Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tasers can be lethal, too!

I don’t know that I really feel any less threatened by police officers following the Wednesday announcement saying that efforts will be made to equip all of them in Chicago with tasers – a device giving an electric shock that can knock someone unconscious.

Could this someday become a common sight?
Which some want to believe is a preferable alternative to having police officers resort to using their service revolvers to kill the would-be criminal suspect. Just like how Captain Kirk will someday in our future always order his men to set their phasers on “stun.”

WOULD IT HAVE been better off if Laquan McDonald had merely been knocked off his feet a year ago when police officers felt threatened by the way he was wielding a knife? Would he still be alive?

I really wonder. Because the honest truth is that a taser, particularly if used by someone determined to deliver a severe blow, can be a deadly weapon.

And a taser in the hands of someone with a sadistic streak could wind up being a weapon capable of delivering intense and severe pain that could ultimately have someone suffer an agonizing death.

So excuse me for not being overly swayed by the announcement made by a newly-refreshed-by-a-Cubano vacation Mayor Rahm Emanuel that every single police officer in Chicago will carry a taser amongst his gear on the Sam Brown-type equipment belt.

ONE OF THE facts that has shocked some people in the weeks since the death of McDonald became an internationally-discussed tragedy is that many Chicago police officers don’t have tasers and wouldn’t have a clue how to properly use them.

Back in 2010, then-Superintendent Jody Weis issued a memorandum detailing the types of tasers an officer could carry, the proper way to wear them (on an officer’s support side – opposite of his pistol – of the equipment belt), and even their appearance (black, free of wrinkles and no high-gloss finishes).

Did 'Star Trek' past give us weapon of future?
It also says officers must have completed a department-conducted training course in their use before they can carry them. That is the rub.

For the department has not had the money to buy enough tasers to properly equip every officer now patrolling the streets. So there hasn’t been much pressure on police to take the training course.

SO THIS COULD easily turn into an instance where we’re pressuring already-overburdened police officers to have to carry another piece of gear. And a piece of gear that could easily wind up inflicting torture-like pain in the process.

Have we merely created future situations where we’ll be reading news accounts of police using their tasers to inflict bodily harm on people who don’t look exactly like them when it comes to skin complexion?

You just know some will prefer the feel of the .29 S&W or its equivalent
That attitude being all-too-prevalent amongst our law enforcement personnel is the real problem that must be overcome. All other issues are secondary. Concern over more use of tasers almost misses the point.

We’d still have to ensure we have officers capable of making a distinction of when the taser ought to come into play and when there’s the need for a pistol or whatever other firearm we permit our police officers to have is just absolutely essential!

CONSIDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding McDonald’s death, where it seems police wishing to subdue the 17-year-old had called for a taser – meaning someone had to find one of the officers who had completed the training course and was armed with such a weapon to come to the scene.

Yet whether it was impatience or constantly-changing circumstances, that scenario was taking too long to complete, and it would seem that officer Jason Van Dyke fired those 16 shots that are now the subject of the taunt activists like to direct at Emanuel’s way whenever they get the change.

There are bound to be similar circumstances in future instances. Similar judgment calls to be made.

Anybody who thinks this change in police equipping all police with tasers by summer is going to cause police to inflict less pain and suffering on certain people is living in the same fairyland that makes some people think there’s anything worthwhile about watching the Chicago Cubs.


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