Thursday, November 16, 2006

Slipped Down the Slope, Or Regular Abuse of Power?

By Cassandra D

UCLA campus police Tasered a student for not leaving the library fast enough when he didn't have his proper ID. Then they Tasered him again when he wouldn't stand up. The Daily Bruin has more disturbing details:

"As the student and the officers were struggling, bystanders repeatedly asked the police officers to stop, and at one point officers told the gathered crowd to stand back and threatened to use a Taser on anyone who got too close.

"Laila Gordy, a fourth-year economics student who was present in the library during the incident, said police officers threatened to shoot her with a Taser when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number."

I thought that in this nation, Tasers were used to protect people from violence, not as torture devices to get people to do what the police want.

Tasers cause muscles to spasm, which makes the person fall to the ground and renders physical violence impossible. Tasers also happen to cause severe pain. In this case, the Taser was used specifically to cause pain.

So, are we now living in a society that yawns at torture, or is this just another example of run-of-the-mill abuse of power?

Are we, as a nation, still able to see that this incident was wrong?


At 10:45 AM, Blogger LiteraryTech said...

Let's see, I think you have three questions.

1. Yes, we are living in a society that yawns at torture inflicted on someone who can, in any way, be perceived as the "other."

2. This is another example of abuse of power, but we yawn at that too working on the assumption that it wouldn't happen to me.

3. No. We are probably capable as individuals to see this incident as wrong, but we are not capable as a nation.

Be thankful this Thursday that you are advantaged. Disadvantaged has more to it than simple poverty or hunger and is therefore not typical doublespeak. Disadvantaged puts you in the path of this sort of torture.

Happy Thanksgiving!

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on! I'm a moderate liberal and I certainly don't know enough about this situation to shout abuse. When police arrest folks, it's usually ugly. I'm not saying this was justified. But I am saying that it's impossible to judge from this scant amount of information. Tasers are often used to protect people. They're a deterrent (who would want a crowd of college students getting involved during a struggle with a suspect? The potential of serious injury skyrockets). And I'd much rather be taser-ed than billy-clubbed or shot. Also, on the link I read the suspect was shouting something about the Patriot Act. Bite me. People should know more about the law and how it's been applied pre- and post-Patriot before trying to blanket every perceived abuse with it. as I type this... I wonder what this young men was sending and receiving on his campus computer at the time. You?


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