While keeping an eye on stories about civil rights and the questionable line taken by the US Government and various Police forces in light of the ongoing state of invasiveness driven by paranoia, I tend to steer clear of commenting on them for fear of going off without full possession of the facts. However in this case I'm prepared to make an exception.

Yesterday I saw 2 YouTube videos featuring college students getting tasered on campus: This one at the Powell Library at UCLA, and then this one during a speech by John Kerry at University of Florida.

In the Kerry one the student is asking a question, and seems to have been set upon by police following taking longer than the allotted 1 minute to ask a question and making potentially controversial statements. As far as I could tell he wasn't presenting any kind of threat, and certainly didn't deserve to be administered a 1000kV electric shock.

The second one it turns out is from November 15th last year, where a student is being asked to leave the premises by police and obviously not being totally cooperative, on the grounds that he hasn't done anything wrong. According to the news story the reason police were brought in was because he failed to produce a student ID card during a random check. From my own university experiences of using other uni's computer rooms, were they to ask for an ID card and you didn't have one, you'd normally leg it out of there or explain to security that you'd only be a couple more minutes and then just get on with it, and the only circumstance I can imagine where you'd stand your ground would be if you had a student card and therefore were legitimately using the computer system. Again, without knowing more it's hard to say what actually happened, but in any case getting tasered is a disgusting overreaction. The second video disgusts me more, as you can clearly hear the police telling the man to stand up or else he'll get tasered again – this is just outright bully behaviour!

A story from September 6th 2007 tells of a chief constable being tasered in order to gain an appreciation for how the weapon felt. Along with descriptions of the pain component, he said “I was completely incapable of movement. I would have fallen if I hadn't been supported by my colleagues”. Doesn't sound like there was any way that student wasn't getting zapped repeatedly.

So we're now talking about a country where a parent's not allowed to smack their child as a reprimand, but it's OK for armed guards to administer electric shocks in a school because someone's talked for longer than their allotted time. One can only hope that they install this policy in Congress as well. It's just bullshit. I don't know how society stands for it, and what's more I've no idea what to do about it.

2007-09-18 : Why the hell are college students getting tasered on campus?!
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