Thursday, August 31, 2006



More on tasers

Opponents of the taser are gathering today outside Parliament to protest the start of the police's taser trial. Meanwhile, Keith Ng has an excellent post on the issue, compiling video of both the use and abuse of tasers by US police. The problem as he sees it isn't so much the danger of tasers themselves - as he points out, they are a weapon, whose primary purpose is to "quickly and effectively neutralise a [person]" rather than kill. The problem is the way they might be used. On this point, he argues that

[i]f the use of Tasers in mundane cases is the problem, then the solution should be to strictly limit their use on dangerous individuals and where other methods are not viable - i.e. *Make* it a weapon of (second to) last resort.

Unfortunately, this requires having some confidence in the police. And looking at the way they currently use pepper spray to "induce compliance" or sadistically inflict pain on those who are already restrained, I just don't think we can.

[Hat tip: DPF]

11 comments:

I wouldn't mind the police having the use of tasers if we lived in a substantive democracy (i.e. where the police answer to the broad public, rather than to an elite power structure as they ultimately do today), but then if we lived in a substantive democracy we would probably find very little use for them.

Posted by Anthony : 8/31/2006 07:32:00 PM

If Constable A had a Taser then Stephen Hawking would still be alive.

I've seen a man on P walk straight straight through Peper Spray, and assault a Police Officer.

Most people who complain about Tasers focus on the US experience with minimal regard for the UK and Australian experience. Also the Tasers being used in NZ are of a lower voltage than tose emplyed in the US.

Posted by Oliver : 8/31/2006 11:36:00 PM

Stephen Hawking?

Posted by Anthony : 9/01/2006 07:35:00 AM

Why on earth would anyone taser Stephen Hawking? i can't (with respect) think of anyone with less need of restraining. First Lord Cooke, then SH, what's happening to the great minds of the world?

As for Steven Wallace, he would probably be alive today if the Police replaced their GUNS with tasers, I agree.

Posted by james cairney : 9/01/2006 10:10:00 AM

Steve Wallace was killed because police did not follow correct procedure regarding the use of lethal force.

The very fact that correct procedures were not used is one of the most compelling reasons not to give taser guns to the cops. Not the other way round.

There's also nothing to say he wouldn't have been killed by a taser gun either. Taser guns do kill.

Posted by Anthony : 9/01/2006 11:52:00 AM

"Steve Wallace was killed because police did not follow correct procedure regarding the use of lethal force."

Utter rubbish.

Posted by Gooner : 9/01/2006 01:52:00 PM

> There's also nothing to say he wouldn't have been killed by a taser gun either. Taser guns do kill.

So does sneezing.
tht doesnt mean tasers or sneezing are not somewhat less dangerous than being shot with a firearm.

besides saying SW was killed because they didn't obey the rules is like saying he died because social welfare didn't respond to its duty of care to make sure he was all safe, well and mentally stable.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/01/2006 03:39:00 PM

Maybe if Stephen Hawking WAS tasered he might be able to walk and speak again. Just a thought.

Posted by Mark : 9/01/2006 05:33:00 PM

Batons and fists also kill.
The issue with the Tasers is entirely around making sure their proper use is enforced.

Giving another option between a baton and a gun is for the better in my opinion.

Posted by iiq374 : 9/01/2006 05:52:00 PM

My point about tasers being able to kill (and having a history of killing) is that you can't simply say Wallace would be alive if police has tasers.

Posted by Anthony : 9/01/2006 08:07:00 PM

Neither can you say he would definately have been killed either, surely.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/06/2006 07:32:00 PM