Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Low Will They Go?

Here is a disturbing account of police tasering an unarmed legless man in a wheelchair.

I've been watching these stories in the news for a while now.

Tasers are often sold to the public as a device that can replace the lethal use of guns by the police. But the reality is that police officers routinely use tasers in situations where they would never even think of even unholstering their revolvers. It has become common to read about tasers being used against unarmed pregnant women, grandmothers, and now even middle aged guys with no legs in wheelchairs.

The bar is getting pretty low.

About 20 years ago, I served as a corrections officer and worked closely with sheriff's deputies . I sympathize with what law enforcement people have to deal with on a daily basis. I'm not anti-police by any means. But I am opposed to police officers usurping the role of judge, jury, and executioner. I am opposed to police officers (or anyone else for that matter) trampling on the Constitution.

The bottom line is that this guy posed no threat to anyone - especially not to able-bodied armed police officers.

I'm wondering just how low they will go. What's next? Maybe we'll soon be reading about people with no arms and no legs being tasered. Or maybe people paralyzed from the neck down on nursing home gurneys will be given the shock treatment for cocking an eyebrow the wrong way (and thus intimidating the frightened officers into acting out of concern for their own safety).

Then again, truth is stranger than fiction. Here is a story about RCMP officers in Canada who tasered an 82-year old man with pneumonia and a portable oxygen tank on a hospital bed.

And if "internal investigations" continue to give rubber stamp approvals to anything and everything police officers do, no matter how ridiculous, there will be a terrible backlash that will only serve to hamstring honest cops who don't go around tasering the elderly, cripples, the deaf and mentally disabled, and other people who pose no threat.

And if you're up for a little high-voltage commentary about this topic, if you like no-holds-barred sarcasm, check out this rant by William Grigg.

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