HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins

emails:
Digby:
digbysez at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Thursday, December 25, 2008

 
Tasers Across The Pond And Everywhere

by digby


Finally, someone has written a thoughtful argument against tasers in a mainstream newspaper. It's in Britain, but they are on verge of going full taser, so it's right that they should be discussing it. It's more than we ever did here in the US.

Johann Hari:

Daniel Sylvester can't forget the night the police fired 50,000 volts of electricity into his skull. The 46-year-old grandfather owns his own security business, and he was recently walking down the street when a police van screeched up to him.

He didn't know what they wanted, but obeyed when they told him to approach slowly. "I then had this incredible jolt of pain on the back of my head," he explains. The electricity made him spasm; as he fell to the ground, he felt his teeth scatter on the tarmac and his bowels open. "Then they shot me again in the head. I can't describe the pain." (Another victim says it is "like someone reached into my body to rip my muscles apart with a fork.") The police then saw he was not the person they were looking for, said he was free to go, and drove off.

This did not happen in Egypt or Saudi Arabia or any other country notorious for using electro-shock weapons. It happened in north London and, if the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has her way, it will be coming soon to a street near you. In Britain there are 3,000 police officers trained to use Tasers as part of specialised armed response units, but Smith has fired a jolt forward. She wants there to be 30,000 Taser-carrying officers, authorised to use them against unarmed citizens, including children. These "stun-guns" fire small metal darts into your skin, and through the trailing wires run an agonising electric current through your body.

Smith is right to say that the police face a growing threat of violence, and these heroic frontline officers must have the means to defend themselves. She's also right to argue it better to use a Taser than to use a gun. But the police can already swiftly call out armed response teams, equipped with Tasers and firearms. If we move beyond this to a widespread culture of assault by electricity, it will only endanger the police – and the rest of us.

Smith wants Tasers to be distributed well beyond the ranks of specially trained firearms officers, but Tasers can kill. Amnesty International has just published a report showing that, since 2001, 334 people have died in the US during or just after Tasering. Jarrel Gray was a partially deaf 20-year-old black man involved in an argument in the street in Frederick County, Maryland, when the police approached him and ordered him to lie on the ground. He didn't hear them – so they Tasered him. As he lay paralysed on the ground, they told him to show his hands. He couldn't obey. They Tasered him again. Jarrel died in hospital two hours later.

Ryan Rich was a 33-year-old medical doctor who had an epileptic seizure while driving his car on a Nevada highway. He crashed into the side of the road. The police smashed a window to get into the car and Ryan woke up, startled. The police officer reacted by Tasering him repeatedly. Only when they were handcuffing him did they notice he was turning blue. He was dead before he got to hospital. The coroner noted dryly that the Taser "probably contributed" to his death. Taser International's brochures claim their weapons have "no after-effects."

There may, in fact, be even more deaths than are recorded. Taser International has responded to medical examiners saying their weapons kill not by changing their weapons, but by suing the medical examiners. After the chief medical examiner of Summit Country, Ohio, ruled that Tasering caused the death of three young men, they sued her, and she was forced to remove the conclusions from her reports. The president of the National Association of Medical Examiners says Taser International's behaviour is "dangerously close to intimidation".

Yet Smith appears still to be taking the corporate propaganda of Taser International – who dominate the international stun-gun market – at face value. The company are startlingly glib when their spiel begins to crumble. A recent scientific study conducted by biomedical engineers for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation found that nine per cent of the guns give a far larger electric shock than advertised. Some sent a 58 per cent higher voltage through the victim's body. Steve Tuttle, the vice-president of Taser, responded: "Regardless of whether or not the anomaly is accurate, it has no bearing on safety." The UK Defence Scientific Advisory Council has warned there is research suggesting that Tasers could cause "a serious cardiac event" when fired at children. But still Smith won't compromise.

Everyday on-the-beat policing does not happen in the tightly controlled scenarios imagined by the Home Office. It is messy and scrappy and carried out at high speed by people who are frightened and coursing with adrenaline: some 90 per cent of Tasered people in the US are unarmed. Matthew Fogg, who led a SWAT team in the US, warns that Tasers create a culture where "if I don't like you, I can torture you".

Read the whole thing.

Sadly, we have yet another statistic:

A naked man who was banging on doors and windows at a northside apartment complex died Wednesday after being shocked by Tasers at least three times during a confrontation with Harris County sheriff's deputies, authorities said.

About 4 a.m., deputies received calls from residents at the apartments in the 200 block of Dominion Park near Kuykendahl.

Investigators said the 46-year-old man was randomly knocking on doors and windows and yelling while walking around the complex. At one point, he kicked open a front door and briefly went inside an occupied apartment, officials said.

The resident "did not know who he was," said Lt. John Legg of the Sheriff's Office.

The first deputy arrived within minutes.

"He was immediately confronted by the suspect, who ran toward his patrol car, opened the front passenger door and climbed in," Legg said.

The deputy ordered the man out, but the man ignored his commands, yelling and flailing his arms, Legg said.

"He was incoherent," the lieutenant said. "The deputy said his eyes appeared glassed over."

The deputy's Taser had little, if any, effect, officials said. After the man got out of the patrol car and pulled out the stun gun's prongs, the deputy fired it again while struggling with the man, officials said.

Autopsy ordered

Another deputy arrived and ordered the naked man to back away, then used his Taser, investigators said.

Deputies were then able to handcuff the man, officials said.

He appeared to be unresponsive when paramedics arrived, officials said.

They performed CPR en route to Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Torturing and killing the mentally ill with tasers is becoming commonplace. There must be a better way.


h/t to many readers for both of these articles.

Search Digby!