Why is there a Taser debate?
Original post made by Silver Bullet, Midtown, on Mar 29, 2007
Why is there a debate around equipping our police officers with Tasers? No doubt, a Taser cannot be classified as completely benign. Without a doubt, it isn't even comparable to a firearm in lethality. It seems that the risk of someone dying by being "Tasered" is quite small. I advance this theory - a Taser is probably not much more likely to kill someone than a police officer using their own body or a baton to restrain someone. In life, there are "eggshell" people that are just more easily injured or killed by things which might not permanently harm someone else. In fact - what is the statistical comparison between the likelyhood of anyone in the community being killed or injred in an accident with a police patrol car?
What do Taser opponents suggest a police officer do when confronting a potentially dangerous non-compliant person? A cop has the authority to stop someone who they believe (an articulable suspicion) might be dangerous. That is well established. It is necessary for us as citizens to defer to their judgement, otherwise, they may as well quit. Their judgement can be attacked after the fact, but on the street, they don't really have time to convene a panel of citizen judges to make a decision in regards to a person's potential danger to others. When they act, they have the authority to stop them, restrain them and search them. If they don't find anything, they can send them on their way.
So, if they do need to stop someone they feel is dangerous, and that person refuses - what should they do? Let them go? That sends a message to potential criminals they the police are nothing more than a doormat. How about shooting them? That places many more people in danger. If a policer officer has to use their own body or a baton, they are forced to get very close with someone who may be armed with a knife or gun, or could be very strong and quick. Not a very attractive option for the cop.
Please - as a citizen concerned about the safety of our community: give the cops the tools they need to do their jobs. If it looks like those tools are really being abused, then we'll talk.