Saturday, July 09, 2005

TASERS: Non-lethal weapons not liberal enough

For many years, the military has been doing research into non-lethal weapons, mostly for crowd control and hostage situations. Liberals have often encouraged this research, as a means of restraining the use of firearms or other deadly force. Two private citizens in the 1990s started a company called Taser, which produces a gun-shaped device that shoots out two wires and a projectile that cause a strong stun sensation in a person, incapacitating him momentarily as an alternative to using a gun. In police training, the police officers themselves get shot by a Taser. After years of sincere effort - by both the left and the right - to find and develop a non-lethal weapon, who now are the biggest critics of these devices today? Why, the liberals.....

From time to time, an article appears complaining about the fact someone was killed by a Taser. You see, the problem is that some street criminals are actually not as healthy as other citizens - and being high on drugs and/or committing a street crime or attempting an assault on a police officer actually adds to their already high stress levels. Who would have guessed? One headline cries out about a case in Metairie, Louisiana, saying "Kenner Man subdued with Taser dies." But if you read into the text of this story, you find out the deceased had a history of being arrested for possession of coca leaves and crack cocaine. And he was attacking the officers, most probably high on some drug. Amnesty International chimed in and was quoted in the article as saying in a recent report that 74 individuals have died in the past four years in the US and Canada as a result of police using Taser stun guns.

Of course, Amnesty International was clever enough to not comment on this specific case or they would be seen as supporting a drug dealer, but their comments are de facto indirect support to this particular "victim's" plight. What Amnesty International also doesn't tell you in their press releases is that police departments that use Tasers have seen the death rate of suspects confronted by the police go down considerably. According to USA Today, Seattle's police, since starting to use Tasers in 2001, saw no deaths from police action in the year 2003, the first time this has happened in 15 years. The newspaper adds, "Police in Phoenix say the number of officer-involved shootings dropped 54% in 2003 - from 28 to 13 - after they began using Tasers." Additional information about lesser death rates can be found at

The problem Amnesty International doesn't want to address is that the police don't know which drugs are in a person's system in what concentration, merely by looking at him. And if the police were forced to assume that a person was high on drugs and couldn't be subject to a Taser jolt, then their only safe alternative defense in a frontal attack on an officer would be a handgun. If the first bullet doesn't stop the perpetrator, then several more will, often with deadly results. I can't speak from experience, but I suspect many people who have had encounters with the police would rather take their chances against a Taser than a Glock 9mm handgun.

If Amnesty International and the liberals succeed in getting Tasers banned, the police will have to use hand guns and/or clubs exclusively to bring down violent people who threaten other citizens and the police themselves. And there will be little incentive to develop alternatives. Who exactly would want to spend millions to start a new company with even a technically better device than a Taser, if Taser Corporation gets eviscerated by trial lawyers? Would you start such a company or invest in it? Would your teachers' union pension fund want to invest in it? How about CALPERS, the California State government employees union pension fund? Do you think they'd finance a new Taser-like company? ....

Liberals are exceedingly skilled at complaining about others' inadequacies, and demand no less than perfection from their opponents. The Taser gun is not perfect, but it seems to me that it offers a vast improvement over the available alternatives, and has reduced fatalities.

More here

Brick thrower gets a bullet: "Burlington store owner shot and wounded a man who threw a brick through the front glass doors in an attempt to burglarize the place early this morning, according to police. About 2:30 a.m., Robert Lee Brooks III threw a brick at The Spot store at 1520 N. Church St., Burlington police said in a press release. Store owner Darryl Jerldero Hightower, 36, was inside because someone had tried to break into the store several hours earlier, police said. That had left the store without power because the meter was damaged and the alarm wire was cut. Brooks, 36, of 2417 N. Church St., lot 5 in Burlington, was found lying on the sidewalk in front of the store, police said. He had been shot once in the upper leg. He will be taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill to be treated for a shattered femur. No charges had been filed as of Tuesday morning".

Senate Bill 357 Could Ban Handgun Ammunition in California: The California legislature is considering a bill that would require serial numbers on all handgun ammunition, including rimfire ammunition, beginning in January of 2009. This bill, introduced by Senator Joseph Dunn and strongly supported by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, is strongly opposed by SAAMI. The bill, if enacted, amounts to a de facto ammunition ban in California. Serialized ammunition would affect what is now a sophisticated, highly efficient bullet-manufacturing process that could lead to the bankruptcy of the ammunition industry in America. The bill intended to reduce the criminal misuse of firearms has no proven law enforcement benefits, and has the potential to affect national security.

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