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It's Taser Tuesday!

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I try to avoid rants here, but some of the cavalier responses to the recent taser stories have made me feel like I need to go above and beyond a simple comment. Accusations were made that the agonized screams of people being tasered were just the person being "dramatic". One commentor actually said, "Torture?" LOL! LOL? Are you kidding me? Try getting tasered LOL!

Of the three recent incidents, there is not a single clear video. The 15-year-old with autism was not caught on tape, the swarm of security at the John Kerry incident made the tasering difficult to see. The UCLA incident was off-camera, and only his screams are heard. So lets take a closer look at tasering before we decide either way, shall we?

"Necessary force" is used because of a danger to the officer, the person's self or others. On the many YouTube videos I watched, it seems like a severe case of mouthiness is what buys you the jolt. The woman in the above video is so calm, the cop does not even need to "eject" the tasers at her. He gently places them on her body. She asks suspiciously, "What are you putting on my body?" When he doesn't explain, she begins to panic. He suddenly grabs her, which frightens her, giving him reason to use the taser. The way he preps her so calmly, the way he chants, "Danger, danger, deploy!" really makes it look like they had a new toy they wanted to play with. Plus, he breaks the cardinal rule of bringing someone down, which is making sure the area is clear. This woman slams headfirst into a chair while handcuffed. He says sarcastically, " I can hear you BREATHING, Christine." Yeah, what a big faker she is!

Some actual facts and more videos after the jump!

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According to Wikipedia, TASER stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle"

Electroshock weapon technology uses a temporary high-voltage low-current electrical discharge to override the body's muscle-triggering mechanisms. The recipient feels great pain, and can be momentarily paralyzed while an electric current is being applied Electrical current above 10 mA at 60Hz AC is considered to be potentially lethal to humans, though not all electroshock weapons pulse the current at 60 Hz.

The output voltages without external "load" (which would be the target's body) are claimed to be in the range of 50 kV up to 1000 kV, with the most common being in the 200 to 300 kV range. However since air has a dielectric breakdown (Emax) of 3000 kV/m, it is clear that the spacing of the electrodes will not permit the upper range of claimed voltages (900 kV representing a minimum electrode spacing of about 30 cm). The output current upon contact with the target will depend on various factors such as target's resistance, skin type, moisture, bodily salinity, clothing, the electroshock weapon's internal circuitry and battery conditions.

According to the many sources, a shock of half a second duration will cause intense pain and muscle contractions startling most people greatly. Two to three seconds will often cause the subject to become dazed and drop to the ground, and over three seconds will usually completely disorient and drop an attacker for at least several seconds and possibly for up to fifteen minutes.[citation needed] TASER International warns law enforcement agencies that "prolonged or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER device's electrical charge" may lead to medical risks such as cumulative exhaustion and breathing impairment [1]. Because there is no automatic stop on a taser gun, many officers have used it repeatedly or for a prolonged period of time, thus potentially contributing to suspects' injuries or death

For more from Wikipedia click here
The ACLU has come out against the taser, because it can induce cardiac arrest.

Amnesty International has documented over 245 deaths that occurred after the use of tasers

OK, enough facts and science. Let's watch some more Tasering!

Here are officers in training tasing each other. Even trying to look tough, the subject complains of the inability to breathe. It has been pointed out by taser opponent Aram James that the police are always shot in the back, which is not comparable to being shot in the chest.

Their impression was "he wanted to fight". He was locked safely away in a cell. Why did they care if he yelled and walked around in circles? Why did they care if he wanted to fight? Why Taser him in the first place? The officer takes the subject's apologies as proving he was being taught a lesson. Maybe the guard has never before seen the co-operation extreme pain and torture can bring on. Again, Are the screams melodrama?

I wonder if they have done any research on how many volts a dog can take? It doesn't appear to be attacking, and the man is trying to slide out the door without letting the dog loose. He begs them, "No, No" and tries to push the door shut just before they taser his dog.

The police here seem to be following procedure. We can't see the suspect struggle too much, but maybe it was hard to hold him down. Especially since that one officer was "pretty petite." The guy claims to have been shot and stabbed, but that Tasering was worse than anything.

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My point in collecting this information and these videos is not to state whether Tasers are right or wrong. There is some clear abuse, but it's definitely better than shooting people. My point is, these are dangerous, and potentially lethal weapons. Their use should not be taken lightly. They should not be used by untrained security guards just to keep someone from causing a Q&A to feel uncomfortable. They should not be used to keep a kid from wandering out in the streets. These are dangerous weapons and should be used with respect and restraint.

Click for full stories:

July 13, 2007

Last May, Bozsoki used a Taser on Lorain resident Kalian Santiago while Santiago was handcuffed and in the back of a cruiser.

Sept 18, 2007

...and was confronted by a police officer who asked him if he "wanted to go," Merrill said.
Andruwski said no and put his hands in front of him.
"The next thing he knows, he's Tasered," Merrill said.
As Andruwski lay on the ground, Merrill said, officers told him to put his hands behind his back, but an officer was standing on his arm.

August 15, 2007

Hospital Security taser man holding baby

November 1, 2006

Teen Dies after being Tasered