Monday, October 01, 2007

TASERS: Symbol of a new age of compliance.

Sidebar to: Graphictruth: Greg Palast, Dan Rather and the new symbol of the age....

As Randi Rhodes says, "do your homework."

Link to Wikipedia article on Taser and related Electroshock Weaponry.

There are several sections, including a look at the next generation of these weapons as well as some slight discussion over the drawbacks of the devices, with this Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP) Report, Electrical stun weapons; alternative to lethal force or a compliance tool?

The lessons of wider deployment from the United States are not encouraging. A report from Amnesty International in 2004 found evidence that “…far from being used to avoid lethal force, many US police agencies are deploying Tasers as a routine force option to subdue non-compliant or disturbed individuals who do not pose a serious danger to themselves or others.”
In other words, the Taser has suffered from mission creep. It is not merely employed against dangerous individuals where the alternative is lethal force, but also against school children, mentally ill individuals, people in handcuffs or other restraints, and people passively resisting or simply arguing with the police. In an increasing number of cases it has become a compliance tool for police officers rather than a weapon used to prevent injury or death caused by use of other means. A 2004 study by the Denver Post of Taser use in Colorado found that in one county a third of the 112 people shot with a Taser had been handcuffed at the time. The 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials state that “Law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.” Unfortunately the US experience indicates that non-violent techniques, such as simple negotiation, are being bypassed in many instances by early use of the Taser to gain compliance.
The report concludes:

The Home Office and UK police forces have engaged in an in depth review of Taser weapons and participated in some public debate with respect to their deployment plans. Their conclusions are that potential adverse health effects and possibilities of abuse are outweighed by their operational utility. But we would argue that the painful and degrading effects of the Taser, its susceptibility to misuse, and the associated health risks militate against a wider deployment on our streets and could, as the US experience has shown, result in the weapon becoming a compliance tool. Of course we must support the police so that they can carry out, on our behalf, often difficult and dangerous duties, but we are concerned that such a wider deployment of the Taser will further undermine the ethos of ‘policing by consent’ and increase a perception of armed officers ‘policing by compliance’. [Emphasis Mine-BK]
Or indeed, using it as a means of torture and public example.

Such as this - and multiple related videos, to numerous to explore on an empty stomach:

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