Monday, November 19, 2007

TRIGGER-HAPPY WITH TASER GUNS

Man Dies After Taser Is Used by Deputy

By Lori Aratani Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, November 19, 2007; B04

A 20-year-old man died early yesterday after a Frederick County sheriff's deputy used a Taser stun gun on him in an attempt to break up a fight, the sheriff's office said.

. . . The man struck by the Taser fell to the ground and was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, where he died, Bailey said. The chief medical examiner's officer in Baltimore will determine the cause of death, she said.

. . . the first incident in the county in which the use of a Taser might have resulted in someone's death, according to Bailey. She said Taser use by the sheriff's office has consistently risen: Stun guns were deployed 12 times in 2005 and 24 times in 2006. Yesterday's incident was the 26th time this year in which a Taser was used by sheriff's deputies, she said.

The devices resemble pistols and can be used to shoot probes into skin or clothing. Although many local law enforcement agencies favor them as a nonlethal alternatives to guns, critics say not enough is known about their safety and effectiveness.

--read entire article--

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It's a tough job, policing. Time was a cop was a respected presence, the nightstick seldom needed. With drug use, fear of police and a general decline in respect (to anyone, including parents, kids, the elderly and spouses), police have become more aggressive and at the same time given a 'tool' that purports to be harmless.

But the use is becoming indiscriminate. The Kerry speech is but one example, the victim screaming "don't taser me."

In Chicago, police were called to an old lady's home, when she didn't respond to neighbors. All 5'2" and 85 pounds of her met the police, fearfully (after they had broken down her door) with a hammer in her hand--suffering from dementia and the police tasered her. 84 years old, she's in the hospital and may not recover.

What can they possibly be thinking?

The answer is, too often they are not thinking. They are scared. Our police, who once walked beats and knew the neighborhood, now drive around buttoned up in squad cars, unwilling to interact with a hostile environment.

We rank our most dangerous cities like football teams.

"Detroit is number one. Last year's crime leader, St. Louis, fell to No. 2. Another Michigan city, Flint, ranked third, followed by Oakland Calif.; Camden, N.J.; Birmingham, Ala.; North Charleston, S.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; Richmond, Calif.; and Cleveland."

There are areas in which America is increasingly becoming a third-world country and law enforcement is leading that category as well.


* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Civil Rights, check out Opinion-Columns.com