baseball bat or a club or something. But this is light. I know light. I also know lasers, and you shouldn’t point them into a person’s eyes, ever, unless it’s an eye doctor who is trained and certified and using them for medical purposes.
I’m not singling out any one company – I’m sure I’d love to have one of these, but I wouldn’t be shining it into someone’s eyes. I just believe that we should be using light for better ends. What do you think?