Saturday, November 18, 2006


Look kids, it's simple. And your mom and dad should have taught you before you were sent off to school: when the police order you to do something, you comply. If the police are acting improperly, you thrash them in court later; but when you're face to face with a policeman, you do as he says. That's it. Period.

The reason for this has to do with the nature of police enforcement. In order to even have a police force, there must be one basic rule: in a confrontation, the police win. If you resist, they manhandle you, if you fight, they pull non lethal weapons, if you threaten their lives, they may kill you. If the police went away when the bad guys confront them, they would quickly become a joke. Their aim is not to give you what you'll consider a fair fight, their aim is to win. It has to be that way.

So were these "bad" police, out to torture a student? The video I saw doesn't make it look that way. It looked like the student was given many chances to comply and he refused every time. At any point along the way the student could have stopped it all. Even if the police were acting improperly, he should have heeded the verbal warnings and followed the officers instructions. The courts are there to protect you from bad police actions, fighting back is a very, very, stupid way to solve the problem.

Should they have used a taser in that situation? I don't know. I'm sure the campus police have guidelines on taser use. And the video didn't show the earliest part of the confrontation. But it will be investigated, and if the officer with the taser acted improperly, he'll be punished. One thing is for sure though: the student could have stopped it at any time. His case won't be any stronger because he was tasered 4 times instead of 3, or 2, or 1.


talnik said...

I don't get it. What's wrong with the police tasering this guy? I would have shot him.

lumberjack said...

Well sure, after tasering him.

If you noticed, later in the tape a pretty big guy started to wade into the officer's space, but he backed right up after a warning or two that he would be next to ride Electric Nellie. I bet his SAT's were higher than the first kid's.

DalaiDahmer said...

One thing is for sure though: the student could have stopped it at any time. His case won't be any stronger because he was tasered 4 times instead of 3, or 2, or 1

actually, it will.
you dont keep tasering an unarmed civillian because he wont get up off the floor.
you shouldnt be using a taser on anyone who is not presenting a violence risk, something a prone man is unlikely to do. a prone man surrounded by cops less so.
his noncompliance(which you seem to think should let the cops break their own rules regarding tasers) was likely to be due to physical incapability and the duress of being electrocuted rather than wilful disobedience.
being hit with a taser can incapacitate a person for up to fifteen minutes. it can also cause a variety of erratic behaviours, both as a result of the electrocution itself and the inevitable adrenalin spike and panic response that follow.

further, the person threatened for asking the cop's badge number who then stands back was exercising his right as a citizen.
the cop threatening to taser him for doing so was breaking the law.

when the police order you to do something, you comply.

do you quietly comply in every sitiuation, even if what they are asking you to do is against the law?
if the police were threatening to taser you, ostensibly over an argument that arose over forgetting your library card(only required to be used after 11pm, incidentally) dont you feel you would protest?
i know i would, and i wouldnt expect to be tasered for doing so.

in addition, he was complying.
he was required to leave, and he was leaving.
had they let him, he would have.
had he stopped leaving half way through, they could easily have taken him outside with electrocuting him.

so were the cops taser happy?
who knows.
poorly trained and unaware of how to do their job effectively?

lumberjack said...

Well I'm going to bet the taser didn't come out just because he refused to leave. But like I said, it's hard to know what happened before the tape started rolling. They can figure that out in court.

As for whether he could get up after the first jolt, that can be decided in court as well. The obvious solution would be to taser him another 4 or 5 times in front of the judge and jury. Let them figure out if he's faking incapacity.

DalaiDahmer said...

why would you wish him harm without knowing the details?
you don't know the guy, and he has nothing to do with you, so why the ire?

it seems you've also assumed the guy deserves it, and that the cop was in the right.
you get bad campus cops as well as good ones, dumb students and innocent ones.
i dont get why you would assume either way until all the facts are out.

as for the effects of tasers on mobility, they are well documented.
i found this in a second or two, on best stun gun dot com. it don't think it would be in their interests to exagerate at all.

How stun guns work?
Stun gun uses high voltage and low amperage to temporarily disable an attacker for several minutes. Stun gun does not rely on pain for results. The energy stored in stun gun is dumped into the attacker muscles causing them to do a great deal of work rapidly. This rapid work cycle instantly depletes the attacker blood sugar by converting it to lactic acid. In short, he is unable to produce energy for his muscles, and his body is unable to function properly. Stun gun also interrupts the tiny neurological impulses that control and direct voluntary muscle movement. When the attacker neuromuscular system is overwhelmed and controlled by the stun gun he loses his balance.

When a stun gun touches both probes against the assailant’s body for ½ second, it will startle the assailant, giving him some pain, muscular contraction and shock. For 1-2 seconds, it will cause muscle spasms and a dazed mental state. For 3-5 seconds, it will cause loss of balance and muscle control, total mental confusion and disorientation, leaving him dazed. Under no conditions can you suffer a charge back to your own body, even if the assailant touches you while you are using a stun gun on him.

temporarily disable...his body is unable to function properly...interrupts the tiny neurological impulses that control and direct voluntary muscle movement...dazed mental state...loss of balance and muscle control...mental confusion...those all sound like symptoms that mike make it a bit difficult to talk much sense or move on cue.
if the campus cops had had proper training on tasers, they would have known that.

as i said, poorly trained.

Wrymouth said...

No Justice! No Peace! No Justice! No Peace!

Yes! We Want to Think For Ourselves!

We Don't Need No Education! We Don't Need No Thought Control!

What Do We Want? [Insert Catch Phrase Here]!! When Do We Want It? NOW!!

[ak! pfft!] Contemplating student free-thinking, like the kind I used to witness at UC Santa Barbara about 30 years ago, is causing blood to start trickling out of my ears. I have to go lie down now.

lumberjack said...

"why would you wish him harm without knowing the details?"

Oh no, you took it the wrong way. I definitely don't mean him harm. I was only suggesting a re-tasering in the interest of Truth. We're all about truth around here.

DalaiDahmer said...

the cop has previous, incidentally.
it looks like one reason this force even has tasers is because that same officer can't be trusted with a gun.

lumberjack said...

Now you're not going to understand but I'm serious: it's even more important to comply when the cop might be a bad-guy. So what if they still had guns and you got shot because you thought the university rule was unfair? Would you be the "winner"? The cop would be ruined. You would be slightly more so.

There are venues for changing policies and rules. When the police are enforcing the law, even if you think they're wrong, it is not the time and place to be changing policy. It's the time and place to be unslinging your ass, or keeping your ass from getting put in a sling in the first place.

DalaiDahmer said...

do you really feel i need to be told that?
heck, dude, clearly while being assaulted by a poorly trained gibbon of the law isnt the time to mount a case against the idiot's actions.
Now [i'm] not going to understand? why the heck not?

my point has never been that the moment of arrest is the perfect platform for reform.
thing is, however ill-advised it is to tell an armed law-breaker what you think of their conduct, it doesnt in make their illegal actions defensible.

i commented because you said one thing is for sure though: the student could have stopped it at any time, and i don't agree.
firstly, he was already complying with the request to leave.
then, after being tasered, he was assaulted again for failing to comply with monkey-cop's instructions; "stop making your arms go all limp!", he said. might as well have been "stop acting like i just tasered you!"

when the police order you to do something, you comply.

in his right mind the student would probably agree with you that you should do what any armed aggresor says, never mind the police. i know i do. but being electrified affects your ability to guage situations effectively, though. add to that the confusion of being assaulted while complying, and you can well imagine why he wasnt engaged in some ice-cold decision making.

besides, why are you so up for blaming the victim?
he could have acted more appropriately, sure; in the sense that it is possible to imagine.
the reality is that he was under extreme duress, and that his actions were at least predictable under those conditions.

why not blame the one who fucked up under no duress, who has a history of excessive force? the one who is breaking the law? he's a human being, not a wild animal. he makes his own decisions too, and was clearly the one at fault.
y'know, he's also the one who went in to the trial of a homeless man he murdered with a copy of 'the prince' by machiavelli with him?

if the student was talking to a lion or a bear, then sure.
he'd be at fault if he expected not to be attacked.
but a cop?
you're supposed to be allowed to talk to cops.

lumberjack said...

Now that's a good idea: using lions and bears to control students. Could be we have some common ground here.

I thought you may not understand because you wrote, "do you quietly comply in every situation, even if what they are asking you to do is against the law?" And I maybe falsely assumed a naiveté about the way the world works. The fact is that the people in charge of that library said this guy is trespassing, please remove him. It doesn't matter to the police why the kid was being asked to leave, they had a job to do.

You can argue with the library staff, or the administration, or the student security folks about their policy but arguing with the policeman is futile. He is just doing his job. And either he is a good guy, in which case you should comply, or he is a bad guy, in which case you should really, really comply.

I do like the lions and bears idea though. Way to think outside the box.

DalaiDahmer said...

It doesn't matter to the police why the kid was being asked to leave, they had a job to do.

sure, one for which one of them was clearly not suited, and one for which they were under trained.

my comment about compliance was to point out that even though everyone knows that say, arguing with bouncers in a club won't get them to let you stay, many people do it.
it's understandable and eminently predictable, as are most stress-reactions.

you seem to be condemning the member of the public for his stupidity without full evidence, yet with reams of evidence about this cop being a law breaking loose cannon and an idiot, you don't condemn him.

i'm curious about your focus, dude.
why attack the victim for their conduct when there is a perpetrator right there next to him you could be talking about?
i dont get why you are identifying the cop as you are, almost like he's a force of nature.

that's why i mentioned lions.
climbing into the lions enclosure, say, would be stupid, because a lion should be expected to act as a carnivorous predator.
if someone did, i wouldnt expect anyone to feel a need to condemn the lion.
asking a cop why he is suspending your cvivil libverties should be expected to be allowed, however, and so i would expect at least little condemnation of his above the law antics.

as i read more of him i get closer to seeing the cop as a violent thug who doesnt deserve to wear a badge, even a campus cop badge.
as i read more of the student, i see someone who stayed a bit late in the university library, his own university library, and who was electrified for doing so despite leaving when asked.
his only crime seems to have been not having been 'smart' enough to expect the cop to to be an aggresive monkey with a badge.

i think the cop is the bad guy, i think the student is the average joe caught up in it all.

lumberjack said...

Well I was getting around to condemning the cop. But yeah, there's probably a problem if this is a habit with him. Thing is, if it was me, I wouldn't have given him a chance to show he was a bad cop. But then again, I would have left when the library people asked me to.

As for the kid. Say he was your friend sitting there. Wouldn't you have told him to knock it off? "come on, lets go" that kind of thing?

I've only watched the video the once (I haven't gone back to it because I'm saving it for days when I need cheering up) but it seemed like the kid hadn't been tasered yet when he started yelling about "Here's your Patriot Act" and causing a commotion. He's raising hell and playing the victim when all the police want to do is get him out of the library. The ID requirement was to protect students from off campus creeps, and it seems like a good idea to me, but if he wanted to protest it he should have taken it up with the administration, not with the police.

That's like yelling in the face of the ticket taker because George Lucas settled for weak dialog and didn't put enough Wookies in the Revenge of the Sith.

DalaiDahmer said...

well, no, it's more like yelling at the ticket taker because he's ignoring the fact that you were paid up until thirty seconds ago and are about to drive your car away anyway.

the cop was zealously enforcing where no enforcement, just his(and his four colleagues) being there, would still have resulted in the required result.

lumberjack said...

You know, usually arguing with people from the leftish side of the political spectrum is a lot less civilized. You have been impressively well-mannered, even in your admission of defeat.

DalaiDahmer said...

who's leftish?
which defeat?

i thought i was discussing a cop assaulting a student over a misunderstanding, not having a fight. if you see me as an opponent and assume that your critics must all be lefties... well, i can imagine you would get the less civilised back and forth.

looking for an argument is probably the best way to get one, and supporting one side of a debate automatically based on your political leanings is a good way to sound like someone who doesnt think for him or herself.

reality is there for the understanding if you put down the flags and the partisan politics for long enough to look.
that goes for folks who identify with left or right and from any country.

i've never understood buying a complete set of beliefs wholesale - it just seems so lazy.

lumberjack said...

i've never understood buying a complete set of beliefs wholesale - it just seems so lazy.

Are you kidding? It's more than enough work just getting images to come up on blogger -I'll take any shortcut available.

And of course your not really leftish- I admitted you'd been civilized, didn't I?

As regards your conjecture that the youth in question is not the embodiment of all that is evil, and my glorious annihilation of same, we will speak no more, of.