November 25, 2007

"You cannot call it real pain. I just found that time was infinitely long."

Says Antoine di Zazzo, who's been tasered more 50 times. Di Zazzo — a Taser representative in France — has tasered the French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen and offered to taser the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy declined the offered but made a campaign promise to arm the country's 300,000 police with tasers.
National Front leader Le Pen, who was 79 at the time, went to inspect the gun last year because of the headlines it made when Sarkozy made his pledge as interior minister. "He did not want to try it but I took him a bit by surprise," said di Zazzo.

"He has special protection because he is a leading politician but I got round them and fired into his shoulder. He fell over but got up again and then went around telling people: 'You are shaking the hand of the man who has tried Sarkozy's toy'."
Now, that's really strange. Why is di Zazzo out bragging about this, instead of in prison?

Meanwhile, reports of deaths by Taser are getting a lot of attention:
There has been much debate in Canada after a 40-year-old Polish man died last month after he was 'tasered' by police. Another 36-year-old man died Saturday five days after an altercation with police who used a Taser to subdue him.

There have been at least three other deaths this week in the United States after police use of the Taser.

Amnesty International has said there have been about 300 deaths around the world after Taser use and has called for it to be suspended while a full investigation into the impact is conducted.

On Friday, the UN Committee said the stun gun "causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture".

Taser International says that no death has been attributed to the use of the gun and that the controversy is caused by misunderstanding of new technology. It has won more than 50 legal cases in the United States alleging the gun was linked to a death.

"If electricity was to kill it would do so straight away," said di Zazzo. "In most of these cases people have carried on fighting or struggling after they were hit by the Taser and had recovered. In a lot of these cases there is a drug overdose or cerebral delirium involved."

"In Canada, the man carried on struggling afterwards and was hit by batons and the police knelt on him. You can also die from being hit with a baton or knelt on," he added.

Taser says its device "saves lives" because it is an effective alternative to a real gun. Each stun round is videod by a camera on the gun for future evidence.

Anyway, it seems to me that Taser has the better side of that argument. We're talking about disabling someone who is a current threat — an alternative to the use of some other weapon. This is different from the question of inflicting pain on someone who is already restrained. Or do you think that the use of pain to disable a person ought to be considered torture and that police ought to be required to use a weapon that disables by damages a person's body?

I was interested to see that there is a camera built into the guns used in France. I see there's talk in the U.S. of adding these $400 accessories to tasers.
Taser Cams are like in-car videos and serve two primary functions," said Peoria Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard. "First, they can prevent abuse by their mere existence. More importantly, however, they can disprove false allegations of misuse when they arise."...

The Peoria County Jail already use Taser Cams... Sheriff Mike McCoy said..."You see what the Taser sees. It answers a whole lot of questions, and it's a factual tool for us."

Interesting. You see what the target does while the Taser is pointed at him. You'll have to figure out what he was doing a moment before that.

And prepare for the new Taser: "a mini-flying saucer like drone which could also fire Taser stun rounds on criminal suspects or rioting crowds."

11 comments:

Ron said...

a mini-flying saucer like drone which could also fire Taser stun rounds on criminal suspects or rioting crowds.

Yow! Thunderbolt Frisbees of Death!

Ron said...

We need a LOLCAT of Sarkozy: "Don't taze me, bro!"

Ron said...

We could have tazer parties or movie nights: "If you see Nic Cage do something stupid, taze the person to your left!"

jeff said...

""First, they can prevent abuse by their mere existence. More importantly, however, they can disprove false allegations of misuse when they arise."

Sure, if the police actually admit there is anything that constitutes misuse. It seems like more and more of them are resorting to a taser as a first resort rather than a last-before-lethal resort. Tasers are being used in situations where the cop wouldn't have used mace in previous years.

reader_iam said...

"a mini-flying saucer like drone which could also fire Taser stun rounds on criminal suspects or rioting crowds."

Ugh. I like that not at all.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

di Zazzo

Sounds like something one says after being tazed.

Revenant said...

Now, that's really strange. Why is di Zazzo out bragging about this, instead of in prison?

I'm starting to think the only thing you can actually get sent to jail for in France is, like, admitting that California wines are better than French ones or something.

Simon said...

If a "UN committee" has "declared [tasers] a form of torture," then given that the incidence of waterboarding of terrorists by the federal authorities turns out to have been fairly limited, whereas the use of tasers by domestic law enforcement against U.S. citizens is rather more frequent, does this mean that consistency demands those who protested waterboarding now turn their guns (so to speak) on municipal law enforcement?

Graham Powell said...

I think we need to remember that what the Taser replaced was not a polite request to cease and desist, but a blow from a billy club. Tasers cause pain but they don't break bones.

The only drawback I can see is that they're safe enough to encourage overuse.

Sigivald said...

Or do you think that the use of pain to disable a person ought to be considered torture and that police ought to be required to use a weapon that disables by damages a person's body?


Nope to both parts.

I'm sympathetic to the "UN committee"'s position that tasering someone could be torture if done in certain circumstances, but as an alternative to shooting them, it makes no sense, as you suggest.

Shooting someone is going to cause a lot more pain, even disregarding damage, than tasering them.

(Shooting people hasn't ever been considered torture, when done in defense of self or others, or in combat. Much like using a taser to stop a suspected criminal or someone being a danger to himself or others [but not per se a criminal] wouldn't be either.

Which is why I could imagine tasering being considered torture in the same circumstances shooting someone could be; when they're restrained or captive and the act is done either simply to make them suffer, or to compel them to do something there is no justification to compel.

I add that last caveat because even prisoners can rightfully be compelled to do certain things, or to refrain from same, like assault, arson, or even blocking doorways. Tasering them to compel them to cease that wouldn't seem to constitute torture.)

If a UN Committee really said what is claimed, without further context, they're even more clueless than I would have thought, which is impressive.

jimmy jam said...

Should there be another persuasive post you can share next time, I’ll be surely waiting for it. http://weedies.org/how-to-pass-a-drug-test