Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Laugh, The Next Time, It Could Be You

While he is on vacation this week, Glenn Greenwald has various writers filling in for him, and yesterday, Digby was in the seat, posting about a tremendously under-publicized, and extremely troubling issue.

The growing use of tasers by law enforcement.

Let's talk about tasers

I'm speaking of the ever more common use of the Taser, an electrical device used by police and other authorities to drop its victims to the ground and coerce instant compliance. The videos of various incidents make the rounds on the internet and you can see by the comments at the YouTube site that a large number of Americans find tasering to be a sort of slapstick comedy, the equivalent of someone slipping on a banana peel, with a touch of that authoritarian cruelty that always seems to amuse a certain kind of person. "Don't tase me bro" is a national catch phrase.

Tasers aren't benign however. They kill people. Nobody knows exactly why some people die from being tasered, and they certainly don't know how to tell in advance which ones are at risk. But there have been hundreds of deaths similar to the one below, which nobody can adequately explain:


Representatives of the government torture innocent citizens into unconsciousness, on camera, in United States courtrooms with tasers. They use them on prisoners and on motorists and on political protesters and bicycle riders, on mentally ill and handicapped people and on children And it's happening with nary a peep of protest.

America's torture problem is much bigger than Gitmo or the CIA or the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The government is torturing people every day and killing some of them. Then videos of the torture wind up on Youtube where sadists laugh and jeer at the victims. It's the sign of profound cultural illness.
Included in her post, is the tale of a case in Utah (as well as a handful of other abuses), where a mentally-handicapped person, inside a United States courtroom, was tasered by bailiffs, not for threatening behavior, but more related to his handicap and not understanding something in the procedure he was involved in.

It is absolutely harrowing.

Go Google "police use of tasers" and you get over 2-million results

I suppose, Skip Gates can consider himself lucky.

As you will read in the post, just mouthing off to the police is reason enough, seemingly, for them to whip out the electronic weapon, and charge you with about 50,000 volts.

Double lucky, if it doesn't kill you.

Go read Let's talk about tasers, and think about calling, or writing, your Congressmen, to start the ball rolling in getting this weapon eliminated.

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