Saturday, 17 November 2007

Taser! Taser! Taser!

Recently there have been a number of deaths due to Tasers up here in the currently not so frozen north. The most notorious was the recent death of a Polish man who was angry about being kept hanging around at Vancouver airport for something like nine hours.

Canadians, who have turned fair mindedness into something approaching a religion, turned out en masse at his funeral.

One Canadian I talked to expressed his sadness and opined that the airport staff had ‘dropped the ball’ at somewhere around six levels, and that had someone been awake enough to go and talk to the man when he had been observed in a secure area for more than an hour, the Polish travellers tantrum would have been avoided, the RCMP officers would not have to have used a Taser, and the Polish traveller in question would still be alive. However, 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing is it not?

Despite the principle of de mortuis nil nisi bonum, I have to say that the poor guy should really not have been out on his own. You have to be pretty solid between the ears to throw a paddy inside a major international airport terminal in today’s climate of fear, and throwing furniture around and breaking a place up, especially a place where there are armed guards, has to be about the worst idea on God’s earth. This may not qualify for a Darwin award, but it’s close.

As for Tasers, whatever happened to applying a Tsukkake? This is a wrist lock applied as a counter to a straight punch or knife thrust. Having done a little judo I know that this effective and immobilising armlock can be held with finger and thumb, and any assailant restrained with a firm foot on the shoulderblade face down (Works in real life, done it for real – don’t ask).

Having watched the video I find myself wondering why the Taser was used twice. The Polish guy wasn’t armed, and went down (Albeit twitching – see the video) at the first hit and there was an officer holding him down. So what was the point of delivering the second dose? Having an electric shock isn’t a pleasant experience, and in the first few seconds after getting hit by that much voltage, trussing the unfortunate should have been the proverbial piece of cake for the four officers in question.

I know no Police officer wants to get hurt, but I can probably name an expert in physical restraint who teaches such techniques. He’s an English bloke who does (or did up to 2005) this kind of training professionally and from this ageing Judoka’s perspective he’s very good. Just as an aside, if you do hire him on my say so, I charge 10% commission per referral. Only kidding.

1 comment:

Old Man said...

Many police officers do not appreciate that use of Taser is use of potentially lethal force.

I notice the RCMP spokesman in this case asking a (supposedly rhetorical) question "what is best: to use a baton on someone and break bones, or use a Taser?"

What a wally: one might as well ask what is best: break a few bones or kill someone.

Taser is potentially lethal force,
same as a firearm.

Not all firearm discharges kill, some do. Exactly the same for Taser.

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