The taser is supposedly a "non-lethal"
weapon. It was adapted from a torture device banned by the Geneva Convention
and is now used by police forces all over the world. It works by projecting a
pair of darts connected to a high-power battery. The darts deliver a
debilitating electric shock that causes temporary paralysis and
unconsciousness. Since its introduction in the early 2000's, over a hundred
people have died as a direct result of being attacked with this weapon. The
latest was Dalian Atkinson, a forty-eight year old former footballer. He had
been a fit man, having played for Aston Villa during the 1990's. Sadly he
recently developed kidney problems and had been undergoing dialysis. This had
made him very depressed and unstable. The police were called at 1.30 AM Monday morning to a disturbance at Atkinson's
father's house in Telford, Shropshire. They shot Atkinson with a taser and his heart stopped.
This is not an uncommon cause of death among taser victims. Also survivors of
taser attacks often suffer permanent nerve damage causing pain, convulsions,
paralysis and loss of bodily control. People who live through a lightning
strike often are left with the same symptoms. Taser shots can also damage the
brain, causing confusion and memory loss. Dalian Atkinson was pronounced dead
an hour and a half after being tasered, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37082207.
I don't know what the coroner's report will be for this incident; but whatever
the circumstances, the use of this weapon as a suitable method of law
enforcement will not be questioned. You might say: "Well maybe Atkinson
was really violent towards the police or another person!" So, what's wrong
with the good old truncheon and restraining techniques? They worked before, why
not now? I've heard of tasers being used on people who are not even violent.
Somebody is a wheelchair was once tasered. Is this legitimate policing?
Ironically the trial has just ended of the murder of Sadie Hartley, a woman who
was stabbed dozens of times after her assailant, Sarah Williams, stunned her
with a cattle prod, a very similar weapon to a taser, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-37105035. RIP Dalian Atkinson. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans at Aston Villa.