Shock Treatment: Tasers and the Terror War Coming Home

A Nation on the Edge of the Final Descent (I): Glimpses of the Horrors to Come

Arthur Silber speaks, and you should listen. Go there now, read the whole thing. And while you're there, drop a coin in the plate to keep this unique and vital voice sounding in our growing night.

Below is a brief excerpt, but don't deny yourself the power and insight and context of the whole piece (and the many links Arthur provides).

[From a 2005 news report]: Since June 2001, more than 70 people have died in police custody in the US and Canada after being struck with Tasers, with the number of reported cases rising each year, according to a November 2004 report by Amnesty International, a worldwide human rights organization...

It is those questionable uses of the weapon that undermine the company’s claim that Tasers decreased use of force. Some law enforcement agencies say that with the introduction of Tasers, the use of guns by officers has gone down, and while Amnesty agrees that an electric shock is often more preferable than a bullet, the group’s analysis finds that because they are perceived as "non-lethal," police often use Tasers when there is no need for any use of force at all...

A study by the Denver Post in May 2004 found that the Denver Police Department commonly used Tasers to gain compliance, not to avoid other forms of violence. The Post additionally found that officers sometimes even shocked handcuffed suspects with the painful device.

In brief: tasers can kill people, or cause very serious injury; tasers are "commonly gain compliance" -- from people who are usually unarmed and who pose no serious threat whatsoever; and tasers are frequently used on suspects who have already been subdued and immobilized.

See the connection, and the similarity: the United States launches criminal wars of aggression against nations which constitute no serious threat to it, and which are known to constitute no serious threat -- for the sole purpose of gaining compliance, that is, of installing governments in other countries that will act in accordance with our demands. This has long been the purpose of our interventionist foreign policy: to ensure that other countries act in accordance with our orders, even when genuine issues of national defense are altogether absent. America is God. God's Will be done. Even after the catastrophe of Iraq, leaders of both political parties threaten war against Iran, another nation that does not threaten us, because Iran dares to thwart our will.

Is it any wonder then that, within our own borders, law enforcement will use potentially lethal weapons in the absence of any serious threat -- simply to gain compliance? When the state decides that your behavior matters, you will obey. Yes, you may engage in debate -- within the parameters established by the state. Yes, you may ask questions -- if the state approves them. If you dare to step outside the boundaries set by the state, you will be brought into line, by force as required -- and by possibly lethal force. The United States government murders a million innocent people who never threatened it; of what significance is the life of a single student, especially since he's a "troublemaker" anyway?