Friday, July 01, 2011
American Police State: Taser, a Recreational Torture Division
Before, when police wanted to torment people with mental or physical disabilities they had to resort to beating them with batons (In this case five Seattle police beat a mentally disabled teenager for jaywalking. Actually, many officers prefer using a flashlight to a baton, it's metallic casing give a satisfying ping when striking a skull.) or shooting them (This video shows Los Angeles police shooting at a man 81 times. He was armed with a sandal. Warning: the video is graphic and sickening. By the by, the police, in their enthusiasm, also shot and killed their own police dog.).
Police brutality statistics are hardly accurate since most are not reported ("I won't phony up felony charges against you if you don't talk about my beating the shit out of you.") or filed as righteous shootings (Like the off-duty officer who shot an eight year-old child because his mother cut him off in a parking lot. The mother ended up going to jail for getting her son shot.).
But the Taser is a game changer. Batons leave welts and bruises that look really bad on television. Guns, well, they make fairly obvious holes in a corpse. But a Taser leave no marks at all. Then there is the bald-faced lie that Tasers are safe.
Police don't categorize Tasers as weapons but control instruments. Statistics on Taser deaths are hard to come by because police, courts, and Taser International have all worked together to prevent Taser deaths from being declared, in fact, Taser deaths. When they kill it is by inducing heart attacks that can be and are blamed on anything else.
The UN has declared the Taser a torture device. This is something that police have been quick to understand and is now often used by officers to punish someone who annoys them. And since the Taser is officially defined as non-lethal when it does kill (Which it does with great frequency - see here and here.) it is always declared an accident.
Police believe it is okay to Taser children, nudes, the elderly and infirm (In this case for refusing to go to the hospital because he didn't have insurance.), and the handicapped (In this case the police Tasered a man in a wheelchair because he had been in the restroom too long.), or any combination of these (In this case a policeman Tasered a child because the cop mistook a speech impediment for disrespect.). Hell, police will Taser citizens for trying to save lives.
If this article is too be believed, police in the United States kill nearly as many people with Tasers as they do with guns. But, at least when police shoot at someone it because they are trying to kill him. When police Taser a person like as not it is because watching them twitching and screaming in agony is just so damn funny (This last one is a purely recreational Tasering by Georgia cops.).