The news that Strathclyde Police Force has introduced Taser stun-guns has already sparked the usual round of “letters to the editor” stating various figures about how many people have died in the USA since these guns were introduced over there.
Personally, as a supporter of Amnesty International, I find myself torn on this issue.
On one hand there is evidence that these stun-guns can kill. That is a lot more than they are supposed to do, and there are calls for more rigorous testing before Tasers are rolled out across all the police forces in the country.
On the other hand these stun-guns are designed as a last-ditch option, so for a percentage of their use they will be aimed at criminals, people offering deadly harm to others. My sympathy level always drops in these cases.
On, um, a hand belonging to someone else the recent shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes proves that mistakes can be made but I would suggest that, in you consider the NON-mortality rate of the stun-gun, it would be a better option than a gun.
Of course these kinds of things are always going to spark debate (ouch), and as ever the knee-jerk reaction is the most worrying thing. We are becoming an increasingly reactionary society, already playing the blame game, pre-judging events that have yet to happen. Some people are suggesting that the police will just forget about their batons and use tasers instead and whilst this suggestion does irk, it also invokes images of Indiana Jones style scenes where they calmly ‘taser’ the onrushing ned and his chib*.
The world we live in is not ideal, I’ve mentioned before that there seems to be a lack of respect, a lack of discipline in some areas of society. We should be helping those areas by providing funds where needed, helping with education and supporting the families until they are in a position to help others. I truly believe that.
However the smallest subsection of society (of humanity?) is happy to take take take. They don’t want educated, they don’t want supported, they want what they want and they don’t care who gets in their road. For THOSE people, I say Taser them if required. Harsh? Yes. Just like life.