Tasers... The Non Lethal Alternative?aries 4 comments
I had a really interesting discussion recently with a good mate of mine who is an ex prison officer now tasked with combat training other prison officers to deal with violent and dangerous inmates and situations like riots, cell extractions and the like. Our conversation was prompted by the recent story of a Perth man who was tased 27 times in one day and 40 times within 7 days by West. Australian Police.
I asked him his opinion on the whole Taser debate as I have my own very clear opinions on it and wondered if his views aligned with mine. I was interested to learn that he had in fact been personally Tased twice during his training with the weapon. His recollection of the Tasing was nothing short of incredible.
Joe (not his real name) is by no means a wimp. An ex military man he weighs in at well over 100kg of pure muscle and stands about 6 foot 5 inches tall. He has been involved in many violent and life threatening situations and to the best of my knowledge has come through it all unscathed, such is his size and skill in hand to hand combat.
He had this grand plan to get up off the floor after his Tasing, dust himself off and say something smart to his instructor like "Is that all you got?" However what actually happened was a different story altogether. Joe said it was nothing short of being hit by a truck. "The pain is indescribable" he tells. "It's instantaneous lights out, like nothing you have ever felt or would ever want to feel, nor wish apon anyone else in your life." Needless to say after his Tasing he recalls coming to his senses and saying "Please don't ever do that to me again!"
A common misconception with Tasers is that they cause heart attacks. Joe assured me that Tasers were in fact medically and specifically designed to put a non lethal charge of incredibly low amperage but high voltage into the recipient so as not to interrupt normal heart function. He went on to say that it can reasonably be argued that those people who do experience heart attacks and death in conjunction with a Tasing would have done so anyway given that they were in a tense, high pressure arrest or conflict situation with an extremely accelerated heart rate. Under these conditions people with weak or malfunctioning hearts would likely if not almost definitely experience cardiac arrest without being Tased.
It stands to reason that if a man can be Tased 27 times in one day (actually in a few hours) and not suffer a heart attack that they are in fact a non lethal alternative to a firearm. So why all the hubbub? To me it all seems relatively straight forward. It is my opinion and certainly Joe's opinion also, that Tasers should only ever be used in situations when a gun would otherwise be used, meaning that as an officer of the law you would only ever draw and use your Taser in a life threatening situation where yourself, the offender or members of the public is in imminant mortal danger.
For instance, during the Perth incident, a single man in a confined space, surrounded by approximately 9 officers was Tased repeatedly. This is utterly unacceptable and irrespective of how violent or abusive he was, if 9 trained law enforcement officers cannot contain one man, then they are not fit to be police officers in the first place in my (humble) opinion and should all be stripped of their jobs immediately for this ridiculous and inhumane act.
Would they have shot him 27 times? Of course they wouldn't and that's precisely my point. The guidelines should be simple. Where you would otherwise be forced to kill someone in the interests of public or personal saftey in your duties as an officer, you may use a Taser. If a Taser is used in any other instance the officer(s) responsible should be bought under immediate investigation and if it is deemed that the weapon was used unnecessarily, disciplinary action should be taken against them immediately.
It should also be mandatory that every officer who carries a Taser, like Joe, must first take a hit from one before being given any resposibility over one. Joe can certainly attest to the fact that having been hit by one, he will NEVER use one in anything but the most dire and life threatening situations.
So, what do you think? Everything you might like to know about Tasers can be found HERE. Maybe have a read before you post? Do you know anyone who has Tased or been Tased? Do you think like I do, or do you think they are evil and should be banned?