I wish we could all put this to rest, already. TASERs work. The Thomas A. Swift Electronic Rifle (named by the inventor, who was a fan of the children’s books) sends electricity through the body and incapacitates the recipient. In doing so, it saves lives — cops’ lives and suspects’ lives. Period.
However as a Canadian officer correctly points out, the alternative is often the use of a firearm — deadly force to be sure. Taser’s own website (admittedly a for-profit company) indicates numbers that are so drastically in favor of TASER deployment, that argument is difficult.
If you don’t trust the company that makes them, how about the departments that use them. In almost all major police departments, the TASER is considered “intermediate” force. That means it can be used when someone is fighting, charging, threatening to injure or kill, or displaying a non-deadly weapon at the police. With the TASER, that individual is immediately and effectively incapacitated. I was “TASERED” in the police academy. It hurt. But one minute later I was fine. The same could not be said of a steel baton to the knee (guaranteed lifetime injury), a bite by a police dog (arrgh), or a gunshot (duh!).
Watch the video here, and ask yourself the single, key, and only question about TASERS: Would I rather get hit with this, or one of the alternatives. The dog in the background of this video is ready to take care of business. I think the suspect himself explains the benefits of the TASER better than I ever could. That should settle the argument.
Sometimes police work is ugly. That is the suspects’ fault, not the cops’. Remember my favorite quote:
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”