Poll: Are tasers tools or weapons?

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Any weapon is a tool, it all depends on the user in how they decide to apply it. Less than lethal weapons are designed to take the fight out of someone, a firearm can be applied to disable or kill the target, Christ, if you really want to get technical you can use a ball point pen as a weapon, it all depends on the user, it really does.

Well since weapons are a type of tool no matter what way you look at the situation ultimately it is a tool.

well what other applications other than harming people can a taser do?

its a weapon of course, but doesnt mean its in line with mini guns and nukes.

Weapons are tools. The distinction is that weapons are a specific variety of tools. I personally like the tazer: it's an alternative to the firearm, so in, say, a hostage situation, you can knock the fucker out, rescue the hostage and probably put him in front of a judge for his crime. I think tazer training needs to be changed so that it's users don't regard "non-lethal" as "can be used indiscriminately at any whim so enforce one's will without causing any long term harm". It needs to be used with a degree of care, but for those situations where a dangerous individual needs to be subdued now but, like a normal human being, you don't want to kill him unless you have to other choice, it's a fine tool of law enforcement.

a weapon is a tool by design.

Using electricity, the taser is designed to be used by humans to subdue other humans. By applying the tool to solve a problem, the taser effectively becomes a weapon.

A weapon may not be obvious. Example: fine-masked netting can be a weapon in the war against malaria.

Reading the comments, I am sure many confuse the meaning of the two words. Using the word tool to correctly describe something like a firearm, may strike some as an attempt to trivialize the harm such technology can inflict. But, in linguistic terms, a weapon is a tool.

I like the word Firearm better because it is more precise. Using that as a model, we can call a taser what it is - an electrical firearm.

thaluikhain:

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.

Which is what they've become to the police. That was not their intent, but it is the outcome.

However, a less than lethal weapon is still a weapon. You could argue some sort of weapon/tool duality (Which isn't quite the same as the technicality that all weaponsa re tools), but it is a weapon.

I carried an expanding baton for years, and while my intent was solely to subdue, it was still a weapon, less than lethal or not. Hell, mine even had a safety tip to further reduce the risk of any permanent injury.

Like a Taser, it could still kill.

Tasers are often used unnecessarily as a first resort, and whether used as a tool or a weapon, it's still misuse or abuse.

RJ 17:
: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.

I was extremely pleased to see your post here.

He was on another thread about a month ago screaming about how a woman who had barricaded herself in her bedroom, called the police, and waited for them while a man (armed with a knife) spent 20 minutes trying to break down her door to get to her. He screamed, "MURDER!" at the top of his lungs when this woman shot her attacker when he charged at her with his knife.

Apparently he thinks the lives of criminals are above those of uphold the law. This wouldn't be the first time he has taken the side of the, "Poor criminal," rather than that of lew enforcement or an innocent bystander.

It's a little backwards isn't it?

It's a weapon.
It is a tool for use against humans to damage or incapacitate them. That's a weapon.

This is all semantics.

Though the intent behind the question is clearly about the amount of respect a tazer requires when being used.

It is essentially a question about whether it should be treated more like a gun, or if it's OK to use it with less care.

Now, the semantic argument is more straight-forward really.

Handcuffs are considered a weapon. (Legally defined as a class-B weapon, though I'm not actually sure what that means as such.)

And if something with such a specific and limited use as a pair of handcuffs is considered a weapon, it should be obvious that a tazer is a weapon.

Umm well as a police officer and brother of 3 more police officer in different parts of the USA.

We are all trained that it is a weapon. It's called a LTL. Which stands for Less than Lethal. However, anything used incorrectly can become lethal. In this case the police officers did not follow any possible policy. Every dept. usually has rules of "DON'T HURT PEOPLE IN RESTRAINTS." So hopefully those guys' ass is on the line.

Someone who I consider a very smart man told me this once, "There is no such thing as a weapon, for a weapon is simply a tool used to harm another."

Simply put, the taser is a tool, a tool meant for harming others while (usually) not being lethal. In fact, thats the main point of less-than-lethal weapons, to inflict less-than-lethal harm on someone. The fact that the situation resulted in the girl bashing her head against the pavement when tased is bad luck for the girl, but it could just have easily have happened the same way, only the girl didnt bash her head into the pavement.

Actually, I think if the girl would have not brained herself, most people would instead be mocking the girl for trying to run form the cop, and getting "pwned" by the taser.

spartan231490:

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.

Granted most things can be used as a weapon, heck you could kill someone with a pot grinder if you shoved it down their throat but that doesn't make it a weapon by default, (it is now something I'd like to see happen in a movie now though) a gun on the other hand is a weapon and can be nothing else (well maybe a hammer but that's not very good for it). I mean I could think of ways to kill people with most things in my room barring like...softback books and paper.

A weapon is something designed to kill or harm, ala a sword or a gun, you could attempt to cut down a tree with a sword, but it'd probs be quicker just to make a saw in the time it would take. A guns only purpose is to harm whether that be animal or human, that's its one function, the same is true for a missile, a crossbow, or a spear. To say there is no such thing as a weapon is to overlook a large section of technology humans have used and developed over thousands of years.

I would say tool. Most tools are deadly if used in a specific way. Hell you can probably kill someone a hell of a lot quicker and easier with a claw hammer or crow bar than you can with a taser. To borrow a quote from the movie Shane that spoke about guns. A gun (or taser) is a tool. It's no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun (or taser) is as good or as bad as the man using it.

Bradeck:
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.

Who decides that the person is guilty of a crime in the first place? They could be wrongfully accused or most likely the police are incompetent. Dispensing justice isn't the role of law enforcement, the courts do that.

tsb247:
I was extremely pleased to see your post here.

He was on another thread about a month ago screaming about how a woman who had barricaded herself in her bedroom, called the police, and waited for them while a man (armed with a knife) spent 20 minutes trying to break down her door to get to her. He screamed, "MURDER!" at the top of his lungs when this woman shot her attacker when he charged at her with his knife.

Apparently he thinks the lives of criminals are above those of uphold the law. This wouldn't be the first time he has taken the side of the, "Poor criminal," rather than that of lew enforcement or an innocent bystander.

It's a little backwards isn't it?

My thoughts exactly. I was reading through the responses of that thread and couldn't help but feel that he was desperately taking the side of the criminal. That's why I opened my post by stating the obvious: the reason that guy is so defensive and swearing that the cop murdered her in cold blood is most likely because he, himself, had a run-in or two with the cops and felt that he got cheated. By his logic, he probably commited some sort of crime and ran away, only to get caught and get pissed off about the fact that they didn't give up chasing him.

J Tyran:

Bradeck:
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.

Who decides that the person is guilty of a crime in the first place? They could be wrongfully accused or most likely the police are incompetent. Dispensing justice isn't the role of law enforcement, the courts do that.

I'm not trying to interpret guilt. I leave that to the police. Like or hate them, I don't care. Support them or oppose them, again don't care. But to say that we should all pay more to treat them with kids gloves is wrong in my opinion. They broke the law, whatever that law may be, they made the conscious decision to break it. Why do we still have to read the Miranda rights to law breakers upon arrest? Why do 5 time DUI repeat offenders get released on good behavior? Why did Haley Barbour pardon murderers and rapists? I think we have become far too soft on the issue of crime, and far too involved in the ideal that everyone can be reformed. Again, my opinion, not stating as fact.

Bradeck:

J Tyran:

Bradeck:
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.

Who decides that the person is guilty of a crime in the first place? They could be wrongfully accused or most likely the police are incompetent. Dispensing justice isn't the role of law enforcement, the courts do that.

I'm not trying to interpret guilt. I leave that to the police. Like or hate them, I don't care. Support them or oppose them, again don't care. But to say that we should all pay more to treat them with kids gloves is wrong in my opinion. They broke the law, whatever that law may be, they made the conscious decision to break it. Why do we still have to read the Miranda rights to law breakers upon arrest? Why do 5 time DUI repeat offenders get released on good behavior? Why did Haley Barbour pardon murderers and rapists? I think we have become far too soft on the issue of crime, and far too involved in the ideal that everyone can be reformed. Again, my opinion, not stating as fact.

Cool maybe we should change the uniforms and make the police wear brown shirts with armbands, let them grab anyone off the streets they think is a criminal to.

Heck forget grabbing people let them dispense whatever justice they feel is necessary. Your opinions would lead down a very dark path, sure the way things work are far from ideal but its far better than the alternatives.

elvor0:

spartan231490:

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.

Granted most things can be used as a weapon, heck you could kill someone with a pot grinder if you shoved it down their throat but that doesn't make it a weapon by default, (it is now something I'd like to see happen in a movie now though) a gun on the other hand is a weapon and can be nothing else (well maybe a hammer but that's not very good for it). I mean I could think of ways to kill people with most things in my room barring like...softback books and paper.

A weapon is something designed to kill or harm, ala a sword or a gun, you could attempt to cut down a tree with a sword, but it'd probs be quicker just to make a saw in the time it would take. A guns only purpose is to harm whether that be animal or human, that's its one function, the same is true for a missile, a crossbow, or a spear. To say there is no such thing as a weapon is to overlook a large section of technology humans have used and developed over thousands of years.

Not true. You can use a sword to trim a branch, or start a fire. You can use it for anything that you can use a knife for. And you can use a gun for fun, as a hobby, without harming anything, same with a crossbow. You can use a spear as a walking stick. You can use a missile as a deterrent. "Weapon" is a term with practically no meaning. The intent is the weapon, not the object that you used to achieve it.

Weapons ARE tools so our premise is off.

Ignoring that, tazars are "less lethal" weapons. That means they should be deployed with care, but more freely than a sidearm.

J Tyran:

Cool maybe we should change the uniforms and make the police wear brown shirts with armbands, let them grab anyone off the streets they think is a criminal to.

Congrats you just rendered anything of value you might have had to say as invalid.

If you think arresting people who the police think are criminals based on probable cause is the same thing as what the Brown Shirts did you need to read some history.

Kendarik:

J Tyran:

Cool maybe we should change the uniforms and make the police wear brown shirts with armbands, let them grab anyone off the streets they think is a criminal to.

Congrats you just rendered anything of value you might have had to say as invalid.

If you think arresting people who the police think are criminals based on probable cause is the same thing as what the Brown Shirts did you need to read some history.

Having unrestrained police able to do whatever they want is no different, your original comment was that they police should be able to shoot criminals because a dead criminal in your opinion is the best criminal.

Except that the police don't decide whose a criminal, they investigate suspects and bring them before courts. Probable cause just gives police the right to trigger an investigation, its not there to decide whether the suspect lives or dies.

Anyway you want something of value? How about the fact that harsh law enforcement and harsh justice systems do not even work in most cases? How about the fact that it increases the cost to the state when the penal system is in a constant state of crisis because the criminals are unmanageable, but no matter how tough they get the worse the inmates behave.

There are other reasons apart from the dangers of a police state. Getting "tough on crime" doesn't work, its as simple as that.

RJ 17:

tsb247:
I was extremely pleased to see your post here.

He was on another thread about a month ago screaming about how a woman who had barricaded herself in her bedroom, called the police, and waited for them while a man (armed with a knife) spent 20 minutes trying to break down her door to get to her. He screamed, "MURDER!" at the top of his lungs when this woman shot her attacker when he charged at her with his knife.

Apparently he thinks the lives of criminals are above those of uphold the law. This wouldn't be the first time he has taken the side of the, "Poor criminal," rather than that of lew enforcement or an innocent bystander.

It's a little backwards isn't it?

My thoughts exactly. I was reading through the responses of that thread and couldn't help but feel that he was desperately taking the side of the criminal. That's why I opened my post by stating the obvious: the reason that guy is so defensive and swearing that the cop murdered her in cold blood is most likely because he, himself, had a run-in or two with the cops and felt that he got cheated. By his logic, he probably commited some sort of crime and ran away, only to get caught and get pissed off about the fact that they didn't give up chasing him.

For more insanity, see post 183 on this thread:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.337444-Oklahoma-mom-shoots-and-kills-intruder?page=6

Feel free to read on as well. It's quite ridiculous the points he attempts to make. To get a full sense of the ridiculousness of it all, you may want to read the article that is being discussed. He essentially states:

"Someone with a knife broke into a woman's home. He posed no threat to her life despite the fact that he spent 20 minutes breaking into the room where she was barricaded, and the home owner (a single, recently widowed woman with an infant in the room) had no cause to shoot the intruder when he attacked her after he broke down the door."

It's good for a laugh.

J Tyran:

Kendarik:

J Tyran:

Cool maybe we should change the uniforms and make the police wear brown shirts with armbands, let them grab anyone off the streets they think is a criminal to.

Congrats you just rendered anything of value you might have had to say as invalid.

If you think arresting people who the police think are criminals based on probable cause is the same thing as what the Brown Shirts did you need to read some history.

Having unrestrained police able to do whatever they want is no different, your original comment was that they police should be able to shoot criminals because a dead criminal in your opinion is the best criminal.

I said no such thing.

ALL weapons, by definition, are just tools... there is absolutely no real difference between a hammer, a taser and an assault rifle except that as a tool they are used to accomplish a different affect

I won't answer the question about appropriate use of force because I spent most of my adult life as an 0311 0317 so I know my answer would be extremely biased in the case of this situation... the rules about use of force I had beaten into me are no doubt invalid in a civilian situation

Everything is a weapon.

So it's a tool. Because every weapon is a tool. And anything can be a weapon.

My brain hurts.

thaluikhain:

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.

Wow, ninja'd by the OP!

OT: In my humble and well informed opinion, tasers are weapons. Mostly nonlethal weapons, but weapons nonetheless. As such, they should be treated that way.

Zen Toombs:

thaluikhain:

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.

Wow, ninja'd by the OP!

OT: In my humble and well informed opinion, tasers are weapons. Mostly nonlethal weapons, but weapons nonetheless. As such, they should be treated that way.

not really because he is still wrong... it can not be argued that a weapon is a form of tool because the fact is that a weapon IS a tool by definition

Liquidacid23:

Zen Toombs:

thaluikhain:

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.

Wow, ninja'd by the OP!

OT: In my humble and well informed opinion, tasers are weapons. Mostly nonlethal weapons, but weapons nonetheless. As such, they should be treated that way.

not really because he is still wrong... it can not be argued that a weapon is a form of tool because the fact is that a weapon IS a tool by definition

Yes, a weapon is a tool. However, saying that you are "using X as a tool" has other implications than you are "using X as a weapon". Yes, it's a bit contradictory,

The definition of a weapon is something that is used to coerce or effect someone else... legally it is a weapon, like leaflets can be used as a weapon, or tannoy systems can be aswel... And as they are weapons they should only be used in lasst resort, and when there is no other means...

The problem we have is the perspective... we cannot tell what the policeman who used the weapon's thought process was as he used it. He may be following a procedure that is stated in his rulebook, or he may have been in a similar situation where he wished he had used it, so when faced with the same problem this time he did use it. Its very easy to criticise when you are seeing things from a different veiwpoint... then again he could just be a trigger happy sadistic power-crazed fuck... we just don't know.

It is a weapon though, and should be treated as such, last resort only, and when the user honestly beleives that it needs to be used.

It's a similar situation to when you hear about soldiers who shoot civilians driving towards them... Usually it is the result of the civilian driver not stopping or slowing down as they approach a checkpoint, and ignore the warnings... instantly the soldier is going to think it's a vehicle-bound suicide IED, so shoots... the military solely shoot to kill, as shooting to wound is in-humane, wo therefore it is not taught. This action results in a civilian dying and a lot of bad press about NATO/ISAF forces killing civilians... Its perception... the soldier did comletely the right thing, his job, but gets berated by the media for something that is totally perception based...

The taser incidents are of a similar nature... Its process driven, in what is an uncalm situation where decision making is difficult. A decision is made and acted on, but the consequences are unknown at the time.

I thought weapons where just another kind of tools?

Both, a weapon is a tool. Tools help people do things they could have done anyway, just making it easier. Weapons are used to make killing/stopping things easier.

OT: If I had to classify a taser/tazer (I can't remember how it's spelled, and my spell-checker doesn't recognize either one.) as either a weapon-kind of tool, or what is considered a tool, I'd have to say weapon-kind.

Well a weapon is a tool, so both. Anything can be used as a weapon or a tool.

thaluikhain:
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. [/small]

Cap: very abiolic

Weapons ARE tools, genius.

I can smash someones brains in with a monkey wrench, so does that make it a tool or a weapon?
Calling a tool a weapon is basically saying the tool is more dangerous than usual.

What's the difference? A weapon is just a category of tool...

Weapons and tools can be both. As far as less than lethal weapons are concerned, given the choice, and having experienced both, I'd rather have a taser used on me than OC spray. The taser I found was easier to shrug off once the guy holding it stopped squeezing the trigger.

Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not a criminal. I'm certified to carry both a taser and OC spray, as well as a Glock 17 and an expandable baton as part of my work equipment. To get certified in the use of tasers/OC spray, you've got to be on the receiving end of them. Neither of them is fun, but I think the OC spray is worse.

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