Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I was just curious to see what your thoughts were about using tasers on kids and teenagers. They had 2 or 3 pointed at difficult child about 2 weeks ago as he was face down on our hallway floor. I didn't worry at the time because another officer was downstairs telling me that these are safe and only shock and startle a person.

    Then, this morning, I read that a 17 yo had been tasered near here (in VA) and died just a couple of days ago. My son had no weapon on him and there were 3 cops standing over him- there is no way they needed a weapon even if he'd not been compliant. Fortunately, he was.

    According to the newspaper, the cops are saying that the state just recently finished a study on the use of tasers and concluded that if/when people die after having one used on them, it is due to other health reasons, not the taser.
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    Maybe they have their place but I think sometimes these "tools/weapons" are overused. That's a tough one, K. I'll have to think about it. I do know that I don't like that my board nephew had that experience. xo ML
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Usually, it is due to other health reasons. I think the guy who died recently was so drunk he was soon to be a statistic anyway. The others who died had heart conditions. (I think one was grossly overweight and had a heart condition, too.)

    I don't know if any studies have been done on kids, or anyone under 100 lbs, in general. That would be a good study.

    I have some friends who are cops, and I think they like them because it helps keep your distance from a flailing, wild suspect and fewer people get injured. A typical stun gun requires you to touch the person, really shove it in their leg or lower back.

    Local cops are required to taser one another during school. They all have stories to tell! But they know what it feels like.

    They are trying to come up with-ways to subdue a subject with-o killing them. If a cop uses a gun, s/he has to shoot to kill. These "new" weapons are only for subduing.

    Scary about your difficult child ... I kind of remember that note ... sigh. You've been through a lot lately.
  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    The internet is crazy, when I click on your post, over on the right it brings up links to purchasing *Tasers*...
    I have no idea if they should pull out tasers on a kid or not?
    I guess they would say the whole, when they get the call for a Mentally unstable kid they need to be prepared for *anything*, the super human strength, the *crazy* behaviour. The unpredictability... even though he is a kid m'am we don't know what he is capable of stuff.

    I don't know if they should just use man power, pepper spray or a taser though?

    The cop in Oakland last week, supposedly was pulling out his Taser and pulled out his gun when he shot the guy lying calmly on the floor.

    I am sure the cops have to deal with some scary stuff and want to protect themselves. But I also don't want our kids hurt without cause either.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I felt the cops in my home were pretty responsible about it and I'm sure that they believe they are a "safe" way to subdue a person who they don't want to kill. I'm just curious if they really are. I wonder too- do they have some way to regulate how much shock comes out of them? Maybe a gage gets messed up somtimes and too much "zap" gets released????

    Oh- difficult child and I saw them for sell somewhere- I was surprised to see them...if they are really safe, maybe this is what I should get (JK).
  6. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    oooo they scare me. there's been a lot of controversy over them here. sadly sometimes I think police zapped ppl multiple times & sadly many times it was teen boys & many times the boys were nonaggressive. they also have used something else here... ? a beanbag? and police used it incorrectly & a person died. I wish I knew a good answer. & so many places its a problem if law enforcement or emergency responders ...arent always trained in handling mental health crisises. many placees that claim to be trained really only maybe a one day seminar is given
  7. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I would like to address the died due to "other health reasons" argument.

    These people may have had health issues which meant they were in a weakened state, but perhaps the stress of the tasering was the final nail in the coffin. In other words, perhaps they would still be alive had they not been tasered. Maybe it wouldn't have been much longer, but if it had been my loved one I would perhaps would have wanted them to have the time they might have had left if they had not been tasered. Maybe it would have been six months, or maybe six years, but regardless the police need to exercise prudence.

    I think it depends on the situation, the person's age and history, and if they are an immediate threat to anyone. I don't like the idea of using a taser to "subdue" a teenager to simply be able to cuff them.
  8. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    also be aware anyone can have an undx'ed unknown health issue....
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've worked in a Close Security state prison for going on 23 years and I know that tasers are nothing to mess with! We have them, but they are very rarely used, even with 1300 convicted felons! The tasers are kept in a restricted area and are only used in emergencies and then only with the approval of the shift captain. There's basically three kinds. There is the hand-held 'cattle prod' type where they actually have to be close enough to touch the person - then there is the kind that shoots two little barbs attached to wires (this is the debilitating kind and I think what was used in the instances where the people died) - then there is an electrified shield-type thing, mostly used in prisons and jails to gain control in an emergency. None of them carry a minor little shock. They are strong enough to put a person out of commission and keep them that way for several minutes as a way of subduing them without actually injuring either them or the officers. They are referred to as 'less than lethal weapons'. And all of them do a whole lot more than just "shock and startle a person"! In the hands of the police, they are only as good as the officer using them, and that makes me a little nervous about the possibiity of misuse. They are SUPPOSED to be used as a means of last resort, as a way of subduing someone with the least risk of injury and only when all else has failed. It poses less of a risk, both to the subject and the officers, to do this rather than to have to physically fight someone to subdue them.

    klmno, with three police officers standing over a compliant teenager there was no need for a taser. I can sort of understand though why they felt it necessary to have it there to use if necessary. When they get a call, they have no idea what they're getting in to - they have no idea if the person might be psychotic, wildly high on drugs, or if they're armed or not. They probably just had it there as a precaution.

    It all falls back on them being used as they are supposed to be used and not misusing them. As far as the police using them on kids if necessary ... well, lots of 'kids' are committing adult crimes now. They not 'kids' like we were 'kids', if you know what I mean. Teenagers are on the corners doing drug deals, they're involved in gang activity, they're committing home invasions, car-jackings, armed robberies and kidnappings, and many of them have guns! If a police officer is shot by a 16 year old, he's just as dead as if he were shot by a 40 year old! There was a case in the local news last week where a 13 year old was shot and killed! He was out late at night in a high crime area and tried to rob a man who was walking down the street. He didn't really have a gun but threatened to shoot the man and reached into his jacket pocket like he was going for a gun. The man carried his own gun for protection and, believing the boy was reaching for a gun, the man drew his own gun and shot the 13 year old who later died. The man had no police record and had never been in trouble with the law. No charges will be filed. It's a darned shame, but sadly it's the way the world is these days.
  10. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    They scare the @#$% out of me.
    I certainly understand that it is better to taser somebody than to shoot them outright and I definitely have sympathy for police, etc. who have to deal with violent criminals. I like that they have that option....to a point.
    But it seems that we have heard of so many instances where they have been misused and I definitely don't think they should be routinely used on kids. Yes, I know some kids are more violent that adults and I suppose they have their place even then, if you are talking about a "kid" who is 17 or 18 and may be bigger and tougher than the people who are dealing with him. BUT...there are too many instances of them being used unnecessarily on people who are small, or weak, or ill, with dire consequences. I think, like with a gun, there should be stringent guidelines in place for their use.
    I am thankful that I am not a police officer and I have great sympathy for them in most instances but, like all of us, when they find themselves in a "situation" they don't always have time to think before they act. Perhaps more training is called for.
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Muttmeister, I agree with you. Pretty much every police department that uses tasers already has very stringent guidelines and policies for their use, but when all is said and done, it all depends on the person who is using it and whether they use it as they are supposed to. Where I work, only the tact team is allowed to use them, and they undergo intensive training - and if they ever are used, the entire incident is video taped and very involved reporting must be done afterwards. And even in a prison setting, they are only rarely used - haven't been for years now. And if they ever are used, it has to be a case where the person is in danger of escaping or injuring themselves or others and they can't be subdued any other way.

    And to think of tasers being available to the general public is just plain nuts! The thought of them being in untrained hands is frightening! Can you imagine kids getting a hold of them, or if the criminals had tasers!
  12. Anaheimfan

    Anaheimfan Blue Collar Boy

    Kids: Should never be used.
    Teenagers: Kind of a grey area for me.

    Personally, I think tazers should ONLY be used if the person is FULLY aware of the fact that they are resisting arrest/police, or are FULLY aware that they are presenting a danger or threatening anyone.

    A child may not realize that he is resisting arrest or know what's happening, same for some teenagers--That being said, I think tazer use should be restricted to persons over the Age of 18, or those who are fully aware of their actions. --Like the case where the RCMP tazered the young man from Holland, he couldn't speak any English, and had no idea what was going on, but he wound up getting tazed.

    Same goes for the use of Pepper Balls, Beanbags, and any other "less lethal" device: Only use as a LAST RESORT, and only on people who are FULLY AWARE they are committing a crime, resisting arrest, etc.

    There are MUCH better ways to subdue kids and young adults than giving them a near-fatal shock.

  13. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    Our newsstations did only broadcast the video clip where a woman is lying on the ground while she is being tasered. Are they not used to seek complience once being arrested?

    I understand that resisting arrest is defined in another way. A Danish citizen was convicted of resisting arrest arriving in Miami on a plane defending herself against a flight attendant who bend a little too far in over her breasts, so she felt that she had to push him away. (The internal investigation in the airline company resulted in the company being sold because they owners wouldn't have anything to do with it.) While the original charge was about assulting the flight attendant they ended up convicting her of resisting arrest which was odd because she can hardly walk due to injuries caused by a truck hitting the car she was passenger in.

    Here in Denmark people are expected to protest their innocence loadly or they would look guilty in the eyes of the public regardless of the outcome in court. Our penal code does also allow the person to be arrested to sit down in order to make it more difficult to arrest him without calling it resisting arrest.

    They made it very clear that some eluding behavior should be allowed when the new anti-terrorist laws were made where the police can detain everyone without charging them for 6 hours in order to prevent future possible crimes. Just yesterday they did arrest 75 people looking like their etnic origin was from the middle east and released them 6 hours later (The latest conflict in the Gaza strip has resulted in protest where property is destroyed, so they are running around arresting people who might look like they would start an unannouced protest anytime. All protested have to be reported in advance to the police. Otherwise it is illegal and the police has the right to arrest everyone in the neighborhood.)

    Are the resisting arrest charge being used as a backup if the original charges don't hold up in court?
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Dazed, yes.

    These people may have had health issues which meant they were in a weakened state, but perhaps the stress of the tasering was the final nail in the coffin.

    Donna, I agree. But you're always going to get cops who are too "enthusiastic" and then it's just another form of abuse. (Shades of Rodney Whoever in LA)

    It all falls back on them being used as they are supposed to be used and not misusing them.

    I spoke to my husband, who has had patients--cops--who have practice with-them. They are "required" to "volunteer" to use them on themselves and one another b4 they go out on the street. He said one guy has a lower back that has been messed up for 2 wks because of it and he has big welts on his back.
    I'm wondering if there will be a redesign by the manufacturer at some point. They don't have settings, and you really can't use the same amt of force on a 250 lb man as you can on a rail-thin teenager.

    I, too, am appalled that they are available to the general public. I suspect they can be sold, but that you cannot own them or use them with-o a license.
  15. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Im sitting here thinking about a teen boy who hs threatened to hurt HIMSELF......and a bunch of strong healthy cops show up and feel they need tasers to keep control? So, in order to prevent him from hurting himself, they are gonna threaten him with tasers? Seems ironic. Seems to me to be a recipe for escalating things rather than calming them down? I was taught not to take out a gun unless you plan to use it.I would think same would go for a taser? MAYBE I could see ONE taser out......but 2 or 3?
    I worked dementia unit for many years. We had no training to work there....I was not yet a nurse at that time......we were responsible for all personal care of 20 patients. Many of our patients had been farmers their whole life.....many were quite strong.......and a good majority of them coud easily become agitated and combative......partly becuz we neded to shower them and they would forget we were showering....and they would get angry, confused, offended, defensive, whatever......
    We had no weapons. We did not use drugs. and we were not trained cops. Calmness, that helped. Low expressed emotion helped. Negotiation sometimes helped. Seems to me if I were suddenly confronted with a bunch of cops and a bunch of tasers, I myself might lose any logic I might have......and flip out, freak out.......whatever.

    I have to wonder..some psychiatric medications affects different body systems.....etc.....um, like benzos can affect central nervous system....and stimulants can affect heart? and I know seroquel afected my difficult children blood pressure dramatically........and mental illness can be result of different brain pathologies etc.......and people can and do have illnesses etc that they just do not even know they have.....I think of teen athletes with heart issues that they were not aware of and then wham......duering some sport event it hits them.
    Chicago had a highly publicized instance where a non violent mentally ill boy was tasered....and died......
    I dunno........but...I sure hope my kids never get themself into a situation for us to learn anything about tasers first hand. Or guns. Or even nightsticks. Im so sorry your difficult child had that whole incident happen..........I find it very scary and sad.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I hate tasering unless it is life or death.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks everyone!! It didn't bother me when I thought they were harmless- but son hasn't done anything that should cost him his life so next time I call 911, I will be choosing words more wisely, I hope!!
  18. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I dated a cop for awhile, and he said, when volunteering to prove the safety of the taser, being struck by it was the most painful thing he had ever had happen him. For a guy who had broken his back, ribs, been shot at - to say that - really stuck out to me.

    I see deaths happen from them in the paper, in my opinion, too frequently - usually as a complicating circumstance to an already existing health condition - which therefore makes it the health conditions fault, not the taser - but in my opinion it is the other way around.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I had a friend once when we were teenagers....he peed on an electric fence and tasered himself. He also urinated on himself.

    I accidentally got zapped with a cattleprod and I've been electrocuted twice and don't ever care to mess with zzzzzzzapping again.

    Most police and law enforcement officials are required to undergo actually getting zapped - to know what it feels like. I just can't imagine being a law abiding person that HAD to know what that feels like.

    I think it would be like a BIG OLE bug zapper. zzzzzzzt zzzzzt ztz zzzzzt.

    Rubber bullets are better!
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    AND DON'T YOU SAY - WELL, that answers a LOT....either. :highvoltage: