Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jeff Schultz (and probably lots of other people) Enjoy Vicarious Tasering

Jeff Schultz has written a mildly amusing piece about the dumb kid who ran out onto the Phillies' baseball field and got tasered by a policeman who was too fat and slow to catch up with him and tackle him.

He spends most of the piece talking about the general awfulness of Philadelphia sports fans---something I can't disagree with---and at the end proposes this:

Personally, I don’t have a problem with fans being Tasered. In fact, I believe there should be a contest each game for one fan to actually administer the Taser to any other fan who does something stupid.

Ho ho. Since this blog is known for its stolid humorlessness, let me use Schultz's joke as an opportunity to ask a poker-faced question: why does everyone take such delight in watching their fellow human beings get electrocuted by the police? Clearly, goofy teenagers who run onto sports fields---something that happens all over the world, all the time, and has for decades--- are a terrifying and lethal threat. No dispute from me. I even understand that sometimes a trained police officer just doesn't feel like exerting any physical energy (BORING) and that electric torture guns are simply easier. I know that the Tasering Approval Ship sailed a long time ago, and that most people think tasering is hilarious fun.

But why is it hilarious fun?


the jointhead said...

Having no first hand knowledge of the effects of the taser I can whole heartedly say I enjoy seeing violent, bully, assholes become as helpless as a new born kitten. Moderatly innocent idiots on the other hand deserve a few more minutes of chase before flabby doughnut ass grabs his own chest wheezing and shoots a kid in the back. Improper use of taser should = being shot yourself. That might induce a second thought about using it.

Razor Catch Prey said...

All officers who carry Tasers have to be shot with them first as part of their training. That way they know what it feels like.

It is a NON-LETHAL method of subduing a suspect who is resisting arrest and prevents the police from having to use more dangerous methods of takedown. There is a very small percentage of the population who may experience a complication from the electricity, but there is probably a larger percentage that is unusually vulnerable to being tackled violently to the ground. For that matter, being hit with a taser will take down the perpetrator without further endangering innocent bystanders in a prolonged chase and/or struggle.

So if there is a statistically safe way to end a struggle with someone resisting arrest, then why would we expect a police officer to risk injury to themselves and innocent bystanders?

Jay said...

I thought that dumbass kid getting tasered was awesome. Stupid fuck won't be doing that again I bet. There are too many nut jobs in the world now to take a chance when potentially one of them runs out onto the field. There is very little time to decifer whether it is a harmless teenager or a deranged lunatic that is out there. Anyone who has a problem with that kid getting tasered has no grasp of reality or the law. That kid was breaking the law and evading police! I almost wish they would have shot his ass. I guarantee that other guy wouldn't have gone on the field the next night!

the jointhead said...

thats what they said about the guy getting tasered, didn't work. I belive that civil disobedience?

Mortimer Peacock said...


Tasers are still relatively new and unstudied. We don't know as much about them as we think we do. Over the past 2 years there have been tons of reports of people who died or wound up with permanent brain damage after being tasered. I could round up a bunch of links about all this if you want, but I suspect...


But he's hardly the first person in history to run out onto a sports field. Remember the footage of Hank Aaron when he broke Babe Ruth's record? Two guys (I think it was two) jumped onto the field and rounded the bases with him. Should the cops have shot them (seeing as how tasers didn't exist back then and you say you're okay with the cops shooting people for this kind of thing)?

Of course it's almost impossible to tell immediately whether someone is a psycho or not, but that's what we pay policemen for, right? They're supposed to be able to think on their feet and make these kinds of decisions pretty quickly. You would think they'd also be expected to be in sufficient shape to tackle a slight, lanky 17 year old.

Taking your logic a bit further: if Safety-Above-All is the most important thing in society, if we're better safe than sorry because after all the kid could have had a knife or gun or nuclear weapon under his t-shirt, and if we're sorry that that the cop didn't just shoot the bastard, where exactly do you draw the line? Wouldn't it better if we lopped off his hands for this, like the Saudis or Iranians do? Or maybe we should be able to saw off his head and impale it on a spike outside the ball park, right next to a sign saying IF YOU RUN ONTO THE FIELD EXPECT THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU.

Is there no such thing as overkill?

Of course where we differ (and where I seem to differ from the vast majority of people on this subject) is that I think tasering in this situation is overkill. You don't think so, and indeed you almost wish they'd shot him.

You're right that there are nutjobs out there, but is a proportionally small group of nutjobs enough to justify the 24/7 paranoia so popular nowadays and an embrace of some rather extreme authoritarian measures?

Big Shooter said...

All this talk made me finally watch the clip. In some cases people that are or can be harmful very much need to get tased for the safety of others.

A stupid kid CLEARLY running around on the field goofing off waving his shirt in the air with no intent to physically harm anyone shouldn't be tased. While that officer might have acted "in the rules", he seems to me to be all of what is wrong with the police force these days. Out of shape guy that can't chase down a kid who means no harm, so he uses excessive force to bring him down instead of being in shape enough to really do his job.

If cops start using tasers in these situations all the time there will be even less of a reason for them to be in enough physical shape to protect us when the need is really there.

Now, for all of you "the police can do no wrong people" (talking to you, Razor), I'm not saying all cops are like this. Some of them are great and save our lives. I just think the increasing use of tasers in situations where they shouldn't be can back fire more than you think...

Where did the good ole fashion police tackle go? And sense inexplicably no one else has said it, "DON'T TASE ME BRO!".

swegs said...

well ive been tased and to be honest its not that bad, you just lose control for a few seconds, and before you ask lets just say it involved a few too many delicious brews and a friend who had a girlfriend with one and one brilliant idea. this is also pretty low on the list of stupid things ive done in college, and just think of all the others i can do in my year and a half left, cant wait!