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Double parking? Double taser.
November 10, 2007 9:11 AM   Subscribe

A 68 year old. 145 lb. man with a neurological condition was tasered by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers following a dispute over double parking. The man was picking up his wife, who was delivering newspapers. This happened less than a month after the RCMP tasered a Polish man who had spent 10 frustrating hours trying to find his mother in the Vancouver International Airport following 15 hours of travel. He died on the scene.

When the first man's wife told the RCMP officers of her husband's neurological condition, the officer told her, "We don’t have to know about people’s medical conditions." The Polish man who died was tasered 24 seconds after meeting the RCMP officers. He did not speak English.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium (319 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The guy was being issued a ticket and just drove off. Cops don't like that.

And somebody who needed subduing in an airport got tasered with an extremely unfortunate outcome.

Move along.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:20 AM on November 10, 2007


Yeah, move along, nothing to see here, move along - or we'll tase you.
posted by item at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2007 [7 favorites]


The sad thing is no one will ever take these stories seriously again after the "Don't tase me, bro." dude.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


So you're OK with people dying when they need to be subdued, Frasermoo?
posted by delmoi at 9:25 AM on November 10, 2007 [3 favorites]




Cops don't like most of what happens in their daily life, Frasermoo. That's why they must be well trained. Tasers are used to subdue people who are threatening officers with deadly force.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:26 AM on November 10, 2007


Constable Benton Fraser would never tase someone. Canada, I'm disappointed.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2007


This isn't shocking.

Tasers have become instruments of routine force, and as such I expect that these stories will become more prevalent with time.

Sadly, the police departments in question almost never give reprimand beyond a short, possibly paid vacation suspension.

I'm sure this makes some people happy, but I'm not one of them.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:30 AM on November 10, 2007


The guy was being issued a ticket and just drove off. Cops don't like that.

There are a lot of things that people don't like. The Police have a duty to enforce the law, not to write new ones. They do not have the right to decide that driving away from a traffic citation is punishable via physical pain, let alone death.

I know that many people (yourself included, apparently) believe that officers of the law should not be forced to follow laws themselves. If you really believe that police should have the right to any sort of revenge they'd like, then you should lobby for a "cops are allowed to assault or kill anybody who pisses them off" law.

Until your law passes, these cops are at best guilty of manslaughter. Too bad there's no way their brothers in blue will recognize their guilt or their sworn duty to uphold the law.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:35 AM on November 10, 2007 [14 favorites]




Give your local tailor a pattern and some fabric, and you'll be lookin' good. Add a lapel pin, and you're ready for the 21st century.

Don't forget your hat.
posted by cenoxo at 9:36 AM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]




Mr. Dziekanski arrived with three bags, two of which were filled with geography books.

it's the little things, the details, that often break your heart


Move along.

on-the-spot death penalty with no trial for people who get kind of pissed off after the airport whose services they had actually paid for (it's included in those expensive airline tickets) fails them miserably for ten hours? fascism grows like cancer in a society's body exactly thanks to people who think the way you do.
posted by matteo at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2007 [40 favorites]




Military Zips Lips on Pain Ray Accident

Watching Danger Room's video of the ADS test, let's hope all the bad guys — bare-headed, in shorts and t-shirts — advance neatly through a field of fire laid out in traffic cones.
posted by cenoxo at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


With the Vancouver airport incident, I believe the Polish traveler had landed at 6:30 PM, and still had not cleared customs by 1:30AM or so, when he went berserk and ended up being tasered by police. He was left in limbo and then died there.

Vancouver airport, and customs, and the private security contractor that was hired by the airport, and the police all share responsibility for the tragedy.

Interestingly enough, that same week there was something in the media to the effect that human beings lose control of their emotions after being sleep-deprived. So this may have been a contributing factor with the Polish guy's behavior.

He also may have been drunk, and another report suggests that tasering wasn't the cause of his death - it was the combination of extreme excitement and alcohol.

But one's thing is certain: these incidents have made me, a regular joe approaching middle age, afraid of even looking at the police the wrong way.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


I thought a taser was supposed to be a non-lethal alternative to shooting someone, not a substitute for peacekeeping and basic diplomacy.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


WTF is up with Canada lately? Are they trying to outdo the United States in stupidity and cruelty?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:00 AM on November 10, 2007


This isn't shocking.

Then it probably wasn't tasering at all. Nothing to see etc.
posted by Free word order! at 10:00 AM on November 10, 2007


It's simple: cops need to stop using tasers as their approach of first resort, and they need to stop using it as a means of punishment for non-compliance.

Or as KokuRyu points out, we're all going to be fearing any interaction with cops, which can only make their jobs harder and our society less civil.
posted by orthogonality at 10:05 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Puke Ray: Coming Soon to a City Near You

Well, nothing new here. The Cathode Ray has been doing this for several decades now.
posted by cenoxo at 10:13 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The guy was being issued a ticket and just drove off. Cops don't like that.

The obvious solution is to take identifying information on the vehicle and add another cite on top of the one being issued, rather than escalating the issue with force.

I have to wonder what the average statute dictating thresholds for use of force actually says.
posted by namespan at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2007


Were the volunteers pretending to be hurt or actually responding to pain, and what are the people in
cenoxo 's first link/video chanting?

"Go homer"?
"Go home vic"?
posted by porpoise at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2007


RCMP are now routinely told to abandon high speed pursuits when there is any danger to the public, i.e., other traffic on the road--even when they know the vehicle is stolen. This is a good thing. So what's the problem with letting the double parked guy drive off? The officers have his description and vehicle ID. It's pretty obviously not stolen. Deliver a summons to his house the following day. Easier on the guy, easier on the cops, safer for the public. On preview, what namespan said.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:22 AM on November 10, 2007


There's this online web game called Twilight Heroes I've started playing? I mention it cuz in that game you can get a taser gun which kicks some major hind quarters. Much better than the nail gun.

I'm not leaving the link here cuz for one thing it's down at the moment due to server issues that the people behind the scenes are addressing, and two I don't wanna fight with you guys over the impending lag issues that'll probably still happen after it comes back up, and three if you really think about it you already know the url.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2007


Factoid: Taser is an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle", after the fictional teenage inventor/adventurer.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:34 AM on November 10, 2007


...he was shocked to learn.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:35 AM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


RCMP are now routinely told to abandon high speed pursuits when there is any danger to the public, i.e., other traffic on the road--even when they know the vehicle is stolen. This is a good thing. So what's the problem with letting the double parked guy drive off? The officers have his description and vehicle ID. It's pretty obviously not stolen. Deliver a summons to his house the following day. Easier on the guy, easier on the cops, safer for the public.

You'd think so. There are 300-400 deaths a year in America because of high speed pursuits. That number is declining in some places because of more sensible policies. (Often, the people killed are innocent pedestrians or drivers or passengers of cars uninvolved in the chase.) But amazingly, the assbackwards town of Independence, MO has seen THREE seperate police-chase deaths in the past EIGHT days. That's a rate so astronomical that if extrapolated nationally for a year, it would be equivalent to roughly 375,000 police chase deaths! The police chief's comment was that the city's high-speed chase policy of, well, always engaging in high-speed chases when possible is a "fine" policy and won't be changed.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:35 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Tasers are used to subdue people who are threatening officers with deadly force.

Actually I'm pretty sure you're thinking of guns. Guns. Tasers are more for subduing people when they've irritated an officer, but he knows he'd just get in trouble if he shot them to death.
posted by Naberius at 10:58 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you want a picture of the future, imagine a taser being used on anyone who makes a fuss -- forever.
posted by moonbiter at 10:58 AM on November 10, 2007 [8 favorites]


There's this online web game called Twilight Heroes I've started playing?

Well is there or isn't there?

/douchery

The police chief's comment was that the city's high-speed chase policy of, well, always engaging in high-speed chases when possible is a "fine" policy and won't be changed.

Not surprising. I wonder if the networks who air "World's Most Insane Police Chases" and "Deadly Police Chases Gone Wrong" and "When Police Chases Run the Fuck Over Tons of People" put pressure on the American police force to ensure that they continue stupid policies.
posted by papakwanz at 11:02 AM on November 10, 2007


WTF is up with Canada lately? Are they trying to outdo the United States in stupidity and cruelty?

Well, we do have a conservative government and I'm sure Stephen Harper would want to at least be able to play in the same league as the US.

But no, they'll never make it. They're just... Canadian man. (Actually the nicest thing I can say about Stephen Harper is that, try as he might, he makes a piss poor George Bush.)
posted by Naberius at 11:03 AM on November 10, 2007


But one's thing is certain: these incidents have made me, a regular joe approaching middle age, afraid of even looking at the police the wrong way.

Whether or not you speak the language in whatever airport you're in, throwing around furniture and computers is a blatant invitation to be subdued from a distance.

There is a protocol for the kinds of encounters like the one at the airport. There is no argument that the man was throwing around objects in such a way that he would be likely to harm someone who got near him. Many witnesses have confirmed this.

The protocol is to order the assailant (and that's what he was, folks) to desist. If he doesn't comply -- and whether or not he is able to comply due to a language barrier is irrelevant to this protocol, meant to protect both the police and bystanders -- subdue from a distance. You have two choices: gun or taser. Subduing a suspect with a gun is meant to be deadly; the goal is to kill the assailant, 100% of the time, by aiming for the center of mass until the assailant stops moving or the cop runs out of bullets. The police (in Canada, anyway) are trained to not go for leg shots.

So: pick your poison: the gun, which will kill you, or the taser, which might kill you. The taser should be used as the weapon of first resort in this case. This is in no way indicative of 'creeping fascism'.

Now: the idiot cop who tased the double-parker should be fired until he bleeds.

These are two different incidents. In the first, by all the evidence that I have seen, the taser was used properly to subdue a violent person, and the result was unfortunate but, as far as I'm concerned, acceptable given the alternatives available. In the second, by what has been reported, the taser was used improperly as a means of compliance.

I don't think the two incidents should be conflated.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:05 AM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Then there are pepper spray projectiles. It seems we're putting the lethal back into non-lethal.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:08 AM on November 10, 2007


68 years old 145lb.
I sure hope he was packing some heavy duty armament.
Cause if he wasn't there is NO WAY on earth I would EVER let those two dicks hear the end of it. Come on. 68 and 145. Sheesh.
posted by notreally at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2007


"Not getting fired upon is the most effective defense, but a solid suit of medieval plate armor will be almost as effective." Much tee-heeing. Probably shouldn't electrocute someone for pissing you off, though. Slippery slope and all that.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2007


The protocol is to order the assailant (and that's what he was, folks) to desist. If he doesn't comply -- and whether or not he is able to comply due to a language barrier is irrelevant to this protocol, meant to protect both the police and bystanders -- subdue from a distance.

That is some shitty protocol. Doing inhuman things because it is according to protocol is exactly indicative for creeping fascism.
posted by Free word order! at 11:22 AM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


OK. I thought about it. That guy WANTED to use his taser. It's the only answer.
posted by notreally at 11:23 AM on November 10, 2007


That is some shitty protocol.

Because it is preferable to allow someone violently tossing around heavy objects in a crowded airport to continue to do so?

It is inhuman to prevent harm by subduing the violent?

WTF?

Twenty years ago, the guy would have been shot six times in the chest with hollow-point ammo. Today, they go for the taser first. What do you think should have been done instead? Stand around and debate what language he might have been speaking and then call in a translator? Wait around for a couple of hours or more while he continues to go nuts? Should the cops instead have risked injury to themselves by approaching him with their truncheons -- with an end result that is more likely to cause injury or death to the assailant as well?

Whatever your definition of "inhuman thing" is, it's not one that the rest of the world uses.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:28 AM on November 10, 2007


Twenty years ago, the guy would have been shot six times in the chest with hollow-point ammo.

Are you sure about that?
They wouldn't have just had a couple guys come from behind and tackle him?
posted by papakwanz at 11:36 AM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]




I think I'd rather get tasered than have a "wood shampoo" as one of my buddies called being hit with a night stick.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:46 AM on November 10, 2007


Should the cops instead have risked injury to themselves by approaching him with their truncheons -- with an end result that is more likely to cause injury or death to the assailant as well?

I can personally attest that pepper spray will make most people think of nothing else but stopping what they're doing because their eyes are on fire. But it's not as gee-whiz-neato for the police as a taser.
posted by cmonkey at 11:55 AM on November 10, 2007


Are you sure about that?
They wouldn't have just had a couple guys come from behind and tackle him?


Positive. If the assailant is wielding a weapon (and that includes a chair), you subdue at range. Unless doing so would put civilians at risk.

According to the threat protocol, the cops could have used their guns on the guy in the airport -- a guy waving around a chair is about as dangerous as a guy waving around a knife -- but they chose to taser him instead. We should be thankful that we live in a society where the state has given them tools such that they can choose to use less deadly force. That is, to me, the opposite of 'creeping fascism'.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:56 AM on November 10, 2007


That's great. He has a neurological condition that makes him speed off when the police try to ticket him for illegally parking, and then when the police come get him, his neurological condition makes him take a swing at them.

Does anyone do things for non-neurological reasons, really?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:02 PM on November 10, 2007


But it's not as gee-whiz-neato for the police as a taser.

Shorter range and less accurate, too. With pepper spray, you need to hit the target's face with a stream that is difficult to aim. With a taser, you need to hit the center of mass with a gun-shaped weapon that is simple to aim.

Also, an RCMP spokesperson said in an interview that they considered using pepper spray except that it would likely have affected other people at the airport.

Oh, and get this: the RCMP ruled out using truncheons not because of the protocol, but because of the optics -- they didn't want to be seen using excessive force! There's a sign of fascism -- police that avoid excessive force and worry about how the public perceives them!
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:03 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


FREEDOM!!!111
posted by disclaimer at 12:05 PM on November 10, 2007


That's great. He has a neurological condition that makes him speed off when the police try to ticket him for illegally parking, and then when the police come get him, his neurological condition makes him take a swing at them.

Does anyone do things for non-neurological reasons, really?


MetaFilter, where empathy for an elderly man who has brain damage following two strokes is trumped by attempts -- failed though they might be -- to be too hard-ass clever.

Because, after all, if you never leave the basement, never stray too far from your keyboard and bag of Cheetos, this sort of thing, like life in general, will never happen to you.

Well, maybe a stroke. But that won't bother anyone until they notice the smell.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:09 PM on November 10, 2007 [13 favorites]


He blow'd up real good!
posted by doctorschlock at 12:12 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter, where empathy for an elderly man who has brain damage following two strokes is trumped by attempts -- failed though they might be -- to be too hard-ass clever.

I wasn't trying to be clever, and I honestly don't see why I should feel bad for someone whose brain makes them commit crimes. That's the only reason anyone commits crimes.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:19 PM on November 10, 2007


PapaKwanz: "Well is there or isn't there?"

Yes there is? It's just that sometimes? When I talk? I'll put inflection at the end of the sentence? Or sometimes in the middle of the sentence? Cuz I'm part irish? Don't make fun of my heritage? Or I'll pour beer on ya? I'm also part french cajun, eh?
posted by ZachsMind at 12:27 PM on November 10, 2007


Twenty years ago, the guy would have been shot six times in the chest with hollow-point ammo. Today, they go for the taser first

Jesus! Where did you live 20 years ago, Liberia?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:30 PM on November 10, 2007 [6 favorites]


68 years old 145lb.
I sure hope he was packing some heavy duty armament.
Cause if he wasn't there is NO WAY on earth I would EVER let those two dicks hear the end of it. Come on. 68 and 145. Sheesh.


67, 160ish and scary as hell.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 12:31 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wasn't trying to be clever, and I honestly don't see why I should feel bad for someone whose brain makes them commit crimes. That's the only reason anyone commits crimes.

I don't see why we should entertain someone whose brain makes them deliberately, disingenuously obtuse.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:34 PM on November 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


That's a good one. I'm sure you really do have a reasonable, compelling explanation but you just don't want to give it to me.

That's far more likely than the alternative. Totally!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2007


I honestly don't see why I should feel bad for someone whose brain makes them commit crimes.

Since his taking a swing at the officer is disputed, but often an obligatory part of a police report, I take it that you think "committing a crime" equals a good Tasering. Even for 68 year old. 145 lb. man, especially when the police "don’t have to know about people’s medical conditions.” How convenient.

You are past due for a shearing, aren't you?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2007


According to the threat protocol, the cops could have used their guns on the guy in the airport -- a guy waving around a chair is about as dangerous as a guy waving around a knife..

uhhh... no. there's no protocol that would require shooting in a crowded public place unless the subject had a chair to someones throat and even then...

but it sounds awesome doesn't it... would look good on the big screen.

the idea of a "non-lethal" weapon is the problem. pepper spray at sufficient concentration is, I believe, classified as a forbidden chemical weapon. i think i'm better off with the truncheon in the end. it's one thing to pull a trigger and another thing entirely to actually hit someone with a stick. it's too much responsibility to give any person, much less a cop, to put them in control of a 'pain' gun (chemical or electrical) and ask them to be judicious.
posted by geos at 12:39 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Because, after all, if you never leave the basement, never stray too far from your keyboard and bag of Cheetos, this sort of thing, like life in general, will never happen to you.

Well, maybe a stroke. But that won't bother anyone until they notice the smell.


So you're suggesting that cops take a thorough medical exam prior to pursuit?

Neurological disorders routinely cause erratic behaviour, which is similar to a lot of dangerous behaviour exhibited by dangerous people. There's no way of knowing which is which in pursuit.

It's unfortunate, sure, but it's the only way cops keep themselves from being in harm's way.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 12:39 PM on November 10, 2007


Oh well. Might as well just suck it up then. Mentally ill people are indistinguishable from dangerous criminal, and they're just going to have to take a tasering now and then as a result. Because there is no way to train cops to recognize mental illnesses. It's so impossible, the idea has never even been referenced on the Internet.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:43 PM on November 10, 2007


Since his taking a swing at the officer is disputed, but often an obligatory part of a police report, I take it that you think "committing a crime" equals a good Tasering.

That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. If the guy actually didn't try to punch the cop or resist arrest, no, he shouldn't have been tasered.

Even the article, though, which was written solely from the tased guy's perspective still makes him look bad! He "put up his left arm to resist?" That's self-serving bullshit.

He took a swing at the cop.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:43 PM on November 10, 2007


geos:

uhhh... no. there's no protocol that would require shooting in a crowded public place unless the subject had a chair to someones throat and even then...


In the future innocent bystanders will be posthumously charged with obstructing justice.

In 5...4..3...
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:44 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


In the future innocent bystanders will be posthumously charged with obstructing justice.

In 5...4..3...


I forgive you, because I know it's just your brain that makes you act like a hysterical little ninny.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2007


a guy waving around a chair is about as dangerous as a guy waving around a knife

My, that sure does read like bullshit. Grab the non-handle part of a knife, and you get cut. Grab any part of a chair, and you get --- ahold of a chair. But go on, keep apologizing for the Designated Bullies, based on whatever .

You know what actually would have happened twenty years ago? Six or ten very large cops would have piled onto Mr. Confused Immigrant and stopped him from doing anything but lying down while they fastened his extremities together, then they would pick him up and cart him away.

Alive.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:48 PM on November 10, 2007 [9 favorites]


dflemingdotorg:

Neurological disorders routinely cause erratic behaviour, which is similar to a lot of dangerous behaviour exhibited by dangerous people. There's no way of knowing which is which in pursuit.

It's unfortunate, sure, but it's the only way cops keep themselves from being in harm's way.


Yes, it';s hard to tell, but sometimes life gives you little hints, like it being an unarmed 68 year old man *whose wife is telling you he has a neurological condition*. I know,. it's advanced detective work to connect the dots on that one, but I have faith in the potential for intelligence in our public servants.

Oh, and I see your hard-assed attitude and raise you:

If you can't handle an unarmed 68 year old man with a couple of strokes under his belt, find another job. *Any* other job, because you're too much of a milquetoast to ever be in harm's way when it counts.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:49 PM on November 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


Since his taking a swing at the officer is disputed, but often an obligatory part of a police report, I take it that you think "committing a crime" equals a good Tasering. Even for 68 year old. 145 lb. man, especially when the police "don’t have to know about people’s medical conditions.” How convenient.

You know what I find convenient? You seem to think everything said by the cops in this article is disputable but everything the wife said to be the truth. Nevermind the fact that people, even old people, can lie for their own benefit as much as any public official.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 12:49 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The situation was handled poorly on both sides but I tend to support the tasered old people side a bit more.
posted by hojoki at 12:50 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


...but that's just me. Always siding with the tasered old people.
posted by hojoki at 12:51 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


"So what's the problem with letting the double parked guy drive off? The officers have his description and vehicle ID. It's pretty obviously not stolen. Deliver a summons to his house the following day."

Why....that's just crazy enough to work.

"So: pick your poison: the gun, which will kill you, or the taser, which might kill you. The taser should be used as the weapon of first resort in this case"

Or perhaps if you're incapable of ascertaining the control element thats motivating a given suspect or that you're incapable of communicating with him because you speak different languages, you should wait more than a few moments before tasering him.

"Should the cops instead have risked injury to themselves by approaching him with their truncheons -- with an end result that is more likely to cause injury or death to the assailant as well?"

Or if you can't subdue one average, albeit unruly, individual between yourself and a partner without beating him to death, or getting yourself hurt, maybe you should be sitting behind a desk until you are confident enough in your physical prowess to be able to restrain someone without tasering them. Maybe lay off the donuts.
The protocols put in place (disclaimer - I don't know about the Canadian system) on tasers are, for the most part, there because of the lawyers. And they're being used recklessly by officers poorly trained. Why are they poorly trained? Because it's cheaper to make a one time equipment purchase and spend a bit of money on maintenance than it is to spend it for ongoing training costs.

'Protocols' anywhere are no refutation of creeping fascism however. Indeed, it's alloyed. If your dog bites me I blame you. You're the one who trained him.
The fact that the dog's reaction parameters are narrower as a result of what goes on in your house makes it that much more a broader and ultimately social problem. Especially if your dog is walking the neighborhood.

Many cops do know better. There was a woman here in Chicago reaching for her cell phone when she was shot.
Me I would have (perhaps) wrist locked her and maybe, if I needed to, broken her nose (tough to aim through tears). Either way, back then I wouldn't have had a taser, and I wouldn't have used my pistol on someone I could easily take out who was well within my reach (and physically distracted, a draw gives you a good half second at least).
Today, maybe she would have been tased (not by me). But back then the threat tree was mighty simple, someone's reaching, you can shoot them. Why? Same reasons - the lawyers playing CYA for the department because treating a wounded cop and dealing with the on the job liability is less than the cost of lawyering up for the most part. So the story has to look good.
Shooting you can explain (Oh, gee, I was scared for my life) busting someone's nose - even if they really are reaching for a weapon - not so much. Why rely on your physical skills officer when you have a firearm? Same logic with tasering.
Which is also why you don't see anyone with real money getting tasered 'cos they can lawyer up.
So the result is the most powerless folks get crapped on. Which is wrong, but pretty much how it's always been - the
kicker is for the most part when police deal with someone who needs help - as many powerful folks don't and many powerless folks do - they don't get help, they get tased.
It's a bad new standard, and if you don't see it that way you're not thinking about the cops who get screwed in
real situations when they meet a mean, albeit unarmed, mother who can shake off the taser. Now what?
Now they go to the hospital or the grave because they've been relying on their equipment and eating donuts
instead of going to the gym and developing their unarmed skills. Unlike Mr.unarmed bad-ass who's had years in the
street to learn how to fight and/or years in the joint doing nothing but lifting weights and is a professional criminal so
it's his business to know how to escape being subdued by tasers. Dead cops? Cherry on top.

So Barney Fife gets to be a big man tasering old ladies, sleeping folks and indigents, while real street cops
are still bound by excessive force rules that say you have to use the equipment.
So I can't put a hug on granny and gently take her down to the floor, I have to risk overloading her heart because some guy who's never been on the street made an engagement rule based on public and court perception rather than trusting my judgment? Sweet.
And that's not authoritarianism?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:53 PM on November 10, 2007 [16 favorites]


Don't get me wrong, I'm as suspicious of police abuse as anyone posting here , but this situation isn't exactly cut and dried. These two had a run-in before, and John Peters seems to be a bit of hot-head, accompanied by an underlying attitude that the law doesn't apply to him.The couple feels the problem with the officer stems back to May, when John drove the wrong way on a one-way street as he tried to navigate through a confusing construction zone.“He started arguing because he was frustrated with all the construction,” said Anne.

Cops don't like being argued with, and they really don't like people who drive off (flee) when they are being issued a ticket. It seems to me that there is a fair bit of rationalizing of extremely arrogant behaviour on the part of this couple.

Leon avenue, where his incident occurred, is in downtown Kelowna, double parking there during rush hour is pretty selfish, if not dangerous. Yet he and his wife fail to understand why they might be ticketed for doing so? “In John’s mind, he couldn’t believe they could give him a ticket,” said Anne.

Sorry. Not buying it. The guy's an arrogant asshole, and at the age of 68 should know better than drive off when being issued ticket for a traffic infraction.I fail to see how his medical condition justifies his nehaviour

Meanwhile, Anne tried to tell the other officer that her husband had previously had a stroke and tried to explain his neurological disorder—aphasia.

That condition affects a person’s ability to comprehend language.

“He gets very agitated,” said Anne. “It’s just part of his neurological condition.”

If he has a condition that causes him to drive the wrong way down one way streets, park where ever he bloody well feels like, and disregard the lawfull instructions of law enforcement officers, he shouldn't be on the road, period.

Not excusing the officer's probable use of unnecessary force, but there is more going on here than simply double parking. But all the facts aren't in, and my distrust of this couple's story is pretty strong, given their demonstrated sense of self-entitlement. But the level of my sympathy for Mr. Peters?

ZERO.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:57 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


dflemingdotorg

You seem to think everything said by the cops in this article is disputable but everything the wife said to be the truth. Nevermind the fact that people, even old people, can lie for their own benefit as much as any public official.


Everything? When did I say "everything"?

The question is whether the guy took a swing or engaged in a defensive reflex that even you would do.

But since the only charging and assaulting in this case was don't by the police, yes, I find it questionable that a 68 year old 145 lb elderly man who has had a stroke would take a swing at a couple cops running at him hard enough to tear his shirt. Put up his arm in a reflexive action, yes, actually having the volition to assault a police officer? No.

Get back to the point though: Exactly why was it necessary for two supposedly professional, trained, fit police officers to Tase an elderly man?

Even if he took a swing?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:57 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Exactly why was it necessary for two supposedly professional, trained, fit police officers to Tase an elderly man?

Even if he took a swing?


If they figured he was resisting arrest, leaving the scene of a crime and he hit someone? Oh wait, you don't believe that story.

Here's a question for you; is there a situation, outside of having a gun, you would be okay with a 68 year old 145lb man who has had a stroke getting a taser for?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 1:02 PM on November 10, 2007


...Taser is an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle"...

Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle (1911) is also discussed at Technovelgy (the original story describes Tom's rifle about halfway into Chapter II.) It electrically discharged small blobs of plasma-like ball lightning, but didn't use any physical projectiles.

TASER's law enforcement guns work by firing wired barbs with compressed nitrogen, and are perhaps more like Jules Verne's electric rifles in 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas (described at the end of Chapter XIV). These used compressed air to fire spherical glass balls (miniature Leyden Jars) containing an electric charge.

More details and other pre-Swift examples in James Keeline's PDF article, How Jules Verne 'Invented' Tom Swift's Electric Rifle.
posted by cenoxo at 1:02 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Does anyone do things for non-neurological reasons, really?

you post here, don't you?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:05 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


ten pounds of inedita, lets both calm down before any of us gets categorized as 'assaillant'. After that you never can tell what happens next. And that is my problem with airports and other high security places. These places do have to control people somehow to keep things proceeding orderly, and that's ok, but in last few years fear has become a larger part of that controlling and control by fear is linked to that f-word. Let's not use that anymore, it was a rhetorical mistake as it heats things up bit too much.

From the point of view of the police, they may have come quickly and with minimal information and did what they could excepting the worst. The problem is that getting to work with minimal information: how passengers are turned into security problems and then dealt by security people. Information gets lost in that transfer. Maybe the protocol should be aware that airports are filled with stressed travelers, in more or less confused state and with mundane problems; 90-99% of all cases will be these. Have a code for them, heaven's sake. Language problems especially should be part of every protocol dealing with agitated passengers. This is why I thought it was a shitty protocol, as everyone concentrated on doing their own part according to protocol, and still the result was this sad thing.

People do not know the exact rules and workings of the airport security, and failure to follow them is most human. They should have a really long list of options how to deal with someone who doesn't understand the game. Personally I am always scared in airport security, because I feel that if I do something wrong now, I'm in big trouble, but I don't know what exactly would be counted as wrong today, and for my knowledge, there isn't much of a correction mechanisms when someone is determined unsafe. Next step for airport security should be making people safe from security people. This security is lacking. Make clear how we can proof our not being dangerous in case of misjudgment etc. rules for our protection. Now I only have fear and compliance.
posted by Free word order! at 1:09 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


WTF is up with Canada lately? Are they trying to outdo the United States in stupidity and cruelty?

The higher dollar is getting to their heads.
posted by jeyoung at 1:09 PM on November 10, 2007


dflemingdotorg:

If they figured he was resisting arrest, leaving the scene of a crime and he hit someone? Oh wait, you don't believe that story.


Do your discussions always degenerate into poor ventriloquist acts disguising a monologue where you tell people what they think?

There's a term for that when you are having sex:

Masturbation.

Here's a question for you; is there a situation, outside of having a gun, you would be okay with a 68 year old 145lb man who has had a stroke getting a taser for?

Let's see: If he was waiving and or firing a gun, had a very big knife, a detonation plunger with "Acme" written on it connected to a bundle of dynamite, a dirty needle and or a bullhorn connected to a CD player with a Carrot Top album in it. I can think of lots of hypotheticals.

Then again, if you were sitting at your computer hacking into NORAD in order to fire a ballistic missile at the hypothetical Land of Nuns and Orphans, I would fully support the SWAT team busting into your home and putting you out like a light. But you aren't: You are just playing Net Tough Guy on MeFi.

Similarly, the *reality* of the situation in question didn't support his being Tasered.

Get it? Of course you don't. You seem to be simultaneously juggling what actually happened with your "what ifs" at the same time. The key is understanding the difference between fantasy and reality.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:14 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Canadian police are doing this shit now?

Seriously. What is going on? Why is everyone with a badge becoming more evil?
posted by wfc123 at 1:17 PM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


ten pounds of inedita wrote: a guy waving around a chair is about as dangerous as a guy waving around a knife

What about a stapler?

From the CBC website, re: the man Tasered in the Vancouver Airport:

[The man who called in the RCMP, Lorne] Meltzer....said he clearly warned them the man didn't speak English.

Meltzer claimed the officers gave Dziekanski two commands in English and within seconds Tasered him after he held a stapler in an apparent threatening manner.

"He [Dziekanski] raised the stapler in the air and they [RCMP] said, 'Put your hands on the desk,' in English," Meltzer said.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:18 PM on November 10, 2007


Held up a stapler "in an apparent threatening manner"?

Well, at least he didn't reach for his wallet.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:28 PM on November 10, 2007


On the optimistic side, this stuff has probably been going on at this level for some time, but we're just now hearing more about it. I want to know what was so bad about pepper spray that they had to start using a sometimes-lethal weapon.
posted by stavrogin at 1:30 PM on November 10, 2007


A stapler? Well, then, the tasering was clearly justified. He probably had concealed spitballs, too.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:34 PM on November 10, 2007


Ha! I thought this was a double about Mailer.
posted by Elmore at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2007


I read 345lb...
posted by Elmore at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2007


Kirth Gerson

A stapler? Well, then, the tasering was clearly justified. He probably had concealed spitballs, too.


Well, look at it from the police point of view: There's several of them, and all they have is guns, mace, tasers, tactical batons and a virtual license to kill. Where's the man had a stapler, which means he could have been shot, sprayed, zapped or bludgeoned. They, however, faced two quarter inch deep wounds. It's the sort of asymmetrical warfare we're fighting in Iraq so we don't have to fight it here. Obviously it's gotten as far as Canada.

Come to think of it, at this point outrage is an inappropriate response. Ridicule is a viable option, though. Since appealing to the state's sense of decency doesn't work, and never has, maybe impugning the size of their brass would.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:43 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't want to share a planet with someone who thinks threatening armed police officers with a stapler is a good idea.

I can't imagine that killing such a colossally idiotic individual would be anything but a net gain for us all.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:49 PM on November 10, 2007


Tasers are really supposed to be used as a last resort. These are just more examples of them being used casually.

Plus Tasers are dangerous, and the company tries to cover it up:

Not only have at least 167 people died after being Tasered, according to The Arizona Republic (although the number of these deaths that can be directly attributed to the weapons is disputed), but there appears to be an aggressive effort by the company to silence critics and to control data and, on occasion, manipulate statistics with the intent of preserving an illusion of safety surrounding its products.

There are lawsuits against the company, and here's the real point in a nutshell:

A big part of the problem with tasers is that they were originally marketed as a substitute for guns, but have become a substitute for exertion. Tasers are, increasingly, not used to save lives but to merely make cops' lives easier.

If the rule were: "Never use your taser unless you would also be willing to shoot your firearm..." then I can't imagine too many incidents of "taser brutality." (See, e.g., here.) But instead the rule seems too often to be: "Use your taser whenever you perceive a risk to yourself." Or, worse: "Use you taser whenever you deem it convenient."

posted by MythMaker at 1:50 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where's the man had a stapler, which means he could have been shot, sprayed, zapped or bludgeoned. They, however, faced two quarter inch deep wounds

he could have thrown the whole stapler at one of them, or used it as a club - i've seen some staplers that i wouldn't care to get hit with
posted by pyramid termite at 1:53 PM on November 10, 2007


I've seen zucchinis I wouldn't want to be hit with, either, but any cop who tased a zucchini-wielding bad guy also deserves ridicule.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:00 PM on November 10, 2007


I've seen zucchinis I wouldn't want to be hit with, either, but any cop who tased a zucchini-wielding bad guy also deserves ridicule.

Why? It's not the police's job to scuffle with retards. If you want to fight, you're going to get tased or shot.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:03 PM on November 10, 2007


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America:

I don't want to share a planet with someone who thinks threatening armed police officers with a stapler is a good idea.


Actually, he "held up the stapler in an apparently threatening manner".

Sounds rather ad hoc, if you ask me.

pyramid termite:

he could have thrown the whole stapler at one of them, or used it as a club -


He *could* have. But he didn't.

I don't want to share the planet with people who approve the use of deadly force, or quasi-deadly force, based on what one *might do* with a stapler, for fuck's sake.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 2:04 PM on November 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, this should be good. Why do you think he held the stapler up?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:09 PM on November 10, 2007


Maybe he was trying to staple something?
posted by MythMaker at 2:11 PM on November 10, 2007


Perhaps we should just prophylactically tase everyone at regular intervals during the day, just in case.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:12 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've written and deleted several comments about the Vancouver Airport Taser incident, because I find the whole thing upsetting and difficult to write about in a measured way.

I am a frequent traveller through the Vancouver International Airport. You cannot go through there without hearing or reading about their "commitment to security." However, it concerns me that in this age of supposed heightened security, a man who disembarked from an international flight was allowed to wander freely around a secure area for several hours without a single person approaching him to find out why he was lingering there. From the CBC: "[Vancouver Airport CEO Larry] Berg said at no time did anyone employed by the Airport Authority have any contact with Dziekanski. The customs area, controlled by the border services agency, can have 15,000 people pass through in a single day and Berg said he could understand how a person could be overlooked by CBSA personnel for several hours."

I can't help but wonder if this whole thing couldn't have been prevented by someone 1) noticing that this man was still in the secure area after a couple of hours; 2) approaching him and asking him what the problem was; 3) upon finding out that he was confused, lost and didn't speak English, getting him a translator--it's an INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, after all; let's assume some of the people passing through it don't speak English; 4) putting out announcements to alert his mother, who had been inquiring about his whereabouts for hours, and 5) reuniting mother and son.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:16 PM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Maybe he was trying to staple something?

He "raised the stapler in the air" after the police spoke to him because he wanted to staple something? That doesn't make sense.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:17 PM on November 10, 2007


I'm glad the police have finally realized their actual job, which is to kill the stupid.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:18 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


From the Wikipedia article on Tasers:
Uses of a TASER device in this [Arizona] department increased from 71 in the year 2002 to 164 in the year 2003. Additionally, the number of officer-involved shootings decreased by 7 during this time period.
In other words, it's about 93 taserings to prevent 7 shootings, meaning that for each person you taser instead of shooting, 12 others (who would not have been shot) get it too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:18 PM on November 10, 2007


MetaFilter: don't bring a stapler to a Taser fight.
posted by cenoxo at 2:20 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


he held a stapler in an apparent threatening manner.

Maybe they confused him with a known arsonist.
posted by homunculus at 2:23 PM on November 10, 2007


At least now when someone says that American cops are taser happy, we can point at Canada and say "They do it too!"
posted by drstein at 2:26 PM on November 10, 2007


Perhaps we should just prophylactically tase everyone at regular intervals during the day, just in case.

Come on, man, not everyone. Just those wielding staplers. Like at my local video store, sometimes they staple the receipt to the rental agreement? Most of the time, those multi-pierced "Gothics" working the till - and I watch the news, I know those people can just, like, go off - but anyway, mostly they keep the thing down on the counter, but other times they do that mid-chest vertically oriented trick, and every time I think it's on, you know? I've been going with the judo chop to the throat, but I'm totally gonna tase them next time. Just in case.
posted by gompa at 2:31 PM on November 10, 2007




I can't imagine that killing such a colossally idiotic individual would be anything but a net gain for us all.

AWESOME TROLL A+++++ WOULD FLAG AGAIN!!!!1!eleven
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 PM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


In other words, it's about 93 taserings to prevent 7 shootings

In one city (Phoenix) during one year, according to the police department. And you accidentally left out the next sentence: "In Houston, however, police shootings did not decline after the deployment of thousands of TASERs." From the Houston figures you could say, "In other words, it's lots of taserings to prevent zero shootings."

I believe cops frequently use electroshock to avoid having to do standard police work. In the old days, a cop would have to argue with someone, convince someone to do something, or even physically restrain someone, which might require that the cop have an argument, be convincing, be in good physical condition, and have had some mental and physical training. With a taser, the cop can be (and apparently often is) any idiot who can point a Buck Rogers pistol.
posted by pracowity at 2:55 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


"It's not the police's job to scuffle with retards."

Their job is to serve and protect. I don't want a beat cop who can't overcome someone wielding a stapler. I would rather have someone shot with rubber bullets. There are quite serviceable rubber slugs that can be fired from a shotgun. They are used in some departments to subdue armed individuals (like really armed, like with a machete or knife) who are suicidal. In part because shooting a suicidal person is ridiculous, but mostly because tasers are not as controllable nor is the effect as controllable (e.g. someone on medication or with a medical condition might have an averse reaction to being tasered).
A rubber slug delivers a blow similar to in many respects a punch while retaining the effectiveness and safety (to the officers) as a distance attack. And indeed the force of the slug is also controlled by the amount of grains in the shell. It's adaptable.
But again - requires some continual skill training. Taser, not so much.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:03 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


My son, who is schizophrenic, was handcuffed in the back of a police car. He made the mistake of saying repeatedly "to serve and protect". He was jerked out of the police car, thrown on the street and tasered while handcuffed. Do not give me any of that self-defense bull.
posted by francesca too at 3:08 PM on November 10, 2007 [12 favorites]


Their job is to serve and protect. I don't want a beat cop who can't overcome someone wielding a stapler.

I'm sure they could, but why would they want to, and why should we expect them to? I don't see any reason to coddle fools. If the police come after you, don't go for your wallet, cell phone, or stapler. This isn't rocket science.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:12 PM on November 10, 2007


If the police come after you, don't go for your wallet, cell phone, or stapler.

Or Constitution.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:33 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Welcome to Canada, the new Burma.
posted by jrochest at 3:37 PM on November 10, 2007


Good advice. If the police approach you with guns drawn, don't suddenly reach for a copy of the constitution.

In any event, you have no idea what your constitutional rights actually are, so whipping a copy out wouldn't do you any good.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:37 PM on November 10, 2007


Mr. President, if I may call you that, what the hell is wrong with you?

You really want to live in a police state where we simply take the words of trigger happy cops who happen to get off on hurting others or are just too lazy to do their jobs properly?

So we end up with 167 deaths instead of, perhaps, none?

If that's the kind of country you want to live in then I respectfully say "fuck you" to you, sir. You, and the mindset you represent, is what is destroying this country at this very moment. You, and your buddies in the White House, are trying to bring about a situation where the populace is ruled by fear, and that we are all okay with police brutality.

That's not okay. Tasers are cruel and unusual punishment to someone who has been either neither tried nor convicted.
posted by MythMaker at 3:45 PM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


So we end up with 167 deaths instead of, perhaps, none?

Or, perhaps 500, so long as we're speculating. It's hard to tell how many deaths taser user has prevented, but the Arizona numbers quoted above indicate that it's prevented at least some shooting (which are surely far more lethal than taserings).

And yes, I want to live in a police state ruled by sadistic cops. Fucking idiot.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:51 PM on November 10, 2007


MythMaker:

I love you, man.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 4:01 PM on November 10, 2007



That's not okay. Tasers are cruel and unusual punishment to someone who has been either neither tried nor convicted.


Except for people whose idea of human rights, constitutionality and the social contract come from reading Judge Dred comix.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 4:03 PM on November 10, 2007


It's hard to tell how many deaths taser user has prevented

2,472,194,017. I heard it on the internets, so it must be true.
posted by ryoshu at 4:03 PM on November 10, 2007


It's not the police's job to scuffle with retards. If you want to fight, you're going to get tased or shot.

That's where we disagree. It always has been the job of cops to scuffle with unarmed troublemakers.

Also, I can't help but notice that you've now called the unfortunate dead immigrant a retard, a fool, and an idiot. Any of which is justification for you to accept his being subjected to what turned out to be deadly force. Since low IQ is, in your view, justification for killing, just how smart must one be for you to allow him to live?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:04 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread is like the litmus test for sociopathic tendencies.

Do you think that someone should be tasered to death for possibly considering throwing a stapler at a group of police? Yes? Congratulations, you lose at being human.
posted by papakwanz at 4:09 PM on November 10, 2007 [15 favorites]


Also, I can't help but notice that you've now called the unfortunate dead immigrant a retard, a fool, and an idiot. Any of which is justification for you to accept his being subjected to what turned out to be deadly force. Since low IQ is, in your view, justification for killing, just how smart must one be for you to allow him to live?

However smart one needs to be to avoid getting killed by the police due to a misunderstanding. That smart. If the police maliciously kill you, then you get a pass, because that's a lot harder to avoid, I'm sure.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:10 PM on November 10, 2007


Since the only reliable way to approach 100% surety that the cops won't kill you because of a misunderstanding is to always do exactly what they say, I guess your answer is, "smart enough to be a good German." One that speaks English, of course. Everyone else in America is fair game, then?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:15 PM on November 10, 2007


Mr. President, I know you're being sarcastic, but, no you don't want to live in a police state ruled by sadistic cops.

If this is true, then why are you supporting actions which will lead us to exactly that place?

And, thanks, Reverend Mykeru. I love you too, man :)
posted by MythMaker at 4:16 PM on November 10, 2007


Do you think that someone should be tasered to death for possibly considering throwing a stapler at a group of police? Yes? Congratulations, you lose at being human.

Should be? I'm not sure I understand the question. If you're asking whether I'm comfortable saying that someone who considers throwing a stapler at a group of cops is more likely than not to be tasered to death, then no, I don't think that's the case.

A possible stapler thrower shouldn't be tasered to death, as a matter of fact, but I have to caution you that people get unlucky, and a particular possible stapler thrower might very well get tasered to death. It's a risk. A small risk, but it's a risk. In fact, unless you have a great reason for throwing a stapler at some police, I would advise against acting like you might throw a stapler at the police at all.

On the other hand, if you're asking me whether such people deserve to die, I think it's a pointless question. Only impotent people who feel treated unfairly talk about "deserve."
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:18 PM on November 10, 2007


Mr. President, I know you're being sarcastic, but, no you don't want to live in a police state ruled by sadistic cops.

If this is true, then why are you supporting actions which will lead us to exactly that place?


Tell you what. I'll bet you $100 that tasing belligerent old men who try to punch cops won't land us in a police state within 15 years. Deal?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:20 PM on November 10, 2007


Since the only reliable way to approach 100% surety that the cops won't kill you because of a misunderstanding is to always do exactly what they say, I guess your answer is, "smart enough to be a good German." One that speaks English, of course. Everyone else in America is fair game, then?

Was it standard in this gentleman's country to raise staplers at the police? I've been accosted by foreign police when I didn't speak the language, and yes, it's scary.

So you drop everything, stay still, keep your hands over your head, and stammer as much of the language as you can manage in a very calm voice. You don't wave a stapler around.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:25 PM on November 10, 2007


Like most people, cops don't like to work, tasers take so much if the hassle out of actually having to interact and communicate that these kinds of things are inevitable. It almost makes their job tolerable.

Admit it, the airport traffic beat must be horrific, stopping all those terrorists and what not.

If we were all better citizens like Dr. Steve, the cops could put down their tasers, at least long enough to recharge them, and continue their proper jobs of sweeping minorities off the streets
posted by Max Power at 4:29 PM on November 10, 2007


francesca, what happened to your son? It must have been incredibly traumatic, but is he okay now?
posted by homunculus at 4:34 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


i've figured out what's really wrong with the police tazing people - it causes brain damage on the internet
posted by pyramid termite at 4:45 PM on November 10, 2007


There are quite serviceable rubber slugs that can be fired from a shotgun.

Rubber shotgun slug, fired into ballistic clay at 5 meters.
posted by Tenuki at 4:47 PM on November 10, 2007


homunculus,

Yes but since "schizophrenic" is probably the next best thing to being "retarded" in the Star-Spangled Me-Fi tough guy point of view, we're not supposed to care. Because, after all, police are not supposed to know about medical conditions and actually annoying the police is a de facto capital offense.

Well, sometimes I get appalled by the degree to which being a law n' order ™ patriot is contrary to being a human being, but no longer surprised. After all, what's the last refuge of a scoundrel?

That's right: The Academy.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 4:51 PM on November 10, 2007


There are quite serviceable rubber slugs that can be fired from a shotgun. They are used in some departments to subdue armed individuals (like really armed, like with a machete or knife) who are suicidal.

But sometimes they're used on nonviolent protestors.
posted by homunculus at 4:59 PM on November 10, 2007


Well, sometimes I get appalled by the degree to which being a law n' order ™ patriot is contrary to being a human being, but no longer surprised. After all, what's the last refuge of a scoundrel?

That's where you're all wrong. I hate America far more than you do, and I hate the police too. That said, speeding off when approached for double-parking is likewise pretty fucking loathsome.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of heroes in this story, frankly, and if that makes me inhuman, I guess that means you can put a bullet in my head too, unless I'm not in season, and then that's a violation. And if the police approach you about it, and you take of running and try to start a fight when they run you down, well, I guess we're just a Metafilter post away from starting all over again.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:08 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America: Is it my imagination, or did you previously have in your profile that you were a LAPD cop? Just curious--it's not there now.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:10 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Pigs" -- bring it back....
posted by lathrop at 5:21 PM on November 10, 2007


re: the vancouver airport thing:

1. The cops waited less than a minute to tase the guy
2. There's video that the police don't want the public to see

Personally, I can see both sides of the issue here. I can see how tasing could be seen by police as an easy solution to their problems, which is the start of a slippery slope - don't want to deal with this guy screaming at you? Tired of arguing with someone over a traffic ticket? And, by default, some people are going to die when tased - either from heart problems or some other reason.

But at the same time, I'm sure there are a lot of situations where a taser does diffuse a situation that probably would have been ended by either a gunshot or a severe beating.
posted by concreteforest at 5:21 PM on November 10, 2007


I don't hate America at all. Maybe that's your problem, Mr. President. I love this country. I think the Constitution is an amazing document that keeps us all free.

I have problems with the police not understanding that their purpose is to serve and protect *us*. We're supposed to be protected, not electrocuted.

What was mentioned earlier about your being a sociopath, I think in some ways is what we're seeing here. It's a flaw in your empathic response. You see the old guy and the immigrant as *other* and something that it's okay to torture or kill.

The loving, empathetic way is to see them is part of *us*.

If the police can do it to any one of us, they can do it to *you*. That's the whole issue with thinking torture is okay, or, sure, habeas corpus isn't important is when somebody else is a terrorist.

No, we have these laws in place, whether it is due process and no cruel and unusual punishment (which is the issue with Tasers), or torture or what have you, to protect all of us.

And that includes you, Mr. President. How would you like to be mistaken for doing something wrong, they electrocute you and claim you were resisting arrest?

Well, that's the sort of thing that's going on. And patriotic Americans ought to be loudly fighting this tendency.
posted by MythMaker at 5:22 PM on November 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


Canada has a Constitution.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:23 PM on November 10, 2007


Mr..America, a decently-trained police officer should have been quite capable of handlng a situation without the use of anything more potentially deadly than firm manhandling. Your assertion that anyone who isn't able to avoid setting off an itchy trigger finger in a face-off situation is a "retard" is ridiculous: firstly because it's quite possible to do so even if you're trying to comply, if the cop should make a mistake; and secondly, because even perfectly sensible and intelligent people can make errors of judgement, to the point of behaving aggressively and dangerously, in a face-off situation, especially if they're under the stress of knowing they're facing someone with no particular compunction against killing.

Even if we do accept that that would make someone an "idiot", your assertion that they need to die then is disgusting and inhuman whether or not you meant it sarcastically.

The police should not be a force of nature whose killing is met with shrugs and snark, especially not when it's as patently unnecessary as in this case. If you can't see this, then yes, your attitude is exactly the one that allows fascism to creep.
posted by Drexen at 5:26 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the introduction of tasers into various districts has ever been proven to A) reduce the rate of cops needing to use their guns, or B) reduce on-duty injuries to police officers.

If either one is true, then tasers are at least vaguely justifiable in some incidents, although the idea that tasering a sleeping guy (sorry, but 100% compliance with the nice officer is pretty tough if you're asleep) seems like an area for improvement. If the answer to both is a statistically significant "no," then it would appear that the use of tasers is essentially lazy and cowardly.
posted by adipocere at 5:27 PM on November 10, 2007


I don't hate America at all. Maybe that's your problem, Mr. President. I love this country. I think the Constitution is an amazing document that keeps us all free.

That's great. I just wanted to make it clear that I'm not, and never have been, a patriot. Nothing I say is due to patriotism.

No, I obviously wouldn't like to be mistaken for doing something wrong and thus tasered. At the same time, "don't make mistakes" is not a very good rule, since by their very nature, mistakes aren't the sort of thing anyone intends to make.

The issue is whether, objectively, the behavior warranted the response it received. We shouldn't be interested in the post hoc rationalizations of either the old man or the police. It simply does not matter if the old man subjectively intended to harm the police officer, because no one ever knows what anyone subjectively intends.

The only thing that is available to other people is one's objective manifestations of intent. Now, if the old man took a swing at the officer, subjectively intending to bring joy to his day, well, that's just too bad. He objectively manifested an intent to cause injury and resist arrest, and he got tased.

It can't be helped. If you act like a violent person, you're going to get treated like a violent person.

This has nothing to do with my empathy for humanity. It has to do with being realistic. A lot of people in this thread would condemn the police here because the man turned out to be harmless. That's a fundamentally unrealistic view, because no one ever knows how a situation will turn out while it's unfolding, so holding people accountable for not knowing that is just stupid.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:36 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America

That's where you're all wrong. I hate America far more than you do


I apologize. If you had just said up front that you were a complete moron, I would have cut you some slack.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 5:45 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


"a guy waving around a chair is about as dangerous as a guy waving around a knife"

That's ten pounds of bullshit, right there.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:47 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


But isn't the point here that the issue with tasers is, rather than it being used in place of deadly force, as was intended, it's simply being used by police officers in situations where other methods would work just as well without involving electrocuting someone?

Realism? Tasers were introduced under the argument that they were an alternative to deadly force. An old man swinging his first at you does not require deadly force as a response.

Sure, if you want to make the case that it would be unrealistic for the old man not to get arrested as a result, I'd agree. But to say you're a realist because I don't think old people should be tasered when there are other options, and because that's not what the taser was meant for?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:52 PM on November 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Or, rather, that I;m not a realist.

For the record, I'm not Paul Krassner.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:53 PM on November 10, 2007


Why are you arguing with Mr. President blah blah blah? Just find out where he lives, and tase him/beat him. Trust me, I've read his postings here- he's a retard idiot fool, he had it coming.
also, he's unquestionably a sociopath. Seriously- guy's more insane than I am!

Actually, in all seriousness- the solution to police tasing is easy. Life in prison. BAM! The fucking pigs won't reach for the tasers or guns quite so quick if they know it could mean they'll spend the remainder of their pitiful life in a cell. Somehow, though, the "zero consequences" policy doesn't seem to be having much impact on the pigs' behavior.
posted by hincandenza at 6:07 PM on November 10, 2007


Sure, if you want to make the case that it would be unrealistic for the old man not to get arrested as a result, I'd agree. But to say you're a realist because I don't think old people should be tasered when there are other options, and because that's not what the taser was meant for?

Look, I've never once said that old people should be tasered at all. I'm a realist because I recognize that the man's neurological condition (which would come to light later) wasn't a reason for the police to treat him any differently than someone else who was acting the same way. I disapprove of frivolous taser use. I don't disapprove of using a taser in certain situations where I would disapprove of using a firearm.

I apologize. If you had just said up front that you were a complete moron, I would have cut you some slack.

I'm not a moron. I'm quite intelligent.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2007


Canada, I'm disappointed.

This should be said louder. The Americanization has been an ongoing crisis. Let's bring this to a head, and move on, please.

One America is enough for the world. Canadians, let us remember who we are not lest we forget who we are.
posted by humannaire at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2007


I've spent al lot of time at the YVR nternational arrivals area in my capacity as a sales manager for a limousine company, and m completey familiar with the procedures in place there. The airport incident was a gross dereliction of duty on the part of those involved, and a scathing indictment of the sham of "airport security". Those on duty there at the time need to be disciplined, and in some cases, probably fired.

However the obnoxious old guy and his seemingly yappy wife who presume that they're above the law and therefore entitled to arbitrarily park in the traveled portion of the highway,and drive the wrong way down one-way streets because the construction "frustrates" them, are a different matter altogether.

You don't flee from the Police trying to ticket you for breaking the law.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2007


these incidents have made me, a regular joe approaching middle age, afraid of even looking at the police the wrong way

Being afraid is the wrong way.
posted by humannaire at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


WTF is up with Canada lately? Are they trying to outdo the United States in stupidity and cruelty?

Not out-do. Emulate.
posted by humannaire at 6:31 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Whatever your definition of "inhuman thing" is, it's not one that the rest of the world uses.

It's the one I use.
posted by humannaire at 6:36 PM on November 10, 2007


Only impotent people who feel treated unfairly talk about "deserve."

That's a crock and the kind of thing said by a person full of hatred.

speeding off when approached for double-parking is likewise pretty fucking loathsome

Loathesome? Yikes, what kind of standards do you have? And beside, as is said in the article

As Anne approached the vehicle, a police vehicle with two officers pulled up beside her husband and an officer got out of his vehicle.

Anne was *approaching* the car. She was was in earshot, about to get in the vehicle her husband was sitting in, for all intents and purposes about to drive away from having been double parked.

After Anne got into the vehicle, John drove off, leaving the police officers in his wake.

In John’s mind, he couldn’t believe they could give him a ticket,” said Anne.

She admitted it wasn’t the best way for her husband to handle the situation, but she said it doesn’t warrant what happened next.

John eventually pulled over in a nearby parking lot and he said the pursuing officers then “charged” at him.

“They didn’t want to talk,” said John. “They just wanted to arrest me.”

“They came aggressively at me,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”


Officers being dangerously punitive to an elderly couple. A ticket could have been issued from the license plate.

The man, not the officer, had a bleeding lip. Seems like a psycho cop, rageaholic monster.

I hope the man sues and the officer is prevented from continuing his rageful acting out. If he behaves like this with an elderly couple over double parking he's a loose cannon, his committing homicide isn't far behind.
posted by nickyskye at 6:37 PM on November 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Why does no one question how it is in John's and hois loud-mouthed interfering wife's mind that he shouldn't be giuven a ticket.

Explain why a 68 year old person who has parked in the roadway in downtown rush-hour traffic would expect that he could just "drive away" from the police officers attemptmng to issue a ticket to him.

"Drove away". It sounds simple, a pretty banal phrase. But at what speed? In what manner, and how safely; with angry and pset police officers in pursuit?

We know the guy is a frikken hot head, I'm not buying any of their bullshit. I'm thinkn' that the old bag yipped and yapped at the cops, probably gave them the usual BS about how she pays their salaries, and I guar an fucking tee you that their leaving the scene was no innocent misunderstanding
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:49 PM on November 10, 2007


We should be thankful that we live in a society where the state has given them tools such that they can choose to use less deadly force.

An interesting thing about being thankful for "less deadly force" is that people killed by it might disagree with your position, but can't. They're dead.
posted by humannaire at 6:52 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine that killing such a colossally idiotic individual would be anything but a net gain for us all.

Wow. I can think of two others here in the United States that perhaps billions of people around the worlds are saying the exact same thing.
posted by humannaire at 7:03 PM on November 10, 2007


I'm glad the police have finally realized their actual job, which is to kill the stupid.

Imaginably, this would cut down on the police.
posted by humannaire at 7:06 PM on November 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


What's up with

this URL?
posted by flotson at 7:07 PM on November 10, 2007


Tell you what. I'll bet you $100 that tasing belligerent old men who try to punch cops won't land us in a police state within 15 years. Deal?

No deal. That state is now. The deal is getting over and rid of that state so we can move on to the next one before all the stupid people are killed by other stupid people for being stupid.
posted by humannaire at 7:12 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's up with this URL?

More fackin BS from that couple, for one thing. Their editing by omission is positively glaring. They've just had an angry confrontation with an RCMP officer who has previously cited them for driving the wrong way down a one-way street, because the old geezer was "frustrated" . paparantlky angrywords were exchanged, and we have haesay evidence that these two felt their dangerou driving was justified because other idiots were equally negligent.

This same officer has now encountered them PARKED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD IN DOWNTOWN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC and yet then he allowed them to just "drive away".

Please. That's not what happened. According to her, her admittedly hostile and angry husband, upon realizing his mistake, calmly pulls over. BS. The RCMP officer was CHASING them, with siren and lights going.

Simply put, they're liars.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:23 PM on November 10, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy, The woman had gone in to hand over some newspapers. Maybe 3 minutes (?), with her husband sitting in the car. As she was walking back to the car, the cops stopped, when she was obviously about to get in the car and leave, thus removing any obstructing the double parked car was doing.

Where in this picture does it seem like either person in this elderly couple warrants being tasered?
posted by nickyskye at 8:31 PM on November 10, 2007


Reverend Mykeru, you're the dude who offered to meet King Spatula (or whatever his name was) halfway, weren't you?

That story has given me much pleasure for a long while. As have yours and many others comments in this post. The authoritarian comments, not so much. They do say a woman loves a man in uniform, though...
posted by maxwelton at 9:45 PM on November 10, 2007


That's a good one. I'm sure you really do have a reasonable, compelling explanation but you just don't want to give it to me.

Sure, it's that you're a moron

/a little late.
posted by delmoi at 9:51 PM on November 10, 2007


All I know is that I am always frazzled when I arrive at Vancouver international airport after crossing the Pacific on an eight-hour flight. And the Vancouver airport staff have *attitude*. They are not helpful. They are rude. It is irritating.

As a matter of fact I was transiting through Vancouver airport while returning from a business trip in northern BC, so I was doing fine.

But I noticed this guy wandering around the departure gate area. He looked lost. He ended up at the same Air Jazz queue where I was. I had a three hour layover and I wanted to see if I could get on the waiting list for an earlier flight. I couldn't because all flights had been overbooked, and there were already long waiting lists just for standby.

It turns out the lost-looking dude was in fact from Poland. He had arrived from Europe at 1:30 or so, and needed to get a connecting flight. But his seat had been double-booked, and he was going to have to wait another five hours.

The problem was, the Polish guy couldn't understand English, and the Air Jazz staffer was really rude.

I took him over to a help desk - he barely even looked at me - but noone could really help him.

The Air Jazz guy said to me: "Everything is working against him - his lack of language skills, and the fact that Air Canada overbooks every goddamn seat."

So, even though they fingerprint you now, I love returning to Japan. Even the customs guys (not immigration, though) are friendly.

But Vancouver airport is staffed with nothing but a bunch of low-wage union losers.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:07 PM on November 10, 2007


Sure, it's that you're a moron

It's so clear now. If I were only smarter I'd share everyone's absurd, overly emotional response to this! Of course, it's a lack of intelligence that's preventing me from getting freaked out over nothing.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:31 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


.

That situation with the Polish gentleman is just the exact nightmare scenario I keep having all the time. A lot of friends and relatives keep transitting through my town's airport, and I keep picking them up and dropping them all the time. Not everyone I pick-up/drop speaks good English, and most, even if they speak enough English to pass customs, find the whole process rather intimidating. Quite scary to imagine that people can, indeed, drop off the system.

I can barely imagine what the mother must have been (is) going through. Tragic, absolutely tragic.
posted by the cydonian at 10:52 PM on November 10, 2007


But Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America,
it's apparent that you are getting freaked out over something aren't you? Certainly enough to fill up this thread!
posted by kuatto at 11:08 PM on November 10, 2007


I took a swing at a cop today. And connected. I also threw another down to the ground and stomped on his nuts. I am being completely serious. Today. I was never tased.

It was part of a empty hand training seminar that involved LEOs. I was kicking the shit out of some cops — and they me—for about five hours.

And guess what? They can take it. Now if they can take it from me, a 200lb trained guy, I think they can handle a 160lb senior citizen with out resorting to high voltage.

Supposedly these guys are trained for this right? They are trained in submission techniques. I hope. They should be.

Some jurisdictions don't provide very good training. The easiest thing is reach for whatever piece of weaponry you can. The tazer is familiar. it is simple. It is very much like the firearm in concept. So if these guys are not given any other options... they are going to go for what they KNOW works.

My brother works for Florida State Corrections. He trains probation officers. He has "clients" himself. Some are extremely violent predators. And you know what? They don't give these guys SHIT for training. They have a couple defensive firearms certifications. But no real empty hand. So when the shit comes down well... when all you know is reaching for a piece you end up shooting people. For cops in most places it's not much better. So cops are perpetually insecure in their abilities with out filling their hands with something.

With municipalities cutting budgets, expecting cops to patrol alone, restricting use of certain submission methods like choke holds (which WORK and are humane when done correctly) etc, you get cops either bashing people with batons, choking them with pepper spray, or tazing them. Which, in all honesty, is still better than shooting them.

But ANYBODY else sitting on the sidelines saying the old guy deserved it... well FUCK YOU. Cops are NOT there to met out punishment for behavior. That is what COURTS do.

Cops are there to protect the public. They are there to protect the peace. That old man IS the public as much as anybody.

If the public is not under threat then they do not need to escalate the force. And clearly an unarmed 160lb senior citizen is no threat to the public nor to the cop.

If a crazy skrawny old man gets under a cops skin enough that he has to zap him out of frustration... well that cop is a big pussy and should get better training. He can't handle the job as it is.

Anyway, if your saying to your self the old guy deserved it? Well, only cowards root for that kind of thing. Frankly it's sad all the way round.
posted by tkchrist at 11:24 PM on November 10, 2007 [14 favorites]


But Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America, it's apparent that you are getting freaked out over something aren't you? Certainly enough to fill up this thread!

No, just courteously replying to the people who talk to me. I don't think that's considered "freaking out."

Yes, I've posted a lot of comments in this thread, but a lot of people have been talking to me. I hope I haven't inadvertently neglected anyone, leaving them feeling slighted.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:52 PM on November 10, 2007


You haven't answered my question, Elvis. I don't know if it was inadvertent.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:04 AM on November 11, 2007


I memailed you, weapons-grade pandemonium. Didn't think this thread was really an appropriate place to chat about my life history.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:07 AM on November 11, 2007


tkchrist wrote: With municipalities cutting budgets, expecting cops to patrol alone, restricting use of certain submission methods like choke holds (which WORK and are humane when done correctly) etc, you get cops either bashing people with batons, choking them with pepper spray, or tazing them. Which, in all honesty, is still better than shooting them.

Very, very well put.

I do think the RCMP have a difficult job. It's not one I'd want to do. But it's precisely because it's so difficult and dangerous that it requires far more training and support than is currently being given. Otherwise, you end up with someone getting killed--and sometimes it's the cop: there have been two cases recently in remote northern Canadian towns where lone RCMP officers, who were in remote detachments and answered calls without backup, have been killed. The most recent victim was only 20 years old and 6 months on the job. He was posted to a remote, tiny hamlet on Baffin Island before he had completed his mandatory training.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:08 AM on November 11, 2007


Oops. That should be, "with less than 6 months on the job."
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:13 AM on November 11, 2007


One can always depend on conservatives to reflexively defend the interests of the powerful against the powerless.

Cowards, all.
posted by empath at 12:25 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


To the point of this thread - Tasers should only be used in cases where deadly force is appropriate. It's never appropriate for simple refusal to comply with orders, end of story.

I think every discharge of a taser should be investigate just as every discharge of a firearm is.
posted by empath at 12:31 AM on November 11, 2007


tkchrist... Please point out where anyone said that the cantankerous old bugger deserved to get tazed. I'll save you some time. You'll not succeed in this task, as no one has actually argued for this. The abundantly obvious dis ingenuousness of that couple does tend to make any unbiased observer suspicious of their version of the facts, however.

The volatile 68 year old cran doesn't expect to get ticketed when breaking the law for some unexplained reason. What's up with that? At 68, its' not like he's inexperienced on the road. In fact, the very same police officer found him driving the wrong way down a ONE WAY STREET, because he was frustrated with the construction. It seems as thogh that encounter also led to harsh words, hurt feelings, and complaints about their presumed right to ignore laws at thier whim. After all, what does it matter if drivers obeying the law are coming the other way. Clearly, their safety should be a lesser priority, and the scoff-laws certainly didn't deserve to be ticketed.

Then, when being cited for yet another display of casual indifference toward the safety and convenience of other motorists, this unrealistic arrogance is further compounded by the gross stupidity of fleeing from the police. Anyone not living in complete dream world knows that this is NOT a good idea. Bad things will ensue. Did he deserve it? Probably not. But should they be surprised?

As an aside, your uncivil use of language like FUCK YOU toward your fellow posters does tend to undermine any weight your arguments might otherwise have carried. In point of fact, the unwarranted hostility contained within your post is quite reminiscent of those two.

Next time you disagree with someone in this forum you might be advised to first take a deep breath, and then re-read Matt's sound advice right below the live preview box.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:49 AM on November 11, 2007


From a recent interview with Norman Mailer:

I've always felt that fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. Democracy is something essentially splendid, because it's not at all routine or automatic. Democracy, in fact, depends on the concept--the notion--that there are more people who are good than bad. And that's a very large notion. Fascism goes back to our infancy and our childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, "Do this. Don't do that. No. NO. Yes, you may do that. NO, you may not do that." And so fascism--the secret of fascism--is it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory. And it's a very dangerous business.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:04 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


WTF is up with Canada lately? Are they trying to outdo the United States in stupidity and cruelty?

Whoever's dollar is worth the most has to be the biggest asshole. It's in the rules. :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:40 AM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy:
Other people have also said that solution to the old guys parking ticked. "The officers have his description and vehicle ID. It's pretty obviously not stolen. Deliver a summons to his house the following day. Easier on the guy, easier on the cops, safer for the public.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium "



Also people got rilled up by statements like Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis Americas "I can't imagine that killing such a colossally idiotic individual would be anything but a net gain for us all."
posted by Iax at 2:43 AM on November 11, 2007


I'm quite intelligent.

Steve, you're going to have to keep telling us that. It's so easy to forget while reading your comments.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:08 AM on November 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy, It seems you have it out for this old guy, because in one of the articles linked it said there were others confused by the signage in that construction situation, where the old man drove the wrong way down a one way street.

The couple feels the problem with the officer stems back to May, when John drove the wrong way on a one-way street as he tried to navigate through a confusing construction zone.

John planned to dispute the ticket related to the flag person, but before that could happen all the tickets were dropped, said Anne.

Those tickets were dropped presumably because other people made the same complaint, it's quite possible this cop was out to get revenge on this old guy...by tasering him.
posted by nickyskye at 6:04 AM on November 11, 2007


Here's a question for you; is there a situation, outside of having a gun, you would be okay with a 68 year old 145lb man who has had a stroke getting a taser for?

Let's see: If he was waiving and or firing a gun, had a very big knife, a detonation plunger with "Acme" written on it connected to a bundle of dynamite, a dirty needle and or a bullhorn connected to a CD player with a Carrot Top album in it. I can think of lots of hypotheticals.

Then again, if you were sitting at your computer hacking into NORAD in order to fire a ballistic missile at the hypothetical Land of Nuns and Orphans, I would fully support the SWAT team busting into your home and putting you out like a light. But you aren't: You are just playing Net Tough Guy on MeFi.

Similarly, the *reality* of the situation in question didn't support his being Tasered.

Get it? Of course you don't. You seem to be simultaneously juggling what actually happened with your "what ifs" at the same time. The key is understanding the difference between fantasy and reality.


the key to an argument is to simultaneously criticize someone for putting words in the other person's mouth and not do it yourself. it looks incredibly silly.

the *reality* of the situation didn't support his being tasered as you see it. that's not a comment on how reality is subjective to your opinion on a subject, it's based on the interpretation of the facts. you have said that you do not believe the old man put his hands up to hit the officer; you believe it was in self defense. i don't necessarily believe that, based on the other facts in the case. as such, our positions differ.

the only people who truly have the "reality" of the situation are the old man, his wife and the two cops who were there. the rest of us are in a fantasy story world. if you can't recognize that, i can't help but feel sorry for you. you're as much of an armchair quarterback as this "mefi tough guy" is. you just think your emotional attachment means you're not.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2007


dflemingdotorg licks his thumb, rubs his sights like Sargent York and takes dead aim at his own foot:

the key to an argument is to simultaneously criticize someone for putting words in the other person's mouth and not do it yourself. it looks incredibly silly.
Accidental as it may be, you stumbled on the point of my doing that. Good for you.

the *reality* of the situation didn't support his being tasered as you see it. that's not a comment on how reality is subjective to your opinion on a subject, it's based on the interpretation of the facts.
Yes, we all "interpret the facts", oh, obtuse one. Of course, you wouldn't do that. I'm still trying to parse your second sentence. For some reason you think when someone interprets the "facts" and reaches a different opinion than you, they are being subjective. You, however are obviously plugged into a higher reality.

you have said that you do not believe the old man put his hands up to hit the officer; you believe it was in self defense. i don't necessarily believe that, based on the other facts in the case. as such, our positions differ.
Oh, you did. I guess it's a different kind of subjectivity when you do it.

You seem to be pulling a strawman to insinuate that I claim the man took a swing in self defense. Actually, I was claiming nothing more than what was witnessed by his wife: That he put up a hand in a reflexive action that anyone would do. That, in fact, is a far more parsimonious explanation that to think this elderly, stroked out man was taking a swing at a couple of charging police. You can claim that the observations of the charging, about to rip and Taser police is more believable than the man's wife, but you would have to explain why.

Your interpretation of the "facts" is obviously based on the unassailable epistemic axiom of believing the police (and, can I assume any authority?) at face value.

Got news for you: You know everyone lies at times to protect your own asses, but you seem incapable of embracing the fact that the police lie too, and tend to get away with it. The police have been known to abuse their power and often the most vocal critics of police abuse are former police. What's more the police attitude is often the result of institutional indoctrination against their own citizenry.

the only people who truly have the "reality" of the situation are the old man, his wife and the two cops who were there.
Which doesn't stop you from forming an opinion that only the police are to be believed. Interesting.

the rest of us are in a fantasy story world.
No, only some of us.

if you can't recognize that, i can't help but feel sorry for you. you're as much of an armchair quarterback as this "mefi tough guy" is. you just think your emotional attachment means you're not.
Well, I should feel sorry for someone in "fantasy story world" who undermined his own right to have his opinion taken seriously by claiming everything everyone else says is subjective, and yet goes right on opining as if his own subjective appraisal of the facts weren't. Yet, I don't. You are just confused as all hell, aren't you? That's what happens when you claim to adhere to "facts" when it is obvious that you started with a conclusion and are just retro-fitting facts to it.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:43 AM on November 11, 2007




We're supposed to be protected, not electrocuted.

Protectocuted?


Anyway, the answer to this situation has been stated before in this thread by a few people, but I'll repeat it.

Tasers = Substitute for Deadly Force.

Would this situation warrant the use of deadly force? If so, taser use is justified. If not, then it is unjustified. Both of these situations are ones in which the use of deadly force would NOT be acceptable, thus the use of tasers is not acceptable.
posted by papakwanz at 9:21 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


My, this thread has been so interesting. The sheer amount of piling-on to the cops based on the unsubstantiated word of two people, both of whom admit that the driver in this case is actually not fit to do so (problems with language comprehension, aphasia, inability to handle stress), is quite disheartening.

And, no (for the reverend and his pals) I'm not saying he deserved to get tased. But he DID deserve to get pulled over and written up, at the very least, since he's obviously a danger to others on the road.

But I guess it would just be easier on everyone to let people over the BAC limit to drive home too, eh? Or is that position solely reserved for those who are oblivious enough to simply drive away from the cops when they've pulled you over?

Yes, they were pulled over. The cops stopped and were writing them up. PLEASE don't bring up anything about how they weren't moving at the time. Also, blaming only the cops and always the cops for situations like this is juvenile at best.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:59 AM on November 11, 2007


It's so clear now. If I were only smarter I'd share everyone's absurd, overly emotional response to this!

You seem to be unable to concieve some idea of response proportional to the threat someone proposes, or the idea that police officers may have some other options available to them other than firearms and tasers, and you seem to either think it's funny or a genuinely good idea to suggest that people who react with less the optimal acumen after being sleep-deprived and ignored in a foreign place should be killed.

So, yeah, you're getting treated like a moron and quite possibly a sociopath.

Limit your argument to the idea that the officers may have made an understandable mistake in this case and show even a teensie bit of empathy for the people who lost their fucking life over said mistake and you might have more luck being viewed as an actual thinking human being.

the rest of us are in a fantasy story world. if you can't recognize that, i can't help but feel sorry for you. you're as much of an armchair quarterback as this "mefi tough guy" is. you just think your emotional attachment means you're not.

No matter what our guesses on the specifics of the situation, this isn't a fantasy world, we're having a legitimate conversation about the kind of society we'd like to live in. For a lot of us, that means that people who could be otherwise subdued by the cops shouldn't be tasered -- even if they sass the cops, maybe even if they take a swing at the cops.

And yes, there's definitely some emotional attachment to that idea. Most values work that way. Doubly so when they're coupled with a sense of self-preservation that's naturally instilled when you've encountered uneccesarily belligerent officers in the past -- maybe you've never had that experience, though, so you're simply working with an imaginary conception of police officers.

But just so you know that I don't have a 1-dimensional view of police officers -- and that you know these ideas aren't just mine -- I've talked with officers who recognize that the better level of behvior means that you don't respond with force to sass or even verbal abuse, that you don't pull out the taser when something else will do. These guys also recognize they and their fellow officers are human and will sometimes make mistakes or flip out, but they still have in mind a professional standard that they hope will transcend that for the most part.

That's what most of us who see these two deaths as tragic, uneccesary mistakes are looking for too. Yeah, it's armchair quarterbacking to say what could have been done. But it's also a general conversation about how things should be done, so that maybe the next time some guy who's had a rotten day freaks out at a cop who's also had a rotten day, the worst thing that happens is that both of 'em walk away with some bruises instead of one of them dying over a parking violation or customs oversight.
posted by namespan at 10:32 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dipsomaniac -

I don't think people were suggesting that the old guy not be given a ticket. In fact, even the people who suggested that the police not pursue him in a high speed chase were proposing that they write down his license plate and mail him a ticket or show up on his doorstep and arrest him.

What we have been objecting to the the use of something that electrocutes someone, something that people believe is cruel and unusual punishment and arguably unconstitutional because of that, something intended originally *only* to be used in cases where otherwise you would be *shooting* someone, to be used to subdue a 68 year old 145 lb. man.

Write him a ticket, fine. Arrest him, fine.

Don't electrocute him.
posted by MythMaker at 10:45 AM on November 11, 2007


Many people have an "emotional attachment" to the idea of human life having value and more valuable and being more valuable than the errors of happenstance. Certainly valuable enough not to be taken away because an aggressive/timid/unstable police officer has an ad hoc reason involving, among other thing, brandished staplers, for taking it away.

It's not the emotional attachment to the value of human life that is the problem. Rather it's people who are so easily able to detach themselves from it, so that a needless death becomes, at best, an object lesson in compliance to authority up to and including a person needing to be clairvoyant and, at worst, entertaining to people without soul or conscience.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 10:58 AM on November 11, 2007


video: Testing various taser models on pigs.

Doing a taser or tasered search in Google/YouTube videos, there are over 5000 results. Many of the videos seem to be unwarranted tasering, out of an aggressive desire for total obedience on the part of the officer. It would seem to me that officers, who may have enrolled in the police force with control issues and a sadistic streak are likely to savor encounters where they can tase others or possibly create those situations in which they are allowed under the law to tase others.

The statistics of officers killed in the line of duty .

Nearly half died in traffic-related accidents, one-third in shootings

The people being tasered are not those with weapons or endangering the lives of the officer or others and are usually in the process of obeying, however reluctantly, badly behaved or angry about it. It would seem to me the people being tased are those expressing anger, as if tasing is not merely about obedience but about forcibly quelling any expression of anger and putting the arrestee into a crying-on-the-floor-in-a-fetal-position agony.

Here's a vid of an unarmed man being tasered for sitting in a chair, under police custody. He gets tasered and then is told by the cop to sit in the chair.
posted by nickyskye at 11:03 AM on November 11, 2007


Ah, I see. Well, the fact is that the Taser was never developed to be used ONLY as a substitute for a gun. To say that it isn't a non-lethal alternative is simplistic at best. It is FAR less likely to cause death or permanent injury than a gunshot, and it's also far less likely to cause uncontrolled harm than using blunt force, i.e., a truncheon. A Taser is calibrated to a certain output, which is certainly not true of physical alternatives.

Some people do die when it's used on them, true. But the same is true of alternatives such as pepper spray. The problem with pepper spray is that once it's used, everyone is affected by it, including the cops in the area. That is not the case of the Taser, and that is why in some cases the Taser is safer - unless someone's idea of "safer" is to have semi-incapacitated cops trying to control an escalating situation.

Now, in the case referenced in the story, we have only one couple's word that the use of such force was not justified, and constant insinuations that the RCMP has something to hide, since (as per standard procedure) they have not released the video to the public yet. Well, the fact is that in NO such incident would the video be released before being investigated, since trial by media isn't the way to go.

When confronted by irrational aggression, cops are trained NOT to listen to bystanders. To do so is a good way to get hurt or killed. The shame of it is that sometimes the consequences are what we see here, but I don't see that just letting this guy go was a particularly good alternative either.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:09 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dipsomaniac:

Ah, I see. Well, the fact is that the Taser was never developed to be used ONLY as a substitute for a gun. To say that it isn't a non-lethal alternative is simplistic at best. It is FAR less likely to cause death or permanent injury than a gunshot, and it's also far less likely to cause uncontrolled harm than using blunt force, i.e., a truncheon. A Taser is calibrated to a certain output, which is certainly not true of physical alternatives.

Some people do die when it's used on them, true. But the same is true of alternatives such as pepper spray.


Guns, Tasers and Pepper spray are the alternatives? How about "none of the above", and no, that doesn't mean suspects need then be put in a choke hold.

It's an important point: Why has policing degenerated into using some form of lethal force or substitute against people seemingly regardless of circumstances?

As nickyskye wrote above, it often has very little do to with circumstance or saving lives and everything to do with personal subjugation to a particular police officer.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 11:38 AM on November 11, 2007


Actually, it often has everything to do with how nickyskye *chooses* to view such situations. Unlike him/her and you, I don't pretend to know all the facts, and I don't make blanket statements about 5000 videos that I couldn't possibly have watched.

You're already crafting strawmen to address, based on what I write. I'll correct you - I never said that guns, tasers and pepper spray were the only choices. I'm really not interested in playing that. But what's your "none of the above" involve? Letting 'em go? Letting dangerous drivers continue? The fact is that police misconduct will *always* receive a heavily disproportionate share of attention (except in a real police state, which you don't live in) but you're choosing to believe that all cops are bad because such misconduct does get highlighted.

You're choosing to believe that this tasering couldn't possibly have been justified. Well, that's certainly your prerogative. I'm choosing to believe that I'll wait for some more facts instead of assuming facts not in evidence.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:48 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nickyske.

My problem with the couple's testimony is that I don't believe them, because my common sense tells me that they are liars. So I discount everything that the say, including their testimony about the facts in the earlier incident. This is the consequence of being a frikken liar. Their description of the second encounter is a pile of BS, you don't calmly "drive away" from Police issuing a ticket.

And you're quite right. I also thoroughly dislike them both, because, even by their own testimony, they are arrogant azzholes. They park where they please. They can't imagine that THEY should be ticketed. The DRIVE THE WRONG WAY down one-way streets because the construction frustrates them.

She's an interfering, loud-mouthed old biddy; not smart enough he shut her fat yap when told to do so by cops investigating a potentially dangerous situation, and a he's an angry, bitter old man, who thinks the the town's roads were constructed for his personal convenience. It would never occur to him to find parking soace or drive aound the block while his loud-mouthed wife goes about her business.

Does this mean he should be have been tasered? Probably not. But I sure as shit don't believe their versions of the events at the scene where they were apprehended after fleeing from the Police. If he was so fearful of the Police, why did he get out of his car? I've heard people going on about the force used to "tear his shirt'.

Please.

If the old bugger was acting violently, or actively resisting being handcuffed, ( which is far more in character with his earlier actions and attitude than the peaceful portrait they paint of themselves) ripping the buttons off his shirt would be about the first thing that would happen. One thing is certain. After he fled from the scene, and the officers chased and caught him, he was going to be arrested. In his angry arrogance, he chose to escalated the situation from a traffic stop to a felony, and arguing that felons should b allowed to flee with immunity is pretty foolish.

Since we don't have the testimony of the officers involved, I'll withhold my judgment about the level of force needed to reduce this angry felon, rather than base it the word of self-entitled liars.

Call me crazy.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:13 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't help but think that John Peters might be related to this guy.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:22 PM on November 11, 2007


Dipsomaniac :

Actually, it often has everything to do with how nickyskye *chooses* to view such situations. Unlike him/her and you, I don't pretend to know all the facts, and I don't make blanket statements about 5000 videos that I couldn't possibly have watched.

Yet "not knowing all the facts", aside from being and argument from ignorance, doesn't preclude you from offering your own opinion.

You're already crafting strawmen to address, based on what I write. I'll correct you - I never said that guns, tasers and pepper spray were the only choices. I'm really not interested in playing that.

Maybe you never said that, but you never offered another alternative, such as using one's hands and training to subdue a 145 lb, 70 year old man rather than immediately resorting to a device associated with 5,000 deaths. It's a strange morality you have that you don't make an exception for people, such as the elderly, who would statistically be more apt to die from Tasering. Yes, I know, you will respond "what if he had a rocket launcher?" even when he didn't. Maybe that's one of the facts you are waiting for.

I maintain: Any police officer who can't restrain an 82 year old, 5'1" and 160 lb woman with a hammer after breaking into her apartment during a welfare check (which made her grab the hammer) without Tasering her, should get a job more fitting their timid, pussified self.



But what's your "none of the above" involve?

Several people have already addressed that in this thread, such as tkchrist:

"I took a swing at a cop today. And connected. I also threw another down to the ground and stomped on his nuts. I am being completely serious. Today. I was never tased.

It was part of a empty hand training seminar that involved LEOs. I was kicking the shit out of some cops — and they me—for about five hours.

And guess what? They can take it. Now if they can take it from me, a 200lb trained guy, I think they can handle a 160lb senior citizen with out resorting to high voltage.

Supposedly these guys are trained for this right? They are trained in submission techniques. I hope. They should be."

Letting 'em go? Letting dangerous drivers continue?

(rolls eyes)

The fact is that police misconduct will *always* receive a heavily disproportionate share of attention (except in a real police state, which you don't live in) but you're choosing to believe that all cops are bad because such misconduct does get highlighted.

Then you admit what we are discussing is misconduct?

You're choosing to believe that this tasering couldn't possibly have been justified.

No sir. Again, it helps to read the thread and in the case of your responses, what you are responding to. No one is saying the Tasering couldn't be justified. Just that it wasn't justified. If you have access to some facts not presented in the bare bones of the case, feel free to share them. Otherwise you are giving the authorities a carte blanc based on hypothetical information that you don't have, and neither does anyone else.

Well, that's certainly your prerogative. I'm choosing to believe that I'll wait for some more facts instead of assuming facts not in evidence.

In other words, the facts as is aren't enough, you will hold onto your opinion of justification until you are presented with some other facts that may or may not exist. Funny, that's exactly how I feel about my hypothesis that the moon is made out of cheese: I will wait for some more facts instead of assuming facts not in evidence. And regardless of what the facts are, I will maintain my moon cheese hypothesis until more evidence is presented, and when it is, demand some more. It's an easy racket.

Clown.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:45 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy:

If he was so fearful of the Police, why did he get out of his car? I've heard people going on about the force used to "tear his shirt'.


Why is it that the "Taser-first" crowd insists on just making shit up?

No one claimed he was fearful of the police. Just that he couldn't believe he was getting a ticket for *standing* (not, incidentally parking) for three minutes.

It's convenient, though, because either way he gets it: If he stops and gets out of his car, he's due for a Tasing. If he doesn't stop he gets chased, the situation escalates, he gets spun out by a police car and is, at least, due for a tasering.

In other words, it's becoming more and more routine for any interaction with police to end in a good Tasring. As Mythmaker put it: "A big part of the problem with tasers is that they were originally marketed as a substitute for guns, but have become a substitute for exertion. Tasers are, increasingly, not used to save lives but to merely make cops' lives easier."
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 12:53 PM on November 11, 2007


Please show me where I have ever advocated or approved of the use of tasers, Reverend. I am not part of some "taser first" cabal your imagination has comcocted.

What I am saying is that I don't believe these two, based on inconsistencies in their story. Please don't attempt to make me defend arguments I've haven't made. Thanks.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy :

What I am saying is that I don't believe these two, based on inconsistencies in their story. Please don't attempt to make me defend arguments I've haven't made. Thanks.

What inconsistencies, or do you mean by "inconsistency", "bits that don't agree with the police account"?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:09 PM on November 11, 2007


I asked you to point out where I've advocated the use of tasers, Reverend. Your failure to do so, or address the request undermines the integrity of your debate.

However, I'll respond to your latest. There is no Police account, Reverend. Any such testimony is purely a figment of your imagination. But their story ( the only one we have so far) just doesn't hold water. The inconsistencies are to be found in how they self-describe themselves, and what we actually know about their rude and arrogant behaviour.

Anyone, of any age, who flees from the police is an irresponsible hot-head. He initiated a Police chase from a traffic ticket, and yet still expected no consequence? The chase and his subsequent arrest came as a surprise to them? Which they claim they then completely passively resisted.this is n stark contrast to the rest of their known behaviour , and what common sense tells must really have ensued.

Please. Its fucking bullshit. And I can't place much weight on the word of arrogant , angry, self-entitled bullshitters.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:30 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy:

I asked you to point out where I've advocated the use of tasers, Reverend. Your failure to do so, or address the request undermines the integrity of your debate.

You have referred to the elderly man as a "angry felon" and the couple as "self-entitled liars" and made it clear that you believe none of the exculpatory parts of their account, and then you turn around and play the game of "point out where I've advocated the use of tasers".

I wish your argument has some integrity to undermine.

...There is no Police account...

Right, which is the only account you will believe, as opposed to new reporting that quotes angry lying felons.

Not that you are advocating the use of Tasers. oh, no, no. no. Perish the thought.

It's just my incredible presumption that connects the dots between the man being Tasered, and your insistence that he had it coming, and therefore assuming "it" was the Tasering. Maybe the thing this lying felon had coming was pie and I'm just not astute enough to read between your lines.

...and yet still expected no consequence?

Who said he expected *no* consequences? You seem to exclude the middle between getting away scott-free and a good-old Taser ass kicking.

Not to impugn your integrity or anything.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 1:53 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Reverend, from your response it's obvious that you're not "discussing" anything, because you're so blinkered that you can't admit to another point of view. Accusing me of 'argument from ignorance' because I - unlike you - will admit to not having all the facts here is sheer stupidity. I guess that makes me 'Taser-first', too, right? That was just another hint that your position is as dogmatic and unchangeable as you accuse anyone opposing you of being.

Guess what, empty-hand training is NOT always an option. Do you blame the cops for lacking that training? And no, I am NOT admitting that this is misconduct yet, that's just another of your strawman arguments that I'm not playing at.

You believe that the 'facts as is' are enough to unilaterally condemn these cops without hearing an opposing point of view, even though these 'facts' are one-sided and obviously unsubstantiated by any outside observers. It's quite plain that you're not interested in hearing from them. Yes, it's quite obvious that you believe the tasering was entirely unjustified, and you haven't even heard from anyone else. Yours is the ignorant argument in this thread.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:54 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here, for your review, is the entire extent of Police testimony from the posted article, Reverend ...

The city’s top cop, Supt. Bill McKinnon, said he was made aware of the Taser situation on Monday and is reviewing the incident.


The other 100 lines or so in that article were all purely based on the testimony of Anne. A woman without enough common sense to stop yapping when requested to do so by a Police officer about to issue a ticket. Yep. She's a reliable source, alright.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:55 PM on November 11, 2007


It's shrill pedants like the Reverend who decide issues without any evidence that make me ashamed to be a left-wing radical.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:02 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy:

It's shrill pedants like the Reverend who decide issues without any evidence that make me ashamed to be a left-wing radical.


Using Gingrich-Glossary terms like "shrill" and describing yourself as a "left-wing radical"?

Riiiiiight...
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 2:08 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy:

A woman without enough common sense to stop yapping when requested to do so by a Police officer about to issue a ticket.

Yes, must not talk back to the police. I understand now. When you describe yourself as a "left wing radical" you must mean left-authoritarian.

Which is fine, as I don't care when Stalinists call me shrill.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 2:12 PM on November 11, 2007


My problem with the couple's testimony is that I don't believe them, because my common sense tells me that they are liars.

Common sense, eh? OK. Here's a personal incident for those who think these people are lying and the cops are telling the truth:

Six months ago, I was taking an evening walk in a park in downtown Kelowna, near where the episode in my first link took place. I came across a police car with flashing lights, and stopped to look. Two RCMP officers were talking to a man in the park about seventy-five feet away from where I was standing. About fifteen seconds after I stopped, the older of the two officers looked at me, and said in a loud, firm voice, "Good evening." I nodded. He continued talking with his detainee, then after another thirty seconds or so, turned to me again, and said in a louder, firmer voice, "Have a good evening!"

This time I got the impression he wanted me to leave, but I was doing absolutely nothing provocative, illegal, or wrong--just standing at a distance minding my own business, which I assumed included observing the police in their public duties. So I said nothing, and kept observing.

Another fifteen seconds, and the officer looked at me, mumbled something to his partner indicating his frustration, and the two walked over to me. The older officer started questioning me in an insulting fashion—berating, really—saying, “Have you been smoking crack?” and telling me that my behaviour was “unusual” and “suspicious”.

I want to emphasize that at no time did I do anything that would have provoked these officers or interfered with their duties. No comments, no gestures. Nothing. I am a family man, late-middle age, reasonably well dressed, drug free, totally sober (rarely drink anymore), out for a walk in the park.

I asked the officer his name. He didn’t give it to me. I asked him again. He asked me my name. I gave him my name--first and last. He continued his insulting questioning, which I now realized must be his code for “I can create this scenario to deal with you if you don’t move on.” But, of course, he hadn’t asked me to move on. He had no basis in law for asking me to do this. He had simply said, “Have a good evening,” in a “Fuck off” tone of voice. I asked him why he was accusing me of smoking crack. He replied, “If you had listened carefully, you would know that I wasn’t accusing you, I was asking you.” Right. He simply had asked me in the same tone of voice that he used to bid me “Good evening.” The third time I asked for his name, he gave it to me, emphasizing the “Corporal”, in a “Better remember that!” tone of voice, with full-on eye contact. Throughout this, his partner, who seemed well trained and well-mannered, was silent. The Corporal eventually told me the guy they were talking to was a drug dealer, and the two officers left for their patrol car without a word of apology to me.

I think the RCMP is the best police force in the world. In my few dealings with them, they have been polite, professional, and well trained. But this guy is an old-school loose cannon. He is an asshole. He knows the rules well enough to get around them and deal with things the old-fashioned way. I imagine he has been unfair to more than his share of people. I am still angry about this incident. I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world where the RCMP act like this. I don’t think the RCMP want their officers to act like this. And I want a judge and/or jury to decide whether the cops or the double-parker and his wife are telling the truth.

I still wonder why the Corporal wanted to deal with his detainee out of sight of the public. And I wonder if the Corporal is the same cop who tasered the 68 year-old man.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:16 PM on November 11, 2007


weapons-grade pandemonium,

Well, somehow, somewhere you did something wrong: Parking tickets, outstanding warrants, overdue library books. So the officer was perfectly justified. Besides, you could have had a theater nuclear weapon on you. You just have to mind your own business and not make eye contact with the police. Remember: Anything that gets the attention of the police is de facto suspicious.

(Just had to get that in there for shits and giggles)
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 2:22 PM on November 11, 2007


"Here's a personal incident for those who think these people are lying and the cops are telling the truth:"

One anecdote doesn't impact another, completely different anecdote. If someone DID think the couple was lying, this isn't going to change that, right? If, like me, someone thinks that maybe more facts ought to be brought forward rather than relying solely on one-sided testimony from a couple with no interest in being impartial, your anecdote is also quite irrelevant.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:29 PM on November 11, 2007


My Grandmother was the first whte waoman to be shown how to knit Cowichan Indian sweaters. I helped rig the Rainbow Warrior. I had my left eyebrow opened for 9 stitches by the Police at the Gastown riot. I banged on doors for Tom Berger when I was ten years old, and was arrested at Clayoquot Sound.

You know nothing about my politics, Reverend. But I notice that still doesn't prevent your unfounded presumptions. Now, please show me any police evidence thatb you are basing your conclusion on, other than the single line I've posted, and then be kind enough to address the issues raised.

Specifically the disconnect between the couple's description of what happened, what we know of their past behaviour, and standard Police procedure, when chasing ALLEGED felons.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:32 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy:

Oh, now they are "ALLEGED felons". At least you've qualified that.

My Grandmother was the first whte waoman to be shown how to knit Cowichan Indian sweaters.

That's nice, but who gives a shit?

I helped rig the Rainbow Warrior.

Isn't Green Peace a terrorist organization? Oh, excuse me, I meant "alleged" terrorist organization. According to the French police. And why shouldn't we believe the police?

I had my left eyebrow opened for 9 stitches by the Police at the Gastown riot.

Was that before or after you shouted "Don't Tase me, bro?"

I banged on doors for Tom Berger when I was ten years old, and was arrested at Clayoquot Sound.

I get it: Now you love Big Brother.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 2:40 PM on November 11, 2007


After calling me a Stalinist, I think it's probably time that you also reviewed Matt's request.

note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.


I won't now further engage you in this discsussion, because quote frankly, your attitude stinks. Actually ot reminds me of these two fucking arrogant assholes.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:43 PM on November 11, 2007


note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.


Yes, and after you let loose with a barrage of irrelevant personal credentials, your getting a burr up your behind and quoting that because I don't care is so disingenuous as to be hysterically funny.

What does your grandmother's knitting have to do with anything?

I won't now further engage you in this discsussion,

Wow, I don't know whether to post this or spike it in the end zone.

your attitude stinks

Perhaps we should stick to issues that aren't self-evident. Besides, I've read your other posts and you have pithy off-hand contemptuous posts down to an art. I apologize for working your side of the street.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 2:52 PM on November 11, 2007



Reverend Mykeru, Scrolling through the results of putting the word taser into Googlevideo, all I had to do was skim the titles and it's easy to see that the large majority of videos of tasering are about unwise use, or outright abuse, by the police of tasering. Have a look for yourself.

PareidoliaticBoy, My problem with the couple's testimony is that I don't believe them, because my common sense tells me that they are liars. So I discount everything that the say, including their testimony about the facts in the earlier incident. This is the consequence of being a frikken liar. Their description of the second encounter is a pile of BS, you don't calmly "drive away" from Police issuing a ticket.

Living in NYC, I have seen many dozens of times over the last 22 years here, people running up to their double parked or illegally parked car, just as the traffic cop was getting out their book and in any number of ways, some polite, some beseeching, some cursing, some hysterical, some angry...all panicked to one degree or another about getting a ticket and more often than not avoiding being ticketed, if the cop had not already taken out the book and *begun* writing. Once the cop had any word written on the ticket, that was it. No amount of negotiating would stop the process.

Many times I've seen people illegally parked who drove away as the cop started towards them. No drama ensued. It was about *parking*, not a felony.

So what if the oldsters are liars. It's about being ***double parked***...get some perspective on this. It's simply not taserworthy. And frankly, tasing an old guy could kill him. The cop could have killed a human being over double parking.
posted by nickyskye at 5:08 PM on November 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


nickyskye,

There could be some selectivity in what makes the news or the videos, but just off the top of my head I can think of several unjustified Taser incidents:

The Polish man Tasered in the Airport.

The elderly desperado that is the subject of this thread.

The woman Tasered while handcuffed.

The "don't Tase me, Bro" guy who was Tased while supine on the floor.

The UCLA (I believe) student who was Tased in the library, which began when he being Middle Eastern looking, didn't want to produce ID. He attempted to leave the library, was blocked from doing so, and, of course, Tased for non-compliance, but not before the University Police threatened concerned bystanders with a good Tasing.

The 82 year old woman Tased when police crashed through her door un a welfare check.

And so, on, and so on.

As many pointed out, the Taser is a means of forcing compliance. Situations with would have just been of words, which would leave the police dissatisfied now tend to escalate into a Tasing should the person "mouth off" to a cop.

And so on.

And like the Patriot Act, stupid airport security measures, detaining people for photography and such, there will always be a vocal section of the pin-headed sheep-like public willing to toss aside their rights, which they weren't using anyway, in order to secure the illusory bullshit trappings of security.

Until it's their turn to be detained, profiled, strip-searched and punished with a good Tasing should they be insufficiently grateful to our public servants.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 6:01 PM on November 11, 2007


Nickyskye, it's not about being "double-parked". They didn't "drive away" as the cop started toward them. Words were being exchanged, she was yelling at the cops, and they were trying to assert their authority, wWith someone they recently had a run-in with. The LAST thing you do, that is if you aren't a complete dick, is dismiss them, and "drive off".

The arrest was about fleeing from the Police, an entirely different matter, which is stupid and dangerous, and therefore a felony. He brought it on himself for no other reason than his stubborn arrogance. So I tend to discount their explanations of theiur mild behaviour at the arrest scene.

The reason their veracity is at issue is because we only have their word for the what ensued, and their story is inherently illogical. Their description of their conduct during the arrest is completely at odds with their known past behaviour and nothing has so far been presented by the Police. So why the big rush to defend these obnoxious clowns?

The way they describe themselves, this constantly agitated and angry has no business being behind the wheel, and he sure as hell shouldn't be initiating Police pursuits

Therefore I maintain that it's possible that an elevated level of force might have been appropriate. I've made it very clear that I'm not saying that it was. I'm saying that there isn't enough information to make such a decision yet.

Overall though, the behaviour of that couple is pretty reprehensible. The voice you're hearing is the voice of some jack-booted right-wing thug. It's the voice of someone sick to death of watching idiots on the road like these two, making life miserable for all the other drivers around them not agitated and impatient with all those silly traffic rules and regulations.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:25 PM on November 11, 2007


Reverend Mykeru, check out my comment in this thread. I'm on your side about unwarranted tasing. :)

PareidoliaticBoy, Get a grip, man, it's about double parking. These old folks didn't "make life miserable for others". Tasing is not some sort of moral punishment! LOL
posted by nickyskye at 7:14 PM on November 11, 2007


Torture is wrong.

So is tasering a 68 year old man.
posted by cytherea at 7:15 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy :

Therefore I maintain that it's possible that an elevated level of force might have been appropriate.

Can you hedge that statement anymore, or do it think it's good enough so you can later claim to have not said that you maintain an elevated level of force was appropriate?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:16 PM on November 11, 2007


nickyskye,

I knew that already.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:16 PM on November 11, 2007


Man, I wish I could find the appropriate Stephen R Donaldson book. The Oath of Peace seems like something that cops everywhere need to understand. Roughly:

Do not hold where talking is enough
Do not hurt where holding is enough
Do not harm where hurting is enough
Do not kill where harming is enough

Roughly. I'm sure someone else can flesh it out. The point is that you should only ever use the barest minimum of force necessary to fix a situation.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:29 PM on November 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Get a grip, man, it's about double parking."

No, it was about double parking until the driver decided to ignore a law officer doing his duty and drive off. Then it became about flight from the police - and the driver doing the fleeing was already known to be a dangerous driver.

Saying it's only about 'double parking' is disingenuous at best.

No, Reverend, I didn't say he deserved to be tasered there. Put it away.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:43 PM on November 11, 2007


No, what you said is:

"Therefore I maintain that it's possible that an elevated level of force might have been appropriate"

We'll be hearing you tutoring us on the exact meaning, or lack thereof, of that sentence later. No doubt.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:50 PM on November 11, 2007


Another isolated incident.
posted by telstar at 7:51 PM on November 11, 2007


No, what you said is:

"Therefore I maintain that it's possible that an elevated level of force might have been appropriate"

Are you able to argue a point without attributing to the other party something that he or she didn't actually say?

Strawman and ad-hominem arguments don't cut any ice.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:02 PM on November 11, 2007


Nickysye; Please note that you've edited the statement.

As quoted ... These old folks didn't "make life miserable for others". What I actually said was, "making life miserable for all the other drivers.

And, they do. Their scoff-law attitude toward the rules of the road is endemic, and not to be something to be lauded.If their response to the legal intervention of attending law oficers trying to clear traffic is to ignore theirinstructions abd drive away, it's actually a pretty serious matterat that point. In that town, creating bottle necks in rush hour traffic where they did affects hundreds of others trying to cross over the bridge into the downtown core.

Multiple this one incident of selfish and unnecessary rudeness on the part of these jerks by the hundreds of times a month that a typical commuter encounters this kind of behaiour going about their daily business and the breakdown of general civility on our public roads begins to make sense. Traffic rules are there to make things predictable, and introducing random behaviour at the whim of hot-headed, angry curmudgeons is not a valid model.

You might not see it that way, but I can assure you that traffic patterns in New York and Kelowna couldn't be more different. He could esily ahve driven around theblock or parked in one of the many open parking lots there. But instead, he opted to pull over wherever itv was covenient to him. This sheer laziness is symptomatic of a general "screw everyone else" attitude becoming distressingly prevalent on our roads, and while you might be willing to accept that in New York, I'm prepared to resist it, at least here in B.C. .

I'll repeat myself. Tazing the obnoxious, irritated , loudmouthed, angry, combative, fleeing, old prick might not have been appropriate, but its also not very surprising.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:26 PM on November 11, 2007


Cripes. By my count, that's 4 out of 5 times I've miss pelt yer screen name here, nicky. Sorry about that.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:19 PM on November 11, 2007


PareidoliaticBoy:

I'll repeat myself. Tazing the obnoxious, irritated , loudmouthed, angry, combative, fleeing, old prick might not have been appropriate, but its also not very surprising.

Previously on PareidoliaticBoy:

Therefore I maintain that it's possible that an elevated level of force might have been appropriate

Of course, he says he "maintains" that it is "possible" it might have been "appropriate" to use an "elevated level of force", a phrase which no one argues against, as it could mean virtually anything.

You can't nail him down because he's not really saying anything. You can't catch him: He's the Gingerbread Man

Oh and Dipsomaniac, that's a quote. You can't accuse someone of ad hominem and strawman because they quoted someone.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:40 PM on November 11, 2007


Oh and Dipsomaniac, that's a quote. You can't accuse someone of ad hominem and strawman because they quoted someone.

Oh, but I can accuse you of strawman when you're plainly trying to attribute to me something I never said. And seriously, are you actually trying to deny the ad-hominem? Really?

And as for your difficulties with what PareidoliaticBoy wrote: are you just playing dumb? Because it's certainly quite obvious what he wrote.

Your problem certainly seems to be that you just can't stand to think that maybe the cops deserve some kind of chance to defend themselves - you obviously have no room left for anything but your conviction that they must be wrong, because they're cops.
I say that because it's not like you've presented any OTHER reason for why you think they're in the wrong except for relying only on unsubstantiated complaints from the couple in question.

So, why is it that these cops don't deserve a fair hearing?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:55 PM on November 11, 2007


Dipsomaniac:

Oh, but I can accuse you of strawman when you're plainly trying to attribute to me something I never said. And seriously, are you actually trying to deny the ad-hominem? Really?

What am I attributing to you? Could you stop hyperventilating long enough to be specific?

Your problem certainly seems to be that you just can't stand to think that maybe the cops deserve some kind of chance to defend themselves

Yeah, that's it. You got my number. After all, you can never be sure if the 68 year old, 145 lb unarmed stroked senior citizen was exposed to excessive gamma radiation and was packing some green body make up.

No, just kidding. You're right though. I just can't stand the idea of the police defending themselves, regardless of the situation. Your astute reading of what I had written has completely foiled my cop-hating anarchist plans.

Idiot *


*Not ad hominem. Just an observation based on merit.

Incidentally I should take this opportunity to explain to stupid people that prequently misused concept of ad hominem specifically means referencing supposed stupidity and or moral turpitude that is not related to an argument. If I claim that someone's math is wrong because they are a known goat fondler, that's ad hominem. If I deny that Ted Haggard has a right to question someone else for being a hypocrite when he himself was a public homophobe yet private cock sucking meth head, that's perfectly fair game. Saying someone is wrong when they say 2+2=4 because they are stupid is ad hominem. Pointing out that someone's argument is stupid, disingenuous and/or generally lame isn't ad hominem.

Simply put, the concept of ad hominem doesn't bail one out when one is called out for being a moron.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 10:30 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


My god, it's like Lord Fuckwit, all over again. Well, no, not really. But there's that same undercurrent of cowardice and aggression.
posted by ryanrs at 3:50 AM on November 12, 2007


(before reading any comments in this thread)

Well, that's what our neighbours to the south will get when they vote for—

Wait, what's that?

Oh.
posted by oaf at 4:48 AM on November 12, 2007


And when you attack someone's argument by calling THEM Stalinist, THAT'S ad-hom, and when you reply to me by quoting someone else and telling me that's what I meant to say, that's strawman.


It's also apparent that I was dead-on in my other conclusions. You're right, of course - the fact that you're a moron is not excused by your ad-hominem afflictions.

Idiot.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:03 AM on November 12, 2007


Overall though, the behaviour of that couple is pretty reprehensible. The voice you're hearing is the voice of some jack-booted right-wing thug.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy

Thanks for clearing that up.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:20 AM on November 12, 2007


Dipsomaniac:

when you reply to me by quoting someone else and telling me that's what I meant to say, that's strawman.

Do you know what the word "specific" means?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 5:35 AM on November 12, 2007


My goodness, Reverend, you're playing dumb (and losing), aren't you?

"No, Reverend, I didn't say he deserved to be tasered there. Put it away.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:43 PM on November 11 [+] [!]


No, what you said is:

"Therefore I maintain that it's possible that an elevated level of force might have been appropriate""

Notice how your post directly followed mine, and how that quote isn't something I ever said?

While it was nice following your 'discussion', so-called, this "Oh, whatever could you mean" tactic really is the end. If this is the best you can do to defend your arguments (so-called)...
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:56 AM on November 12, 2007


I can't imagine that killing such a colossally idiotic individual would be anything but a net gain for us all.

I hear that Vancouver is pretty nice at this time of year, Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America.
posted by oaf at 6:18 AM on November 12, 2007


I don't know whether to post this or spike it in the end zone.

You don't spike a safety, Reverend.
posted by oaf at 6:21 AM on November 12, 2007


Dipsomaniac:

I was clearly quoting PareidoliaticBoy, about "Therefore I maintain that it's possible that an elevated level of force might have been appropriate", not you. He first posted that here. I first quoted him here by name, and then after you posted because you were just merrily agreeing. The actually intelligent people in this thread knew who I was quoting. In fact, even you did, because here you wrote: "And as for your difficulties with what PareidoliaticBoy wrote: are you just playing dumb? Because it's certainly quite obvious what he wrote."

Yes, it was. I previously quoted him. You popped into a back and forth I was having. You added absolutely nothing except the same "He deserved everything he got...but I'm not saying he deserved to be tased" tap-dancing argument. You know, it's a thread. It helps to read discussions as a whole.

So, I wasn't saying you are a veritable sockpuppet. Just that I maintain that it's possible that calling you a yes-man might have been appropriate.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:35 AM on November 12, 2007


"You added absolutely nothing except the same "He deserved everything he got...but I'm not saying he deserved to be tased""

And that is the rankest bullshit that we've come to expect from you. So far, you've been lying about what I write and then expecting me to defend the lies.

Also, when he's said he refuses to engage you anymore, and you are obviously replying to me with something he said and attributing it to me, your excuses later just stink like shit.

No, I'm not going to ask you to back up what you say. You've had a lot of time so far and failed.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:05 AM on November 12, 2007


I attributed it to him several times. You're just picking on something stylistic and twisting it into something to be outraged about to distract from your own lack of any coherent argument.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 8:36 AM on November 12, 2007


And you attributed the sentiment to me as well, but I'm not playing your little game. You have an epic fail, Reverend.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:05 AM on November 12, 2007


Tazing the obnoxious, irritated , loudmouthed, angry, combative, fleeing, old prick might not have been appropriate, but its also not very surprising.

PareidoliaticBoy, lol, your comment gave me a chuckle. Can't help wondering if there is another irritating, loudmouthed, angry, combative, old prick in your life who you'd like to tase.

Honestly, I thought about your comments last night before going to sleep and hoped I'd think of something meaningful to say to you today. Because I like you. And thanks for the apology about the spelling, hadn't noticed, didn't mind but nice of you. :)

There are many reasons for rotten driving. And it has to suck if one is around lousy drivers for any length of time. As a New Yorker I don't drive, don't own a car. I walk. And lousy walkers piss me off royally, lol. The Meanderthals with their cellphones...grrr... don't get me started on them! Others get road rage, in NYC people get pavement rage. An ex-neighbor of mine confessed he'd walk down Fifth Avenue with his briefcase and deliberately thwock the 3-across phalanxes of Japanese tourists with brimming shopping bags on either side, breaking open their bags like pinatas, haute couture goodies spilling into the dammed river of pedestrians behind them.

Once in blue moon I might have a *really* bad day and fantasize tazing the asses of dumbkopfs walkers who do idiotic things...but I wouldn't. Ever. And can only imagine the hilarious and tragic outcome if I did, lol

Just before dropping off I thought of saying this anger with scofflaws situation is about love and accepting the flawed nature of life. By love I mean if people were loving parents to their kids in the first place, it's likely there would be less acting out that lack, of not having been loved well enough, as adults. There might be more consideration of others, less meanness, less rudeness, less violence. But since parents aren't perfect -and nothing in life realistically is- trying to force perfection onto any situation ends up making it a fascist nightmare. The imperfections of life need to be prioritised...and, imo, handled with that understanding in mind.
posted by nickyskye at 10:40 AM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


“This isn't rocket science.”
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America

It is police science. And it is a science - criminology, community policing (that is a group name for a plethora of skills such as problem solving, interpersonal communications, critical thinking, etc), criminal psychology, normative jurisprudence, etc. Policing is a profession, not a ‘job.’ They are not garbage truck drivers or factory workers, the work demands more than the skills of routine. Tasering people as a standard reaction is piecework criminology.
We expect the police to subdue individuals while placing said individuals welfare ABOVE their own, and most importantly in defense of the commnity. That is the job. The subject in question unless not a visible threat is innocent until proven guilty and so is - and should be - afforded the rights and privileges of any citizen that the police serve. Critical concept there - the police are public servants. They don’t want to be in harms way? They don’t have to be a cop.
And this “don’t go after your wallet” comment is silly. The first physical action ordered in overwhelming most police engagements is to see identification. Cop pulls you over, you get out your license. Cop approaches you, you take out your wallet “This is me.” It’s a socially ingraned response. Other responses are due to percieved threats. It’s all in the approach. You can either focus on diffusing the problem or you can look to bust heads.
Were I a police officer in the situation with the polish man here I would have been busting the airport officials chops - visibly - in front of the man, demanding to know why they weren’t helping him. That alone greatly lessens the perception that I’m a threat or an obsticle to the primary’s goals. Once that’s taken care of, he sees me as a potential solution to his problem, it’s very very unlikely he will become unruly or uncooperative most especially with me.
Coddle fools? You’re a fool if you think every “problem” is to be met with force. It’s problem solving, not busting heads. You want to bust heads for a living have the balls to join the military.
A good cop won’t have a punch thrown at him or violence directed at him in any situation other than an already violent engagement.

“speeding off when approached for double-parking is likewise pretty fucking loathsome.”

And again - why engage the suspect at all? Why not just mail them the ticket? It gives me time to run your plates, figure out whether you’re dangerous or not. If your records clean, no sweat, you’re getting a summons in the mail. If not, the radio is faster than you. I follow you at low speed, I set up a road block, if you run, I call for back up and we surround you. If you really are dangerous, better I have a few extra squads there. But a police officer should NEVER lose control of the situation and therefore should never allow a suspect to be severely injured. Again - innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The job is to deliver them to court for judgement while protecting them and the public physically and safeguarding their civil rights, not to exact any sort of measure of retribution for defiance of authority. The court rules the guy belongs in the joint for what he’s done (running, threatening an officer with a staple, whatever), so much the better. But if you have to beat someone, you’ve lost control of the situation. Delivering overwhelming force is easy for any law enforcement official. Especially if it’s in a sloppy manner that injures or kills suspects or allows bystanders to be injured or killed. The profession is control, not violence and not what you or I might think we would do or think is proper as a response. Who you are when you have a badge on is not who you are at home. I’ve argued this same point for troops. You cannot allow your selfish concerns (not ‘selfish’ in the perjorative, but considerations for oneself - even if reasonable, hell, even if noble) to dictate your actions. You must be guided by the principles of your profession even as your judgement should be your own.
This line of reasoning of yours is as silly as arguing firefighters shouldn’t try to save people stupid enough to be caught in burning buildings. Both professions are concered with protecting people. If you wish to place your personal welfare before others then go work in the private sector.

Bottom line - you can always escalate the use of force. Once you go up, descalation is not an option. You can’t tase someone then go back to verbal confrontation.

“But sometimes they're used on nonviolent protestors.”

Uh, yeah, homunculus, that doesn’t sound like the precision requisite in the scenarios I outlined: “when Oakland Police opened fire with wooden dowels, ``sting balls,'' concussion grendades, tear gas and other non-lethal weapons...”
And again, you can have lower powered rubber shotgun slugs for smaller folks - given the scenario requires rubber slugs in the first place. I could easily disarm a 14 year old girl no matter what (non-firearm) weapon she has without doing her injury.
(+ essentially what tkchrist sed, I train some law enforcement folks as well)
Are there situations where tasers are warrented? Yes. I can see a slim set of circumstances where they could be used. But in those situations I would prefer the use of rubber slugs because of the greater degree of controllability in both the degree of force and as a ranged weapon in defense against a hand to hand weapon. I would also argue for the use of shields in such circumstances if there are several officers with them.
I couldn’t make a blanket statement about all such situations, since they are all dynamic but for the most part teamwork, shields and rubber slugs cover everything tasers could.
Riots, protests, etc. are a whole other matter. But generally speaking force should be used as judiciously as possible. Protests are extremely chaotic events with very little planning possible. I myself would have taken more of a community approach, find out who is from town and work with them well beforehand to avoid the violence and damage which is usually caused by out of town idiots (or sometimes by state or federal provocateurs). But I don’t see why someone should bust up a coffee shop or something in my town just to give some group bad pr because the boys in sissy tassle loafers (FBI) want it that way.

“But I guess it would just be easier on everyone to let people over the BAC limit to drive home too, eh?” - Dipsomaniac

Because you can verify they are over their BAC limit how? (apropos name btw) Certainly you can ascertain they are weaving or driving dangerously, but again, no call for back up? Why not? Budget? Well we’re back to square one, lower budget for training and emphasis on income derived from traffic stops to beef up the town revenues.
This is a good situation for the citizens, police and bystanders then?
Not to mention the number of deaths (to cops, bystanders and suspects) chases cause. Why the hell should I risk my life in high speed pursuit chasing some guy who as far as I know his only crime is double parking? If he is dangerous, driving dangerously, solid. But the same argument for tasering for cops to protect themselves and others applies to cops not engaging in high speed pursuit for nonviolent or nondangerous crimes. Double parking?

“Guess what, empty-hand training is NOT always an option.”

No, it’s not an option, it’s an absolutely vital component of police science that is vastly underfunded and overlooked in favor of quick fixes like tasers to the detriment of the citizenry and the police themselves.
Furthermore any able bodied cop that can’t subdue a 145 lb, 68 year old stroke victim with his bare hands - without training - should be behind a desk, not on the street. No, I take that back, he should be in a physical therapy program because he’s clearly not able to start real exercise.
Serious, did the RCMP guys lose the keys to the gym or what?

Perhaps the couple is lying. The undisputed facts in the case are the man was tasered several times and the incident is being investigated by the department (according to the police).
Under dispute (and investigation) is the legitimacy of the tasing. He’s old and small, doubtful that he was a threat. What is being defended are not subjective positions such as whether they’re great folks or dicks or lying or whatever, but whether a police officer is justified in using this level of force against someone who is very unlikely a threat no matter how surly (subjective) he was. The law is not applied differently because of someone’s demeanor.
A nice thief goes to jail the same as a dick thief, an abusive suspect is not tased simply because they’re abusive, but because they are a physical threat. There is no evidence that the man was a threat and a great deal of evidence (age, build, physical condition, medical history) that he wasn’t.
Even if it’s not very surprising for a police officer to react by tasering a verbally abusive individual it is inappropriate and antithetical to the kind of policing citizens require.
If this action is inappropriate for an officer of the law, the officers in question should be relieved of duty or at the very least disciplined so they they do not act inappropriately whether some outside observer thinks they are justifiably provoked or not.
Simple.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:36 PM on November 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


Didn't I tell you lot to move along?
posted by Frasermoo at 2:39 PM on November 12, 2007


"The law is not applied differently because of someone’s demeanor."

The thread is getting a bit stale, but I just had to reply to that. I mean, do you really think that's true? Do you believe that speeders who are polite and respectful don't get let off more lightly on average than speeders who behave like douchebags and play the "I pay your salary" card?

It's a fact that demeanour makes a difference. Whether or not it should is another story.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:03 PM on November 12, 2007


“It's a fact that demeanour makes a difference. Whether or not it should is another story.”

No, whether or not it should be is the contested point. It should not. Does it? Yes. Is it understandable as a matter of human interaction? Yes. Is it legally defensible? No. End of story. Police enforce the law, not their own feelings or personal dignity otherwise they are derelict in their duty. Their authority is a tool for the purpose of service to the community, not to deliver a smackdown on jerks - whether we all agree the individuals in question are jerks or not.
Let’s say the BTK killer rapes, tortures and murders one of my kids. It’s understandable that I would seek revenge. It’s understandable that I would likely hunt him down and torture him for the rest of his greatly shortened life in a premeditated and methodical (albeit out of my normal state of mind) manner. Anyone who tries to stop me or gets in my way I’d probably kill. It is by no means acceptable or a legitimate course of action that society can tolerate. The jury might understand, but I’m going to jail particularly if I harmed/threatened innocents.
By the same token this tasering, albeit with greatly lesser stakes, is intolerable behavior for a police officer. With greater authority comes greater oversight and curtailed personal latitude otherwise it’s an abuse of power no matter how understandable it is on a human level.
Human interaction is a completely different thing when one of those people is a police officer. The law binds the actions of not only the citizen but the actions of the government officials that enforce it.
Did this person commit a crime? Apparently so. Was there an error in the execution of apprehension of that person by law enforcement, possibly because of the demeanor of this individual? Apparently so.
Why allow belligerance on the part of a suspect get you into trouble?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:27 PM on November 12, 2007


"By the same token this tasering, albeit with greatly lesser stakes, is intolerable behavior for a police officer."

There is the contested point. YOU do NOT have all the facts. You can say that all you like, but it is not a conclusion you can yet support.

I really can't say this any more clearly. I have in no way condoned any actions since I'm able to admit I don't have all the facts. I have said, as have others, that not all the facts are in and been jumped on for the trouble by a veritable flotilla of people who for some reason believe that they're qualified to say that they know what the final conclusion should be without knowing what really happened!

Goodness knows, anyone who refers to cops as 'pigs' certainly has a great moral weight on his side, I suppose. Certainly it seems like it's enough to condemn actions without knowledge. But count me out of that.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 4:40 PM on November 12, 2007


What is going on here seems to be a mix of animosity and agenda.

So, for the sake of argument, let's say that the couple were career petty bad people. Real pain-in-the-asses. They offered nothing and took loads. They blamed others for everything, but accepted no blame themselves. In fact, let's further say that he was completely amoral and did not know the difference between right and wrong, and that this kind of situation is what this guy lived to induce, as well as it being some sort of fulfillment of his life's work. What more, the world is a better place without the guy.

Furthermore — again, for the sake of argument — let's say that the cops are good guys, that they used their best judgement, and took what they considered to be appropriate steps towards the fulfillment of their duties.

Now, aside from it being a relief to all that the world has lost a tremendous aggravating SOB, does it make [getting tasered resulting in death for a traffic infraction and verbal abuse] right?

And the answer remains no.
posted by humannaire at 4:48 PM on November 12, 2007


“There is the contested point. YOU do NOT have all the facts. You can say that all you like, but it is not a conclusion you can yet support.”

Given all the facts at hand, mine (and others) is a reasonable conclusion. Your argument (as has been pointed out) is similar to that on intelligent design (in assertion of the lack of evidence to dispute it). A great many things are possible.
However the indisputable fact is that the tasering occured, also indisputable are the physical characteristics of the suspect. That alone is enough to warrent suspicion in motivation on the part of the officers.
Additionally, there has been enough evidence overall to warrant an internal investigation. This is also as indisputable fact (given we’re not being blatantly lied to by the newspapers or the statements by police officials themselves aren’t misrepresented).

Given that, as an interested bystander, I am perfectly justified in questioning the appropriateness of the behavior of the officer in question.

“Goodness knows, anyone who refers to cops as 'pigs' certainly has a great moral weight on his side, I suppose. Certainly it seems like it's enough to condemn actions without knowledge. But count me out of that”

I have not refered, ever, to a police officer as ‘pig.’ I dislike the appelation but find it irrelevent in terms of discourse. Moral weight is also irrelevent to the logic of taking a position based on the evidence. A child molester could state that the Earth goes around the sun or vise versa but only the observable facts matter to the truth of his statements.

There is clear and ample evidence that there may well have been wrongdoing here. It deserves to be investigated whatever the demenor of the suspect(s).

But again, generally speaking, tasering is a less suitable technique in many ways than other techniques available and in any case should be used only where potentially lethal force is required. Given this old man didn’t appear to be armed, I’d greatly suspect any court of law would rule the police officers actions were inappropriate.
Certainly that’s speculation, but it seems a fairly straightforward conclusion given the known facts of the case. If there’s some other mitigating factor in the police officers favor (e.g. he had a knife) that would certainly change things, but I suspect it would have been mentioned in the articles. Police deparments rarely accept bad PR when they don’t have to.

(humannaire, to be fair the traffic guy isn’t dead, it’s the other guy although your logic still holds. As does the original assertion that tasering someone without regard to their medical condition - and in this case elderly folks such as the man in the traffic stop often do have medical conditions which could result in death from tasering - so for the traffic stop guy who did in fact have a history of stroke - risk of death)
posted by Smedleyman at 5:45 PM on November 12, 2007



Now, aside from it being a relief to all that the world has lost a tremendous aggravating SOB, does it make [getting tasered resulting in death for a traffic infraction and verbal abuse] right?


Great way you've escalted this incident in your mind; still uwithot so much as a word from the Police. Talk about an agenda. The obnoxious loudmouthed old guy bugger didn't die. Have people died from tasering? Yes. But they've also died from crashing their cars while being pursued by police. As have innocent bystanders.

Here's a method to avoid such potential risks. When the cops are issuing you a ticket, don't fucking run from them. They really don't like it, anyone 68 years of age understands this.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:02 PM on November 12, 2007


Wait. I read this entire post thinking the old guy had died?

He didn't die?

Jeez...[thinks on this]

...so what's the big deal?

Darn good thing he didn't die. I'd sure be upset then. I mean, if he had.
posted by humannaire at 8:02 PM on November 12, 2007


Nickyskye - Yours sentiments are appreciated, and have considerable merit. It's true that we are all too quick to condemn the actions of our fellow men, and that a bit more understanding would go a long way toward improving our society's moral equilibrium.

Why, then is this tolerance you so wisely counsel to be denied the Police, most of whom (somewhat illogically) choose to ethically intervene on our behalves in these distasteful and regrettable situations?

Why is this willingness to empathize with others, regardless of likability, restricted toward the Police, and entirely reserved instead for the maladjusted troublemakers, whose recalcitrant propensities require such institutions to exist in the first place?

If one agrees with such a philosophy, (and who wouldn't?), it seems to me that it's only fair to at least let the officers involved present some sort of an explanation for their actions.

Something that, I'll note, has yet to happen.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:03 PM on November 12, 2007


The obnoxious asshole didn't die though, humannaire. He's actually far more likely to die from the high blood pressure his inability to deal with daily traffic creates. In fact, it might even have contributed to this dickwad's stroke. Perhaps fleeing from the cops when he decides that he doesn't deserve a ticket strikes you as less risky for the old codger's ticker,in some way?

Do elucidate.

Mind you, he could still have just as easily killed himself alomng with other innocents. Say ... like a bus full of puppies and orphans ... driving the wrong way down a one way street.

But unlike you,most rational people are not prepared to bemoan things THAT NEVER HAPPENED.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:18 PM on November 12, 2007


This is great. So this who thing is about some of are us are upset because some people who are cops/police/etc are quick on the draw with tasers?

That's not facism, that's evolution! Even the bad monkeys get the fun toys.

[Oh. I see. There's a "more" added to this synopsis post that interrupts the train of thought. Oh well, no rule against poor style.]

Alright. After re-examining the facts, I don't have any idea who I am with, the non-apologists led by the ex-cop from LA who posted this or the peaceniks/unfacists with whom I philosophically agree...

[thinking, re-examining dialogue]

Alright the guy seems like he begging for a good tasing.

In any cas, that said, here's my score:

weapon's grade pandemonium: yes
steve: NO WAY

And Reverend mMykeru: I liked what you were saying, but the Stalinist remark put you out of the running.
posted by humannaire at 8:26 PM on November 12, 2007


(Why would anyone capitalize the word "police" in this context?)

Does anyone actually expect the police report to read "well, I was having a shitty day and this asshole just blew my final reserve of patience?" Or the other side to say "well, we pretty much did everything wrong and then we panicked?"

But at the end of the day, the greater responsibility lies with those with the greater power. If your dog craps in the house, as temporarily satisfying it might be to get angry and yell at it, the right thing to do is to take it out into the yard and let it do its business--and actually, if it craps in the house, you've already let the situation escalate, because you could have easily anticipated it. You've already made life difficult for yourself and the dog by making a mistake and the natural reaction would be to find someone, anyone, else to blame.

The public fears interacting with cops (with good reason, it seems)--they feel guilty (we all have a skeleton or two) and have little experience in high-pressure situations. Police, on the other hand, are trained in this, deal with it every day, and could easily predict some of the things that might happen and plan accordingly.

The best possible light for the police is that they screwed up and let a routine situation spiral rapidly out of control, making wrong decision after wrong decision, to the point where one of the officers felt the only next logical move was to taser the subject.

That's the best possible light. From there, it only gets uglier, right down to the basest level where you might have a man in uniform who enjoys hurting people. The truth is probably somewhere between those two positions, but no matter what the truth actually is, it starts at best as being a cock-up. That's the thing to be angry about. The punishment for being in a high-stress encounter with the police and panicking should not be grave injury and the possibility of death.
posted by maxwelton at 4:00 AM on November 13, 2007


maxwelton,

It's an excellent point. Rather like the people who "support the troops" by refusing to pull them out of the purposesless meat-grinder that is Iraq, we get people who claim to have enormous respect for the police (Generally these people are Stalinists, incorrigible child-molesters and people who fondle livestock before engaging in naked body-painted cattle mutilation and by this I don't mean either PareidoliaticBoy or Dipsomaniac...much. However, I maintain that it's possible that such a comparison might be appropriate, provided I can deny it when stated as a direct assertion later), claim the police are the "[fill in your city here]'s finest", the "thin blue line" and generally the buffer between us decent folks and the brown-skinned crack heads that want to steal our stuff and date our daughters, not to mention rampaging hordes of cranky old people, and yet, at the same time, they refuse to hold law enforcement to higher standards than ordinary jittery thugs they are supposed to be protecting us from in the first place.

Double-think: It's not just in dystopian novels anymore.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:55 AM on November 13, 2007


It's becoming apparent that some police officers just can't resist the taser temptation.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:07 AM on November 13, 2007


It's becoming apparent that some police officers just can't resist the taser temptation.

"Auto-erotic asphyxiation is an embarrassing way to die, Mr. Mulder."
posted by maxwelton at 12:09 PM on November 13, 2007


“Here's a method to avoid such potential risks. When the cops are issuing you a ticket, don't fucking run from them.”

Or? Again, there’s an implication of violence there. The only risk of running from a minor traffic violation should be escalated charges. It should not carry the risk of a death sentence at the hands of police officers. Nor can such risk be legitimized no matter how much of a butthead a suspect is. I don’t know how to make that more clear. The job of the police is to control the situation, we don’t expect a suspect to control themselves -that’s probably why they’re being ticketed for doing something illegal in the first place.
maxwelton’s dog analogy is a good one - and to reiterate in a nutshell: “the greater responsibility lies with those with the greater power.”
posted by Smedleyman at 2:43 PM on November 13, 2007


UPDATE: The video of the Vancouver airport Taser death will be released to the public today. Here is a YouTube video interview with the man's mother.

Meanwhile, in Edmonton, an RCMP officer gets a new trial after Tasering a jaywalker . In April, during the previous trial, provincial court Judge Brian Fraser said the officer overreacted with an "unnecessary, gratuitous use of force"

Another Edmonton RCMP officer has been charged with assault with a weapon after Tasering a 15 year-old boy while undergoing a strip search in custody.

Some Canadian Taser statistics from Amnesty International. Twenty-one instances of the word "Edmonton" here.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:15 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


A 15 year old boy should know better that if you’re naked, being strip searched, in a holding cell, you probably shouldn’t gesture at police. Amirite?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:29 AM on November 14, 2007


Looking forward to seeing the video. In an interview with the guy who shot the footage, he says that the guy was surrendering when they tased him. And as he was flopping around, one of the cops told the other 'tase him again'. And then they jumped him, one cop with his knee on the guy's neck, and so forth.

But, again, I'd like to see the video.

IMHO, no warning need be given by the cops before tasing a guy who behaves in a dangerous manner in an airport. But for me, the key issue would be whether or not the dead man clearly surrendered. And that would have to mean "hands empty and above his head, and not walking towards the police".
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:35 AM on November 14, 2007


Eyewitness disputes police account. Woman says man was Tasered four times. Clip includes discussion of possible asphyxiation by officers kneeling on Tasered man. Autopsy results should clarify.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:42 AM on November 14, 2007


The Vancouver Sun says it will have the video online at 6pm today (pacific time). That's just over 2 hours from now.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:44 PM on November 14, 2007


How about this one, tasering a 6-year old?

You can kind of hear a mindset being revealed throughout all these taser stories. It comes from the taser-firing individuals, and goes something like, "Wheeeeeee! Taaaaaser-riiiiinng!"
posted by humannaire at 5:03 PM on November 14, 2007


First person account by a man who was tasered while in a diabetic shock. The Edmonton RCMP did not tell him he was tasered, nor did they apologize. (mp3 2:36)
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:09 PM on November 14, 2007


Correction: I believe that was Edmonton Police Services, rather than RCMP.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:14 PM on November 14, 2007


Airport Taser video in three parts (links at right).
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:35 PM on November 14, 2007


Good God. That is one of the most chilling things I've ever seen. Heads should fucking roll for this. Wow.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:17 PM on November 14, 2007


Did we watch the same video, PP?

I saw the man make no gesture of surrender. He waved his hands and moved away from the police, who then surrounded him. The man then got that 'trapped rat' bearing about him and shouted in Polish. After he had been acting violently (and unpredictably) previously, I don't think that I can fault the cops for tasering him. Hell, he was still flailing around after several shots and it took three or four guys to restrain him.

In the first video, he's holding up a table, which he then raises, threateningly, as the woman approached him; it had been at waist-level before that.

Do I think that the cops could have handled this better? Yes. Do I think that heads should roll? No.

FWIW, I am not a fan of the police. I have seldom had positive encounters with them. I think a good chunk of them are born bullies who've stumbled into too much power and too little oversight. But I'm having trouble getting worked up over the story, even after watching the videos.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:37 PM on November 14, 2007


Undoubtedly my perceptions in this story are tainted because I have been following it; I live in Vancouver and it is all over the news and I have heard the whole tragic story again and again. But to see how swiftly it happened; how the police marched in and the man was on the ground not breathing so quickly right after. How they jumped on top of him while he was writhing on the ground and didn't let up until he stopped moving. You say he was flailing - but others have suggested he couldn't breathe and that's why he was struggling. Watching the video, I felt the blood in my veins turn to ice. Maybe I am being unfair to the police, but I pray to God that I or anyone I care about never winds up on the wrong side of the system if this is acceptable behavior.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:31 AM on November 15, 2007


In the first video, he's holding up a table, which he then raises, threateningly, as the woman approached him; it had been at waist-level before that.

No, that's not what happened. She approached, and he stood there for a while with the table in front of his stomach. Then he backed away through the door and raised the table next to his chest. It was not a threatening move; it looked more like he was shielding himself from something in the direction of the camera, not even from the woman talking to him. Near the beginning of that sequence he appears to be hyperventilating. He was clearly very frightened.

I can't get the second sequence to play. Is it anywhere else on the web?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:37 AM on November 15, 2007


I finally got the second part to play. That was inexcusable. Not only was he surrounded by cops, backed up against the screening machine, but he was gesturing with his empty hands, spread out in an appeal. There's no threatening gesture on that tape. After they tased and cuffed him, as he's writhing on the floor, the cop on the right suddenly starts jabbing him with what looks like a nightstick (at about 5:30).

What in hell were these guys so afraid of? They had him outnumbered, unarmed and trapped. It really looks like if you don't comply immediately, they're going to zap you. No way is that right.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:52 AM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, that's not what happened. [...] There's no threatening gesture on that tape.

I guess we all have different interpretations of blurry video with poor sound and obstructed views.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:14 AM on November 15, 2007


Absolutely sickening video. The police who murdered that man should go to prison. The airport staff whose job it was to attend to passengers should be fired. The airport itself should have a thorough review of its processes and procedures, too.

Personally, I also blame the amping up of the airport fear factor after Sept 11th too. No way would I travel by air to North America.
posted by dydecker at 3:10 PM on November 15, 2007


I mean the guy is stuck there for 10 hours - how hard is it for staff to approach him, find out what language he speaks, and get him some help? Whoever's job that is has to take their share of blame as well.
posted by dydecker at 3:14 PM on November 15, 2007


Three different people in the video misidentify the language as Russian. Do you expect minimum-wage airport staff to know any better?

And how many English-Polish fluently bilingual people are there in Vancouver? And how many work as translators? And how many of them are willing to work on call? And how many of them are willing to deal with the legal liabilities involved with violent and unpredictable people? (My guesses? A few hundred, maybe a dozen, maybe five, and zero.)

You need a Cantonese translator? You can't walk ten feet without tripping over one. But a translator for a Slavic language that no bystander can even identify? Not so much.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:11 PM on November 15, 2007


Look - all this apologia is not going to alter the fact that the cops marched in and killed the guy. He didn't hurt anyone.
This is from the Vancouver Sun:
At no point does Dziekanski appear to be a threat to others, who attempt to help him while they wait for airport security or the police.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers finally arrive and surround Dziekanski, who does not appear to be acting in a threatening manner toward them either. Nevertheless, they quickly Taser Dziekanski, who falls to the ground, is descended upon by the officers and is apparently Tasered again.
If one of the airport staff had helped the mother to find her son, he'd still be alive. None of them did.

Suggesting the event's being in an airport as some kind of justification is foolish. There is nothing about an airport that makes it uniquely vulnerable to violence. Turning airports into free-fire zones for the police is not going to prevent terrorists from achieving their goals; in fact, it goes a long way toward doing it for them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:48 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


But a translator for a Slavic language that no bystander can even identify?

Airport staff should have shown him a passport, and gestured for him to show to his own passport. Then you know what language he's speaking. It's not rocket science. Then use their translators - surely they must have translators - it's Vancouver aiport for god's sake! - or called the embassy, or put out a call for help from the public.
posted by dydecker at 4:56 PM on November 15, 2007


who knows? maybe his mother, who was 50ft away, could have helped.
posted by dydecker at 5:00 PM on November 15, 2007


This is from the Vancouver Sun:

That's an editorial. The writer's opinion is just an opinion. My opinion is that throwing around equipment and brandishing furniture is being a threat to others.

Airport staff should have shown him a passport, and gestured for him to show to his own passport.

I think you're asking a bit much from minimum-wage folks with poor problem-solving skills. Sure, it's not rocket science, but these aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, as we've seen again and again. And apparently the direct line to transation services was out of order.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 5:19 PM on November 15, 2007


That was murder. I hope the cops go to jail for manslaughter. In a civilized country, that is an unacceptable way to treat a fellow human being.
posted by MythMaker at 5:39 PM on November 15, 2007


Appalling. There is no reason to hold any public hearing.

Criminal charges against the RCMP, and the firing of all the secuity personnel on duty there at that time will be a start.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:13 PM on November 15, 2007


Honestly, I was prepared to see some sort of justification for the RCMP, but that video was ridiculous. They march in, surround him, back him into a corner, and shoot him. Fuck. I'll endorse PareidoliaticBoy's suggestion.

As a Vancouverite, I'm embarrassed. Anyone know of a legal prosecution fund for that man's mother? I'll donate $100, I'm not kidding.
posted by anthill at 6:27 PM on November 15, 2007


Justice for Robert Dziekanski Blog
posted by anthill at 6:30 PM on November 15, 2007


Here's an earlier article about the chain of events, for those who were wondering about airport staff. Briefly:
- he cleared the first stage of customs one hour after landing an entered the baggage claim area
- for reasons unknown he did not present himself at the baggage exit until 6.5 hours later
- (read this in a different article) - during that time his mother asked for him, is told by airport staff he is not in the airport, and returns home to Kamloops
- officials helped him locate his bags and then processed him as a landed immigrant, which took about 2 hours, at which point he was released into the public area of the airport
- he was severely agitated in the public area and banged on the glass to move back to the controlled area he had just left. he followed someone through a door to get back in.
- an hour later he was dead.

It just doesn't make any damn sense.

I want to throw in something to think about. I have a friend who works for customs and immigration at Toronto's aiport; someone in his position might have been the one who processed him. Apparently there was a restructuring of border services in Canada a few years ago with a higher focus on security (see here). Since that time, my friend, who has a degree in history, has noticed a distinct shift in hiring practices for front-line workers. Jobs like his which were previously staffed by people with some kind of expertise in world affairs (e.g. history, political science, etc) are now instead given to people with experience in security and loss-prevention. He has told me stories of culturally insensitive agents who get overly suspicious and make the process harder than it has to be.

As horrible as the police action was, the airport staff deserve a large share of the blame for utterly failing this man. I'm not willing to accept an excuse that these workers are minimum wage and don't know any better. Perhaps it is related to the restructuring of the border agency, perhaps not at all. But the users of YVR airport deserve better than this.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:44 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's an editorial. The writer's opinion is just an opinion. My opinion is that throwing around equipment and brandishing furniture is being a threat to others.

It's the opinion of people who have viewed those videos in their original condition, who have access to all the information that's available, and who are used to parsing news stories. In other words, people who are much more informed than you or me. They happen to think this was a clear abuse of authority and should be dealt with as such.

I noticed that the victim did not throw or brandish things when any people were near him. He even moved the chairs that were blocking the door after the cops arrived. He was no threat.

Since he had already cleared Customs, and been helped to find his baggage, there had to be people who knew he was Polish. That some bystanders on the videos thought he was speaking Russian is not an excuse for airport personnel to abandon him. I live in an area that has a minuscule Polish population, but I could call three people with at least a smattering of the language. I cannot believe that nobody in the airport could do the same.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:30 AM on November 16, 2007


In other words, people who are much more informed than you or me.

I think you also overestimate newspaper editorial writers. I certainly wouldn't assert that they are more informed than either you or me.

but I could call three people with at least a smattering of the language.

So can I. I even work with a guy for whom Polish is a first language. But how many people we know who speak a language says nothing about this incident.

He was no threat.

I guess we disagree.

Also, I suspect that you think that the primary need was for him to get help, while I think that the primary need was for him to be arrested.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:20 AM on November 16, 2007


Obviously, neither of those things was done properly.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:04 AM on November 16, 2007


The Airport video has hit the news big time all over the world, and the outpouring of anger and disgust against the RCMP action is virtually unanimous, especially in Canada and Poland.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2007


I've mentioned before that past work experience has made me very aware of procedures at the YVR international arrivals level. What happened there is inexcusable. Every person on duty there was derelict in their duty, not to mention complete failures as human beings.

I was conducting a site-inspection at The Justice Institute of B.C. today, as we are rewiring their audio system in the gymnasium. ( I have to spec metal speaker-enclosures able to withstand the impact of rubber bullets, among other oddities) This is where recruits and veterans alike are trained in combat and proper restraint procedures, and I can tell you that the trainers there were appalled by the evidence of that tape.

Those four RCMP officers have besmirched their uniforms.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:23 PM on November 16, 2007




Mr. Dziekanski arrived with three bags, two of which were filled with geography books.

it's the little things, the details, that often break your heart.
Indeed.
posted by anthill at 10:31 PM on November 16, 2007


The details of the victim fund for Robert's mom have been posted here. I've put $100 in the mail for her.
posted by anthill at 11:03 PM on November 16, 2007


Thanks, anthill. I've sent her a card and donation, as well.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2007


Did we watch the same video, PP?

I'm not sure—were you watching the right video? The video that the bystander recorded clearly shows him putting his hands down when the police show up, apparently satisfied that he's gotten the attention of someone important after waiting there all day.

It also proves that nobody there knew what language he was speaking until he was already dead.

Three different people in the video misidentify the language as Russian.

This is a valid excuse for negligently killing a man?

maybe his mother, who was 50ft away, could have helped.

His mother was approximately 1.2 million feet away, in Kamloops.

I think you're asking a bit much from minimum-wage folks with poor problem-solving skills.

Not committing negligent homicide is a bit much?
posted by oaf at 12:28 PM on November 19, 2007


I'm not sure—were you watching the right video? The video that the bystander recorded clearly shows him putting his hands down when the police show up,

The video that the bystander recorded clearly shows him resisting arrest by throwing up his arms and moving away from the cops.

Not committing negligent homicide is a bit much?

When I refer to "minimum wage staff", I am clearly referring to the staff, not the police. Nobody can make any cogent claim that the airport staff "committed negligent homicide".

My last words on the issue:

I hate cops and love immigrants. I'm the biggest lefty you'd ever care to meet. My biases should have me leaning towards outrage, but I'm not. So if I am dismissive of other opinions, I apologize, but I think the anti-RCMP side is (no pun intended) dead wrong. If I could send gift baskets to the cops, with handwritten notes expressing my sympathy for the undeserved thrashing that their taking, I would.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:53 PM on November 19, 2007


their=they're. Gah.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:55 PM on November 19, 2007


The video that the bystander recorded clearly shows him resisting arrest by throwing up his arms and moving away from the cops.

Again, this is absolutely zero justification for use of a taser. Would they have shot him in this situation if they didn't have the taser? If not, and they used the taser, they've blatantly misused it.
posted by oaf at 1:18 PM on November 19, 2007


The video that the bystander recorded clearly shows him resisting arrest by throwing up his arms and moving away from the cops.

Oh, and if he didn't know he was under arrest, he's very probably not guilty of resisting arrest unless Canada has specifically dropped any mens rea requirement.
posted by oaf at 1:20 PM on November 19, 2007


</i>
posted by oaf at 1:20 PM on November 19, 2007


300!
posted by humannaire at 6:20 PM on November 19, 2007


I'm the biggest lefty you'd ever care to meet.

Except when you're convinced you're right.
posted by humannaire at 6:26 PM on November 19, 2007


His mother was approximately 1.2 million feet away, in Kamloops.

No, oaf. His mother lives in Kamloops, but she was at the Vancouver airport just outside the security zone trying to contact him.

B.C. government orders Taser inquiry.

Government is pressured to clean things up before the 2010 Winter Olympics.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:45 PM on November 19, 2007


For nearly 10 hours, Mr. Dziekanski stayed in the Arrivals Hall ... Outside, in the public area, his mother spent nearly six hours pacing the corridors ... At about 10 p.m., she was told her son wasn't there. She made the long drive home [to Kamloops], only to find a phone message waiting, saying her son had been found. She called back to immigration when she got in, which would have been around 2 a.m., and spoke to someone there and was advised that her son was somewhere in the area and was fine. And she advised, you know, 'Please take care of him because he can't speak English and I'll get there as soon as I can.' And of course he had died, been killed really, some time on or about 1 or 1:30," Mr. Kosteckyj said.
posted by anthill at 5:25 AM on November 20, 2007


Here we go again.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:18 PM on November 20, 2007


Here we go again.

Um... well, not exactly.

A violent struggle ensued and numerous methods of intervention — including pepper spray, Taser and baton — were used to try to subdue the man, Dunlop said.

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:58 PM on November 20, 2007


And who is Dunlop, PB?


Oh, a media relations officer with the Upper Fraser Valley RCMP. Well then. Case closed. We know they were open and honest about Robert Dziekanski's violent behaviour, don't we?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:12 PM on November 20, 2007


Reading this story about the late polish immigrant will break your heart, if you have one.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:23 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]



Oh, a media relations officer with the Upper Fraser Valley RCMP. Well then. Case closed. We know they were open and honest about Robert Dziekanski's.

WGP- see if you can spot the flaw in the following reasoning ...


Betsy is a member of the Girl Guides.

Betsy Laced her cookies with arsenic.

Therefore all Girl Guide cookies are poisonous.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:26 AM on November 22, 2007


Oops. Another Taser death today in police custody in Nova Scotia. But don't worry, PareidoliaticBoy, Halifax deputy chief Tony Burbridge said the RCMP has been called in to handle the investigation to ensure public confidence, but stressed he believes his officers acted appropriately having reviewed a videotape of the incident.

When somebody dies in police custody, there is nothing quite like calling the RCMP in to ensure public confidence.

Betsy is a member of the Girl Guides.
Betsy laced her cookies with arsenic.
Betsy's mom reviewed the recipe, and determined that Betsy didn't lace her cookies with arsenic.
Betsy's cookies are still out there, but people die of heart attacks, you know.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:06 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician were holidaying in Scotland. Glancing from a train window, they observed a black sheep in the middle of a field.

"How interesting," observed the astronomer, "All Scottish sheep are black!"

To which the physicist responded, "No, no! Some Scottish sheep are black!"

The mathematician gazed heavenward in supplication, and then intoned, "In Scotland there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black."
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:42 PM on November 24, 2007


...and PareidoliaticBoy says, "To determine the the color of the other side of this black sheep, we must ask the other sheep."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:17 AM on November 25, 2007


U.N.: Tasers Are A Form Of Torture

And the Tasered Chilliwack man died yesterday.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:49 PM on November 25, 2007


Yep. Erratic driving prior to his arrival at the rental store has been reported by witnesses. As his his wild and aggressive behavior. While other methods of subduing him were tried. But this case is exactly like the oneat YVR. After all the RCMP were involved, and we all know that every time the RCMP are involvedabuse occurs.

Adding to certainly of the poluce is his prior record for drunk driving, possession of narcotics, trafficking in narcotics and production of a controlled substance.

This record clearly indicates that the police must have acted inappropriately in this matter.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:10 PM on November 25, 2007


Turns out that the gentleman Tasered at YVR was a convicted felon (he did five years in prison for robbery). I'd be interested in finding out how exactly he was able to gain entry into the country in the first place. It appears clear to me that an error was made by the Canadian consulate in Poland in granting him a Visa. So far, however, that's the only truly egregious administrative error in his case. IMHO.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:45 PM on November 26, 2007


His mother lives in Kamloops, but she was at the Vancouver airport just outside the security zone trying to contact him.

No, she wasn't. She was in Kamloops when he was tasered.
posted by oaf at 7:20 AM on November 27, 2007


Turns out that the gentleman Tasered at YVR was a convicted felon (he did five years in prison for robbery).

Do you have a reputable source, or are you just libeling a dead man?
posted by oaf at 7:21 AM on November 27, 2007


The National Post is generally considered a reputable source. Search for 'robbery'; it's mentioned twice and confirmed by a friend of the deceased.

The snark is getting tiresome, by the way.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:08 AM on November 27, 2007


The only evidence that he was jailed for robbery is hearsay. I think it tells you all you need to know that the National Post is still fawning over Conrad Black despite the fact that he's a crook.
posted by oaf at 3:36 PM on November 30, 2007


The only evidence that he was jailed for robbery is hearsay. I think it tells you all you need to know that the National Post is still fawning over Conrad Black despite the fact that he's a crook.

Oh, please. The same thing was reported via Reuters, Macleans and every other major news source in the country. Were it mere hearsay, the articles would couch the fact of his conviction with weasel words.

I think we're done; it is clear that you are unwilling to discuss this case objectively, since you the five seconds of Googling it would have taken you to find the above links is longer than it would have taken you to scrawl your last post.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:48 PM on November 30, 2007


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