Armed And Dangerous?

by matttbastard

Ah, wonderful–yet another shocking incident involving the indiscriminate discharge of an electronic control deviceSM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1:

Donnell Williams had just gotten out of the bath tub, wearing only a towel around his waist, when he turned the corner to see guns pointing right at him.

“I ain’t never been so scared,” says Williams.

Police forced entry into Williams home while responding to a shooting, but it turned out to be a false call. They had no idea at the time the call wasn’t real and that Williams is hearing impaired. Without his hearing aid he is basically deaf.

“I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can’t hear! I can’t hear!”

Officers were worried about their own safety because at the time it appeared Williams was refusing to obey their commands to show his hands. That’s when they shot him with a Taser.


Police wish it never happened, but with the information they had at the time, their choices were limited.

Um, “limited”? What, did they think he had a .30-06 hidden in the fucking bathwater (or *ahem* under his towel)? Seriously, when it comes to limited options, I’d say it’s the naked hearing impaired guy who, having been unexpectedly surrounded in his own home by a mob of gun-toting, Taser-happy jackboots, is the one facing the rock/hard place pincher maneuver.

More from pale @ ACR, John Cole (“THERE HAS TO BE A THIRD FUCKING OPTION“) and Radley Balko, who (rightly, IMO) fears that “repeated iteration of the “non-lethal” claim may well make police officers more inclined to use the thing than they otherwise might be.” Over in comments @ April Reign’s pad, Raging Ranter (who, from what I’ve gleaned, is hardly a state-smashing anarchist) further explores Balko’s point:

The nice thing about guns (and no I’m not being facetious here) is that police know damn well if they use it, someone is going to die. Not maybe, not one chance in 100, but someone WILL die unless he’s damn lucky and the bullet misses or doesn’t hit a major organ. Not only that, but police are trained that way. They are taught under no uncertain terms that when they draw their gun, they MUST be prepared to shoot and kill. That’s why they are never, EVER supposed to “shoot to wound” or aim for limbs or anything like that. They are trained to aim for centre of mass, and to keep pulling the trigger until the assailant falls to the ground and stays there. All police forces in North America are trained the same way. The reason for this is simple. It helps prevent the unecessary use of firearms by police. Cops know damn well that they are only to use their gun if the situation is bad enough to warrant killing someone. Thus, they do not see using a firearm as a half-measure or as something to provide them with an additional margin of safety. It is a deadly weapon to be used only when deadly force is needed.

Now, compare that to a taser. A taser is to be used when deadly force is not warranted. So what criteria does the cop use to make his decision? Basically, he’s left to taser anyone who he perceives might attempt any physical resistance at all. Because the officer knows that the taser is not meant to kill; that it is supposed to represent a “soft” option, he does not feel the same reluctance to use this weapon.

Related: The Christian Science Monitor’s Terrorism and Security Update takes a closer look at the growing debate following the Robert Dziekanski killing over the growing ubiquity of stun gun usage by law enforcement agencies worldwide.

h/t Chet Scoville

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Webs, Tangled; Pride, Fallen.

by matttbastard

“I don’t think I’d change my view of the threat that Iran poses”

– John Bolton, spinning like a centrifuge.

Related: Think Progress:

Yesterday in his press conference, President Bush asserted that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told him “we have new information” on Iran’s nuclear program, but “he did not tell me what the information was.”

This morning, the cast of Morning Joe chided Bush’s claim. Co-host Willie Geist said, “It’s just not credible answer, I’m afraid.” Host Joe Scarborough ripped into Bush, saying that president is either “lying to the American people” or is simply “stupid”:

We are left with only two options here. Either the President of the United States is lying to the American people about what happened during that meeting, or the President of the United States is stupid.

I don’t think that’s an either/or proposition, Joe.

Background: Marcy Wheeler compiles an NIE timeline (h/t skdadl @ Bread & Roses); NPR provides a handy timeline of the controversy over Iran’s enrichment of uranium (2003 to the present).

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Stop Touching Those Altar Boys!

by matttbastard

More from the ‘you can’t make this shit up’ file:

New York’s Roman Catholic Church is trying a novel approach to alert children to the danger of being sexually assaulted by a priest, with an abuse-themed coloring book, officials said Tuesday.

“Being Friends, Being Safe, Being Catholic,” was distributed earlier this year to several hundred schools in the New York area as part of the church’s Safe Environment Program, a spokeswoman from the city’s Archdiocese said.

One image in the book features a guardian angel hovering over an altar boy with a priest lurking in the background.
“For safety’s sake, a child and an adult shouldn’t be alone in a closed room together,” the angel counsels.

More from the NY Times’ City Room blog:

The comic book, for schoolchildren from the sixth through eighth grades, tells the stories of a girl and a boy who have been victims of sexual abuse in separate incidents, and how they handled the situations. The comic book urges children to tell a trusted adult if they have been abused. The books were illustrated by Charles Barnett, an artist in Lake Katrine, N.Y.

While the books carry messages that are widely echoed in other educational programs for children, they also arise from the context of the sexual abuse scandals that have roiled the Catholic Church.

“It is sad, but it is a reflection of the times,” said Edward T. Mechmann, a former federal and state prosecutor who was hired in 2005 to direct the archdiocese’s Safe Environment Program. “We have to protect the kids and make sure when they deal with adults that it’s within the proper boundaries.”

Here’s a novel idea: why not simply purge the Church of known abusers? Gasp–I know, crazy talk. Still, a bastard can dream (while the Onion weeps).

h/t JJ Hippie

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