Since Robert Dziekanski was cruelly taken down by four RCMP officers with substantial assistance from such a Taser, I have been watching this with great interest. And I say it’s about damn time.
For Taser to maintain for so very long that their guns are absolutely harmless to all simply defies reason. Anything that can make someone involuntarily drop to the floor and writhe in pain cannot possibly be harmless, yet through aggressive litigation they have managed to silence law enforcement, courts, lawyers and even medical examiners.
Tasers were originally approved as a “less-lethal” alternative to the use of a firearm in disabling dangerous suspects. I don’t know specifically when it happened, but somewhere along the way it became okay to zap anything that didn’t immediately succumb to a spoken word or two – whether they were a danger to anything or anyone, including themselves – became irrelevant.
For that irrelevance, I blame Taser. They present reams and reams of research and evidence that they have bought and paid for as though it is the empirical scientific data it is not. It only serves to reassure the people that use them that they will do no harm. And if it will do no harm, what harm is there in zapping an old lady when she’s small and you’re obviously huge?
Not that it matters. Our police do need something that is less lethal than a gun, and that thing might as well be a Taser. It is less lethal, after all. And I suppose I’d rather be knocked down with electricity than with a hail of bullets just about any day of the week.
But let’s at least acknowledge that these things are dangerous. Let’s admit that they can cause grievous bodily harm, and let’s get the people who carry them to treat them with the same respect they would treat a firearm. As long as the capacity to kill is there, it cannot be ignored. To do so makes fools of all of us.
It does strike me that Big Tobacco did much the same thing for a very long time. Cigarettes weren’t addictive, they weren’t dangerous, they just tasted great and made you a sexy cowboy or something. Of course, now we know they were lying through their teeth the whole time, and I suspect the same sort of revelation from Taser in the years to come.
So, come on, Taser. Fess up to these things being dangerous. Sell them as something that is dangerous. I’m sure Glock or Smith & Wesson or Colt or Browning or whoever doesn’t get sued when someone gets shot by a gun they made, so put yourselves in the same boat. It won’t stop the police from buying them, but I suppose you might sell less cartridges for them as they would hopefully be used much less.