Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Annoying Isn't A Crime
Just a quick follow-up to the Univ. of Florida tasing incident. By now, the video has gone viral. Conspiracy theorists are pointing to the coming police-state apocalypse. Consensus seems to have coalesced around the hypothesis that the student in question, Andrew Myer, is a jerk who intended to provoke an incident. It also appears that the viral video doesn't include the incident's debut, in which Myer jumps to the front of the line of questioners and interrupts another student at the microphone. Finally, according to an eyewitness, Sen. John Kerry did try to defuse the situation, in general, and to get the police officers to stand down, in particular. In light of which, the officers were probably justified in removing Myer from the microphone and the gathering, and I was probably unjustified in condemning Sen. Kerry for inaction.
Be all that as it may, my main point was that this was an inappropriate use of the taser, and that in light of other similar abuses, there ought to be some national discussion and/or regulation of what constitutes appropriate use of it. The fact that the taser is non-lethal force doesn't make it universally applicable. And while abuses might persist in the face of regulation, at least there will be laws on the books protecting citizens and allowing for effective legal oversight.