Dream: Here is the problem I am experiencing. I agree with you when you say Tasers can be misused. I agree when you say that Tasing is extremely painful and not something anyone would like to go through. I even agree when you say that a Taser in the wrong hands can do a lot of damage.
My problem is that, in spite of all these issues with Tasers, you still haven't proven that we should stop using Tasers. No matter how you cut the situation, statistically speaking Tasers are going to cause much less lasting physical damage than any other weapon currently available to policemen. Yes, you can have freak accidents with Tasers, and yes, there are situations when a Taser does not need to be used (the 70+ year old grandmother at a police stop would count, I think), but the consequences of these accidents/situations are likely going to be far less severe than the same situations if, say, the officer had had a gun.
Also, saying we should stop using Tasers because policemen sometimes make bad decisions just doesn't work. A cop who makes a bad decision is going to make one with a Taser or with a gun. It's the person who makes the mistake, not the weapon. So I'd prefer those people to have something which won't cause their mistakes to have lasting damage. And yeah, I'd love it if cops would just learn to restrain people, too, such that they didn't need Tasers. But that isn't always possible (cops will unfortunately always need a weapon that allows them to "one-up" a perpatrator), and once again, I'd much prefer they got trigger happy with a Taser than with a baton or a gun. I know you think that
In the end, no weapon is perfect. No weapon is going to be completely accident or abuse free in everyone's hands; there are always going to be poor users, or bad situations, or accidents.
You're correct when you say that we shouldn't let policemen do whatever the hell they want and we should let them JUST BECAUSE they are police. I don't think that happens, anyway, and I don't think anyone in this thread is suggesting we should do that.
Quick, direct responses to some of your quotes (I sorta said some of this stuff above but this is for the sake of clarity):
Dream wrote:Once again: You are assuming that anyone who can't be tasered and is anything less than immediately and totally cooperative will be savagely beaten. That is not true, so you are not comparing like with like.
It's possible Tasers make cops more trigger happy. However, there's a tradeoff: Even though they occasionally Tase people who don't deserve it, it doesn't damage them in a lasting way. If they were packing a gun, though, or a baton, then someone who DID deserve to get Tased would have definitely gotten the gun or baton treatment in those situations. So although you get more "false positives" with Tasers, the lasting damage from the false positives and the true positives is small instead of having the damage from the true positives be very large. Hopefully that makes sense, I'm not sure if I'm explaining it well.
If your goal is to minimize the amount of pain police officers inflict on their suspects, I do not think that getting rid of Tasers is the way to do it.
Dream wrote:I DEMAND appropriate behaviour from the police, I demand it in return for the powers I delegate to them, like their monopoly on the use of violence within the state. If they are not going to use these powers safely and appropriately, I am going to take those powers away.
And officers do get suspended when misuse of a Taser is suspected or known, as in the case of the 70+-year-old at the traffic stop. In the case of Mr. Terminator, I don't know if they got suspended or not, but I personally think that they handled it the best way they could. There are already cconsequences of Taser misuse in society, or at least there are consequences when enough people think that the action was wrong.