Monday, December 31, 2007

For the New Year

One of my real video, just music. Thanks to the goodly soul who posted this:

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Don't Look for the Cage, It's Everywhere

Suicidal women.

Naked deaf people.

Sleeping men.

A man walking away from a cop during a traffic stop.

Is there anyone so innocuous that they aren't potential targets for our taser-happy thin blue line? Innocuous or not, any encounter we have with the police these days seems to have the potential of scaring the bejeesus out of our heavily-armed home guard, and if they get jumpy, the tasers might come out. And if the tasers come out, you might join the 275 people who have died from tasers in the U.S. since their use began in 2001 (ah, that halcyon year!) Well, who would have thought they'd have gone and died on us? It was just a little 50,000 volt tap! Here's what Amnesty International's briefing on tasers, submitted recently to the Justice Department, has to say about those who die:
"AI’s records show that most of those who died were shocked more than once and 92 were subjected to between 3 and 21 shocks. One man was shocked repeatedly while in handcuffs in cycles lasting 19, 12 and 10 seconds; another man died after being shocked for 57 continuous seconds. AI said that the ability to prolong the electrical cycle beyond five seconds, for as long as the officer keeps his or her finger depressed on the trigger, may dangerously increase stress levels, and that “the psychological and physiological effects of prolonged or repeated shocks requires urgent review by relevant independent experts”.

AI further stated: “The degree of tolerable risk involving Tasers, as with all weapons and restraint devices, must be weighed against the threat posed. It is self-evident that Tasers are less injurious than firearms where officers are confronted with a serious threat that could escalate to deadly force. However, the vast majority of people who have died after being struck by Tasers have been unarmed men who did not pose a threat of death or serious injury when they were electro-shocked. In many cases, they did not appear to have posed any significant threat at all”.

Of 291 reported deaths, AI has so far identified only 25 individuals who were reportedly armed with any sort of weapon when they were electro-shocked; such weapons did not include firearms.
They also point to a troubling trend that indicates the increased use of Tasers in unnecessary situations may be the result of simply having the option of what is perceived as a quick, easy, non-lethal method to handle any situation, no matter how slight:
"AI expressed concern that many US police departments are using Tasers as a routine force option to subdue non-compliant or disturbed individuals who are not a serious risk. Such cases included children as young as nine. Such usage appears to contravene international standards which require that police should use force only when “strictly necessary”, in proportion to the threat posed."
Here are your tax dollars at work. First up, a little sadismo:

And next, some straight-out ego-tripping:

Before you go out next time for a drive, or even just go to bed, you may want to sew up a nice shirt and pants out of Thor Shield. It's likely to become the new American uniform.