March 3rd, 2005 11:06 AM
My local paper, The Wisconsin State Journal, today has a story about a community meeting discussing Tasers and the proper use by police. This stems from a recent incident where an (innocent) black teenager ran from a police investigation and was shot in the back by a Taser. Even if the Taser was not involved, you know this is going to be messy, and that's part of my concern.
To be sure, Madison, Wisconsin is one of the most radical cities in the USA. Many of the current political issues stem from the same connections to the Vietnam War. (If you recall Kerry's Presidential election problems, you see how 'The War' effects and chills discussion. That is routine in Madison.)
Chances are that if a high profile arrest involves a black suspect, even in a heinous crime, the community invokes some 'town hall' discussion and the cops fall for it. Popular police chiefs organize these meetings, those who refuse to be sucked in have short careers.
Their individual race mean nothing. Our last chief was black, our current Chief Wray is black. A former chief, who resigned and became a minister, and actually started this 'community policing' concept was white.
If the Taser incident would have involved my cousin Alan the story would have been a non-starter, although the oldest ethnic community in Madison is Italian.
Call me a bigot, but everyone really knows the actual beef. There is a certain element in black communitites that oppose any policing, even it means safety for them personally; kind of an OJ Simpson mentality of 'us and them.' To this segment, the proper use of a Taser drops the criminal dead-bang at the scene for an immediate arrest. It's very difficult to play the race card when your pockets are stuff with crack, an illegal pistol is in your jeans or this is the victim's blood all over you.
Using this current incident (and many ask why an innocent person ran in the first place), this element want to stop Tasers now, and use the race card in Madison knowing it will work. Bizarre as it sounds, a Taser will then be branded a 'weapon of bigotry' despite its use on whites, as well.
Oh, by the way, most people in the Madison community will brand me a racis simply by taking this side in a debate.
For those people, I wish I had a time-machine to show policing in my home town of Milwaukee with night-sticks in the 1950's.
March 3rd, 2005 06:48 PM
Tourist I've seen a similar thing go down in the newspapers in Austin, Texas with completely opposite effects.
There was an incident wherein essentially what happened was an officer pulled a man over; the man attempted to escape, the officer attempted to stop him and the officer got his arm captured in the driver's side door window for his effort.
The officer simply did what any sane person would have done. He produced his sidearm and shot the man in the face before he was dragged down the highway at 70 miles per hour.
The paper and the general public crucified the Austin PD for the incident. And finally the brilliant conclusion was that the service pistol was too harsh a tool to use for police work, and they should all use tasers.
All this ridiculous anti gun bunk came out telling how evil police officers use these evil guns to oppress and slay the poor and stupid.
All of the officers that operate in that county I've seen in recent months all had tasers on their duty belts. Luckily their Glocks were still in place as well.
All hail the Taser, a weapon I fear far more than any knife, stick, firearm, or nuclear bomb that ever existed.
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