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Round 1: Maxmars v Zaimless: The Taser, Should It Be Banned?

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posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 10:13 PM
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The topic for this debate is “Due To Recent Fatalities And Injuries, Tasers Should Be Banned.”

Maxmars will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Zaimless will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

There are no limits on the length of posts, but you may only use 1 post per turn.

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The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

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Each debate must post within 24 hours of the timestamp on the last post. If your opponent is late, you may post immediately without waiting for an announcement of turn forfeiture. If you are late, you may post late, unless your opponent has already posted.

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Judging will be done by a panel of anonymous judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. One of the debate forum moderators will then make a final post announcing the winner.

[edit on 20-8-2008 by MemoryShock]




posted on Aug, 19 2008 @ 10:39 AM
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Greetings!

Allow me to thank both Memoryshock and LestatG for this opportunity. Also, thank you in advance for your patience and dilligent attention to the details of this debate.

I will argue the "Pro" position of: Due To Recent Fatalities And Injuries, Tasers Should Be Banned..

I believe it helps the debate if we ensure we agree on the exact meaning of the topic. We will be, within reason, be constrained to it's exact wording.


The taser, is a generic term for a weapon designed to be 'non-lethal'. It was initially introduced into the public debate as a "stun gun." Weapons considered tasers are all electrical impulse delivery devices. They rely on a persons' vulnerability to electrical disruption of the central nervous system through the skin.



Since the introduction this device, evidence has been mounting, demonstrating the fallacy behind the applicability of the term 'non-lethal' to these devices. In fact, I could demonstrate that it's efficacy as a non-lethal weapon was initially misprepresented to the public. However, even if this were rejected as a starting point, it is 'pre-conceded' that this is not just 'marketed' as a non-lethal weapon, as of this date, it is legally accepted to be so considered. Such was the successfully litigated position of the industry producing these weapons.

In order to make my point, conclusively, I will demonstrate that the considering tasers as a non-lethal weapon is no longer an option, because the potential for death or severe injury demonstrably exceeds reasonable tolerable limits.


In fact, the taser is implemented under nearly universal policy as a non-lethal means to excerise control over an indvidual. The user of the device is expected to asses whether the person is exhibiting signs "excited delirium", a poorly defined state which no medical authority since the 19th century has accepted as real. Having made his or her judgment, the user deploys the device theoretically "stunning" the indivdual into a more cooperative state.

As opening poster, I now close and await my esteemed opponent's opening remarks.



posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 06:26 PM
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I also would like to take time time to thank Memoryshock and LestatG for the chance to do this debate. You take time out of your day for so many things, to take your time for this demands nothing short of my respect. My thanks also to Maxmars to agreeing to this debate.

I will be in the "Con" position of: Due To Recent Fatalities And Injuries, Tasers Should Be Banned..

I agree to the definition as follows for Taser:
The Taser, is a generic term for a weapon designed to be 'non-lethal'. It was initially introduced into the public debate as a "stun gun." Weapons considered Tasers are all electrical impulse delivery devices. They rely on a persons' vulnerability to electrical disruption of the central nervous system through the skin.


Since it's introduction into society the Taser has proven itself a safe and effective weapon. Used both privately and professionally. That the Taser is safe to use, compared to the many alternative methods that could be employed, is beyond question. That in fact it is safer than just about any, if not all methods, of protection and defense.

The fact is the Taser is safe to use. That the problem lies not with the Taser at all. The problem lies with the humans that use them, how lethal something is depends on how it is used. I will provide proof to this fact and others. That when used properly it is one of the most effective and useful weapons available to society. That the electricity that is sent into a person from the Taser is not a lethal amount. Also keeping a Taser, at homes and businesses, is a completely viable option for all.

The recent incidents brought to light are not uncommon when any weapon is used. The media sensationalizes all incidents that involve weapons. In fact all weapons can be lethal. The fact is the Taser is less often lethal than most things considered weapons. The use of a Taser as a means of controlling an outraged person, or hostile situation, is both effective and safe. The historical and recent facts of many weapons must be taken into consideration when being given the choice whether society should be using the Taser or not. These will be covered to some degree within my argument.

I will do my best to remain factual. I must inform you that I can be a touch sarcastic. Do not take this personal as it is just the way I tend to speak, this is not intended to be any personal attack on anyone.



posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 09:09 PM
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I must take this opportunity to compliment my debate opponent, the noble Zaimless. Your opening statement was clear, well structured and most erudite. I can see I must be thoughtful about my first volley. Also, thank you for addressing the definition of Taser. My intent was to seek agreement that our argument was not confined to a single manufacturer or brand.

In your opening, you point out that the effect of a weapon, in regards to its lethality, is dependent on the user. And I agree. Such, in fact, is the line of reasoning I was seeking to invoke. I hesitate to break down into graphics; I believe the best debates are blessedly free of such artifacts. I will propose to avoid them wherever possible. I must therefore use one of my questions to reach agreement on premises.

1) Would you be willing to accept that since its introduction, and over time, the use of electro-shock devices has demonstrably led to increased instances of ‘negative’ results (death and severe injury among them)? Or will this need to be quantified to be accepted?

I will appraise of my intent. I believe that the taser device must be banned because of the inherent nature of the weapon, specifically to cause disabling pain. The ability to inflict pain is different than the ability to control a situation. It is inherent in the nature of those who come to rely on force to inflict pain as a matter of course. The private sector use applies only in one situation, criminal assault (intent notwithstanding), and to place this potentially deadly weapon in the hands of panicked victim is begging for trouble at best, and catastrophic abuse at worst.

People with power use it. That’s the problem with tasers. While one can find dozens of people who own them, thankfully most have never had to use them. Like any other device in the world there are those who use them poorly, unwisely, perhaps criminally. Considering the consequences of cardiac arrhythmia, respiratory failure, and a long list of alarming results, one would expect these weapons to at least be licensed. As it stands now the cat is out of the bag, and it is unlikely we can regain control of these weapons before they become commonplace tools of villainy.

Police provide the perfect template for displaying the basic problem of tasers as a routine tool of ‘control.’ How many deaths has it been? Too many. Not to make a fine point of it, when my law enforcement ancestors were in the business, you could more likely find a police officer who never had to draw his weapon in the line of duty, ever. Now the locker room joke is about the guy who peed himself when they tased him.

Police used to have to ‘talk down’ aggressors, and they were damn good at it! Most cops didn’t have to rely on their ‘non lethal’ baton, much less their service weapon. But now we have a task force of committed law enforcement professionals who can simply ‘zap’ anyone who they’d rather not contend with. And each zap brings us statistically closer to a fatality. Unlike many, I am quick to point out that the reason cops have a certain bearing as they approach a situation is because they train to do so, but the added power of the taser means they don’t have to work to keep the peace; they can zap the disturbance away. And since they are told that it is non-lethal there’s no hesitation.

While lobbyist have been hard at work trying to convince the world that deaths are not ‘directly’ attributable to the taser itself, their reasoning is weak. This logic tells us that bullets don’t kill; the cause of death is the bleeding and trauma. Such distinctions are disingenuous in that they attempt to redeem the use of a weapon which, like a gun, discharges instantaneously. There is no way to be sure you’re not going to kill your target. Can the same be reasonably said of the baton? The likelihood of accidental death from a police officer’s baton is strikingly dissimilar from that of the taser.

A great example of the power of the lobbyists is excerpted below:


277 DEATHS

Jared Feuer, who heads the U.S. southern regional office of Amnesty International, said the group has documented that 277 people in the United States have died after being shocked by a Taser since June 2001.

"We do believe that there is a risk to the public safety, and we still call for there to be a moratorium on the use of Tasers" by police, Feuer said in an telephone interview.

"Our concern is that Tasers interfere with a basic equation, which is that force must always be proportional to the threat," Feuer said, noting that about 80 percent of the people on whom a Taser is used by U.S. police are unarmed.

"They are being used in a situation where a firearm or even a baton would never be justified," Feuer added.


Amazingly, the title of the article linked below is:

“Police use of Tasers causes few injuries: study”

The excerpt is relegated to page two of the article, from which I infer its bias.

Source: www.reuters.com...


...the electricity that is sent into a person from the Taser is not a lethal amount.


I suspect you are technically and factually incorrect in that assertion. Perhaps the law has ruled that tasers are non lethal – in intent – but it can not be disputed that there have been multiple deaths ruled by multiple coroners as being a direct result of taser use.

While police are protected from liability, the social contract needs to be observed. Police are not expected to appear in every conflict, and apply deadly force. Ignoring the deadliness of the weapon is not an acceptable excuse for killing someone who, by all reasonable consideration, could have been subdued without resorting to inflicting pain.

If police, trained and specialized in the task of restoring peace and order to our society can’t control the outcome of a tasing incident, how can we expect civilians, with no training, to contend with perhaps unintended consequences of tasing someone? Granted, in self-defense that can seem an irrelevancy, but the potential for unnecessary killing should be minimized, not enabled.



posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 09:30 PM
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Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.

To answer your question:
1) Would you be willing to accept that since its introduction, and over time, the use of electro-shock devices has demonstrably led to increased instances of ‘negative’ results (death and severe injury among them)? Or will this need to be quantified to be accepted?

Answer:
I can accept the truth of the matter, but that is not the whole point. The issue is whether Taser's should be banned because they are lethal weapons. That is where the topic gets interesting. It involves the right to protect one's self in a potentially dangerous situation. Especially 'due to recent fatalities and injuries'. So one must examine people rights as well, both victim and attacker.


The first thing I would like to point out that just about anything can be lethal. Dental floss can be deadly if you wrap it around someones neck enough times and tight enough. Put in the hands of someone who is not stable jello could kill you, you could drown in it. I do have a point in saying this, and will continue with it further down in the writing. I just would like you to keep it in mind.

I would like to take the time to respond to you comment about the issue of inflicting pain. I am using two items at weapons comparable to the supposed lethality of a Taser. They will be guns (pistols and firearms) and knives. These two weapons can cause both death and pain. The use of both are widely known, and in most places accepted and weapons of choice in a deadly situation. Both of these can lead to not only death, not only pain, but serious disabilities if they are use on a person.

The pain of a Taser I am sure is not pleasant and lasts for a short period, if there is no sustaining injury in the give situation. On the other hand, being shot by a gun, or stabbed by a knife will most certainly give you longer term pain and agony. The duration of recovery when being shot or stabbed I am most sure in the vast majority of cases last quite awhile. If the person does not end up dead the very likely will end up damaged or crippled due to the injury. Leaving them permanately scarred both emotionally and phsically during their life times.

Statistically speaking murder is at all time high. The statistics prove that death from gun shots far exceeds the death from Tasers. Yet in many of the States, and most of the Providences in Canada, guns are quite legal. They have been trying to ban them for years now. Yet because a human has a right to protect themselves they run into constitutional issues. Many murders and violent crimes could have been stopped with the simple use of a Taser. Many children would not be dead if they had found their dad's Taser instead of dad's gun.

When it comes to the issue of police carrying Tasers I must stress again that it is the person that has the problem. Everyone has a point where they can flake and make a mistake, or be pissed off and use the Taser inappropriately. The police are humans after all, and I do agree with you that power over can cause a problem. But you have the same issues with police and guns. Incidents are as individual a people are. Some, if not most police, are sensible in the use of their power.

You stated that 'Police used to have to - talk down- aggressors', and that is true. The world has changed though. You must realize that people are carrying illegal weapons with then now. That crimes are not just shop lifting any more, crimes are much more violent now that even 20 years ago. I believe the use of a Taser when going after a criminal is the least that the criminal should expect. Not a slap on the hand anymore. If I have done a criminal act it should be no surprise if I got shot by a Taser.


The facts behind gun deaths are far outstanding Taser incidents:
TextAs in the Brady Campaign Org. Reports on gun issues:



FIREARM FACTS Gun Deaths and Injury - The United States Leads the World in Firearm Violence • In 2004, 29,569 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths – 11,624 (39%) of those were murdered; 16,750 (57%) were suicides; 649 (2.2%) were accidents; and in 235 (.8%) the intent was unknown. Gun Violence - Young Lives Cut Short • In 2004, nearly 8 children and teenagers, ages 19 and under, were killed with guns everyday. The Economic Costs of Gun Violence - All Americans Pay a High Price • The average total cost of one gun crime can be as high as $1.79 million, including medical treatment and the prosecution and imprisonment of the shooter.

www.bradycampaign.org...

Also in the following Tasers have been tested to the extreme. The medical studies regarding Tasers by Bozeman from the Wake Forest Medical School, and many others stated that death is extremely rare, if ever, caused by a Taser. The article that you posted a thread to is very informative to this point. If read throughly you can see that is states that the Taser is one of the safe alternatives to handling some situations.



The most recent medical study researching the injury potential of using the TASER was performed by Bozeman et al. A tactical physician at each agency reviewed police records and medical records for each case. ... Subjects mean age was 32 years and 94% were male... Findings of the research reveal that: 99.7% of the subjects sustained no injuries or mild injuries; skin punctures from the TASER probes, contusions and lacerations account for 98.5% of mild injuries; and the back, chest and the abdomen/pelvis areas represented 76% of the body impact areas...during the study only two deaths... occurred immediately after the TASER was deployed and the autopsy showed that both deaths were unrelated to the TASER.


www.policelink.com...


According to the World Clock, so far in 2008, there has been (at the point of this writing) close to 908,000 violent crimes. Also there has been 11,000 murders, another 550,000 aggravated assaults, 60,000 rapes, almost 300,000 robbery's, and over a million drug related. This call's for more than just a talking down. Then there is the further crimes. As I type this very day, in the United States has seen almost 3000 violent crimes not including the 3000 today that have been murder, rape, aggravated assault, and rape. We need to ask ourselves if the need of the few out weight the need of the many.

I believe the article you posted mentioned that 277 people had died since 2001 in somehow related incidents to Tasers. These have not been 100% proven cases. When one thinks about today alone there has been over 3000 extreme cases of violent crimes, well honestly 277 people do not sound like very many. I am not saying this to discount anyones worth, but just as far as statistics are concerned. That works out to about 40.? deaths a year in related Taser issues. Where in Crimes in the last 6 years (the same amount of time) it would work out to well over a million a year.
Also I would like to point out that the use of a Taser is not to kill, it is to incapacitate temporarily. The use of a gun is almost always used for the purpose of killing. You do not shoot people to slow them down or to get control of a person that is under the influence of PCP. The Taser is a piece of non-lethal technology. The DoD (Department of Defense) has defined it as such.

But to me this has to be taken at a more personal level with each and every one of us. You for example, or me. Have to stop to think in complete honesty. If you or I were flailing about uncontrollably, or are hysterical, due to alcohol, or drugs or what have you, would you not expect for something to be done. If a person were in danger of us, I would expect something somehow to stop me. And I would prefer if I was Tasered. Is my life at risk by this, well maybe. But My chances of a good outcome far exceed being shot or stabbed.

I think instead of focusing on to people who's lives were supposedly caused by the Taser I think we should look at the lives that are saved. We need to take into account the people that the Taser is being used on. I mean that they are most likely a criminal, and criminals last time I check are generally not real nice to police or to too many other people.

So these are my questions to you:

1) If you were being attacked in some manner and you needed a weapon to stop the person, would you rather have a Taser or a gun?

2) If your daughter were being attacked would you rather her have a knife, Taser, or pepper spray?

3) If you had been attacked and the police had to go after the person would you rather have them shoot the criminal or Taser them?

I ask that these questions be taken with seriousness in mind. Think them out before answering.

If given the choice, I would choose the Taser every time. You had mentioned the lobbyist in your reply. I have to say I hold no fondness to lobbyists as there seems to be something they want when they bring forward and issue. After all didn't you say 'if you give someone power' ????



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 03:45 PM
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Nicely stated! I of course, am necessarily going to have to confront some of your assertions, but generally speaking, you’re not making this easy for me. I have to face two important challenges; the first the paradigm of self-defense by would be victims of assault, and second, the successful efforts by the industrial interests to create an appearance of acceptable safety. The former is much more difficult than the latter, as I am sure you already know.

But let me start by answering the questions you put forth.


1) If you were being attacked in some manner and you needed a weapon to stop the person, would you rather have a Taser or a gun?


Sincerely, I would choose the gun. I base the choice on my opinion that the threat of a firearm is much more likely to be recognized by a would-be assailant than a Taser. Also, if I am in a position where force is the only reasonable response, I accept that such force should be of unquestionable stopping power.


2) If your daughter were being attacked would you rather her have a knife, Taser, or pepper spray?


Knowing my daughter’s physical limitations, and of course, caring for her safety even over my own, I would prefer a flamethrower. Of the given choices I am uncertain to choose between pepper spray and a Taser, because frankly, I am not clear on the effectiveness of pepper spray to repel a physical assault. If it is the kind that postal carriers used to get, intended to repel violent animals, I would go that way.


3) If you had been attacked and the police had to go after the person would you rather have them shoot the criminal or Taser them?


Assuming I had to rely on the Police to protect me from an ongoing assault I would not want to be collaterally shocked by the Taser (does that happen?), of course, taking a bullet (accidentally) as collateral damage is no more appealing and certainly more likely to kill me. I suppose the Taser would have to be my ‘choice’ as given, but either way my life is at risk. Knowing police are trained to deal with such situations, I think they would be best suited to decide how to subdue the assailant.

I agree with the assertion regarding increasing incidents of death is not the whole picture. I propose the banning Tasers because they are potentially lethal weapons with unpredictable results for the victim.

To make that assertion more robust I will have to call on information that may be surprising to some, and perhaps expected to others. I will try to summarize them allowing you to ask for expansion if you deem it necessary or questionable.

In March of 2005, in “Tasers: A Reassessment” the Coalition for Justice and Accountability summed up the apprehension derived from the use of Tasers thusly;

“The Coalition for Justice and Accountability initially supported the use of Tasers, as an alternative to deadly force. Consequently, the Coalition expected to see a reduction in police use of deadly force. Instead we watched sadly as the number of officer-involved shootings spiked to near record levels - after a steady five-year decline – at the same time that police were shooting Tasers 10 times more than they used to shoot guns.”

Further, and more damning still;

“Taser International's questionable safety claims have been the source of most of their notoriety. The New York Times pointed out that the company's testing consists of tests on a single pig in 1996 and on five dogs in 1999. Company-paid researchers, not independent scientists, conducted the studies, which were never published in a peer-reviewed journal...no federal or state agencies have studied the safety, or effectiveness, of Tasers...Nor has any federal agency studied the deaths to determine what caused them....The few independent studies that have examined the Taser have found that the weapon's safety is unproven at best. The most comprehensive report, by the British government in 2002, concluded "the high-power Tasers cannot be classed, in the vernacular, as `safe.' " .

It was at this point that a new public relations effort began; thus appeared the able and willing Bill Bozeman, MD, Director, EMS/Pre-hospital Research, Medical Director, Forsyth County Tactical Medicine. I point out that ‘Tactical’ medicine is a salient term we will see appearing further on.

Per a report by Dr. Stephen Juan of The Register, “In 2006, Dr. Bozeman reportedly estimated the chance of dying after being shot by a Taser or stun gun as about one in 870 in the September 2005 issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Within the article Dr Bozeman acknowledges that such an estimate is based on very little data. Nevertheless, medical studies suggest that more, not fewer deaths could result from the introduction of Tasers. Some worry that more deaths could occur since police may be more likely to use Tasers on a suspect thinking they are safer than handguns…

Instead, Tasers and stun guns are known to cause a suspect to suffer cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, malfunction of pace-makers, damaged eyes, injury to the central nervous system, and death. The death of an innocent fetus can occur as well as Tasers and stun guns can cause a miscarriage when used on a pregnant woman. Police would find it difficult, if not impossible to know if a female suspect is pregnant.”

In October 8th 2007 FOX News reports “Study Suggests Use of Tasers by Law Enforcement Agencies Is Safe” PRIOR to the release of the study. They reported that Bozeman said results from previous studies were limited by the use of animal models and of healthy police volunteers in training settings, not criminal suspects in real-world conditions.
Source: www.foxnews.com...

The very next day, the report is publicized, “‘Largest ever’ study finds Tasers safe”

The rebuttals were quick and severely under reported;

The study was presented at the American College of Emergency Physicians' Scientific Assembly in Seattle on October 8th, 2007, but many notable ‘experts’ were left with more questions than answers, one source reports..,


…Nationally recognized Taser expert Aram James of the Coalition for Justice and Accountability (CJA) says, “The study concludes -- without supporting data -- that Tasers reduce injuries to both police and the individuals Tasered. But the authors offer no systematic data to support this conclusion.” James says that actually the study's own data belies their own conclusion of safety. The abstract reported 23% of 597 subjects received some sort of injury. “Nearly 1 in 4, hardly support for the proposition that Tasers are safe -- and when coupled with 293 Taser related deaths, a statistic conveniently ignored by the authors of this study, the conclusion that Tasers are safe is not only not true but in fact a lie of deadly proportions.”

Richard Konda, Executive Director of the Asian Law Alliance and CJA co-founder, says the study ignores the reality that some populations are at higher risk when Tased. “The study fails to mention the effect of Tasers on vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, the elderly, the mentally ill, and those under the influence of drugs, who are far more likely to suffer serious injuries and even death as a result of being Tasered.” Konda, who's organization is supporting a ban of Tasers, says the evidence of the deadly effects of Tasers is already being acknowledged by law enforcement communities. He says, “Medical remedies to prevent death are being developed because Tasers kill. In Miami emergency medical technicians are spraying a sedative in the noses of Tasers victims or inject them with iced saline solutions. These protocols lead us to only one conclusion – that Tasers are deadly weapons and must be banned.”

James says the reason why the study does not appear to be independent is because it was, essentially, a law enforcement report, and points to several red flags. “First, it was conducted at six law enforcement agencies across the country, interestingly enough not disclosed. Why the secrecy? Secondly, the underlying police reports and any accompanying medical records were reviewed by ‘tactical physicians' who are closely connected to a law enforcement agenda. Finally, not mentioned anywhere in the press release related to this study is the companion piece put out by the Wake Forest Physicians Group. In a study dated September 4, 2007 -- the same doctors credited with the above study -- reported on a police officer who after volunteering to receive a 5 second Taser exposure, under very controlled circumstance, was Tased for 5 seconds and suffered a very serious and apparently permanently debilitating thoracic compression fracture. So much for Tasers being a low risk of injury weapon, if they’re unsafe for the cops they’re unsafe for us!”
source:
siliconvalleydebug.com...

Essentially I contend that the research done to date has been far from exhaustive, and there is reason to believe it is questionably biased. There is no independently published establishing a disconnection between Tasers and lethal outcome. In fact just recently, in June of this year a federal jury found that Taser International was liable for a persons’ death due to their own failure to adequately portray the dangers of the weapon.

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

Of 291 reported deaths, AI has so far identified only 25 individuals who were reportedly armed with any sort of weapon when they were electro-shocked; such weapons did not include firearms.

AI acknowledged that there may be “stand-off” situations where Tasers in dart-firing mode could effectively be used as an alternative to firearms to save lives. However, the potential to use Tasers in drive-stun mode (where they are often used as “pain compliance” tools when individuals are already effectively in custody), and the capacity to inflict severe pain through multiple and prolonged shocks, renders the weapons inherently open to abuse.”

Later they continue “[Dr Bozeman’s] study says nothing about the misuse of Tasers or about the appropriateness of the use of Tasers in cases where death has followed Taser use. It does not appear to have measured specifically against possible risk factors (such as such as exposure to multiple or prolonged shocks, especially if combined with other restraints) or tested the effects of Tasers on specific groups, such as those intoxicated, agitated or with underlying heart disease.”

I think this essentially substantiates the fallacy of the notion that Tasers are safe and non-lethal because Taser International, the Police Force, and their associates all say so.

To summarize, Tasers are not adequately certified to be the non-lethal weapon they claim it is. Police using such weapons as a crutch to hasten and simplify the control of an uncooperative or agitated citizen is an unnecessary risk to the ‘suspect’. It is too easy to ignore the root cause of the Tasers use, which is as a weapon of pain induced coercion and incapacitation. The number of variables leading to a suspects’ death are too many and require specialized medical knowledge to reduce the possibility of catastrophic outcome. Such knowledge is outside the scope of peace-keepers and thus they should not use this weapon.

In light of all this, civilian use of the weapon must follow suit. Banning until such time as the technology is properly evaluated is necessary. Commercial interests should not detract from the responsibility to ensure that safety of the community, even of the accused.



posted on Aug, 23 2008 @ 01:57 PM
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I have to give you credit for attempting to dodge the reality of the situations in the questions. Meaning that you somehow tried manipulate the questions so they would appear to be in your favor. But I will pose a question in the end of this post to clearly make you see what I was saying in those questions.

The question of banning Tasers will be seen different by everyone. It will all depend on personal experiences. If a person has had a bad experience with Tasers somewhere in there life that of course they are going to see it as a negative. On the other hand if you have been in a seriously dangerous situation and needed a weapon like a Taser then it would have been seen in a positive light.

I found it interesting Covert Action Quarterly it states that from 1990 to 1996 there were 60 deaths that were Pepper Spray related. In this July 27th, 2007 CBC article it is stated that there has been 27 deaths directly related to pepper spray. So maybe pepper spray is not a safe alternative to Tasers.

www.cbc.ca...




The California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, however, has linked pepper spray directly to 27 deaths in that state alone in the early 1990s. And some U.S. newspapers have come up with higher totals from time to time. One of the legal ironies of pepper spray is that it appears to be outlawed for international use in war by the 1972 convention on biological weapons but not for internal use by countries for security. However, use of pepper spray by the public is widely restricted around the world.


In 2005 over 23 million crimes were committed, of these 5.2 million were violent crimes. If that was
2005 and even if we pretend things have improved you are still looking at over 5 million violent crimes (with population increase since then) a year in the US.



TextMore than one million women and almost 400,000 men are stalked annually in the United States. In 2005, 24 percent of all violent crime incidents were committed by an armed offender, and 9 percent by an offender with a firearm. An average of 1.7 million people are victims of violent crime while working or on duty each year. An estimated 1.3 million (75 percent) of these incidents are simple assaults while an additional 19 percent are aggravated assaults.

ovc.ncjrs.gov...


Question 1) What are the police and victims to use to defend and control a situation that requires the necessary aide of a weapon?

With the many statistics I have been posting I see the 'many' that I stated in my previous thread is truly 'MANY'.


Unfortunately victim rights are being extremely put aside in the North American Continent. The offenders are seriously (and factually) getting away with murder. The fact is that the cops are not trying to kill people they are trying to stop them. Death can be a result of just about anything and in the Civilized world people are just looking for reasons to sue anybody that has money. A police department would be a good place to sue. The Taser product being used as a 'lethal weapon' theory.

As far police are concerned it is important to note that they are out there to save peoples lives, yours and mine. The fact that they honestly and seriously put their lives on the line every single day for us gives them the right to protect themselves.

Looking at The Philosophical Cop Police Blog post about Tasers said a lot. He states


Text"I wish we could all put this to rest, already. TASERs work. The Thomas A. Swift Electronic Rifle (named by the inventor, who was a fan of the children’s books) sends electricity through the body and incapacitates the recipient. In doing so, it saves lives — cops’ lives and suspects’ lives. Period. ...In almost all major police departments, the TASER is considered “intermediate” force. That means it can be used when someone is fighting, charging, threatening to injure or kill, or displaying a non-deadly weapon at the police."

philosophicalcop.wordpress.com...

Question 2) It's evening and you are at your girlfriends house. She runs to the store and you are left alone. She owns a Taser and it is on the coffee table because you were talking about the pro's and cons of it. You are in the living room and the Taser is four feet away from you. You hear a strange noise and before you know it a crazy man is on you and he's big, bigger than you are. He is trying to choke you. Nothing is near you except the Taser. (Before I go on, just so you know the Taser only affects the person that the probes are attached to.) Do you grab the Taser and use it, or would your high moral values say that you might hurt the guy?

Of course the answer is obvious, and the question stupid. But I pose a question after this that puts it in perspective.
Question 3) Would you want the Taser available to you in this situation?

Question 4) Would 'you' want the 'right' to own a Taser?



posted on Aug, 23 2008 @ 08:23 PM
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I have to give you credit for attempting to dodge the reality of the situations in the questions. Meaning that you somehow tried manipulate the questions so they would appear to be in your favor. But I will pose a question in the end of this post to clearly make you see what I was saying in those questions.


Well, shucks, I will try harder to not come off sounding 'coy'. I really didn't mean any disrespect, I suppose its the passive-resistant in me. [
] I addressed your question in that manner because I had to avoid validating your premise. Nothing personal.


The question of banning Tasers will be seen different by everyone.


I agree wholeheartedly, however my responsibility is to the engagement we're in.

You are defending an idea which is contrary to reason. I will proceed with my position, by addressing your assertions more directly.

I have no problem conceding the concept that non-lethal weapons, of many varieties, can kill. I believe that it is a distraction from a more fundamental problem.


... from 1990 to 1996 there were 60 deaths that were Pepper Spray related. ...


While the statistics you shared with us are interesting, they do not address the point that is begged in the topic.
How many taser "related" deaths will it take before we recognize that its unrestricted deployment is demonstrating an uncontrollable 'trend' towards increasing abuse?

The instantaneous discharge of a Taser forces random and consequential physiological changes: Blood chemistry changes; Ph levels, lactic acidosis, potential muscular spasms capable of crushing or severely compromising internal organs, the autonomic nervous system; breathing, heart rate. The list is considerable, since these all represent what 'risk' we as a society are willing to take with human life.


In 2005 over 23 million crimes were committed; of these 5.2 million were violent crimes. ...

More than one million women and almost 400,000 men are stalked annually in the United States. In 2005, 24 percent of all violent crime incidents were committed by an armed offender, and 9 percent by an offender with a firearm. An average of 1.7 million people are victims of violent crime while working or on duty each year. An estimated 1.3 million (75 percent) of these incidents are simple assaults while an additional 19 percent are aggravated assaults.

ovc.ncjrs.gov...


The argument of weighing our society's propensity for violent crime leads to a false choice. I believe that it falsely validates the notion that Tasers are a necessity. To insert a bit of the metaphorical, it's like a starving man insisting he can stop starving only by eating a hamburger. The need is not for Tasers. The real need is to eliminate crime itself, not confront it. It is an idealistic notion, and I will concede, that such arguments are not going to engender 'safety' upon the victims of assault.


Question 1) What are the police and victims to use to defend and control a situation that requires the necessary aide of a weapon?


I will honor your question's intent, although I object to its immediate relevance because the point of the debate is not about alternatives, it's about Tasers injuries and fatalities having reached a point beyond tolerability.

The 'police and victims' thus joined in your question offers itself to a twisted answer, one that must embrace the nature of the question rather than the content. Similarly, 'defend and control' are two very specific and different actions. Whereas a situation which would of necessity 'require a weapon.' most certainly is realistic, it forgoes the object, which is dual, police, and victims, either defending or taking control. The victims, for the sake of our argument are necessarily, people who were unavoidably engaged, under threat, and without recourse to safety. The police are specially trained citizens, versed in the enforcement of law, and prepared for such engagements at all times.

Since your question demands a specific answer, I suggest a baton. For ages we have managed to 'police' ourselves using the tried and true 'baton'. Its effectiveness and familiarity are nearly universal around the civilized world. Its use has been with since we first swung a stick, and has remained a necessary choice of tool for law enforcement worldwide for ages. Of course, by definition, a victim so armed is no longer a victim, since the tool for self defense is thus available. Such is the semantic of the question.

Arming citizens to allow them to carry out day to day lives in safety is not an answer to the general existence of violent crime. It will merely escalate the risk of any engagement leading to death. Especially should the citizen thus armed lose control of the weapon, to the attacker. And again, this could be true of ANY personal weapon.

In America, at least, the commercialists have made great headway in increasing the citizens’ fear of the world they live in. It pays for them to paint our world as dark and hazardous, because they have 'just the thing' to make you feel safe. But I think it is wrong to consider yourself a victim, before your rights have been threatened by an attacker. Empowering the citizen with potentially lethal force will not stop the assault, only mitigate its outcome. Furthermore, the false confidence increases the likelihood that untrained people to use this weapon, wrongly, or in the wrong circumstances.

Long ago, as a child, I recall a television commercial of the public service variety. An old woman with a bag of apparently heavy groceries is walking home in a city. She is alone, its night, and approaching her are two young men, ambling in a stereotypical 'bopping' manner, rambunctiously laughing at each other. The music crescendos, the woman display clearly that she is fearful, expecting the worst. Then the music stops, the men pause in their tracks, smile, ask the lady if she's OK, and would she like some help with the groceries. She smiles, and they escort her to her stoop, carrying her groceries and returning them to her after she climbs the steps. They wave at her and proceed on their way. It was about prejudice, which includes the prejudicial belief that all strangers are to be feared.

What if she had been Taser 'empowered'? Think that Taser might have come out? Maybe not. Maybe so. The result, who knows? It’s a theoretical. The point is Tasers can be the difference between the 'victim' choosing engagement, and simply avoiding the encounter all together by leaving the area. Of course, even if a misunderstanding had occurred and the taser had been used, would you accept that potential death should be even in the realm of possibility for the scenario? The element of a Taser ALWAYS includes that potential. But you won't read that in the instruction manual under "I've Tasered someone, they died, what do I do now?"


The fact is that the cops are not trying to kill people they are trying to stop them.


This is no justification for deploying a weapon that is known to kill. Perhaps we should spend that money training them in the various martial arts developed over the centuries specifically to subdue and incapacitate. Thus is if death need be the result the police have direct physical control over it, as opposed to simply zapping a suspect because it was more expedient, and then having that suspect die.


Death can be a result of just about anything and in the Civilized world people are just looking for reasons to sue anybody that has money. A police department would be a good place to sue. The Taser product being used as a 'lethal weapon' theory.


That is a different debate entirely. The law suit I referred to was about Tasers being marketed and used under the pretense that it is a safe way to enforce the law, when it clearly is not. The 'cause' was the deliberate marketing of Taser Internationals products. The police were not held liable.


... it is important to note that they are out there to save peoples lives, yours and mine. The fact that they honestly and seriously put their lives on the line every single day for us gives them the right to protect themselves.


No one debating their role in our society and the personal motivations, noble or otherwise, regarding undertaking that career. Nor am I stating that police need to go about their work without the tools to do their job. I am stating that they need NOT to be given weapons that will kill without need. Violent criminals who get tased are much more often than not, nowhere near the level of killers and rapists or theives and thugs. It is usually the uncooperative inebriated or mentally incapacitated citizen, or the confrontational and emotionally-heated disrespectful. Or occasionally, it’s just somebody the officer just finds repugnant.


Vic Walczak, legal director of ACLU Pennsylvania, agrees: "We see Tasers used for what we call 'contempt of cop' violations -- swearing, questioning their authority. Tasers are a way to exact street justice. It's disconcerting to see police officers using Tasers in circumstances where essentially no force can be justified. De'Anna is, what, 5-foot-2, 110 pounds? And to my knowledge [she] is not a black-belt martial-arts expert. The police are much larger and have training in hand-to-hand combat. You can't tell me that police couldn't bring her under control without a Taser. ... If the [city's] policy says under these circumstances it's appropriate to use the Taser, I think there's a huge problem with that."

...

Taser advocates often pose a false question, says Gan Golan of Los Angeles, a recent MIT grad who did his master's thesis on the increasing use of "less-lethal" weaponry. The choice communities are given is "What would you have us use -- guns or less lethal weapons?" But in reality, he says, "police are still using their lethal weapons when they should be using their less-lethal weapons, and they are using their less-lethal weapons when they should be using nothing at all."


Source: "Charged Debate"; www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws...

In a perfect world, tasers would be used only in the case where any other weapon could not be relied upon to resolve the crisis.


Looking at The Philosophical Cop Police Blog post about Tasers said a lot...

philosophicalcop.wordpress.com...


A valid opinion. But in practice, or as applied to the real world, its propensity for unintended consequences makes it unviable as a non-lethal weapon.


Question 2) It's evening and you are at your girlfriends house. She runs to the store and you are left alone. She owns a Taser and it is on the coffee table because you were talking about the pro's and cons of it. You are in the living room and the Taser is four feet away from you. You hear a strange noise and before you know it a crazy man is on you and he's big, bigger than you are. He is trying to choke you. Nothing is near you except the Taser. (Before I go on, just so you know the Taser only affects the person that the probes are attached to.) Do you grab the Taser and use it, or would your high moral values say that you might hurt the guy?

Of course the answer is obvious, and the question stupid. But I pose a question after this that puts it in perspective.


Whoa. A) I don't think it's a stupid question at all. B) I apologize if I have taken a moral tone which offended you, that was certainly never my intent.

With no choice other than a Taser, then Taser it is..., obvious, but I get your point.

Question 3) Would you want the Taser available to you in this situation?

Given that I am physically unable to control the situation, I would want something with which to save myself, so yes, I would.

Question 4) Would 'you' want the 'right' to own a Taser?

I would prefer a firearm. But I don't want to avoid the question. When defending my life, I want no half-measures. Tasers often require multiple discharges to completely subdue direct assaults. If you would offer me this as a choice of a right, I would say yes. I think the point is rather narrow though, and many such scenarios where murder is the objective, don't resolve themselves by Taser.

To return to my perspective, my contention is that the device marketed as a 'stun gun' is not a 'stun gun'. It’s a 'stun and maybe kill' gun. We simply cannot allow a weapon to be mis-categorized and distributed for use under that pretense. Abuse will become far too common.

[edit on 24-8-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 06:30 PM
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I must say that I forewarned you in the first post that I tend to be sarcastic. When I made the 'moral' comment it was not to offend you but rather to point out a generality in the position of Tasers are hurting criminals position. Being in the spot of concern over criminal rights is not an easy task, I am sure.

During this argument you quoted Jared Feuer as stating that 277 deaths have resulted after people had been shot by a Taser. This may be true, but I have to point out something in that statement. It does not say that they died because of the Taser. It says simply that they died after being shot. This is important because it impliesthe Taser is at fault but it makes no direct statement such as ' the Taser killed my ________ (fill in the blank)'. So to those reading it it looks like the Taser is the guilty party.

You also posted in your argument that the Coalition for Justice and Accountability initially supported the use of Tasers, as an alternative to deadly force. Consequently, the Coalition expected to see a reduction in police use of deadly force. Instead they watched sadly as the number of officer-involved shootings spiked to near record levels. But it is not stated anywhere what the situations were in those incidents. This again is important because during the time period that this happend did the crime involved require gun use. I don't see how this is a valid point. We don't know if the crimes also spiked.

You have stated that the Taser can cause a suspect many different 'side effects'. While this is true, it is stated over and over in many articles that the side effects are usually created by pre-existing ailments that a person already has. In a report by Ross the follow was made quite clear:




Ross (2007) also analyzed 75 police agency reports from 22 states on the applications of the TASER in 34,000 arrests... of these arrests the TASER was deployed in 6,010 or 18%... On average lethal force incidents declined by 48%, excessive force lawsuits declined by 52%, citizen complaints declined by 52%, and no deaths were reported.

www.policelink.com...

I find this interesting because it is harder to find the positive facts. Reason being that people are so much louder when making complaints. I am not making this into a slight, it is a fact. You do not see the news filled with it saved my life because it would not make the news. The Media world lives in a stated of negative. If we did see the positive facts we might think different. So for your insight I did a lot of searching to find what I thought was the best good news regarding Tasers.

Ott


Text- A Taser could have prevented the death of David Leclair, the 35-year-old Aylmer man who died about seven hours after he was shot by a Gatineau police officer on Saturday, a family member said Monday.

www.canada.com...

The Potomac Institute has done extensive studies on the Taser and though I could not possibly post even a touch of what they have to say, so I am posting the reference. This stated the undeniable truth about the lethality of Tasers and other weapons and non weapons. If you ask why I would post such a thing in this manner, it is due to the truth that is stated within these studies and it is extremely interesting. I could not possibly post only a few sentences.
www.potomacinstitute.org...

Within this study the FDA makes the statement that no useful technology is perfectly safe. That in itself is the whole truth. If we are going to make a statement that the Taser is not safe to use, then what is safe to use, apparently nothing.

You have also stated that the use of pepper spray, guns, batons, are not the issue. I tend to disagree a bit. The police need something to use. The cops are people too and they also have rights because of this. When looking at the youtube videos of Taser incidents, I see one reoccurring theme, and that is the people are not listening to the cops. They fight, resist, argue, and yell. The continually resist the fact that they are caught in a crime. The other recurring theme is that that cop warns them, or ask them, over, and over, and over. These people are not wanting to be arrested, or charged. They are drunk and belligerent, they are hostile, angry, violent. I believe from all the videos I watched that the use of Tasers are being used appropriately. Of all the videos I watched not one person was acting innocent and coy saying. 'Please don't shoot me with the Taser'.
For your viewing pleasure, I have included the link below.
www.youtube.com...
Oh, and by the way this man did not die.

It is important to know that the Taser is saving lives. In fact it has saved lives in some strange situations. One man in a hospital ER was having a seizure and they lost control of them man as he was coming out of it and a situation occurred that he started to go into some form of arrest. There was a cop their and he Tazed him, causing him to go into another seizure. The result of this was that it reset his heart and saved his life. This is not the only occurrence of this.

There are not as many positive articles on line as their is negative but they are there. But do you find yourself looking for the positive? No, and most people don't. Both cops and the real victims need to be able to protect themselves, and both have been losing their rights over the years.



posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 02:27 PM
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During this argument you quoted … It does not say that they died because of the Taser. … it makes no direct statement such as ' the Taser killed my (fill in the blank)'…


It does not say they died because of the Taser because, at the time, they had been legally blocked from making that assertion, since all the tools of corporate law have been brought to bear protecting the manufacturer of this misrepresented weapon. Their argument hands us the logic that the ‘contributing factors’ of the so-called “excited delirium”, drugs in the suspects system, or unknown medical conditions, are the ‘cause’ of death, an empty theory that seeks to circumvent the presence of the Taser in the equation. Most of us have seen this tactic used before, tobacco, faulty mechanical devices, and poorly-tested pharmaceuticals. In the courtroom they had succeeded in using all the tools they have been granted as corporate citizens to eliminate their liability until recently, (June 2008 Heston v. City of Salinas, et al., N.D. Cal. Case No. C 05-03658 JW,).

In fact, Taser International, Inc. had asked the court to dismiss the claims of the Heston family, contending that (1) Robert Heston’s death was not reasonably foreseeable, (2) its product is not inherently dangerous, and (3) it had no duty to warn of the dangers of its product.
I draw attention to number 3. ”.. it had no duty to warn of the dangers of its product.”
Is it any wonder they are still trying to squirm away from liability?

The jury found that TASER International knew or should have known that its [Taser] was dangerous because prolonged exposures to the device poses a substantial risk of cardiac arrest to persons against whom the device is deployed. The jury also found that TASER International failed to adequately warn purchasers of its device of the risks associated with its use.

It seems evident to me that the retroactive elimination of Tasers as ‘cause of death’ by coroners across the country are telling of the influences being brought to bear in the matter.


You also posted in your argument that the Coalition for Justice and Accountability initially supported the use of Tasers, as an alternative to deadly force….


I have difficulty accepting that an organization devoted to the oversight of public policy and the results of police practices would engage in biased and inflammatory reporting, which would be a departure from its reputation. To pursue an analytical overview of the report citations and data would consume too much space, and leaves me with no alternative other than to rely on the following excerpts from the report (which many may have already read, please forgive the repetition.)

Allow me to reiterate: Tasers were marketed as a non-lethal alternative to firearm use; its use was to have the effect of increasing safety while reducing police shootings.

Taser International claims that Tasers ''Reduce Officer Shootings''
Wrong - dead wrong.
Since Tasers were fully deployed in San Jose we've actually seen the number of officer-involved shootings dramatically spike to near record levels - after a steady five-year decline!


Granted this is not specific, but I think the inference is reasonable that there was no unusual spike in crime reflected during the CJA study.


You have stated that the Taser can cause a suspect many different 'side effects'. …


I did not intend to imply that Taser had side effects. I was explaining what happens to a human body when electric current is forced through it. I will share another excerpt relating to this fact that Taser so desperately sought to obfuscate in its own study..,


… Walter Skuggevig, a research engineer at UL for 41 years who has done extensive study into electric shock injury, disputes the application of the study to Tasers: “For them to say that Taser is safe based on that line, I don't accept that.... It doesn't apply to that kind of product [Tasers]”

UL, which was unaware that its research was used in Taser literature, emphatically disclaimed the implication that Tasers were UL-approved. UL spokesman Paul Baker said: “We certainly don't want to give the impression that we put our label on this, that we certify this. We do not.”

Director for ACLU of Northern California, pointed out that the company's own training manual undermines its claim that Tasers are safe and non-lethal, since it “indicates that people with certain medical conditions should not volunteer to be shot with a Taser and that Taser use on people with certain 'individual susceptibilities' may result in death.”

In fact, medical evidence shows that heightened levels of adrenaline increase the risk that a Taser shock will disrupt heart rhythms and lead to cardiac arrest. …”



In a report by Ross….


Dr. Ross’ pro-law-enforcement agenda is known to me. Perhaps we should both agree and recognize the challenge we both face when attempting to extract truth from potentially biased sources. Your decision to include the publication of the Potomac Institute fails to note that this organization’s evident focus is the public policy of weapons development and successful applications of technology to war and urban pacification; as can be evidenced within their mission statement:


… we develop meaningful policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government. The Institute’s current endeavors have required the formation of special efforts in:
• Terrorism and asymmetry;
• Emerging threats and opportunities;
• National health policies;
• Science and technology forecasting; and
• National security.

((Emphasis mine))

Despite their pro-corporate framework, the executive summary of the report you cite closes with the following bullet point:


We strongly recommend that additional research be conducted at the organism, organ, tissue, and cell levels. The mortality figures cited could conceivably reflect inaccuracies in reporting or perhaps there are other factors, such as efficient and effective medical care availability. Moreover, the vast majority of targeted individuals have been relatively young males. The community needs to understand the specific effects of varying electrical wave forms on relevant organic matter of all body types in the immediate time frame of stun application, and in the downstream time course as well, to include possible psychiatric and other non-lethal effects.


Institutes such as these provide the surface of lofty altruistic and egalitarian goals, but in the end most are aware they are simply corporate think-tanks used to forge policy consistent with their own goals – in this case, to enable the sale of policing technology, unhindered by public sentiment.


If we are going to make a statement that the Taser is not safe to use, then what is safe to use, apparently nothing.


I disagree. Tasers were misrepresented as safe, and therefore should be eliminated from the arsenal of available ‘non-lethal’ weapons, but it does not mean that ‘nothing’ is safe. I think that nothing is safer than a well-trained police officer, accountable for his or her actions, and dedicated to keeping the peace for the community. If we could count on police being given tools that were not prone to instantaneously initiate a chain of physiological events which could lead to death… that would be safer… But most importantly, if the Taser were, in actuality, a non-lethal weapon, then THAT would be safe.


.. When looking at the youtube videos of Taser incidents, …not one person was acting innocent and coy saying. 'Please don't shoot me with the Taser'.


I suspect we could gather videos displaying both sides of the coin, in equal abundance. But in all the examples you cite, I can see no reason to accept – out of hand – that the result should include the possibility of death for the suspect. Yes, their resistance, although mostly passive, is contrary to the police officer’s instructions, but I think the police have been made too comfortable with the fantasy that it’s OK to zap someone, because it’s perfectly “safe.”

I conclusion, I will summarize my contention that Tasers must be banned.

Tasers have caused far too many severe injuries and unintended deaths to be considered a viable non-lethal weapon. Current public perception is so confused on this matter as a direct result of the extensive leeway granted to the manufacturer in making claims that it is safe. The power of marketing coupled with legal maneuvers shows that even as the citizen is exposed to increasing danger, the excuse can be made to justify it by evoking the fear factor. Until someone you know or care for gets seriously hurt, or worse, at the whim of a police officer who wanted a particular encounter to end…’ now.’

The fact that the device is enthusiastically espoused by law enforcement agencies is clearly offset by their own policies regarding their use. Most police training operations, as well as the DoD, will no longer allow training to include subjecting trainees to Tasing, citing the risk of potential serious injury and or death.

Electricity, as a weapon, is an indiscriminate force, which cannot be controlled once unleashed. The evidence reappears frequently and in increasingly that victims of its use suffer from consequences that are disproportionate to the level of the offense. Police are not entirely to blame for this development; they are indoctrinated to believe that there are no real dangers in Tasing a suspect. Yet the direct application of pain to a ‘suspect’ belies the fact that the individual in question has not yet been convicted of any crime, and their only ‘offense’ is challenging the officers will.

The officers cannot be expected to realize that the individual might have a circumstantial condition that renders the use of a Taser into a very real mortal threat. “Death” should not be an acceptable consequence for confronting a police officer with objections, or challenging their intent to detain you. To compel compliance with a police officer’s request rarely requires the individual to be assaulted. The introduction of Tasers has facilitated and increased such assaults by an order of magnitude. As the frequency increases, so does the likelihood of death and injury.

The Taser is a weapon which was released to market before it was ready. It has killed hundreds, if not thousands around the world. Could the Taser save lives? Certainly, but no more so than the gun, or baton, or pepper spray, all of which are already in use. Is the added risk contributing to a decrease in police violence? No, quite the contrary, statistics clearly demonstrate the increasing use of Tasers, where no weapon use was called for at all. It is clear the Taser must be banned until such time as the technology can live up to the claim that it is a safe, non-lethal tool.

[edit on 25-8-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Aug, 26 2008 @ 12:54 PM
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The topic for this debate was "Do to Recent Fatalities and Injuries, Tasers Should Be Banned." I believe we have honestly and quite throughly looked at the pro's and con's of this situation. I am sure I will bring up a couple more facts and statements before I finish this post. But I believe that we have proven the Taser is a non lethal weapon but that some deaths have occurred after the use of a Taser. We have yet to see facts that state that it has actually caused a death. I am going to take a chance here and say if people have to decide they probably have by now.

I believe there are huge factors within the original title that need to be taken into effect. The issue of banning things is a large controversial concern. It implies that someone knows what is better for each of us. This by definition would also imply that you only have the rights that others choose for you to have. Which in itself is not bad, after all some people do abuse their rights, that is all too often in fact. With (whatever is the general sense of the normal) a normal person it is not necessary to take away their right to choose, but yet it has happened over and over in history. While you may look at the Taser in this situation, I am questioning the right to even ban.

The history of the Prohibition Act of the 1920's tried to ban alcohol, and they did for awhile. For dozens of years they have been attempting to ban guns... and still are in most places. Smokers have been banned from smoking just about everywhere. Unless prescribed or over the counter, drugs are banned. In some schools certain attire and dress are banned. The point in this statement is that we are losing the fight to have rights. To ban Tasers just puts one thing more on the list that the government can control in our lives. And although this may seem odd to put in this debate I think it is very valid. When it comes to safety for the victims of crime and their defenders, I believe the need all their rights.

In the study of whether Tasers should be banned or not I came across many threads pointing out the positive of Tasers. Most importantly that Taser's save lives in many ways. It protects potential victims, it provides a viable means to render a criminal that is violent into a position which they can be handled. Providing both safety to the police and criminal in a situation that could have been death from a bullet..

The following link will take you to a page full of positive links.
www.google.com...

This brings up another issue within this issue. The other being human rights, to whom we have let slide by for a long time now. While in the ideal situation 'everyone' would be safe and protected, I don't feel that it can be much of a reality in the world as we know it. Not unlike innocents being killed in the war, there is no way to make bombs hit only the guilty party. While apprehending a criminal, or the person who is out of hand, with a Taser there can be people that could get hurt without intention. The important factor here is the rights of the person that is to be protected from the supposed criminal, and or in the abusive situation. If you look at this issue closely you would see that the victims of assault are losing their rights rapidly to the civilized world.

I myself having been in the place of a victim can say this. That when I was in the situation that happened, I wish I had had a Taser handy, but I didn't. After the fact, when I reported the incident I was asked why I didn't protect myself. Both implying that I was stupid, and I was the guilty party. Had I protected myself with a Taser the offender could have charged me. That simply is not right, that the victim of crime should have to put up with something of that nature. The reality of the world is someone screamed that they got hurt by a Taser after they stabbed someone and then sued the person that was stabbed. Now that is a true victim (the person that was stabbed that is).

Then the other factor to take into account, of course, is who is using the Taser. The term 'trigger happy', did not come from nowhere. I cannot even imagine the stability that is necessary for one to become a police officer. Not unlike any other job in the world there will always be those who slip through the system. The ones that should not be in the police force, and unfortunately for us in the world we generally don't find out till too late. In the over all picture of the police force in North America I believe that to be very much the odd man out.

I do not however understand the issue with Tasers when it comes to police. To give anyone power over you is not sane, but to say that these people should not have Tasers and then give them a gun is absurd. If I cannot trust a person with a Taser, it would not be sensible or even logical for me to give them something with bullets and is considered a lethal weapon. I truly believe that the problem lies within the the human. You have heard the saying, "Gun's don't kill people, people kill people." The fact is if you lay a Taser in front of you it is completely harmless till you attach a human to it. I do believe that the Taser is safe, it is the manner in which it is used that could make it lethal or not. As I stated before anything can be lethal if used appropriately.

According to the Second Amendment of the United States of America you have a right to bear arms. This is another aspect of the human rights that should quickly be noted. The implication is to have a weapon to protect your self, honestly I would rather see a Taser in the average Joe's hand.

I did find a Policemen forum on the subject. While looking through it I could see the different personalities of the policemen. I feel after reading this that most of the police feel that the Taser is a great tool, and has saved many of their lives.



Everybody on our department carries a tazer. I have been saved from serious injury twice in the last 6 months by a tazer.





The taser is a tool that works very well, I think just the presence of it can have a dramatic effect by calming a subject down...
... I have not Tasered anyone to this date but I have red dotted quite a few peeps that were out of control and on the verge of riding the magic buffalo. They became quiet and compliant in a quick-like fashion.


Taser came to our department and dropped a loud of research on our chief's lap and now we have them.
We had a suicidal woman a few weeks ago who was cutting herself and was stopped with the taser. If this person had charged officers, without the taser, the only other thing would have been deadly force...
... the taser can be helpful in court if a deadly force situation was presented and the suspect was stopped with the taser. You can say, " we could have killed this person, but chose to save his life by using the taser".

forums.officer.com...
Much more is said on this site from the policemen. I found it helpful and informative.

Photos links:
This is what a Taser looks like:
[img]
[/img]


[img]
[/img]

So in closing I would like to say that I don not believe Tasers are lethal. I believe people are lethal and giving any weapon in the hands of an unstable person can make that item deadly. That the purpose of banning the Taser would be fruitless and pointless, if not more harmful than having them. It is another way for the government to control people and another way for profits to be made off the citizens. I do not believe that the Taser should be banned.

I would like to thank once again, my worthwhile opponent. This has been both an educational and enjoyable debate. "Thank you" to the folks at ATS for providing a place for us to do this.



posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 09:23 PM
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An excellent debate from both opponents. The winner, by majority decision, is Maxmars, who will be advancing to the second round.



Using the guidelines provided by MemoryShock and incorporating some of my own thoughts on what makes a strong debate, I will be doing my best to adjudicate this debate based on consistency, relevance to the topic, strength of rebuttal, writing style, organization, use of supporting evidence when claims of objective fact are made and perspicacity of argument.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am fairly ignorant of the topic going into the debate. I am grateful to the participants for helping to rectify that. I don’t have strong feelings on the matter in either direction.

I will be giving each posting a rating of 1 to 10, with the conclusion getting ‘double points’, as I hope that it will encapsulate the prior posts and bring home all the points leading up to it. I will then award a purely subjective 1 – 20 points based on who I felt had the more persuasive argument. The total point winner will be the person that I judge to have done a better job.
(Written prior to start)

After reading the debate and making my evaluation, I would like to congratulate both Maxmars and Zaimless. They have both done an excellent job and their willingness to slug it out has helped me to educate myself on tasers and their efficacy.

There were no points given for ‘strength of rebuttal’ for the Opening (for obvious reasons). Also, both participants were given 10s for Consistency in the Opening (as they were establishing their styles).

There was one round with a tie. There was one round with a two point differential in the averages. Every other round the participants were separated by a mere one point. That is pretty stunning (pun intended) and speaks well to both opponents.

The styles for each participant seemed to work well for them. I enjoyed Zaimless use of a more colloquial pattern in his argumentative style and I appreciated Maxmars structured approach.

Points were left on the table for poor sentence structure and misuse of words. I was also less impressed with anecdotal evidence (regardless of source) than statistical evidence.

In my opinion, the winner of the debate was Maxmars. I appreciate the hard work of the participants and look forward to their next foray into ATS debates.




I believe MaxMars is the winner of this debate.

Both Debaters had formulated a proper debate argument and structure. I believe Max stuck to the topic at hand more, which allowed him to focus on steering the readers towards his belief.

Zaimless also put forth a valid debate, but steered themselves off course by trying to prove their topic that violence requires the legality of Tasers. The focus seemed to be more on the fact that this violence existed, and that we should have tasers to defend ourselves.

Had zaimless stuck to the personal rights issue brought up in their closing statement, I may have been steered more towards their opinion.

This was a hard decision, and I regret that on my point scale (1-5 pts per post) Zaim lost 1 point for posting images in their closing. I felt it necessary to penalize zaimless for this, and it allowed Max to commandeer a lead of a couple of points.

I look forward to seeing both debaters further down the line in this round of debates.



posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 09:35 AM
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Thank you everyone for the time and attention to the debate.

Thank you Memoryshock for your patience during our debate (I imagine you must be stressing right now about the ongoing rash of 'debatus interruptus' - don't worry too much, I suspect we will concoct a cream or something to remedy this).

Thank you to Zaimless, for nearly cleaning my clock in this debate. You had me on more than one occasion against the ropes, hopefully we can meet again under friendlier circumstances.

And now for the judges, I respect your opinions and thank you for the time you took to review the debate. Technically I was wondering regarding the pictures in the closing, but I didn't really mind. The 'personal protection' issue really was my weakest element, as some can clearly see int the debate itself.

I won't deny that my personal opinion isn't really for the outright banning of these weapons, but for their legal restriction from 'police' use, since they can't be trusted to balance the power it gives them over the responsibility to fulfill their obligation to society to keep the peace and uphold the law without inflicting personal 'punishment' on suspects.

Zaimless, once again..., THANK YOU for sticking with it. You almost got me, (in fact, as I told Memoryshock earlier, I suspected you had won.)

[edit on 2-9-2008 by Maxmars]



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 12:17 PM
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Thank You to everyone involved for allowing me to participate in this debate. This is my first online debate and I had no clue as to what I was really doing. I really enjoyed it.

Maxmars was a great opponent and I truly enjoyed the challenge presented to me. Although in real life I know that the Taser can truly be lethal, my position was to make it look good, which was far from easy. I also felt that the real issue was the banning, I could only do what I could.

I want to point out a very important issue, brought up by MemoryShock, that often many people at ATS/BTS make. I am a she, not a he. I am not sure why this mistake is made but it is done all the time. I am including a photo of me to clear up this issue.


The thing is I really do mean what I said about the Taser. After looking at everything that I did I came to the conclusion that I would personally rather be shot by a Taser than a gun. When looking at the video's of people being shot by the Taser I realized that the very people that complain about it are belligerent, hostile, and often violent people.

I am not continuing the debate, I am now stating my personal beliefs of the situation with the Taser. I have been in a lot of situations that a Taser would have helped the police, and protected the criminal. Often we tend to forget, as people, that policemen are people as well. While their lives are on the line all the time. That they put up with more crap than just about anyone is quite a understatement. I admire the work they do to keep us all safe.

The other thing is that we all should be protected, including the criminal. I really don't think there is a way to stop a criminal that would be really kind. If there is I don't know what it is, and I believe that the world is trying to find a way. The Taser is just along the path of discovery. Although Maxmars mentioned 'talking down', in the debate, I do know this does not always work. That if I wer a criminal that was a threat, or trying to get away, I should expect some form of aggressive response to stop me.

So again, I enjoyed the debate and hope that I will be considered in the future for another. I will definitely be watching to see what happens in this one and hope all the best for Maxmars. If I can be any help in the future, please feel free to contact me.






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