Now, the police have tased an eight-year-old girl. Unable to get her child to go to bed, unable to stop her tantrum, mom called the police. Compounding that stupidity, they responded. Attempting to carry the child to bed (I wonder if the officer has any children of his own, otherwise he would have known better), kicking and screaming, she kicked him in the groin. So of course he tased her. Does he think she kicked him in the balls on purpose? Does he think an eight-year-old knew the best place to kick for maximum effect? Doubtful. The child, of course, became quiet and obedient immediately. Did mom and officer then put her to bed? Maybe take her to the hospital to ensure that she had sustained no damage from the taser (she weighs 65 pounds)? No. He arrested her for assaulting him and took her to youth detention.
statements the mayor and police chief say
"People here feel like that he made a mistake in using a Taser, and maybe he did, but we will not know until we get an impartial investigation," McDaniel said. The state police declined his request Tuesday, saying it only gets involved if the officer in question was accused of misconduct or targeted in an internal investigation.
Police Chief Jim Noggle said no disciplinary action was taken against Bradshaw. He said Tasers are a safe way to subdue someone who's a danger to themself or others. "We didn't use the Taser to punish the child - just to bring the child under control so she wouldn't hurt herself or somebody else," Noggle said. If the officer tried to forcefully put the girl in handcuffs, he could have accidentally broken her arm or leg, Noggle said. He said a touch of the stun gun - "less than a second" - stopped the girl from being unruly, and she was handcuffed, he said. "She got up immediately and they put her in the patrol car," McDaniel said."I'm sorry, but are there any parents reading this? I cannot imagine ever, ever calling the police to resolve a tantrum. Sure there were times when things got out of control. Fortunately, I like to think I was a pretty good parent - my kids tell me I was - and we rarely had those kinds of problems, but I think every parent has at least one story to tell... But seriously. What do you do when your child is kicking and screaming and yelling and refusing to go to bed? You walk away. You go into the other room, shut the door, and ignore them. I guarantee it, they will stop. It may take a little while, but you have to wonder at the parenting skills of a mother who has those kinds of problems with an eight-year-old. By the age of eight, bedtime is not normally an issue. I would guess that bedtime was the least of the reasons that child was screaming.
I know that our police have a difficult job and have to face scary situations every day. They never know what will happen when they walk up to that car they have just pulled over or what they will encounter when they respond to that domestic violence call; two of the most potentially dangerous situations police officers encounter. But an eight-year-old? There was no weapon reported. The child was 4' 6" tall, obviously a clear threat to a male police officer. Right. Violence has become too easy as a response to every situation. It is preached to us in the media, every day.
Within the police culture, there is a growing use of force to respond to verbal abuse, passive resistance, and the failure to instantly cooperate - even if that failure to cooperate is the result of a disability caused by a health condition or intoxication. Many times, police officers are unable to judge the cause of the resistance and discover later why the individual that they tased was not cooperative.
I am not certain when it became illegal to behave towards police officers with anything other than immediate courtesy and respect. Certainly resisting arrest is illegal, but in every definition that I could find, resistance was defined as assault and battery on the police officer or running away. Not hesitating to jump into the police car or offer one's hands out for handcuffs. Verbal abuse? Swearing? Anger and raised voices? Not pleasant. But dangerous? Life threatening? Requiring the use of physical force? I do not think so.
I could devote this blog to cases of police officers using tasers on persons who were on the ground, in handcuffs. Persons who were sitting in their vehicles unconscious. High school students who were in the hall without a hall pass. A paraplegic who had been pulled out of his wheelchair to the ground, then tased. But I won't. Other instances are detailed in a post I wrote here.
Beyond the actual use of tasers, is a culture that sees their use and shrugs, and turns the page. Of a media that listens to the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins preach a message of hate, of death, and of division, and simply "reports, you decide." Journalism used to be about questioning, researching, and pointing out errors in what our national figures were saying. Now we have our national media figures angry because the citizens notice the lies and reject the message of hate. These figures feel attacked and threatened and incite even more violence. They claim religion as their guide, and wave a stern, vengeful God who evidently approves of a culture that would tase an eight-year-old child.
Why do I connect Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and tasers? I write about the sociological intersection of politics and culture. Our society has become more and more violent. In the past forty years, we have embraced a law and order mentality and move away from a rehabilitation model. The behavior of our police is becoming more and more reactive, and they are less and less often expected to take responsibility.
After all, it is not the behavior that is at fault any more. It is the label worn by the individuals involved. The President is good/bad depending on the label. The victim is good/bad (or even a victim) depending on the label. Someone is a murderer or not, depending on the label. Police always good, Republicans always good, Conservatives always good, Christians always good. Ignore sex tapes, adultery, ethics violations, bribery, murder, lying, any of the sins mentioned in the Bible, or laws on any of the books. Wear the right label, and it does not matter. Do good, be good, but wear the wrong label? Bad.
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