By Robyn Doolittle, The Toronto Star (via CommonDreams):
Tasers are not a replacement for guns; they’re a replacement for talking, said author Naomi Klein at a town-hall meeting last night.
“If it happened in a cell, we would call it torture and if it happens on the street we should not be afraid to call it torture,” said Klein, who is the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.
The discussion on the police use of shock and stun guns was held at the University of Toronto in response to Toronto police Chief Bill Blair’s request that 3,000 officers be armed with electroshock guns.
When RCMP officers used a Taser on Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski in Vancouver International Airport last October, they did so within 25 seconds of their arrival on the scene, Klein said. Dziekanski died shortly after.
“Why talk when you can shock?” she said. “Tasers are not a replacement for guns. They’re a replacement for everything else …they’re a replacement for talking; for negotiating.”
This is exactly where I thought this issue would go — drop everything, and Taser the poor bastard. When you Taser a guy within 25 seconds of initial contact, it’s a pretty safe bet no other tactics have been attempted.
As many as 20 people in Canada and 290 in the United States have died after being shocked by a Taser, said the chair of Toronto’s Amnesty International chapter, Andy Buxton, who also sat on the panel.
Taser International has said the weapon it manufactures is safe.
Apparently, for 310 North Americans, the Taser is not working out so well. I think it would be a great idea for law enforcement to have a little faith in their abilities, and fall back on their training — it’s less deadly.
Go read the whole article here.