Thursday, November 15, 2007

Unnecessary deaths and taser parties

In the wake of a recent surge in deaths by taser in Canada, and particularly after the case of a Polish visitor to Vancouver whose unnecessary death by taser, and the lead up to it, was all recorded on video, there has been a lot of belated discussion on just how safe and how advisable they are as a security tool.
Amnesty International has recently spoken out strongly against them in its review of 290 deaths from police use of tasers since 2001 (15 of which were in Canada), and the US Department of Justice is currently reviewing 100 such cases.
There are even reports of American women hosting taser parties, in the tradition of tupperware parties, but featuring hot pink tasers for the discerning American housewife.
My feeling is that their potential for abuse and (more likely) misuse is too great, and that their use should be curtailed. It is all too easy for a law enforcement officer to use a taser unnecessarily on the assumption that, even if not strictly necessary, no major harm will be done. This leads to a trigger-happy attitude and ultimately to mistakes and accidents.

No comments: