Over the weekend a young man died after being Tasered by police in Sydney. This was obviously a tragic incident that has a very unfortunate result. It is alleged that the man stole a packet of biscuits from a convenience store early on Sunday morning and when approached by police he resisted arrest. Some reports this morning suggest that he wasn’t responsible for the biscuit theft, but regardless of his innocence or guilt, the punishment definitely does not fit the crime.
Naturally this incident has raised concerns about the use of Tasers in Australia. And while I agree that a close eye must be kept on Police brutality. I don’t think that we should throw the baby out without the bathwater. The reality is that Taser guns provide police with an alternative to using guns. In the wake of Sunday’s incident, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said “we’ve always supported the use of Tasers as a non-lethal alternative. Tasers versus guns is a clear choice”. Considering that numerous people have died from their use, calling Taser a “non-lethal alternative” seems questionable but I certainly agree with his statement that “Tasers versus guns is a clear choice”.
While evidence shows that Tasers have and will cause deaths, surely they are still less-lethal than actual guns and therefore worth using as a genuine alternative. I think we need to put more faith in the authorities who use and assess the devices and therefore know a lot more about them than people who just read a few newspaper reports.
Do you agree with Ged? Should we leave this case in the hands of the experts? Or should the use of Tasers be banned in Australia?