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"Because you did not obey my instruction."

scarshapedstar's picture

The world's safest and most useful tool is working impressively again, in Utah. (All you taser fans in the crack den *cough cough* get out your lotion, because this stuff is hot.)

Tasered in front of wife and baby? Check.
Tasered for a speeding ticket? Check.
No threat and no warning? Check.
Sarcastic approval from other cops on the scene? Check.

Digby says it all:

Police in the country are now allowed to torture speeders by the side of the highway in order to get them to comply. The only difference between this officer slugging the speeder in the stomach and putting 50,0000 volts of electricity in him is that the latter doesn't leave any marks. The intent, the pain and the goose-stepping authoritarian message are exactly the same.

Word to the wise. Do not ever question the police, no matter whether they are violating your rights, ignoring the constitution or breaking the law. It is perfectly legal for them to torture you on the spot if you do.

I'm feeling so free I can hardly breathe.

In the laaaaaaaaaaand of the freeeeeeeeeeeee...

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

The usually reliable Digby's description, unfortunately, does not match the actual events.

Look again at this video, remembering that driving is not a right and there are considerations we agree to in exchange for a license. Among them are agreeing to obey all traffic laws and all lawful orders - whether we like them or not. Those are the rules; if you don't like it, work to change them. Meanwhile, the obligation of every citizen is to obey the law. (Not that I always do, but I break it in the full knowledge that I am responsible for the consequences.)

For reference, here’s what the ACLU has to say about demeanor in a traffic stop:

What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police

Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions.
Don’t get into an argument with the police.
Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
Keep your hands where the police can see them.
Don’t run. Don’t touch any police officer.
Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.
Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.
Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.
Remember officers’ badge & patrol car numbers.
Write down everything you remember ASAP.
Try to find witnesses & their names & phone numbers.
If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.
If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board, or call the
ACLU hotline, 1-877-6-PROFILE.

Now for the video. The stop is lawful. The issuing of the ticket is lawful. The driver starts mouthing and being uncooperative right from the get-go. The request from the officer to sign the ticket is lawful, and required for both the driver and the officer. When the driver refused, he was ordered out and told to turn around to be handcuffed and arrested for refusing to sign the ticket. That order is lawful. The driver refused and started walking away, moving his hand to his pocket. The officer drew his taser, obvious to see, and ordered the driver THREE times to turn around.

The driver does not comply and continues to walk back to his car while reaching his hand into his pocket - that's when he gets tasered. Three orders to turn around with a taser pointed at you don’t constitute sufficient warning? Would you be able to understand what was meant? Wouldn’t anyone of minimal functional intelligence and reasonableness understand?

From the comment thread at Digby’s:

Watch the video. The cop is pointing his Taser at him and telling him to turn around, and when he finally does it, he is clearly trying to get something out of his right cargo pocket.

We know, in retrospect, that this man wasn't armed - but the cop doesn't know that. All he knows is that the guy is angry and confrontational, was coming up right behind him, won't put his hands up, and might be reaching for a weapon; and, that he himself would like to make it home from work that day.

People who want to take Tasers from cops don't get it: when you as a cop have reason to believe that someone might pose a threat, you are supposed to fill your hand. If you don't have a Taser, you have a stick or a gun. If you pull your stick, and the other person pulls a gun, you die. So you pull your gun. And then if the person comes at you anyway, you have to shoot them to protect the gun.

Nic | 11.21.07 - 10:51 pm |

And:

You know, the first time I saw this video I was totally with Digby and most of the rest of you. I've certainly known enough nazi cops, as have most people, and there can't be much doubt that tasers are abused these days.

But upon viewing it a second time, after reading Nic's comments, I think I'm more on his side. This guy was digging in his pocket, even after the cop had the taser pointed at him. Then he started turning around and backing away. Another quarter twist of his body and the cop wouldn't have been able to see what he was digging for. Then it could have become a quick-draw situation.

Also it seems to me that the cop's demeanor totally changes after he tells the guy to put his hands up but the guy is still digging in his pocket. Now I didn't catch that the first time, but cops are trained to see exactly that type of dangerous behaviour. So, while I truly hate to be on the side of a lying cop who clearly loves his taser, I think that's where I'm standing.

I'm not saying I would have tased him at that point myself. But I definitely would have drawn the taser when I saw him refusing to stop digging in his pocket, and been in a hair-trigger stance. I probably would have used the Voice of Command at that point and told him he was one second away from being tased. And if he didn't comply then, I would have tased the guy just like the cop did here.

Mouthing off at the cops is dumb enough. Digging in your pockets while a cop has a weapon trained on you and is screaming at you to put your hands in the air is suicidal.

Von Rex | 11.22.07 - 1:10 am

The cop did nothing wrong. He followed the law, and his training, every step of the way. A solo cop on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere who hesitates when someone they're trying to detain is uncooperative and reaches into a pocket will soon be a dead cop. The driver did many things wrong. Were it not for the taser, the officer would have drawn his gun and if the driver had continued his behavior, especially the reaching into his pocket, he would have been shot. In this case, the taser saved the driver's life.

No Miranda warning is required for an arrest, that's a myth from television. Demanding a Miranda is just more ignorant bad attitude from the driver.

The officer didn't lie to the next cop on the scene, as some have suggested; the driver was non-compliant to lawful commands and moved in a threatening manner (reaching into his pocket).

Lessons from this story: (1) Accept the ticket and sign where you're supposed to. Fight it in court if you want, that's how the system works for all of us and no, you don't get special treatment because you say you're innocent - tell it to the judge. (2) When an officer has a weapon drawn, don't put your hand in your pocket - the weapon will be used and you will be sorry.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Sparky just isn't happy unless someone is applying 50,000 volts to someone else.

Preferably while the Authority is wearing polished black leather, maybe with latex strategically applied to take care of those nasty bodily fluids.

But you can bet he's already downloaded the video.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by lambert on

Bringiton puts it on the citizen and writes:

Lessons from this story: (1) Accept the ticket and sign where you’re supposed to. Fight it in court if you want, that’s how the system works for all of us and no, you don’t get special treatment because you say you’re innocent - tell it to the judge. (2) When an officer has a weapon drawn, don’t put your hand in your pocket - the weapon will be used and you will be sorry.

#1 -- I'm the sunny optimist? Sure, pragmatically it probably makes sense simply to sign, whatever, but I think the faith evinced in the system is a little much. (In fact, if you think about what a taser could do in the hands of a corrupt cop, the "just sign" idea is a recipe for extortion, given that a taser leaves no marks.)

#2 -- I see the argument, but I'd like data. Seems to me that the police have been stopping drivers for a long, long time, and people have been acting stupid for equally long, including acting stupid while putting their hands in their pockets. So, if tasering is a substitute for shooting, then we should expect to see a statistical correlation between the two. Is there one? In fact, if the police used to be shooting people at the same rate they seem to be tasering them (I admit I have no numbers), there would have been a lot of shootings, and by the side of the road, too. This argues to me that the view that CD and I have been taking, that tasering is being normalized, as part of a general cultural alignment torward torture, is in fact the correct one.

Kelley, a word to the wise: I have no issue in principle with personal attacks, and I don't have time to police every comment thread. And part of the purpose of this blog is to hone invective, and you can't practice invective without without engaging in it.

That said, to me, personal attacks are like any other statement -- they need to be backed up with evidence and reasoning, not just asserted. That goes double for regular commenters, or the Fellows.

(Obviously, that's not the case for avowed Conservatives; their ideological commitments and party affiliation are enough in and of themselves. Ditto for media whores like goatfuckers Joe Klien and Mickey Kaus.*)

Here, since all we have to go on is words, the attack needs to be tied back to the written words of the person being abused -- as I did, for example, on the cell phone thread with luckless Ashley. So, if you want to make the argument that a commenter's views are animated by a fetish for tasering people, you need to support the argument by citing the commenter's words, not just infer the fetish from the commenter's views.

Translation: Tactical advice: You're making yourself look stupid and the other guy look good. Why are you doing that?

Great post, by the way. I'm really glad we're looking at this, "the world’s safest and most useful tool" -- and it's fun, too!

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

So the tasering is basically pro forma, and the citizen is supposed to know exactly what to do to avoid it. If he doesn't follow the script then he's zapped and hauled off to jail. Hey, he shoulda known.

I love this country.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

Submitted by lambert on

Here:

Sign the ticket, or they taser you. And then giggle about it.

Classy.

The shorter bringiton?

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Yes, it was an absolutely unfair mode of attack.

I've a habit of using against people who it seem have no regard for how many facts I link to in my arguments. Who at other times show some elements of human decency. I display a despicable general garment, attacking the third person, here named "Sparky", in the hopes the individual so attacked will step into the argument entirely.

In hopes they might step back and look at themselves and decide on a better style.

It's entirely fallacious and unfair, and a special blended case of the "straw man" and "ad hominem" attack.

I dunno. Duncan sez not to hesitate basting the turkeys today.

I got no proof on Sparky's predelictions or personal tastes. Hell, I don't even mind 'em, as long as he keeps his insulated rubber gloves off me. It just so happens mine involve short-circuiting offensive arguments and contentious people who can not be reasoned with.

Sparky's been hitting this for a few weeks now.

My apologies to everyone for taking the low road, but I tried the high reasonable one already.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

Seriously, BIO, what's up with the giggling? You make it sound like they're analzying the situation like an AED, determining if a shock is necessary. It sure looks like they simply think that excruciating pain makes their job easy and fun.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

Submitted by lambert on

as I tried to indicate, apparently without success. In fact, I often travel that road myself. Sigh. Please reread.

And now, off to the tryptophan fest!

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

First, the driver is not required to sign the ticket. A traffic ticket is technically a summons to court - signing it is a promise to appear in court to answer the charge on the ticket; it's a release on own recognizance, with the option of forfeiting bail (i.e., paying the fine) in lieu of an appearance. But you don't have to accept it. If you don't sign, you'll be arrested and booked, but that's your choice.

Second, the cop was a belligerent asshole from the beginning. Granted, the driver was confrontational, but the law gives no one, including cops, the right to kill or electrocute anyone simply for saying "Show me the speed limit sign". The ACLU guidelines on how to deal with cops, that someone posted, are not legal requirements - they're practical advice on how not to get killed or beaten by asshole cops. The fact that the ACLU, of all people, advocates submission as the only alternative to judicial murder tells you everything you need to know about cops.

Third, the cop set this up in such a way that he could claim justification for killing or electrocuting the driver no matter what he did. Someone above claims the cop was justified because the driver was turning away where the cop couldn't see what he was doing - but someone else claims the cop was justified because the driver didn't obey commands. The cop's command was to turn around - so if the driver turns around, he gets shot because he might have had a weapon, and if he doesn't turn around, he gets shot because he didn't obey commands.

Fourth, the entire thing was clearly a power play on the part of the officer. He refused to explain the ticket while the driver was in the car, refused to simply give the driver the option of signing the ticket or being arrested (instead ordering the obviously bewildered driver out of the car for simply asking for an explanation), screamed belligerently at him while the driver was simply talking to him, and tased him without warning. At any point the cop could easily have de-escalated the incident - the driver did nothing at any point other than ask for an explanation and claim that the speed limit was not posted. The cop was clearly reacting to the fact that the driver was challenging his claim about speeding, and therefore making him feel as if his penis was being disparaged - he chose the most aggressive action possible at each step, and escalated his own belligerence even while the driver did nothing but verbally dispute his guilt for speeding. Eventually, he got what he wanted - he screamed rapid-fire instructions at the driver while refusing to answer his reasonable question, worked himself up to the point that he felt violence was justifiable, and then whipped out his penis substitute, "filled his hand", and beat the other man down with it until he was screaming, helpless, and compliant, screaming a few threats at the man's pregnant wife while doing so. A true American hero.

Fifth, I'm not buying the bullshit about "following his training". Cops create their own standards and training, and the fact that they've trained each other to kill and electrocute citizens for no reason does not justify them when they then call on that training to do so. The fact that the cop "would like to make it home from work that day" does not justify him in electrocuting or killing anyone he deludes himself into believing might make him late for quitting time. The fact that the cop can't think of any alternative to electrocuting drivers than to kill them outright is not justification for electrocuting them. It may be true that willingly making yourself the victim of a police state is a way to avoid being killed by its enforcers, but that doesn't make it right for them to kill you, or wrong for you to question their doing so.

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

It's the same argument we heard from Gonzales.

"We wrote a memo saying it's OK to torture, and so... it is!"

"We tell our our officers it's OK to shock people without warning or provocation, and so... it is!"

If I write a memo declaring myself President, does that make it so? What if it's my policy? This whole "training uber alles" defense is like a bizarro world Good Samaritan Law. If you follow your Training, it's ok, even if you're trained to torture a man accused of no crime in front of his wife and kids.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

This taser discussion is, in my view, actually a subset of a larger topic; the relationship between the Left and law enforcement. It has been bad, and bloody, for a long time, but it doesn’t need to be so. It is, I believe, one of those false construct wedge maneuvers that the Plutocrats employ so well, not too different from white versus black, or citizen versus immigrant, or Christian versus everyone who isn’t. They’re all false, and all effective none the less. Police are underpaid, under horrible stress, doing jobs that the rest of us don’t want to do, dealing with things that most of the rest of us would most of the time rather not even think about. In their personal aspirations and struggles, individual police are much closer to other working people than they are different and should be natural allies. To the extent that they are not, progressives will be limited in our ability to get hold of the reins of power. It’s a challenge I’d like to exercise, another time and another thread.

On topic with tasers, and strawmen, a combustible mix. Where to start?

Lambert: “Bringiton puts it on the citizen…” I put the citizen’s behavior on the citizen, damn straight. There is rarely any truth in the claim that someone else “makes” us do something or feel something, that’s just co-dependent thinking. The citizen had choices, and he consistently made bad ones (see the ACLU guidance). He’s responsible for what he did.

“#1 – …I think the faith evinced in the system is a little much.” What “faith” in the system? That if the citizen had promptly coughed up his license and registration and signed for the ticket that he’d have been on his way without further consequence besides the fine? I didn’t see anything to the contrary. The cop was polite even after Citizen Jerk mouthed off and delayed giving up the license and reg. What evidence do you have that his politeness would have changed if the citizen had done the right thing? “Faith” in the outcome of going to court? More or less, give or take. Chances of getting it dismissed? Pretty good, actually, since a lot of the time the cop doesn’t show. If he does, you’ll probably have to pay. Welcome to life, where FAIR is not an operative function and bad things sometimes happen to good people. What won’t happen as a part of just mailing in the fine or going to court is getting arrested or getting tased.

“…if you think about what a taser could do in the hands of a corrupt cop….” Or anything else, a gun or a baton or the uniform itself. The problem would be the corruption, not the tool used to further the abuse. Are you arguing that taking away tasers would eliminate corruption? Of course not, and of course you aren’t. Attack the problem, corruption and abusiveness, not the tool.

“…given that a taser leaves no marks….” But they do, puncture wounds and telltale welts. Plus, this was all on dashcam video – there was no hiding what happened at all. Dashcam video and taser cameras are the coming thing for good reason, to document just what happened and presumably put everyone, especially the cops, on good behavior.

“#2 – I see the argument, but I’d like data.” Me too. I cited in previous threads the studies done and also more formal, prospective studies now underway, two at least in the US, one in Canada and another in Australia. We’ll see what they turn up, the data collected so far informally is subject to a lot of challenge. What is clear is that people aren’t being killed by tasers. The in-custody deaths are caused by other things, and we do need to sort that out and figure out how to minimize or prevent it. Nobody, including the police, wants to see anyone die as a consequence of being arrested.

SSS: “So the tasering is basically pro forma” Never said any such thing.

“...and the citizen is supposed to know exactly what to do to avoid it.” See the ACLU guidelines.

“If he doesn’t follow the script then he’s zapped and hauled off to jail.” Not obeying the law will often result in getting hauled off to jail. Does that come as a surprise? How else do you propose we manage civilized society? This jerk was headed for jail because he refused to sign for his ticket. How stupid and pigheaded is that? He got tasered for resisting arrest and making a threatening move, putting his hand in his pocket. He was damn lucky the cop pulled the taser instead of his gun.

“Hey, he shoulda known.” Yes, he should have.

“I love this country.” Me too.

John Cole via Lambert: “Sign the ticket, or they taser you.” Not what happened. Sign the ticket or go to jail. Submit to arrest without resistance or reaching in your pocket, or get tasered. Quite a different sequence.

Lambert and SSS: “Giggling” While I didn’t hear anything I’d call giggling, the cops did laugh. Why might that be? You assert that it comes from enjoying what you mischaracterize as torture; (one or two zaps from a taser isn’t even close to torture, look it up – Geneva Convention is a good place to start). I don’t. Consider that the police are human, and that humans often use humor or wry laughter as a means of dissipating tension. This cop just got scared for his life -that’s why he used the taser. In retelling the story, he laughed. We all do it, all the time. He’s just a human being, doing what humans do. Seeing anything more here is your projection.

Kelly B.: No offense taken. We all speak harshly in anger sometimes. I try to let that stuff slide by most of the time, although the more persistent abusers will get a response. Does no good to exchange on that level, nothing comes from it but two piles of steaming invective and doesn’t help with the value of the blog. If you want to know something more about me, just ask and I’ll likely answer – I have very few deep dark secrets. For the record, no, pain is not my kink, nor is sub or Dom in any form.

“in the hopes the individual so attacked will step into the argument entirely.” Well who knew, thought I was pretty fairly fully engaged. What do you mean?

“…people who it seem have no regard for how many facts I link to in my arguments.” Not being snarky, but what “facts” exactly? Lots of opinion, but no references. If you have facts, bring ‘em out and we’ll deal with them.

“Who at other times show some elements of human decency.” But aren’t complex people the most interesting? How boring is predictability, and consistency – the “hobgoblin of little minds” – is what you can get from a pet, not necessarily from a person. An occasional burr in your butt is a good thing, keep you intellectually on your toes, and for that you’re welcome. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

This jerk was headed for jail because he refused to sign for his ticket. How stupid and pigheaded is that? He got tasered for resisting arrest and making a threatening move, putting his hand in his pocket. He was damn lucky the cop pulled the taser instead of his gun.

Resisting arrest? Did the cop say the guy was being placed under arrest? Not until after he shocked him into submission.

Furthermore, why on earth is he compelled to sign the ticket? Does the right to remain silent not extend to written communication? The guy was clearly concerned that he was being forced into signing a confession. The cop made no attempt to explain that the ticket was not an admission of guilt, if it wasn't; if it was (I don't know what the tickets actually say in Utah) then he had no reason to sign it.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

Submitted by lambert on

I reject the framing about a "vexed" relation (whatever that might mean) between "the left" (whoever they might be) and the law. If anything, it's people like us -- I'm thinking Glenn Greenwald -- who are fighting to uphold the law, and Conservatives who are trying to destroy it and replace it with arbitrary authority. (Although I like the idea of peeling off the (stressed, working class) police, it's really unclear to me how it could be done. A historical precedent would be nice, and I can't think of one.) Herewith an alternative:

Right now, like it or not, we're living in a society where the executive branch, at least, has placed itself beyond the rule of law--based on "departmental memos," and large companies are trying to. (I really don't think I need links to show this, at this point.)

In such circumstances, it's very natural to be concerned when law enforcement agencies begin to normalize using powerful and painful electric shocks as a routine tool to enforce compliance.

So, apparently now people can be tased "when they do not obey instructions." (Oops, sorry. I didn't mean people; I meant people who are jerks. Oops, sorry. I didn't mean people who are jerks; I meant people who, on a given day, policemen decide are jerks. Sorry. Now I feel a lot better.)

And if the instruction is not lawful?

If the instruction is not understood?

If the instruction violates the right against self-incrimination?

If the instruction is an implicit extortion attempt?

I certainly wish we lived in a society where the rule of law was not under attack by arbitrary authority, and where the criminal justice system worked the same way for all. That would indeed be something to be thankful for. Unfortunately, we do not. So all the tasering does is add another vicious cycle to the fear.

So far as I can tell, the idea that we should "obey police instructions at all times and without question, or else you may be justifiably tasered" is what bringiton's view boils down to, and I'm having a very hard time reconciling that with the concept of a free society.

On giggling: I was quoting Digby. After listening to the video, I don't see it. Consider giggling retracted, unless somebody tells me where to look for it. [On the other hand, "went for a ride with the taser," is pretty chilling.]

On the word "torture": I like playing semantics as well as the next man, so obviously tasering -- at least until somebody gets inventive -- is not equivalent to waterboarding. Unfortunately, I can't find a word for "inflicting severe physical pain, such that the person falls down to the ground, writhing." Would torment fit the bill? Possibly the third degree? Were the LA police torturing Rodney King? I guess not.

On the pockets: I didn't see a person (a) who put a hand in his pocket; I see a person who (b) put both hands in both pockets--assuming I didn't miss any footage. I'm no expert in reaching for a gun, but it seems to me that case (a) is a lot more likely to be such than case (b), what the "jerk" did. And I'm no expert in body language, but putting both hands in pockets looks a lot like the classic male maneuver of protecting the groin in case of danger, which the "jerk" was obviously in.

On statistics: Bringiton, I don't care that tasers are technically non-lethal, the medical statistics to which you refer. What I want is statistical evidence for the fundamental argument you're making. Je repete:

So, if tasering is a substitute for shooting, then we should expect to see a statistical correlation between the two. Is there one? In fact, if the police used to be shooting people at the same rate they seem to be tasering them (I admit I have no numbers), there would have been a lot of shootings, and by the side of the road, too. This argues to me that the view that CD and I have been taking, that tasering is being normalized, as part of a general cultural alignment torward torture, is in fact the correct one.

Bringiton, what I hear you saying is that not only are we normalizing electric shock to ensure compliance, but that this is a positive good. Yes?

As a corollary, I hear you saying that only "jerks" will get tasered, so tasering events need of no concern to those who are not "jerks." Yes?

On the ACLU form: Actually, this is the money quote:

IF YOU'RE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
2. If you're given a ticket, you should sign it. Otherwise, you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.

Which may be true, but doesn't affect the larger point I'm making on normalizing torment (if I may use that word) to induce compliance.

Interestingly, though, the policeman tasered the "jerk" not because he wouldn't sign the ticket, as the ACLU directs, but because "he wouldn't obey instructions." See above comments on issues with that. Note that whether somebody signed is a binary thing: they did or they didn't. Not so with "obey instructions," which is much more vague (or arbitrary). You'd think the police would be tasering people on narrow grounds, rather than broad grounds, wouldn't you?

Finally, it's excruciatingly interesting that the ACLU's useful brochure on how to interact with the police is to be found under the following URL:

http://www.aclu.org/racialjustice/racialprofiling/
15865pub20040714.html#attach

We're all niggers now...

UPDATE Via Digby, a policemen writes:

I forced myself to watch that clip, and as a retired peace officer, =my opinion is both the trooper and motorist were at fault.

The motorist was obligated to follow instructions, and appeared to be leaving, "resisting arrest. But the trooper's use of escalated force demonstrated a sad lack of training.

I've had similar incidents in my career where the subject refused to cooperate and turned to leave before we were done. In each case, I explained quickly and briefly the options and consequences of their leaving without completing the detention - warrant for arrest, incarceration, huge fines, etc. At worst, I'd have to have a warrant issued for them to be stopped farther down the road, including escalation of force. But in no case was I warranted to use deadly force in preventing them from leaving.

In my opinion, law enforcement has been issued tazers and told by the tazer companies and department leaders they aren't "deadly force", and now their use has become a replacement for good police training.

I think we'll see tazers eventually taken out of general use, but I doubt we'll ever see wide-spread adequate police training.

So, it looks like I could be wrong on the broad vs. narrow grounds for tasing (signing vs. following instructions) but right on the larger and critical issue of tasering to induce compliance being normalized ("their use has become a replacement for good police training").

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Kieth Whatever above, who ends up twisting himself in knots to blame the cop, starts out perfectly accurate:

“First, the driver is not required to sign the ticket. A traffic ticket is technically a summons to court - signing it is a promise to appear in court to answer the charge on the ticket; it’s a release on own recognizance, with the option of forfeiting bail (i.e., paying the fine) in lieu of an appearance. But you don’t have to accept it. If you don’t sign, you’ll be arrested and booked, but that’s your choice.”

And that’s the choice our brave noble driver twit made – don’t sign and get arrested, then go to jail. He made that decision, no one else.

“Furthermore, why on earth is he compelled to sign the ticket?” He isn’t. Sign and go on his way, or not sign and go to jail. Those were his choices, same as you and me. He chose to get arrested and go to jail.

“Does the right to remain silent not extend to written communication?” Ho boy. Every citizen’s right to remain silent applies only to statements that might tend to incriminate themselves. That’s it, except for some narrow exceptions like married couples, doctors, therapists, religious counselors and in most but not all states and not with the Feds, journalists – none of which apply in this case. The ticket signature is a receipt, essentially, acknowledging that you’ve been given the citation, and a promise to appear to settle the charges or post bail (the fine) which you can abandon, be found guilty and be fined the stated amount. It is not an admission of guilt. You know this. The driver twit, I’ll bet big bucks, knew this. Anyone who drives should know this, it’s in the driver’s handbook and when you got your license you agreed to those terms. If you are ignorant of this, under the law that’s your problem.

“The guy was clearly concerned that he was being forced into signing a confession.” If he’s that fucking ignorant he shouldn’t be driving 2 tons of steel down the road. I try, I do, to be patient with fools but if you’re arguing that this guy doesn’t know the laws he agreed to when he got his license, doesn’t have the common decency to ask instead of yell and bicker and accuse the cop of being a liar, does everything but have a civil conversation, can’t read or comprehend the simple sentences printed on the ticket right above the line where he was supposed to sign, and you’re saying I’m supposed to have sympathy for him? I want somebody that intellectually limited off the road for good, not just for the night; he’s a major hazzard.

“The cop made no attempt to explain that the ticket was not an admission of guilt, if it wasn’t; if it was (I don’t know what the tickets actually say in Utah) then he had no reason to sign it.” As it happens, I do know what they say, for reasons that are not germane to the discussion at hand. Exactly the same as everywhere else, not an admission of guilt, promise to appear, pay a fine, blah blah blah. If you’ve ever gotten a traffic ticket you know what they say. If you’ve never gotten one, well, then indeed you are a better person than am I.

“Resisting arrest? Did the cop say the guy was being placed under arrest? Not until after he shocked him into submission.” Cop doesn’t have to say the magic word “arrest” to make one. Cop doesn’t have to issue a verbal warning before employing coercive force. Cop doesn’t have to give a Miranda warning. You’re watching too much CSI. The LAW says you have to sign the ticket or go to jail. You are responsible for knowing the law, and your ignorance of the law is no cause for exception. The driver escalated this situation, not the cop.

It seems to me you’re arguing this from an a priori position that the cop is a bad person, therefore everything that happens, from the pulling over onward, is the cop’s fault. Try it again from a neutral POV. Better yet, see it from the cop’s viewpoint, especially where the belligerent guy refuses to submit and reaches for his pocket. BANG! You’re dead.

Above you used the acronym “AED”. Are you in health care? No need for specifics, just yes or no, a health care background would make the whole taser dangerous conversation a lot easier.

Oh, and the fine this guy would have paid? $50 plus maybe another $10 in administrative fees. Do you think he made a good bargain by resisting?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

This will be the short version, I’m sleepy.

Lambert wrote: “I reject the framing about a “vexed” relation (whatever that might mean) between “the left” (whoever they might be) and the law.”
Well, hell, me too. Dunno who you’re writing to, or arguing with; I didn’t say anything of the sort, so we can both reject it and move on. That was easy.

“(Although I like the idea of peeling off the (stressed, working class) police, it’s really unclear to me how it could be done. A historical precedent would be nice, and I can’t think of one.)”
Damn, you’re right, not done before and the means don’t leap to mind so probably too hard, forget I mentioned it.

“List of hypotheticals with variable to no applicability to the event at hand”
Dunno where you’re trying to go with these. Legal issues already dealt with above.

“So far as I can tell, the idea that we should “obey police instructions at all times and without question, or else you may be justifiably tasered” is what bringiton’s view boils down to, and I’m having a very hard time reconciling that with the concept of a free society.”
Decidedly not my view. This jerk needed to sign the damn ticket, or peacefully go to jail. He decided to resist, he reached for his pocket (never mind civil rights or anything, that is just plain ass-wipe stupid) and he got tasered as a result. That's it. No big global meaning. Dumbass punk challenges cop, loses.

““went for a ride with the taser,” is pretty chilling.]”
This is Vernal, Utah, country boys with country ways and country vernacular. Don’t make a big deal out of it, some common folk just don’t have your highly educated vocabulary.

“so obviously tasering — at least until somebody gets inventive — is not equivalent to waterboarding.”
Good, maybe that particular false construct can now be put away.

“Unfortunately, I can’t find a word for “inflicting severe physical pain…”
It’s called Level Four Force.

“Were the LA police torturing Rodney King?”
Rodney King? Rodney Fucking King? Relevance? Rational relationship? WTF?

“I see a person who (b) put both hands in both pockets—assuming I didn’t miss any footage.”
Look again. At -7:23 the driver puts his right hand at the top of the cargo pocket on his right hip, a pocket clearly bulging with who knows what – but the cop must, repeat, must, assume it is a weapon – after the cop has given an order to “turn around and put your hands behind your back.” The driver disregards that command and subsequent commands to turn around, keeps walking towards his vehicle and moves his right hand further down on or into (hard to see exactly, doesn’t matter) that bulging cargo pocket; that’s when he gets tasered. Lambert, if you can see his left hand you have x-ray vision, which neither I or this cop have. The guy was a threat, pure and simple, and I repeat – he was damn lucky the cop used his taser and not his gun. This guy is an idiot.

“I don’t care that tasers are technically non-lethal”
Hmm, is “technically non-lethal” like “technically non-pregnant”? I do care, it is critical to the debate. You should too, unless the fact of it is inconvenient to your overall unfounded argument and thus best avoided.

“What I want is statistical evidence for the fundamental argument you’re making. Je repete:
So, if tasering is a substitute for shooting, then we should expect to see a statistical correlation between the two. Is there one?”
OK, major disconnect here. I have repeatedly said that tasers were first touted as a substitute for lethal force but they turn out to not be such a good idea for that purpose, too risky for the cop. Instead, they have found a use as a coercive tool to gain compliance for the arrest of resistant subjects. In that setting, in my view, they are better (safer, more rapidly effective) for everyone including the subject when compared to the baton, pepper spray, or even direct contact physical force. To further repeat, rigorous formal prospective studies are underway in the US, Canada and Australia to follow the use of tasers and their consequence. We’ll see when those are finished what they show. In this particular case, the officer would have been fully justified in using his gun. He used the taser instead, and this idiot lived to be an idiot again another day. Put a “1” down on the chalkboard for a life saved by use of the taser.

“Bringiton, what I hear you saying is that not only are we normalizing electric shock to ensure compliance, but that this is a positive good. Yes?”
No, don't even understand what that means.

“As a corollary, I hear you saying that only “jerks” will get tasered, so tasering events need of no concern to those who are not “jerks.” Yes?”
No, don't even understand what that means.

“Interestingly, though, the policeman tasered the “jerk” not because he wouldn’t sign the ticket, as the ACLU directs, but because “he wouldn’t obey instructions.” See above comments on issues with that. Note that whether somebody signed is a binary thing: they did or they didn’t. Not so with “obey instructions,” which is much more vague (or arbitrary). You’d think the police would be tasering people on narrow grounds, rather than broad grounds, wouldn’t you?”
No. Completely convoluted and backasswards. (Too much Auslese?) The cop put the jerk under arrest because he didn’t sign the ticket. The cop tasered the jerk because he resisted arrest and made a threatening gesture. (Really, this sequence is not so difficult to keep straight. Is it inconvenient for your “larger argument” and thus there is the need to keep misrepresenting the sequence of events and cause-and-effect?

“UPDATE Via Digby, a policemen writes:”
A policeman? Well, maybe, or maybe not, no way to know or verify from a comment thread post, is there? Supposed retired cop says “At worst, I’d have to have a warrant issued for them to be stopped farther down the road, including escalation of force. But in no case was I warranted to use deadly force in preventing them from leaving.” Couple of things. Have a warrant issued? Drive back to the office, fill out the forms, get it to the county DA, have it brought before a judge to be signed, and then have them stopped “farther down the road”? Well, I guess, likely a lot farther down the road to who knows where and gone, however many hours later it would be. Doesn’t seem very effective as a means of making an arrest. Sounds like a pile of bullshit, actually. Bet most criminals would like that arrangement, what do you think? And then the giveaway line, “use deadly force in preventing them from leaving” which shows this is not a retired officer – no cop would call the taser a lethal force. I say hogwash on this poseur. Here’s the web page for a comment on the role of tasers from a real retired cop, with his real name and credentials and everything.

“So, it looks like I could be wrong on the broad vs. narrow grounds for tasing (signing vs. following instructions) but right on the larger and critical issue of tasering to induce compliance being normalized (“their use has become a replacement for good police training”).”
OK, that is definitely from too much Auslese or Absinthe or something psychotropic, makes no sense. Diagram that sentence, will ya? Then try again.

Submitted by lambert on

"Some common folk don't have your highly educated vocabulary."

Not sure whether your irony insults all common folk or me alone, but, whatever. I guess me, since you claim that I'm ignorant of how "common folk" talk.

I'll return to the rest of your evasive maneuvering later in the day, since I'm pressed for time in RL. Suffice to say that the tactic of claiming unclarity to avoid an answer is well-known; I've reread the portions that you demand sentence diagrams for, and though they are possibly not the most crystalline prose I've ever written, they seem clear to me. If someone else on this thread makes says they're not clear, I'll revise and rewrite.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

What may be clear to the writer is not always clear to the reader, yes? My choices, when not clear about someone’s meaning, are to: ignore them; address all of the many possible meanings, ad nauseum; select one and answer only that one, at the risk of having misinterpreted and thus expended energy and time for nothing; or say I don’t understand and ask for clarification. Pretty much always I prefer the last option.

This thread started out as a claimed example of police cruelty and abuse of power, an infliction of torture on an innocent civilian. There is a whole lot of potential subtext, but those were the specific claims. As those claims were challenged, point by point, and defeated, the posts changed to much broader, much vaguer issues, of societal norms and police state encroachment of civil rights and the Bush administration and Rodney fucking King, without ever acknowledging that the chain of events in the video that were the basis of initial claims of police brutality and unlawful behavior were in actuality a great deal more ambiguous, if not entirely the opposite. There’s some considerable evasiveness going on here but it isn’t coming from me.

“So, it looks like I could be wrong on the broad vs. narrow grounds for tasing (signing vs. following instructions) but right on the larger and critical issue of tasering to induce compliance being normalized (“their use has become a replacement for good police training”).”

Not the most crystalline prose? Come on. That isn’t a run-on, that’s a sentence that has been driven off a cliff. I’m not doubting that you have something important bound up in there, or dismissing the value of what ever it is you’re trying to say. It is just unintelligible to me. Call it my lack. Think of me as thickheaded – you already do, just go with it. Treat me with pity by using short, declarative sentences whenever possible instead of, ah, torturing me with convolutions. I’ll grant that the reader has some responsibility for dissecting and digesting what has been written if you will acknowledge that the writer has some responsibility for clarity in the first place.

There is a commonly employed style here of taking other people’s words and assigning them the worst possible connotation, or if that isn’t sufficient to support the advanced argument then twisting them completely into positions that were never represented in the first place. A little of that goes a long ways under any circumstances, a whole big post where it’s done again and again runs the risk, and I speak here for myself, of having a reader become annoyed as hell. Perhaps I was exhausted and should have just passed on dealing with it. Perhaps after the number of elbows thrown began to rankle I succumbed to Roller Derby rules and threw a couple of my own. Perhaps I should have been a better person. Sorry about that.

On thread, more or less:

It’s possible that this taser topic has so many intertwined subtexts that clear discussion is inhibited. The arguments, and the ensuing discussion, are all over the map. Maybe there’s a structure that can be formed, a topic outline that would help keep a better focus. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll have a go at it a little later today. Maybe not.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and I'm not going back to it now.

You've made a habit of sniping at everyone who doesn't see Law Enforcement as Nazis, forever and ever, amen.

You've been clever about covering this tendency with elegant language and claiming that you're only standing up for the rights of the common people when you do this but you're not showing me any willingness to consider that there are instances where you would look at the actions of the law enforcement officers with anything less than extreme prejudice.

I've been trying to say that not all cops are either saints or sinners, but all cops are human.

I'm getting tired of this argument, and I watched that tasering video twice looking for the justification to have that cop hauled away.

Were his human relations skills shitty? Yes.
Was what he did illegal? No.
Did he have a reason? Yes.
Was his original order for the citizen to sign the ticket illegal? No.
Did the guy deserve a tasering? I can't say, from what I saw there, that the guy deserved a tasering; and I can't say, from the camera angle, that definitively he didn't.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

Submitted by lambert on

I guess I'll have to use an idea from our famously free press; apparently, I'm both "clever"* in my use of language and also write sentences that need to be diagrammed--so I must be doing something right.

Here's an interesting concept: Negative hallucination:

Negative hallucination is the active erasure of a perception; it produces a gap in reality, or a vague impression of unreality.

* Perhaps clever, in this context, means "frustratingly impossible to refute"?

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

According to the UN, Geneva branch, at that.

That has been, and continues to be, my position, until we get the bastards outlawed. Believe it, pilgrims, some of us are going to try.

Cops aren't Nazis.

But generally, Nazis try to present themselves as cops.

Just sayin'.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Kelly B, do you have a primary reference for your statement? If so, please provide it. What you linked to is a Daily Telegraph article that draws on selected quotes from several different documents and, in my view, inaccurately conflates them to give the impression that the Commission has actually said that tasering is torture, when in fact it has not.

During an earlier examination session some of the panel experts raised concerns and made false claims about the existence of studies showing that tasers are a cause of death. In the final report, issued Friday, those concerns and claims are removed in favor of a simple suggestion that Portugal, the nation undergoing routine human rights scrutiny, “consider relinquishing use” of their Tasers.

I can’t locate the final report in English, but here it is in French:

United Nations Press Release

LE COMITÉ CONTRE LA TORTURE
CLÔT LES TRAVAUX DE SA SESSION
D'AUTOMNE DE 2007

Comité contre la torture
COMMUNIQUÉ FINAL
23 novembre 2007

“De l'avis du Comité, le Portugal devrait envisager de renoncer à l'usage des armes électriques «Taser X26».”

My French is a bit rusty so if someone fluent wants to correct this, please do, but it seems pretty straightforward:

“In the Board's view, Portugal should consider relinquishing the use of the Taser X26 electric armament.”

That’s it. No statement about tasers or tasering being torture. If you have a reference to a primary source, please post it. Otherwise, it appears that what you read was a reporter’s inaccurate reconstruction.

A couple of the committee experts feel as do you. Most of them do not. The final wording was a compromise, one with no regulatory or policy meaning and one that Portugal will certainly ignore.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

In fact, the whole statement is:

... Il reste en outre préoccupé par des allégations concernant l'usage excessif de la force par les corps de police...

...There is also concerned by allegations of the use of excessive force by the police...

De l'avis du Comité, le Portugal devrait envisager de renoncer à l'usage des armes électriques «Taser X26».

...In the Board's view, Portugal should consider relinquishing the use of arms "electric Taser X26".

You can check out the website of the United Nations Office at Geneva, for that matter, where we see the conclusions of the Committee Against Torture's 39th Session:

...The Committee was worried that the use of TaserX26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use.

That's about as primary as you can get.

More than one expert feels taser use constitutes torture. You can argue otherwise. You would be wrong.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

First, the meta

Lambert writes:” I guess I’ll have to use an idea from our famously free press;….”
What idea would that be? Are we all supposed to guess? Intuit? Mind read? Wait, maybe the rest of the sentence will make it, ah, crystal clear.

“apparently, I’m both “clever”* in my use of language and also write sentences that need to be diagrammed — so I must be doing something right.”
Well sure, crystal something, but not clear. What does this dichotomous claim of rectitude have to do with the press? Beats me.

So how about this statement itself – what does it mean? “Clever” in the use of language to try (and ultimately fail) to cover up a prejudice is not a positive, it’s a wrong. Writing sentences that need to be diagrammed? Hell no, that sentence – and we’ll come back to that sentence momentarily – can’t be diagramed, that was the point of my challenge to do so. Employing a 45-word sentence that is so poorly constructed that it can’t be diagramed as the conclusion for a series of arguments is also wrong.

“so I must be doing something right.” What’s the aphorism? Oh yeah – Two wrongs don’t make a right – so no, you aren’t, not with this argument thread.

And then: “* Perhaps clever, in this context, means “frustratingly impossible to refute”?”
No, it doesn’t. The original claims of this post are false, and I’ll recap for you below just to save you and others from scrolling though the multiple refutations above. Nothing impossible about refuting the claims, nothing at all. As to the rest of your commentary here, I suppose I might be frustrated if I was Ashley but I’m not. This isn’t my first rhetorical rodeo, hombre, and all the juking and jiving doesn’t faze me more than a little. If you had effective and coherent arguments you’d have put them out. You haven’t put out anything but convoluted evasions and changes of subject, so the only reasonable conclusion is that you don’t actually have anything meaningful to say on topic.

And then, The Sentence (to use the term loosely):

“So, it looks like I could be wrong on the broad vs. narrow grounds for tasing (signing vs. following instructions) but right on the larger and critical issue of tasering to induce compliance being normalized (“their use has become a replacement for good police training”).”

Why has there been no explanation as to what that is supposed to mean? Here’s a speculation: perhaps on re-reading he couldn’t him self figure out what he was trying to communicate. Occam’s Razor says that’s it, but by all means prove me wrong.

Lambert, to be perfectly honest, the last several comments by you on this thread have been very difficult to follow or understand, and the tone comes across to me as very condescending. Maybe that's what you intend, maybe just my perception, but you should be aware it's unpleasant to deal with and in my view undeserved. Not as good as you can be.

Back On Topic

From scarshapedstar’s original at the top, we have these:

“Tasered in front of wife and baby? Check.”
A red herring argument. What do wife and baby have to do with anything? They don’t. Is the presence of wife and baby a Get Out of Being Arrested card? Are they license for criminal behavior? “Ah, say, Mr. Bank Robber, are those your wife and child? Well, then, on your way, and have a nice day!” If Driver McDipwit didn’t want to be arrested in front of wife and child, he should have signed the ticket. If he didn’t want to get tasered in front (technically, it was behind, but we’ll let that go) of wife and child he should have followed the cop’s instructions to turn around (said THREE times) instead of walking away (resisting arrest) and reaching to his bulging pocket (a threat move). It was the driver who had a callous disregard for the feelings of his wife and child, not the cop.

“Tasered for a speeding ticket? Check.”
This is a falsehood. Driver got a ticket for speeding. Driver refused to sign the ticket, thereby refusing to promise to appear in court to face the charge and so rejecting the offer to go free on recognizance, and got arrested for it. His choice, not the cop’s, who has no real alternative at that point but to arrest him. Driver got tased for resisting arrest and making a threatening move. He did NOT get tasered for a speeding ticket.

“No threat and no warning? Check.”
Driver was belligerent and uncooperative throughout. Driver refused to comply with the directive to turn around, in spite of multiple demands. Driver walked away from the officer and towards his vehicle, a potential lethal weapon. In the face of a drawn Taser and repeated commands to turn around, Driver moved his right hand deliberately and persistently onto or into a pocket bulging with an unknown object while positioning his left hand where it could not be seen. Plenty of threat potential there to justify Level Four Force.

“Sarcastic approval from other cops on the scene? Check.”
Another red herring. Sarcastic? Well, we sure don’t any of us ever want use any of that bad nasty sarcasm, do we? (Ah, damn, now, that just slipped out there. Ever happen to you?) Even if true, and without getting in the heads of the cops you have no idea if there was intentional sarcasm or some other reason for tension in their voices, so what? At that point in Driver Dickhead’s life, tasered, bleeding, handcuffed, arrested and humiliated all stemming from his bull-headed refusal to sign for a traffic ticket, I should think that a little sarcasm would be the least of his issues. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we need a new law specifying that the police should only use irony after an arrest, because it’s more respectful. (Damn, did it again.)

So that’s sorted then. Anyone out there want to dispute any of the above arguments, or any of the refutations of other false claims made in error by Digby and repeated by others without bothering to verify at the source? If so, bring it on, or just man up and admit that in this instance the cop was right and the driver was wrong so we can move the discussion onward to the, ah, larger issues.

Submitted by lambert on

... that I just don't have the time to address your concerns, bringiton. First things first!

Maybe that's why I write so bad?

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Until there's actual evidence. You can find an "expert" to say anything if you turn over enough rocks. I could locate a self-proclaimed expert on cell phone ring tone appreciation (Yo, Ashley!) who would state unequivocally that Lambert is an arrogant asshole, but you and I both know that isn't true. Show me evidence, not unsubstantiated "expert" claims.

Funny I don't see this in the official document, but whatever:

The Committee was worried that the use of TaserX26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use."

The Committee was worried. Well, then. Apparently not very worried, or they would actually do something about it. This is the kind of diplomatic language that gives the minority panel people a chance to make a statement of concern without actually enforcing anything.

I’ll accept this as a primary source, all right, which does not support your initial claim that "Tasers are Torture according to the UN." All it says is that the Committee is worried. They weren’t worried enough to do anything more than ask that Portugal reconsider their use. If they actually felt that tasers are torture, they certainly have the power to move to ban them outright. They have not.

We saw something similar occur a few years back over silicone oil breast implants, with lots of wild claims and very sad individual stories and plenty of experts and when all the dust had settled and the studies were done, there was no relationship between the implants and any disease whatsoever. Meanwhile, two good companies were driven out of business, many good people lost their jobs, many women were denied a perfectly safe reconstructive surgery option, and a whole lot of expensive court time was wasted.

All of the physiology says the risk of death or other serious sequelae from a taser should be nil. Admittedly, coming into contact with police when the situation escalates to the point where force is employed will increase the risk of injury and death, but there is no evidence that tasers make that risk higher. There are no good studies at this point. Ones underway will hopefully give us some clear real-world data from which to make judgments. Until then it is best guess, really, and mine is that the taser does more good than harm as a law enforcement tool. Your opinion may vary.

Submitted by lambert on

Really? The UN has power to ban, as opposed to recommending? Interesting data point. I'd go check the UN charter, but it's late, and I'm too consumed by the hatred for Hillary's vagina that bringiton helped me recognize to spend the time doing it. Sorry. Thanks for making me aware of my issues, though, bringiton. I won't forget it.

Meanwhile, here's an interesting story from a Des Moines Register reporter who agreed to be tasered to find out what it felt like. No, it's not as bad as waterboarding, though YMMV. Personally, I think it's rhetorical overkill to call tasering torture, assuming the police use the device according to the directions. It's unfortunate, as the UN pointed out, that we've had three deaths from electroshock technology in a short space of time, but perhaps that is a blip.

In any case, I'm happy to call tasering torment, as opposed to torture, and if normalizing torment as a means of compliance in a society that many think is slowly sliding toward a police state still seems like a net win, super. Whatever.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I wrote: “What is it with the Hillary fear and hate? Is it the breasts, or the vagina?”

Didn’t mention you - or anyone specifically - by name, nor were you in my mind. I don’t think you actually “fear” or “hate” Hillary. Do you? A lot of people do, right and left, and that emotion spreads itself around to the point where she gets criticized for things that wouldn’t merit a mention about any of the male candidates. This WSJ fantasy piece tries to paint her as devious, and we all know that’s a female trait (Ecclesiastes 7:26); manly men are all straightforward and plainspoken.

Yet even though it wasn’t directed at you, you took it personally. Why? And you have focused on “vagina” when I offered a choice, between vagina and breasts. Why? No need to actually answer here, consumed as you are; more, actually, than I would want to know. Best to keep that one all bottled up, to be sure.

Submitted by lambert on

Shorter bringiton: "I don't know what you're so defensive about!"

Quite takes me back to the happy, happy days of Junior High school, when that was the ultimate mindfuck.

I leave to it readers to decide whether your comments on the post were, or were not, directed to the author of the post.

And now, I need to go check my asshole for litotes, so thanks for bringing that to my attention as well. It's been quite a day at the orifice, hasn't it?

UPDATE I forgot to mention that you also wrote this:

Hopefully the streaming yellow stripe all over this thread is just an open HTML command and nothing Freudian.

Indeed the yellow was from an open HTML tag, which I then fixed. Since the yellow began in the post, I'm sure you'll be the first to understand why I reasoned that your comment had to have been addressed to the author of the post. Silly me! Wrong again!

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

to ban them outright"

Move to ban. General, true statement that you have once again siezed upon and twisted to misrepresent what was said. Why do you persist in doing that? Do you really think everyone out here is too dimwitted to notice? So condescending.

The EU Charter nations, including Portugal, are bound by a variety of Human Rights documents. The EU Parliament takes its cues very strongly from UN human rights decisions and opinions. A recommendation to ban tasers from the UN Commission on Torture would carry great weight with EU nations and would, IMO, almost certainly result in a ban.

Submitted by lambert on

I didn't understand that "move to ban" would be in the context of the process of a process in the UN Commission on Torture. Certainly that would be more authoritative than the Committee. Well argued (although, as you see above, I arrived at the position that tasering, when directions are followed, isn't torture).

As for your other comments, I will have to let readers decide. As I indicated above, I have quite a heavy agenda this evening. That Soros check will have been well-earned!

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Pity about your fixation with Junior High, you really should try to get past it. I sailed through oblivious in my geek haze, missed all the petty personal politics by not being aware or involved at all. A small blessing.

When I'm adressing you directly, I use your name. If you don't see the nom de blog "Lambert" tied directly to a statement or a question, then it doesn't apply specifically to you. It may generally, if the shoe fits, but if not then it doesn't. A lot of people write here. It just isn't possible to speak openly and worry over how Lambert might decide to take each and every sentence as though it were directed exclusively to him. When I call you out, you'll know its you I'm after, not to worry.

Re: litotes, you also seem to be excessively dedicated to finding persecution where none exists. It's Ashley that thinks ill of you (there's a quote from her to that effect somewhere) and I merely used it as a clearly ludicrous example of the inappropriate use of the "expert says" kind of claim. Do you really need that kind of reassurance? Well, OK then, for the record and unequivocally clear; I don't think you're an asshole.

Now give the orifices a rest and find an argument on topic. This is foolishness, and soooo Junior High.

Update on the Yellow stream: Actually, the comment was intended for the amusement of the general audience, why should it be limited to the author? The post, in my view, was an exercise in pissing all over Hillary. Yellow steam, pissing on, Freud, funny, or not. Waaaay to much import.

Here's hoping the readership has better things to do.

Submitted by lambert on

I'll leave these judgments for readers, at this point; certainly they have ample data, and any one of them may address any further concerns you may have. In addition, I have the Fellows to bring me to heel; if I've done wrong, I'm sure they won't be shy about letting me know.

UPDATE Of course, of course. Again, I'll leave to readers to decide whether there was analytical substance to my post, or whether the post was, as you are concerned to point out, "an exercise in pissing all over Hillary".

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I see agent bringiton is performing his usual flight of the bumblebee routine around here. Charming as usual.

[bringiton]: "All of the physiology says the risk of death or other serious sequelae from a taser should be nil." (http://correntewire.com/because_you_did_...)

"should be" - cheeky use of weasel wording there agent bumblebee. Of course that is your special gift isn't it? Anyway, seems Amnesty International isn't impressed with such table-top riffle stacking:

While medical examiners had usually attributed cause of death to other factors, such as drug intoxication, more research was needed, AI said, into the effects of electro-shocks on people agitated and under the influence of drugs; who had heart disease; were subjected to other restraints; or who were subjected to prolonged or multiple shocks. In at least 20 autopsy reports examined by AI, coroners have cited the taser as a causal or contributory factor in the deaths, sometimes combined with other factors.
http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/eng...

and some more here:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/eng...

AI has collected data on more than 290 cases of individuals in the United States and Canada who since 2001 have died after being struck by police Tasers. 15 of these were in Canada, the rest in the United States. Our sources include media reports, information from families of the deceased, and police and autopsy reports. While in most cases medical examiners have attributed death to other factors, such as "excited delirium" associated with cocaine intoxication, AI has identified at least 20 cases where coroners have found the Taser served as a causal or contributory factor in the death and other cases where the Taser was cited as a possible factor in autopsy reports. The organization is seeking more information on more than a dozen further cases where coroners are reported to have found a link between the TASER and death. AI continues to record all reported deaths, pending the results of a comprehensive, independent study, because the role played by the Taser often remains unclear. While we are not in a position to reach conclusions on the cause of death in each individual case, we believe there may be more cases among those reported where the Taser cannot be ruled out as a factor.

"nil".... "should be".... but isn't.

The flight of agent bumblebee will no doubt bumble on...and on...and on...

*

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

AI puts out a lot of inflammatory rhetoric on tasers but has no solid data to support their claims, and they know it.

Their words for a conclusion:

While we are not in a position to reach conclusions on the cause of death in each individual case, we believe there may be more cases among those reported where the Taser cannot be ruled out as a factor.

Got no data, don't have the ability to make assessments, but we really, really believe that it must be bad so therefore there must be some evidence of that somewhere so we'll keep digging even though "we are not in a position to reach conclusions on the cause of death in each individual case." Sure, swell, sounds promising.

Oh, and because we believe that tasers are really, really bad, then we must also believe that anyone who disagrees is really, really bad. Perfectly logical, in that special circular way that believers have.

“All of the physiology says the risk of death or other serious sequelae from a taser should be nil.” Yep, I'll stand by that. The subject is still under study, not all of the useful data has been collected and there is some small chance that I'm wrong, thus the "should" and "nil", but I doubt it.

Funny how uncomfortable authoritarians are around statements that are ever so slightly less than absolutist. Digital thinking in an analog world.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Naomi Klein is a very decent and good person. I don’t agree with everything she has to say, she’s a little fast and loose with the facts sometimes in her eagerness to make a point and occasionally she will make some illogical leaps trying to reach a conclusion she’s laid out before looking at all the information, but much to most of the time she’s spot on.

Klein wrote an OpEd in the LA Times a few days ago about the poor man who recently died in custody in the Vancouver Airport. She traces Robert Dziekanski’s journey from the huge dystopia that is modern Poland to his death in what he thought was the Promised Land.

But what happened in Vancouver was about more than a weapon. It was also about an increasingly brutal side of the global economy — about the reality that many victims of various forms of economic “shock therapy” face at our borders.

Dziekanski’s inhuman treatment at the hands of the Canadian police must be seen in this context. The police were called when Dziekanski, lost and disoriented, began shouting in Polish, at one point throwing a chair. Faced with a foreigner like Dziekanski, who spoke no English, why talk when you can shock? It strikes me that the same brutal, short-cut logic guided Poland’s economic transition to capitalism: Why take the gradual route, which required debate and consent, when “shock therapy” promised an instant, if painful, cure?

Then, in far too many cases, there is the third shock, the one that disciplines and deals with the discarded people: the desperate, the migrants, those driven mad by the system.

Each shock has the potential to kill, some more suddenly than others.

The simple, easy viewpoint to adopt is that the Vancouver death is part of a low level street war, police versus the rest of us, but it isn’t. The real conflict is an economic battle between the Plutocrats and the rest of us, in which the police are disadvantaged and victimized as much as anyone. In that larger war, the death of Robert Dziekanski and a million more just like him every year are seen by the Plutocrats as only so much collateral damage, the cost in disposable human beings of doing business.

Go and read at CommonDreams.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

"Got no data"

and neither do yoooo asshole. Aside from the data provided by or underwritten by Taser International, the people who make tasers.

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENG...

carry on agent bumblebee...

you ain't foolin' meeeeeeeeeeeee mr bumbel-beeeeeeeeeeee

*

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Silly Fauxmer. Thinking that a link, a nasty attitude, some juvenile mockery and authoritarian rigidity can amount to an effective argument. Silly, sad little Fauxmer.

We already exercised the Taser studies and data issue several threads back but maybe you missed that, perhaps you were dozing. Difficult to keep up on a topic where you have no actual foundation of knowledge, isn’t it? Since you’ve cited a link you like, let’s take a close look at it; when we’re done you can have a lie down and nap, or aestivate, or whatever it is that you do, and dream again of having the ability to win an argument on the merits.

*********

Fauxmer writes what he seems to think is the Gotcha Line: ““Got no data” and neither do yoooo asshole” (Authoritarians and their fixation with orifices, what is with that?)

Childish invective aside, I’ve already written several times, including upthread here, that multiple formal studies are underway to examine the effects of tasers in law enforcement. When they are done, we’ll hopefully have a better quantitative handle on what, if any, those effects may be. So no, I don’t have definitive application outcomes data, and neither does anyone else – pro or con.

What is known? For one thing, that the current flowing from a Taser is, depending on the model, between 1/30 and 1/10 of the current magnitude required to disrupt cardiac rhythm. The output is no where near enough to induce cardiac failure. There has been some speculation that people with implanted pacemakers or defibrillators might be at higher risk, but the manufacturers of those devices don’t agree. Multiple discharges don’t affect that current threshold shortfall; think of a two foot stepstool – no matter how many times you climb up, you still won’t be able to reach the roof of a multistory building.

We also know that that the use of Tasers has greatly expanded in recent years. If Tasers were killing people, we should be seeing an increase in deaths and we are not. So the logic for me is that from an electrophysiology viewpoint it is somewhere between highly unlikely and impossible that Tasers are killing people, and the available (admittedly flawed and limited) large outcomes databases do not show any such speculative effect; therefore, based on available data, the chance that Tasers are lethal is very low to none at all.

Never the less, those who make their decisions based on emotion rather than science and logic are unsatisfied, and so there are studies being done to better quantify what is already apparent to anyone with enough technical expertise. And that’s a good thing; I fully support doing the studies. It is, I believe, highly unlikely that we will learn anything about Tasers and death, other than that there is no causative linkage. What beneficial may come from the studies is to help address the unacceptable incidence of unexplained in-custody deaths. Too many people are dying mysteriously, and we don’t know why that is or what to do about it. These studies may help solve that mystery, and save lives.

Now for Fauxmer’s cited link, which in typical fashion he throws out without quoting any portion or providing any analysis of what it might mean for his argument, as though providing a link and being huffy somehow settles the issue at hand; so typically authoritarian. As often before, it appears that he himself didn’t take the trouble to carefully read his own linked article; let’s do that together, shall we?

First of all, it is very interesting from a communications standpoint to observe how AI changes their verbiage to fit the audience. In their fundraiser postings AI strongly words their claims that there are studies and experts and data to allege that as a matter of fact Tasers are killing people, sounds absolutely horrible. But at this link, where AI are presenting their arguments to a panel of educated people with real expertise in their fields, the claims are greatly muted. Why would that be? If they really had data to support the claims they trumpet to the general public, wouldn’t they put that front and center when addressing a formal study panel? Or is it that all they have are suspicions and fears and beliefs?

Here’s what they say:

"The degree of tolerable risk involving Tasers, as with all weapons and restraint devices, must be weighed against the threat posed. It is self-evident that Tasers are less injurious than firearms where officers are confronted with a serious threat that could escalate to deadly force.”

And:

”Amnesty International acknowledged in its statement that there may be "stand-off" situations where Tasers in dart-firing mode could effectively be used as an alternative to firearms to save lives.”

And:

”As a human rights organization, AI acknowledges the importance of developing non-lethal or "less-lethal" force options to decrease the risk of death or injury inherent in police use of firearms or other impact weapons such as batons. We support the development of such force options.”

And:

” We are aware that police officers may face difficult challenges when dealing with people who are disturbed or intoxicated, who resist arrest or who fail to respond immediately to commands – all instances in which Tasers are commonly employed by US law enforcement officers.”

So we see clearly that AI, for all of its reservations, acknowledges that Tasers have a role in law enforcement. That’s what I and others have been arguing, and it is a boost in confidence for that position to see that AI is now on the record in agreement.

Much of the rest of the document presents AI’s reservations about the use of Tasers, including concern for abuse such as torture, repeated or prolonged shocks, use when the subject is otherwise restrained, and deployment with children or the infirm. These are all valid concerns, with which I fully agree and support the ongoing development of strict guidelines for Taser use. No one, neither law enforcement nor the manufacturer nor I, want to see unnecessary infliction of pain, unnecessary injury, or avoidable death. To imply otherwise is a malicious lie. Those who employ such straw men do so presumably because they cannot win an argument with anyone but themselves.

The balance of the document recites AI’s collected information that in their view supports the idea that Tasers are lethal. It is much more heavily couched than what they present in their fundraiser missives, and their technical conclusions are in most cases reasonable and in others only somewhat exaggerated.

” While medical examiners have usually attributed the deaths to other factors, such as drug intoxication, some medical experts believe that shocks from taser-type weapons may exacerbate a risk of heart failure in cases where people are agitated or under the influence of drugs, or have underlying health problems.” [Emphasis added]

“Some…believe…may exacerbate a risk.” Not exactly a definitive statement of proof, is it? More of a maybe than anything, and not the kind of basis needed for making public policy decisions.

As I and others have written and as I stated above, there are too many deaths in custody, we don’t know why, and we need to find out. That a substantial number of these in-custody deaths occur in people who have been tased as a part of the arrest procedure is true but that is not proof of causation, merely of association. (A distinction often lost on individuals without formal training in logic, and in children who still prefer magical thinking.) People who have not been tased also are dying unexpectedly in custody, as they were doing before tasers were available. The increased association of taser use and in-custody death may simply be, almost entirely assuredly is, nothing more than a reflection of the increased use of tasers to enforce arrest of non-compliant subjects, the group that has historically been at the highest risk for sudden unexplained death.

So there it is. AI is in favor of Taser use under certain circumstances. AI is in favor of studies to examine the cause of sudden, unexpected deaths in custody. And, AI is in favor of strict guidelines for Taser use based on the outcomes of formal studies. I don’t have any problem with any of that, nor does the manufacturer nor does law enforcement.

Where I do disagree with AI is their call to ban the use of tasers until they can be proven to NOT cause deaths. This is a call for proof of a negative, something that is not possible to do. More reasonable, and what law enforcement is pursuing, is the continued development of Force Level guidelines to limit the use of force with tasers as well as every other force tool. In the absence of any data whatsoever that shows tasers to be deadly, and in view of the fact that 11,000 police agencies have deployed tasers and all of them report anecdotally that they believe tasers save lives and reduce injuries, it makes no sense to institute a ban at this time. If the studies show a link to negative outcomes then it will certainly be the right thing to re-examine taser use and, if justified by the data, ban their use.

*************

Now take your adolescent potty-mouth and go away, Fauxmer, adults are trying to have a serious discussion. Maybe you could go a-Googling for evidence to support your claim that Ron Paul is a Dominionist, an assertion you put out there but were unable to prove up when challenged. It is true, you know – he is one, and I did throw you a hint in my last post on Paul but you didn’t pick it up. Pity that, but perhaps you don’t speak Christianist. Try reading the Bible, starting with Genesis 1:1and working your way through Revelations 22:21, along with the Apocrypha. (Skip the “begats,” they add nothing.) Here’s a link for the King James Version in electronic text. As an accompaniment you should consult both Wesley's Commentary and the Lutheran Concordance. When that’s done, you’ll have enough foundation to begin to understand how these people talk in code to one another. All the best with that.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

You have settled nothing of the sort, sir.

You have simply proved yourself another concern troll. Much more persistent and effective than Nuddikins. With great respect for Naomi Klein.

Bullshit.

Who do you work for, really?

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

KB, I don't work for anyone but myself, and haven’t for a very long time. I'm currently retired after 40 years in medicine and engineering, most of that as an independent inventor, consultant, teacher and entrepreneur. I don’t belong or owe allegiance to any interest group. (Full disclosure, on reflection I do recall that I am an Inactive Member in good standing of both the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the IWW, from my youth.) What you read is who I am.

How about you, since we’re getting better acquainted and all?

On your post, really, “Bullshit” is all? Come on, you can do better. You’re very persuasive when you try. Assail my argument on the merits; disprove what I say by evidence and logic. Or, if you can’t, then consider – and I recognize you’ll find this a stretch – that perhaps it is you who are wrong.

I have no idea what a “concern troll” might be, but it seems to be the sort of labeling that authoritarians employ to try and box people into some preconceived set of limitations. Or maybe it’s just name-calling, another authoritarian tactic to try and degrade an opponent’s character. Hardly anyone is fooled by these maneuvers anymore, they reflect more badly on you than they do on me.

I have no idea what a “Nuddikins” is, nor does Google. Have you your own private language? How interesting for you.

Much more persistent and effective…” Thank you. Heartwarming to have one’s efforts recognized, however backhanded.

I like and respect Naomi Klein too; some coincidence, don’t you think?

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

by myself, the farmer, and others. Links for primary references to places like Amnesty International, and the United Nations Committee on Torture. Links on human physiology in other threads.

You consistently ignore and distort them and their evidence at great length.

You insult the host of the website on several threads and the general community here.

I hope you're a paid concern troll sir. Because if not you're evidencing a much greater disorder. You seem heavily and emotionally invested in the justification of the culture of cruelty.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

To the extent that there have been insults given, they have all been after insults were first hurled by others. Tit for tat. There is cetainly a thin-skinned attitude here by people who have no qualms about insulting others but don't seem to be able to handle it when they are the object. "Throwing elbows" it has been called. Want to keep it on a higher plane? Dandy. By all means, start with your next comment, too late for this last one.

All of the links to AI are to articles that themselves reference to other so-called studies and experts, generally unidentified. The same is true of the UN publications. Those are both secondary references, at best. When primary refences can be found, they are either specious or so equivocal that they serve no purpose to either side of the argument. Primary physiology references that provide evidentiary condemnation of tasers? Haven't seen any. If you have one, please call it again to my attention, as I have had to do repeatedly for all of you.

If I have distorted please point it out, specifically, and I'll deal with it.

If you find it insulting to be told you're wrong, well, that will be your problem and I am sorry for you on that.

Again at the end with the personal insults. In my life I have worked diligently to benefit others, and my efforts at improving surgical survival and healing have relieved the pain and made better the lives of hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million, individuals. You have no idea about me, or what I have accomplished. Your anger is that of a frustrated man who has lost an argument, nothing more.

More substance, less invective.

Oh, and your background? You asked for mine and its been given; your turn now.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

You'll not be getting any information about me. The management here knows exactly who I am. You don't qualify for this information. I don't trust people who justify torture.

And I don't believe you for a second.

The argument is nothing like lost.

Look in the mirror, sir, don't project your own inadequacies on others. You have been given primary citations, as good as they get here in cyberspace.

But the earth, she's flat, no?

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

are the same everywhere, cyberspace or otherwise. If a scientist publishes results from their own work, that journal article is the primary source. If a journalist writes a newspaper article about the study based on the journal article, the journalist's work is a secondary source. If a blogger then writes a post on the newspaper article, without going back to the original work, then the blogger's post is a tertiary source and so on. Each of those steps away from primacy risks introduction of personal opinion or interpretation that is not actually in the original, primary work. That happens a lot in journalism, and even more in the blogs. Not everyone bothers to track down original sources.

Like the game “Telephone” the farther away you are from the original the more likely there are to be errors. The AI articles are secondary and tertiary. Same with the UN statement regarding "studies and experts" opinion on tasers. When, as with the UN statement, the source of their information is not cited, it is impossible to know whether or not it is accurate. For me, that makes it useless as a means of reaching a logic-based conclusion. Your threshold may vary.

I've systematically dissected and refuted every argument presented on this thread regarding the tasering described at the top. Here and elsewhere, I have dissected and refuted every claim of "proof" that tasers kill – there is none. That seems to annoy you, and others, but your annoyance level isn't the issue – the truth is the issue. If you are put off because the truth runs counter to your prejudices, that is something you need to deal with; no one else can help you there.

If there are so many primary sources as you claim please round them up, shouldn’t be that difficult if they’ve already been cited here at Corrente.

As to whether or not tasers hurt, there is no argument. It hurts like hell; it’s supposed to. On my personal scale of 1 to 10 it comes in at around 8, just above a kidney stone or a broken foot. I’ve felt worse. Compared to pepper spray or a baton, a taser is no more painful and doesn’t last as long. If your objective is to bring someone resisting arrest under control as quickly and with as little pain as possible, the taser is a better choice than either of the other two options and vastly better than a gun. I am bewildered as to why that is difficult for anyone to grasp.

It doesn’t give me any pleasure to see anyone else in pain; you can claim that, but it isn’t true and you have no basis whatsoever for saying so.

Whether or not you “believe” me is of no consequence; I’m not a religion. Believe what you want, but just repeating over and over that you believe something to be so is less than sufficient for most other people, including me. You’ll just have to deal with that on your own, too.

Nothing I’ve said justifies torture. I’ve repeatedly decried torture in all its forms, but somehow you have become vested in condemning me for it anyway. For some reason it’s important for you to accuse me, however falsely, of being something I clearly am not; perhaps denigrating me helps you to feel better about yourself. You’ll need to sort that out.

And oh, “executive privilege” on your background after demanding mine! How very droll.

I ask again, do you have anything substantive to add to the topic of this post, as opposed to your opinion of my character? If so, please do. If all you have is personal attacks and condemnation for me, please save your keystrokes; I'll be sure to give you plenty of opportunity elsewhere.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Oct 2007
Amnesty International: Statement to the U.S. Justice Department inquiry into deaths in custody.

AI [Amnesty internationl] has collected data on more than 290 cases of individuals in the United States and Canada who since 2001 have died after being struck by police Tasers. 15 of these were in Canada, the rest in the United States. Our sources include media reports, information from families of the deceased, and police and autopsy reports. While in most cases medical examiners have attributed death to other factors, such as "excited delirium" associated with cocaine intoxication, AI has identified at least 20 cases where coroners have found the Taser served as a causal or contributory factor in the death and other cases where the Taser was cited as a possible factor in autopsy reports. The organization is seeking more information on more than a dozen further cases where coroners are reported to have found a link between the TASER and death. AI continues to record all reported deaths, pending the results of a comprehensive, independent study, because the role played by the Taser often remains unclear. While we are not in a position to reach conclusions on the cause of death in each individual case, we believe there may be more cases among those reported where the Taser cannot be ruled out as a factor.

http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/eng...

Sir, I am a former underwater explorer and inventor of the Mr P-Niss. I am also nephew of deposed agriculture minister of erstwhile Central African nation who seek aynone person here perhaps to provide primary citations to reject AI claims above. Additional if you should contact me I wood provide you such good faith generous assistance of investment capital on my behalf threw your help to secure for me alone from Baleares Islands treasury bank in the amouint of 22 millions should you seek to assist me in this matter further. Thank you.

*

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Again, you can't get any more primary than links to the original statements by Amnesty International or the UN.

I think that's the farmer's gentle way of telling you he thinks you too dissemble about who you really are, sparky.

Not that people ever lie in cyberspace.

But I'll tell you this much: I am very familiar with medical science literature, how primary citations work, and sincerely doubt you have anything up on me regarding the first hand knowledge of biological effects of electric currents on animals.

As to whether or not I'm telling the truth...

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Just ran across this little item in today's NPS Morning Report (for Nov. 26 if you go looking for the original on later days use the little dropdown box in the upper right):

Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD)
Police Impersonator Arrested

A local, off-duty police officer was traveling on the parkway around 3 a.m. on November 9th when a white Ford Crown Victoria with flashing red/blue emergency lights pulled in behind him, with the operator broadcasting over a PA system. The car did not have government tags, and the officer suspected that it was being driven by a police impersonator. The officer accordingly called for assistance, ...[snip]

When he [the perp] got out of his vehicle, Zielinski saw that he was wearing a police tactical vest and was carrying a semi-automatic pistol in the vest. Zielinski drew his pistol and ordered the man to show his hands. He ignored the commands, said he was a police officer, put his hands in his pockets, and pulled out a badge. Zielinski then took him into custody. Investigation revealed that the man was a local armed security guard with no police authority within NPS jurisdiction. His vehicle was searched and found to contain police lights, sirens, police scanners, a shotgun, a stun gun with ammunition, an ASP baton, a hat and jackets with the word “POLICE” on them, and other assorted equipment. He was charged with impersonating a police officer and with weapons offenses.

If we must have these devices (I'm not clear on what this "stun gun" consisted of but since it is specified as coming with "ammunition" I guess it's a beanbag or similar item rather than a taser) can they at least be very strictly restricted to legitimate members of the police? As in those who are hired/fired/paid/supervised by some ultimately elected authority rather than a purely commercial hack?

Guess this is a little OT since the main taser discussion is of use by "legitimate" authorities, but this is still related. A very common tactic for rapists in my younger days was for some hood to get a cop cartop bar light and go trolling rural roads for women driving alone. Hit the light, they pull over, you got 'em.

What happens when tasers start getting into private hands? On the usual pretext of "giving upstanding citizens Du Rat Tuh DE-fund, er I mean DE-fend, themselves?" Of course it's stupid, a gun whether lead or electron powered is a crappy defensive weapon since the party on offense always has the drop on you.

And with this upcoming decision of the Bush Supremes to hear a "major 2nd Amendment case" makes me very nervous. The fact that the lives and freedom of 300M people revolve around the placement of a comma in a sentence is a testament to the power of punctuation, but there you have it. I can see good and bad on either way these schmucks could rule on the Second, but given that they are schmucks the thumb does not seem likely to come down on the side of Good in anything they do.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

not with the difficulty of refuting your argument

* Perhaps clever, in this context, means “frustratingly impossible to refute”?

but with convincing you to reconsider the primary foundation from which you argue -- i.e. that all cops are always bad and will always misuse their power.

If you substitute "offensive linemen" or "school teachers" or "Congress members" for cops in that line above, does your conviction change?

Mine doesn't. They're all human beings. They're all doing the best they can with the tools and training they've been afforded. I may not always like the results they get, and I may think the policies they're trained to defend are outstandingly stupid, but that's not the fault of the individual; and nor is it reason to condemn them with a blanket.

Submitted by lambert on

I do not, not, not, NOT believe that:

[T]hat all cops are always bad and will always misuse their power.

I do believe that all humans are subject to whatever the evolutionary equivalent of original sin is, and that no (N.O.) human is fit to be trusted with power over any (A.N.Y.) human. Unfortunately, in order for society to function, we must give some humans power over others; the issue is how to make the exercise of power bearable. The answer in this country has been the Constitution; that's why we have checks and balances; ("ambition must be made to counteract ambition") and the rule of law generally.

Even "good" people behave badly when put into impossible situations by authority figures who wish to promote evil; see the work of Stanley Milgram or, closer to home, what the "bad apples" at Abu Ghraib did when Bush subverted the chain of command and OK'ed torture through nods and winks. The Founders, being or knowing slaveholders, surely knew this fact intimately.

My nightmare scenario is an Abu Ghraib on a much broader scale, domestically, but implemented using the same techniques of social engineering developed in Iraq. So, what I perceive as the creeping normalization of enforcing compliance through electroshock concerns me greatly. If anything, my concern is for the police. If they think things are bad currently, imagine how had they could get.

NOTE Not sure what "line above" you're refuting. If I got too cartoony or shorthandish, I'll be happy to retract. This comment as close as I can come to where I've come down on this issue, absent a full post, and I haven't had time to look up the studies.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

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