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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ban the taser?

Are “less than lethal” tasers too easy to use? The more items I see like this one from Carlos Miller or these from Radley Balko (aka The Agitator) I move more and more towards wanting to remove the taser’s from the police arsenal.

Provided as an alternative to drawing a firearm and promoted as less than lethal, I wonder if it is too easy to justify using a taser in the mind of the police. “Its not really going to cause permanent damage right?” Maybe, but the officer has no way of knowing that. The victim may or may not have a health issue that makes the taser just as dangerous as a bullet. Since it is promoted as “safe” it gets drawn much too often.

I’m starting to think going back to “using your hands or using your gun” draws a brighter line for the officer involved. That removes a large gray area of when its appropriate to even draw the taser. Some police departments don’t even provide guidelines for when its appropriate to brandish a taser, which says to me that they don’t take it seriously as a weapon. They do know if they misuse their firearm somebody may die.

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