Friday, December 07, 2007
Tasers and public safety
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.
(Note - I do not do everything I'm told to do...your suggestions just happen to be good ones.)
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.