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putting the "lethal" back in "non-lethal"

putting the "lethal" back in "non-lethal"

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17-year-old fatally zapped by Taser likely youngest stun gun victim: rights group

By The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - An international human rights group believes the 17-year-old victim of a police Taser in Winnipeg is the youngest Canadian to die after being zapped by a stun gun.

The teen, Michael Langan, died Tuesday.

A spokesman with Amnesty International says Langan is believed to be the youngest Canadian to die after being Tasered since 2003 - the year the agency recorded the first death linked to the device.

The group says at least 21 people in the country have died after being hit by a police Taser.

In Tuesday's case, police say the youth was a suspect in a theft and an officer deployed an "electronic control device" when he refused to put down a knife.


My emphasis.
  • I saw that on the Google news gadget and thought, "Heyyyy...wasn't Canada going to ban those things?" I thought I saw something about a ban months ago because of an accidental death.

    It's really quite shocking how many people are surprised that electrocution sometimes kills. I mean, duhhhhhhhhh.
  • Ah yes, that was it. I couldn't remember the details but I thought there was talk afterwards of outlawing tasers in Canada.

    Maybe now? Probably not. :/
    • There was talk, but only from the ignorable herd of regular Canadians, whereas our leaders serve a different master. Actually, to be fair, a couple of police forces (including the Montreal police) have put their orders for Tasers on hold, while some sort of official review is being conducted into their safety.
      • Whoops, check that, it was the Toronto police force (and also the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary)...
  • wow

    ...i've been immersed in Chinese headlines lately, so I haven't noticed anything about this. This is pretty... crazy! I thought only American and Chinese police pulled this sort of shit. Wow. Amazingly brazen.
    • Re: wow

      And, of course, the kid was a native indian.
      • dam furriner!

        actually, i'm still in shock about the Polish guy you linked to. Now I have to read the one about the Indian kid; I'd forgotten to click that link. :(
    • lol, terminology mixup!

      right right, not Indian India, native Indian! >_< or as I currently cannot convince myself to think of them any other way than, American Indian (never heard of a Canadian Indian, ever in my life)! XD
      • Aiie

        "India Indian", of course I meant. More importantly, what a classic quote -- "The device's Arizona-based manufacturer, Taser International, has said the weapons have never directly been blamed for a death, though they have been cited as a contributing factor." Yeah, like the way guns don't kill people, the bleeding from the holes in people's bodies do? And whatever happened to teaching cops judo!? Was this crackhead juvenile 350 lbs of muscle, or what (no, apparently he was "145-pound, five-foot-four")? Why do we need to possibly kill someone for failing to steal a car? I wouldn't want to have to be in that cop's situation, and actually I think Tasers have their place, but zapping knife-wielders (to say nothing of unarmed men in airports) doesn't seem like one of them.
        • last one i promise

          damn i have posting diarrhea sometimes. Anyway, after reading the scary comments section of that CBC article on Langan, I'm left with one thought -- perhaps ironically, if those cops had only had guns, they probably would have talked with him longer, and Langan would still be alive. The Taser is still a cool option in my book, but perhaps having it on hand all the time, so that it becomes an unquestioned "non-lethal" dispute-ender is the real problem. Cops get it in their heads that it's acceptable use of force, when the true goal of police officers should be conflict resolution avoiding the use of force.
          • Re: last one i promise

            That is precisely my feeling. Cops are understandably reticent to use their guns, but Tasers give them a feeling of security that they can zap a perp without worrying about the repercussions. They've bought the hype that Tasers are a non-lethal deterrant rather than simply another weapon.

            You've put this very well, indeed.
        • Re: Aiie

          And I expect that the number of Canadians killed by Taser-wielding cops (21) is actually higher than the number killed by gun-toting cops. I'll have to check that. Given that by my own anecdotal reckoning, every lethal Taser use by cops seems to have included multiple Taserings, theere's a serious question that ought to arise as to how they are being employed - the intent seems to be to torture and subdue.
          • Re: Aiie

            Yeah the multiple-Tasering thing confuses me. Happens in the US, too, of course, and you have to wonder why. I gather they don't always drop right away (perhaps because of spasms from the shock 9_9), but... shouldn't their fighting capacity be quite powerfully reduced after one Tasering? I can see multiple Taserings of a gun-wielder, but a knife-wielder?
      • Re: lol, terminology mixup!

        In Canada, since Native American (or the reverse) is obviously not an option, it's usually just "Native" or, more formally, First Nations People(s). Or the specific nation is used: Cree, Mohawk, etc.
        • Re: lol, terminology mixup!

          Yeah, as a child of a fairly PC-era (b. 1976), I find some phrases are stuck in my mind. I have to check myself around here in China -- nobody knows what a Native American is, "Asian" can potentially be insulting (which, hell, it could be back home, too, but nobody there would bother mentioning it if it were), and most of the black people aren't African-anythings, obviously, they're Africans (which, hell, might be insulting, too -- I've only gotten to know a couple guys well enough to talk about much, but they're from neighboring countries -- and their opinions of those neighbors, in general, was quite unapologetically low)! Ah well, whatever. ^^
          • Re: lol, terminology mixup!

            Context makes a big difference!
            It's interesting that folks in Latin America are always pissed off at folks from the US for claiming the term "Americas" as their own, when they feel it ought to apply to everyone in the Americas. People in Canada, meanwhile, eschew the term "American" for themselves, feeling it refers exclusively to people of the US... The upshot: native american is not a term that applies to natives in Canada, though "Native Canadian" is never used either, it's just "Native", "Aboriginal", "First Nations", or the name of the nation itself...
    • Re: dam furriner!

      christ! the Polish guy. I finally watched the full video. It's not self-dfense, it's execution. I realize it's probably accidental -- it's just that cops get it in their heads -- they're so threatened -- which is true, but their solution is to become overly aggressive. They're taught that the only way to stay safe is to dominate every social situation. And that doesn't always work. In the confrontations, sure, it makes some sense, but the rest of the time it just gives everyone an excuse to shoot back first. Cops'll never believe me, so I gotta get the fuck outta here whatever it takes. And that's basically what this guy was doing, too. By the time the cops get there of course, he's unarmed and pretty tame, really, but they're so pissed that he dare challenge their Supreme Authority that they go waaaayyy overboard. And now... another few thousand people hate cops.
      • Re: dam furriner!

        The problem, of course, is that Tasers are not non-lethal, only lethal-lite... but the appellation encourages widespread use of the weapon... And the problem, is that when people are having breakdowns, as this poor soul was, cops go apeshit on them, not having sufficient training or empathy to take more productive measures...
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