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Monday, May 28, 2012

Tasers - the fried pork special (reasons not to watch Breakfast TV)

The latest images from a Taser shooting a man walking away from Police has been broadcast on Sunday on TVNZ last night and pathetically debated on Breakfast TV the next morning. Gordon Campbell does an excellent piece on why these issues of importance shouldn't be debated on a TV show as intellectually shallow as Breakfast (especially now that the excellent Corin Dann has left), and it's certainly true of the Taser debate.

Breakfast TV did a cheerleader response to the images, and fell back on 'most people contacting us agree with the Police' - wow, that's incisive isn't it? One of the many problems of NZ is our cultural obedience to authority, we love cops the way we love All Blacks. An unquestioning, slavish worship of the Police is not healthy, it's deeply unhealthy.

The Police have immense power in this country (especially with the new spying powers where the Police can break into our homes and spy without any judicial oversight) and all I ask for is that as a progressive liberal democrat we have checks and balances. Suggesting that is enough to get a lynching in parts of pro Police NZ.

So we come to the taser debate again. Yawn. The argument for tasers is that 'better you get taserd than shot' - I think we all agree with that, but the problem is the NZ cop worshiping public have a mentality that anything a cop demands is legitimate and any action justified. It isn't.

A taser can't be used for compliance, it can only be used if there is an immediate threat, the images from the taser cam (which the cops fought 2 years to stop being screened publicly - pity Breakfast TV didn't ask about that) clearly show the man walking backwards, not advancing and his hands are by his side.

The reliance on tasers is partly because the Police relaxed their physical requirements to be a Police Officer and so they impose authority through a Taser, but mostly because the public will allow cops to get away with anything.

The reality is that the debate won't change until the Police taser a middle class kid, the second that happens, there will be demands to 'do something'.

It's only Police brutality in NZ when a precious white teenager gets zapped.



At 28/5/12 4:07 pm, Blogger Ovicula said...

I think you're a bit optmistic there, Bomber. I don't think anything will change until a Tory politician's, judge's or rich businessman's kid gets tasered. The middle class are so far up the collective police rectum that, in their smug superiority, they'd all turn on the family whose kid was tasered.


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