Thursday, September 23, 2010

Don't Tase Me Bro!

That very sentence will either make you laugh or make you cringe.  I guess it depends on what side of the taser you are on.  The taser or the tasee.  If you do what you are supposed to do, you will probably never be on the business end of riding the lightning.

The use of tasers is back in the news again.  Is it excessive when they are used by Police officers?  I would say that almost all of the time when someone is zapped, they had it coming.  Yes, I am sure there are a few cases the use was not warranted.  I think these are the exception and not the norm.

The truth of the matter is this, it never looks good when police officers use force.  It never does.  I know.  I have been a police officer for most of my adult life.  I have had to use force on several occasions.  It never looks good.  No matter how justified it is.

Recently on the Early Show, a female reporter asked a former NYPD officer what people can do to avoid being tased.  This may be one of the dumbest questions I have ever heard.  The officer's response was priceless, "Do what you are told."  Sounds simple enough.

Cops usually don't roll into a scene and think I'm going to physically hammer somebody here.  There are usually some circumstances that lead up to the impending carnival ride.  Usually, the bad guy pays the quarter to ride and then bitches about the ride when it's over.  Do what you are told.  Don't fight, don't spit, don't run and you are probably going to be alright.

There are always going to be those cases when somebody's ticket gets permanently punched even if the officer used the minimum amount of force needed to end the situation.  It happens.  It's unfortunate, but it happens.  These are freak occurrences and no one planned on or tried killing anyone.  Most of the time there underlying medical problems that contribute to the death or there is something that is running through their veins that sends them flying into the abyss.  There is no way for the officer to know that prior.  I can tell you, you don't have the chance to ask a persons medical history or if they are on drugs as they are trying to bash your head in because they want to get away.

One case, the suspect is suing because he has a pacemaker and the cops used a taser on him.  Tough shit.  I can't believe the cop didn't stop to ask as you were fighting him or not complying.  Now it's the cops fault.  An officer has a split second to make the best decision they can to end a situation as quick as possible.  Then everybody and their brother has forever to set back and analyze the copper's actions.  Unless it is just crazy over the top brutality, the cop did what he needed to do.  It is easy to set back and say you should have done this or you should have done that in the comfort of your office.  You should try it on the side of a deserted road, by yourself at 2 in the morning, when you are fighting for your life.  The bad guy's health history never crosses your mind.

Give the cop the benefit of the doubt until you get all of the facts.  Most important don't be an asshole.

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