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Friday, December 07, 2007

Tasers and public safety

Marie Cisowski sits behind a photograph of her son Robert.

I've just sent an email to Stockwell Day, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, expressing my concern about the continuing use of Tasers in Canada. I did it by going to
this link . For my American friends, here's a link to information on taser use in the US. Since 2001 more than 280 individuals in the US have died after being struck by police Tasers.

Over the past two months in Canada, at least four people have died following use of a Taser by police. Many people around the world have watched the
video footage of poor Robert Dziekanski, who died when tasered by police in the Vancouver International Airport after a night of confusion and a lack of assistance. (This video is somewhat disturbing...)

I am concerned that the device continues to be deployed even though, unlike most police equipment, the safety parameters of Tasers have yet to be independently established.

Consider joining me in calling for a moratorium on the use of Tasers and similar devices by law enforcement officials until there has been independent and comprehensive study of their use and effects. Click on the
link to let Stockwell Day know what you think.

I heard a discussion on NPR about Tasers just this week. Two things struck me as esp. disturbing. For one, there are cops out there not trained in how to use them properly, which compounds the problem. Secondly, private citizens also have access to them.
Good point Scarlet. At this time citizens in Canada can't buy them but the market is big in the US. They even come in designer colours.
Went to the link and sent an e-mail off to Mr. Day. Didn't click on the box to go public - not sure why.

(Note - I do not do everything I'm told to do...your suggestions just happen to be good ones.)
Somewhat disturbing video? It clearly disturbed you, Gary.

The thing that disturbs me about tasers is police come to rely on them instead of negotiation or common sense. Violence becomes a common tactic rather than a tool of last resort. It's lack of training that concerns me.
If you go to theTaser company web page check out their suggestions for the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one.
Good words.

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