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]