Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't Tase Me, Man

OK, so this is the situation. In the same week that I waxed lyrical about the American Constitution and the enviable First Amendment, an over-enthusiastic student was bundled away and shot with a Taser gun by Florida campus police at a John Kerry yawn-athon .

Campus police in the US (where else do they even need Campus police??) seem to be big on Tasering people they think need a good Tasering. Last year an Iranian-American student was tasered at UCLA for the crime of "Failing to Produce ID at the Library while Asian".

Now, the guy in Florida was obviously being a smart-alec jerk - trying to get some publicity and generally indulging in activities designed to make his mum cry. None of these activities are crimes, and all of them are pretty standard for a student. There have been attempts by the authorities to push blame on the man, but the beauty of the 21st Century is that video from as many as five different camera angles is available on You Tube so that you can make your own mind up about where the blame might lie.

From viewing the films, I take the view that he was no danger to anyone - the Cops should have called for back-up if the four or so of them weren't competent to remove him. Then they should have charged him with resisting arrest.

That's assuming he was actually under arrest. As I understand it, the police have to read him his Miranda rights and actually tell him what he's being arrested for. I've seen the footage a few time and I can't hear any evidence of any of this going on. Assuming he were under arrest though, he should have gone with the police when instructed and then availed himself of the criminal justice system where his lawyer would no doubt have invoked his rights under the various Constitutional Amendments.

I've got to this point in the posting and I'm not clear what my point is. All I can say is that it's at least one of the following :-

(1) Me : I'm still in awe of the US Constitution, despite recent events. To blame the Constitution would be like saying that widespread Neighbour's Ass Coveting reflects badly on the Ten Commandments.

(2) Police : don't hurt people that are no danger to anyone where there are more civilised, if longer-winded, alternatives available.

(3) Police (supplemental) : spend more time at the gym - you outnumbered this guy at least four to one and you still couldn't get him out of the hall without zapping him.

(4) Mouthy student : keep asking the hard questions, but live within the law.

And with that, I'm going to get a sandwich.

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