Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Set Tasers to Kill

Pardon the Star Trek reference, but Tasers have been in the lately, and for good reason.

I think enforcement organizations, doing their best to protect the men and women who put their lives on the line every day, have gone too far with their lax use of tasers as an alternative.

I've got kin folk in the enforcement community. Please do not misconstrue my point here.

Too many enforcement individuals are taking the easy way out when confronting suspected lawbreakers and detainees. They do not want to shoot the person that they are dealing with, but they perceive the taser as a safe alternative when involved in a conflict. For the most part that is true. But when should they use a Taser?

Common sense usually dictates the answer to that question. But apparently, in the case of Kansas City's Louise Jones, common sense didn't prevail. Apparently, a patrol car was was blocking the driveway to the Jones domicile. In trying to get the officer's attention, Louise Jones broke a local no-honking ordinance (except to prevent an accident). Apparently, the officers decided to make an example of the unruly grandparents, and in an effort to bring these seasoned criminals to justice, Tasered Loise Jones.

Was a call for backup made or were the officers on the scene afraid of the ribbing they'd get from their colleagues at needing help with a couple of hexagenarians? Was a serious attempt to calmly rectify the situation, save the local taxpayers the cost of judicial proceedings and head off any embarrassment to the local enforcement organization made?

The fact that Tasers are classified as non-lethal weapons has probably led enforcement personnel to be more willing use them in a conflict. Instead of using discourse, negotiation, superior numbers, trained officers and common sense, the officer is more likely than ever to reach for the Taser as a short cut.

The Taser has turned our local law enforcement personnel into a "non-lethal" warrior who believe they can act without fear of 'causing serious harm' to the target. As we're finding out, this kindler, gentler, hand-held electric chair is being misused and causing deaths.

Tasers, like guns, are wonderful tools when used properly. It's my opinion that Tasers should be utilized in ALL communities. But their use should only be condoned as a near last resort. I'm glad to see communities like mine are reviewing their use of Tasers but I do not want them to do away with a valuable law enforcement tool. What we need is more common sense and restraint in their use by our officers.

So, honk if you love KC!