Poll: Are tasers tools or weapons?

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I response to this thread http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.351325-Cop-Tasers-Fleeing-Handcuffed-Girl-Head-injuries-put-her-in-vegetative-state

It's gone on quite awhile, and got lots of debate. To me, it seems like a lot of it is due to a difference of opinion as to the correct use of a taser.

In my view, a taser is a weapon, to be used only as a last resort. There's more wiggle room with a taser than a firearm, but it should not be used unless the suspect poses some kind of threat.

On the other hand, many people seem to view tasers as tools of compliance. If the police don't like what you are doing, they can use a taser to stop you doing it.

By extension, I guess, other less than lethal weapons, though they'd tend to vary.

I was wondering what the forum goers thought about this, whether it's a last resort or helpful tool. Yes, you can argue a weapon is a form of tool, but you know what I mean.

Cap: very abiolic

EDIT: Looks like that was poorly worded, I'll rephrase.

Is a taser something that should be used solely when suspects are threatening someone, or is it something that can be used when suspects are merely unco-operative?

I fail to see the difference between "weapon" and "tool of compliance". So, I'd say that the distinction is just pointless semantics.

What I feel is more relevant is that the taser designed to be less-than-lethal, as opposed to a bullet which is designed to to be lethal.

Lethal forces are for when the suspect is posing an immediate threat to others.
Less-than-lethal forces are for when the suspect isn't an immediate threat.

It's both.

A gun is also both.

The real issue is how each is used. Debating classifications is useless.

Same thing really. Anything can be a weapon in the right hands. "There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, only dangerous men."-Zim from Starship Troopers.

Weapons are tools. Just like tools can be weapons. As someone involved with law enforcement, tasers are not "last resort". They aren't your first resort either. Your last resort is always your sidearm, the taser is intermediary. I'm not even gonna try to describe when you should use it because there's 999999 million different circumstances when you could or couldn't.

imo a taser is a weapon as it has no other uses at all (unless you can use it to heat your drinks.. then i guess it'd be a tool...can you?)

farscythe:
imo a taser is a weapon as it has no other uses at all (unless you can use it to heat your drinks.. then i guess it'd be a tool...can you?)

i don't know..... but that would be awesome! unless it shorts out in liquid. then it wouldn't be awesome.

The taser is a weapon, but it is supposed to be able to incapacitate someone without killing or causing permanent or severe damage. That is how it is used by the police force, as opposed to a gun, which is classified as a deadly weapon and only ever used when the only option left is deadly force.

The problem comes from the unreliability of knowing how people will react to tasers, some will not even feel it, some may be able to walk it off:

It will stop most people, but then sometimes situations like the one in the news article arise, were the mitigating circumstances that the taser was used in lead to bigger problems (the brain damage was not caused by the taser shot, but the impact when the girl's head hit the tarmac.)

It is a less than lethal weapon, but it still needs to be used very carefully and there are certain circumstances where it's use is just not safe.

It's a weapon. It's use to harm or incapacitate someone.
Unless its being used as a makeshift hammer, in which case it's a tool.
And you're using the hammer to harm someone, then it's a weapon - ARGH!

deadpoolhulk:

farscythe:
imo a taser is a weapon as it has no other uses at all (unless you can use it to heat your drinks.. then i guess it'd be a tool...can you?)

i don't know..... but that would be awesome! unless it shorts out in liquid. then it wouldn't be awesome.

right... clearly this calls for science.. now..where would i find a taser in england...(i should be able to find a cold coffee round here)(or i could settle for some already warm beer...but this might interfere with possible results)(on the other hand...in the event of catastrophic failure ill atleast have a warm beer to soothe my electrocuted nerves...hmmm..}

Crenelate:
It's a weapon. It's use to harm or incapacitate someone.
Unless its being used as a makeshift hammer, in which case it's a tool.
And you're using the hammer to harm someone, then it's a weapon - ARGH!

But if you use MC Hammer to harm someone, is he still a tool?

image

MC Hammer will always be a tool.

Also, you could make the case that different levels of tasers have different effects. For instance, police use a very high output taser for maximum stoppage, especially against drugged up people.

Self defense tasers, as sold to civilians, will incapacitate, and often to damage, but are often less powerful than police versions.

I feel tasers are a waste of taxpayer money. On average, the zappers(tm) that the NYPD use require reload capsules, which are $250 dollars per set, and come in sets of 4. A box of .40S&W hollowpoint is about $50, and come 50 to a box. I would prefer a dead criminal to one who goes to jail, and, at least where I live, has access to Widescreen communal TVs, PS3s, a workout facility, a cafeteria, and a basketball court. All paid for by me.

Bradeck:
I would prefer a dead criminal to one who goes to jail

Ah, the rich kid, living comfortable in a gated community in the millionaire's villa of his parents, without ever having seen anything in all his life, ventures out onto the internet to enlighten us with his moral views.

Both, really. Weapons can be tools, and tools can be weapons. A taser is most definitely a weapon, as it is used to harm someone so they stop whatever they are doing. The thing is, it is meant to be a non-lethal weapon, so it isn't as bad as a gun. The gun is the last resort because it kills people and ends the problem permanently.

All handheld weapons are tools. I dont see the point of this thread.

Maybe "In what circumstance should a taser be used" would have been a better title.

Having said that myself, it's now hilarious when used against me.

I am in fact a 30 conservative living in upper Maine, who happens to have been a jail guard for two years. I'm not saying I'm the side of right, far from it. I honestly have no qualms about death, because people can sit on their high horse, and bemoan the tragedy of the woman who fell and got brain damage due to tasers, and start umpteen threads about the horrible fascistic cops, and their brutal ways, but I have yet to see, and will likely never see, one single thread about the people who are dismembered every day in any one of the 6 tribal wars currently ongoing in Africa, or how the Kurds are still hunted and murdered by the Iraqi Army, or the atrocities of the Balkans, or anything else.

You claim I'm the out of touch one? Who's the one on the internet forums for video games decrying first world problems because a drugged up bitch ran from the cops and got messed up? Keep on crying about the injustice of this world, and how brutal the police are. The 4 year old in Sudan with no arms or legs would love to change places with you.

Bradeck:
Having said that myself, it's now hilarious when used against me.

I am in fact a 30 conservative living in upper Maine, who happens to have been a jail guard for two years. I'm not saying I'm the side of right, far from it. I honestly have no qualms about death, because people can sit on their high horse, and bemoan the tragedy of the woman who fell and got brain damage due to tasers, and start umpteen threads about the horrible fascistic cops, and their brutal ways, but I have yet to see, and will likely never see, one single thread about the people who are dismembered every day in any one of the 6 tribal wars currently ongoing in Africa, or how the Kurds are still hunted and murdered by the Iraqi Army, or the atrocities of the Balkans, or anything else.

You claim I'm the out of touch one? Who's the one on the internet forums for video games decrying first world problems because a drugged up bitch ran from the cops and got messed up? Keep on crying about the injustice of this world, and how brutal the police are. The 4 year old in Sudan with no arms or legs would love to change places with you.

You are the one saying that it's better to kill someone than send someone to prison. Just because you know there are wars in the world doesn't make that statement any better. A drunk person gets angry and punches someone. Clearly the solution is to shoot him on the spot rather than use a taser to immobilize him. You are out of touch with reality if you prefer lethal over non lethal. You can give me a list containing all the names of all the people killed in January and you're still out of touch.

glass bottle: container of liquid or bar brawl menace?

OK joking aside of course it's a weapon, but I'd rather be tasered than shot with a gun or beaten with billy clubs.

Bradeck:
I am in fact a 30 conservative living in upper Maine, who happens to have been a jail guard for two years.

So a few months of sitting in an office while watching people sit locked in a room or eat has lead you to the belief that all of them should be murdered and this would be a good thing?

I bet you haven't even talked with a single one of them, about themselves, for over half an hour.

They are weapons, but they aren't treated with the same respect as firearms.

Bradeck:
Having said that myself, it's now hilarious when used against me.

I am in fact a 30 conservative living in upper Maine, who happens to have been a jail guard for two years. I'm not saying I'm the side of right, far from it. I honestly have no qualms about death, because people can sit on their high horse, and bemoan the tragedy of the woman who fell and got brain damage due to tasers, and start umpteen threads about the horrible fascistic cops, and their brutal ways, but I have yet to see, and will likely never see, one single thread about the people who are dismembered every day in any one of the 6 tribal wars currently ongoing in Africa, or how the Kurds are still hunted and murdered by the Iraqi Army, or the atrocities of the Balkans, or anything else.

You claim I'm the out of touch one? Who's the one on the internet forums for video games decrying first world problems because a drugged up bitch ran from the cops and got messed up? Keep on crying about the injustice of this world, and how brutal the police are. The 4 year old in Sudan with no arms or legs would love to change places with you.

So you're well aware that America, with its softie liberal "not-shooting-suspects-on-the-spot"-policy, is a much, much, safer place than all those other localities where justice is dispensed either on-site with an AK/machete or with a baton in an overcrowded torture dungeon, yet you advocate following their example?

A weapon is a tool, and a tool can be a weapon. So..Yeah..

:P As pretty much everyone else has pointed out, weapons are tools (and in fact most tools can be used as weapons). I think the distinction you're trying to make actually lies in intended use. Specifically, a "weapon" is something designed specifically to do harm and potentially kill, a "tool" being something designed to - in the case of a tazer - simply subdue the suspect.

It all lies in the intent, as I pointed out in the thread the OP linked. Some guy was going through the first 3 pages saying "THE COP MURDERED HER! DOES RUNNING AWAY GIVE YOU EXCUSE TO MURDERED someone?! OF COURSE SHE IS GOING TO RUN WHEN FACED WITH GETTING PUT INTO AN AMERICAN PRISON JUST FOR DRUG POSSESSION AND A COUPLE LITTLE TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS (hit and run, actually, but this guy didn't like paying attention to facts) BUT THAT DOESN'T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO MURDERED HER!!!"

However to my knowledge, my breakdown of the situation in the following quote did well to silence his rantings about the cop MURDERING her.

RJ 17:

Blablahb:
Snip

Alright my friend, I have to speak up now. It's quite obvious that you have something against police authority. I don't care what you did or how the cops cheated you, but the entire base for your argument is wrong.

You keep saying "So she ran away, is that excuse to MURDER her?!" Of course it's no excuse to murder her...but the problem is he didn't murder her. Tazers are not lethal force, there was no intent to kill her. As numerous people have pointed out but you apparently choose to keep ignoring: he didn't pull out his gun and shoot her in the back. That's lethal force. That would have been a murder. Tazers are non-lethal force. Their intended use does not facilitate an intent to kill the suspect, only bring them to the ground. The injuries that girl sustained in her fall were an accident, not murder. She's not the first person that's ever been tazered while on the pavement, but she is one of the few that have suffered major injuries from being tazered.

The way you talk, you make it seem like the cop was grinning gleefully while laughing maniacally and looking for the way he could hurt her the most.

You said it yourself: it's all part of the game. Criminals commit crimes and try to evade arrest, cops try to prevent crimes and arrest the criminals. Each player in the game has certain tools at their disposal, a tazer being one of the cops' tools. If you get tazed, it's because you're resisting arrest...which is exactly what she was doing. Now if you're dumb enough to commit a series of crimes and then try to run from the cops, you've no one to blame but yourself for any injuries you sustain.

It's simple Cause and Effect:
Cause: You get taken in on drug charges and hit-and-run charges, decide your best option is to run away.
Effect: The police will chase you and use necessary force (i.e. a non-lethal tazer) to subdue and catch you.

You don't need to be waving a knife around or trying to beat the crap out of a cop for them to be justified in using a tazer. Any form of resiting arrest is justification for using a tazer. There is no way the cop could have known what was going to happen to her. To put it in your words: "that's just part of the game."

Suppose she was a drug runner flying down the highway in a high-speed pursuit. A cop up ahead deploys the spike strips and blows out her tires. This causes her to wipe out and go flying through the windshield to splatter on the pavement because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Guess who's fault that is: not the cop that deployed the spike strips, the criminal's for being a moron and running from the cops. I'm not saying all criminals will just give up and accept arrest, but they most certainly should. As this and many other videos will point out: when you run from the cops it never ends well.

That analogy makes a lot more sense than your disgruntled mall cop story...why? Because in the case of the mall cop you have the authority figure just snapping on someone who's essentially just standing there and beating the crap out of them. A more appropriate analogy would be if the suspect had grabbed a couple handfuls of crap and ran out of the store with them, prompting an overweight mall cop to chase after the suspect. The mall cop would likely use his tazer to stop the suspect. And guess what? That suspect has a chance of injuring himself on the fall as well. It's not the mall cop's fault if the guy gets hurt in the fall, the cop was just doing his job in preventing a shoplifter from escaping. By your logic, the second a suspect proves they can outrun a cop, the cop should do nothing but throw their hat on the ground and say "Awww shucks, I'll get you next time you rascal!"

Sure, it sucks that happened to the girl, but the cop didn't MURDER her. There were any number of different ways that she could have fallen, it just so happened she fell in one of the bad ones.

The person in question never responded to my comments, so I can only assume that he read them, had a change of heart, and slinked away quietly from the thread...

Wait...sorry, for a second there I forgot this is the internet and such a thing occuring is nigh impossible!

:P Anyways, the above quote is my thoughts on the matter, so now I'll leave you with a song that I think fits the subject rather nicely.

thaluikhain:
In my view, a taser is a weapon, to be used only as a last resort.

All weapons are tools, and all tools can be used as weapons. This is nothing but semantics.

The real question is, "When is it ok to tase a person?" You will never find a "good" or "right" answer to this because everyone has a different opinion. People's beliefs rage from tasers should not be used at all to tasers should be the only thing used.

I believe that this chick got what she got. She chose to run from the cop when she was already detained and handcuffed. The lesion to be learned here is don't run from the cops or they will tase your ass.

Ow, and obligatory.....

image

image

Joking aside... I think it depends on the object in question.

Picture the crowbar, it's a tool that can be used as a weapon (SKULL CRACKER :3)... since the taser has no use other than incapacitating people, it is therefore not a tool, me thinks, it is an Alien a weapon.

Is this even a debate? Of course it's a weapon. Weapons are designed with one purpose in mind: To either kill, or otherwise incapacitate other people.

But this is the entire problem with tasers, people think "oh, it's not lethal so let's just whip it out at every opportunity, derpy derp".

Firstly, it isn't 'non lethal', it's 'less than lethal'. There is a HUGE difference.
Second, tasers have commonly been known to kill people, or cause severe lifelong damage.

I've seen cops tase kids, old ladies, even animals. Why do they do it? Because they think it's a goddamn toy and that the fact it doesn't kill outright is a license to go at anything that moves. And people trust guys like this with a gun?? That's America for you.

I'd say both, though its kinda hard to decide. It's considered as the same level of force as mace/pepper spray, so technically it would be more like a compliance tool, and a taser doesn't leave any permanent damage other than the two marks where the barbs hit, sooo... yeah kinda hard to tell. Kinda depends on what your definition of a weapon is.

And I still think the girl got what she deserved. You don't run from a cop, period. Who knows, she could of suffered the same injuries if he ran and tackled her. She would end up on the ground either way

I'm having a hard time thinking of any tool that can't be used as a weapon...

All weapon are tools but not all tools are weapons ( though all of them can be used as weapons!)

If you think differently you probably shouldn't be trying to classifying things.

A tool can be used as a weapon yes, but it is still a tool because it was designed for a purpose other than beating someone's head in. A weapon on the other hand, is a device designed to kill, injure or threaten a person, and has no other reasonable practical application. That's how I see it anyway. I have to say, people claiming that a gun is a tool just as a hammer or crowbar is, strike me as being tools themselves.

It's specifically designed for attack, so I'd call it a weapon.

However, the fact that it's considered non-lethal makes abusing the device quite easy to set into the minds of police officers. Because afterall, it's non-lethal and it makes the job easier. Eventhough the taser can cause great harm depending on the person.

I'm not agianst tasers or cops having tasers, but there need to be some stricter guidelines on its usage.

Hopefully some military eggheads are working on a 100% non-lethal, non-harmful projectile weapon, so we'll never have cases such as that girl's.

Blablahb:

Bradeck:
I would prefer a dead criminal to one who goes to jail

Ah, the rich kid, living comfortable in a gated community in the millionaire's villa of his parents, without ever having seen anything in all his life, ventures out onto the internet to enlighten us with his moral views.

Iam so glad ridiculous people like this dont get listened to. I view a weapon as a tool only realistically designed to harm in some way with no other realistic purpose or the main purpose being harm. I cant see any other use for a tazer other than tazering realistically so i view it as a weapon. Tools have uses outside of dealing harm and so are different but its difficult to define a weapon without using the term tool. They should only be a last resort due to being a dangerous, risky method of subduing someone and are not in any way acceptable as an ordinary part of a normal officers equipment.

Casual Shinji:
It's specifically designed for attack, so I'd call it a weapon.

However, the fact that it's considered non-lethal makes abusing the device quite easy to set into the minds of police officers. Because afterall, it's non-lethal and it makes the job easier. Eventhough the taser can cause great harm depending on the person.

I'm not agianst tasers or cops having tasers, but there need to be some stricter guidelines on its usage.

Hopefully some military eggheads are working on a 100% non-lethal, non-harmful projectile weapon, so we'll never have cases such as that girl's.

I think that would be impossible considering firing something at someone with it being powerful enough to hinder them is going to be in some cases at least harmful. I mean aside from causing people to stick in place somehow without the harm being done on initial impact i cant think of anything considering there are problems immobility in itself can cause people. And i dont really think governments are that interested in not harming people they are simply interested in making the police look less dangerous when infact they have armed them with highly dnagerous weapons and given them little training or respect to show restraint in their use.

madwarper:
I fail to see the difference between "weapon" and "tool of compliance". So, I'd say that the distinction is just pointless semantics.

What I feel is more relevant is that the taser designed to be less-than-lethal, as opposed to a bullet which is designed to to be lethal.

Lethal forces are for when the suspect is posing an immediate threat to others.
Less-than-lethal forces are for when the suspect isn't an immediate threat.

I clicked this thread with the intent to point out that there really isn't any such thing as a weapon. You can use a sword to cut a tree down or you could kill someone with a pen. The only thing that makes it a weapon is the person's intent to harm with it. So, yay for loving semantic argument.

I agree for the most part. A taser should be used as a tool of compliance.

It's completely-non-lethal(with one exception of use that I will get into later) and police officers are in a lot more danger than people realize. The average police engagement occurs at about 7 meters, or just over 21 feet. It takes the average person more time to draw and sight a hand-gun than it takes most people to run that distance from a standing start. This means that police officers are in danger of losing their lives to people not only with guns, but even with knives. I am all for them using any non-lethal means to reduce that risk.

Further, if you resist the police, even by running, you deserve whatever you get. You are choosing to take the risk, and you deserve what you get. Don't break the law, and don't run from the cops.

However, tasers can be very dangerous if used incorrectly. There have been several documented cases of people dying from being tased repeatedly in a short period of time. I personally think there should be a limit on how many times a suspect can be tased, somewhere between 3 times and 5. That would eliminate almost all of taser related deaths.

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