Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coercive Use of Force

Whether increased Taser use is good public policy is a complex question.

Tasers essentially give law enforcement a portable cattle prod to use to obtain compliance. If you're a law and order type and think compliance with law enforcement is a good thing, then the Taser is a blessing because it's hard to argue with a Taser.

On the other hand, even if you believe in civil disobedience, a Taser is certainly more kind than a bullet, or an attack dog, or even a baton.

Pepper spray is one of my favorite weapons, but it does tend to contaminate everything in site, including the cop using it.

Cops are also highly skilled at subduing individuals with their hands as well... a lot cops in the States have played a lot of football and excel in the open field tackle, and the hands are much "softer" than these other options.

But tackling or fighting with people takes a huge physical toll on police officers over their careers and risks a "gun grab," which often leads to someone being shot.

So, I think tasers are generally beneficial to law enforcement and society.

I think the question we should be asking as a society is if we want police officers to be as coercive as they are. Police can abuse their power, but this is true with all weapons.

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