Normally tasers are non-deadly, but can cause death in extreme cases. With increasing mortality evidence, should people lacking penchant for deadly force be subject to a form of subduing that can be lethal? Groups such as Amnesty International have called a moratorium on the use on these ‘non-lethal’ weapons. What happened to brute force or law enforcement overpowering persons through greater numbers? Where are non-deadly methods? The UN committee overseeing the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment concluded in 2007 that electroshock weapons and stun guns a.k.a tasers, not only represent a form of torture, but a form of torture that can kill. Regardless, are tasers just another tool law enforcement has at their disposal for use during mild outbreaks due to their advertised connotation of non-deadly control?
It is not only the police that wield this non-deadly use of force. Tasers can now be found at high schools, on college campuses and are carried by private citizens. Currently, stun guns are legal in 44 states nationwide, yet only 6 of these states garner restrictions on these potentally deadly electroshock weapons. It is time that as citizens we recognize that without regulation of tasers, tragedies will continue unabated.
Moreover, I have viewed countless YouTube videos of situations where taser use was justified and necessary, but on the contrary, where it was abusive and frightening. Personal experience leads me to believe that videos on news reports or the aforementioned YouTube clips are tame compared to witnessing an electroshock weapon being performed on someone first hand. While waiting for a train in a New York City subway last summer, a man was tased repeatedly and tackled by police while his writhing body lay on the floor. From what I understood this man was under the influence of an elicit substance (he repeatedly yelled about being on crack-so I’ll have to take his word for it) and was resisting arrest. The use of a taser in this situation seemed completely justified. Or is it? Should an unarmed assailant arguing with police or resisting arrest be subject to something that looks and feels like torture?
Adam Spence Johnson died at Universal Studios in Orlando on Friday April 22 was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital. According to police, he was unarmed yet violently resisting arrest. Is his death worth the responding officer cheating a black eye or broken rib in a scuffle? Adam Spencer Johnson died by electrocution. Something our society reserves for capital crimes: aggravated murder, treason, violations of the Geneva Convention and the use of weapons of mass. Did Mr. Johnson, 33, deserve to die this way because he was causing a disturbance outside of a theme park?