Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't Tase Me, Bro

I try to keep an open mind about what people want and why they want it. After all, if someone passionately wants something, they've probably got a good reason for it. However, a want must be a need, especially with the tight budget conditions our police force faces. It is the duty of the New Paltz Police Commission to make an informed, smart decision, and to decide whether or not the reason that the New Paltz Police Department wants tasers is warranted.

Tasers are just plain dangerous. They're bad for New Paltz. Tasers are used primarily as a riot control device. They are used to control large crowds. Sure, New Paltz sees the occasional campus protest, or small-scale bar fight, but we never have full-out riots! I certainly can't remember the last time we had a riot, nor can any other New Paltzian's I've discussed the matter with. The police show insufficient data supporting the need for a riot control device. Show me instances where a taser would have ben useful in New Paltz history, and maybe I'll change my viewpoint.

In order for Taser use to be warranted and effective, a target ideally would be middle aged, of normal build, good health, and sitting down. You would point the taser at the target's middle lower back (aka tramp stamp area). However, a taser would be used on a target who was belligerent, and unable to be restrained. These two points do not make ANY sense...they contradict each other...and they were two points brought before the police committee at their last meeting. Taser misuse can be extremely dangerous. Check out the news- a man was killed last week in Rhinebeck due to irresponsible tasing.

Ed Daley, a Bouncer at Snug's Harbor (across from Wachovia- you know the place) expressed his concern to me. "I believe that tasers would all over be detrimental for the community", he concluded after stating concerns about getting caught in a taser cross-fire while breaking up a fight. When Ed got his job at Snugs, the police had pepper spray, and he knew that there would be a possibility of him getting sprayed. However, he did not sign up for a tasing! He went on to say that tasers increase the level of intimidation that the town police instill into people, and that it would foster the exponential cycle of negative feelings. It would feed the dynamic of the community vs. police that we see so often.

Do you agree with me? Then join the facebook group, "Don't Tase Me Bro...Keep Tasers Out of New Paltz!", and write a letter to the police commission and the editor of the New Paltz Times. Also, feel free to buy a "Don't Tase Me Bro" T-Shirt (you can google it), or better yet, make your own. Check out the "Don't Tase Me Bro" video on youtube- it has little to do with the situation at hand, but it was an internet phenomenon, and shows what tasers can do to people when misused. Disagree? Head on down to the New Paltz Police Department, and ask them for some literature on taser use. They'll hook you up.

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