Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"tazering" is not a verb

I haven't yet been able to process what I've seen. I'm glad there was a protest, I'm glad there are some people who were upset that students present at the incident in Florida (why is it always Florida?) did nothing.

I have only been able to come up with one thing so far, surely there will be more to follow: there is no verb that means "to tazer" or "to administer shock with a tazer or stun-gun". The verb is electrocution. A tazer is a small, portable electrocution device designed to administer a non-lethal dose of electric current to a human body. We haven't written human rights laws to address such a thing. We have technology originally designed to drive cattle being used on humans by police. Apparently because it is "non-lethal" the practice is seen as effective and thoughtful instead of the administration of a bullet from a gun or a beating with a baton.

In order to properly subdue a person of average size, a huge amount of electricity is needed. The body must be stopped in a seizure where muscles and nerve endings do not respond to weaker electrical impulses from the brain. Doctors were condemned for the harmful and inappropriate use of electric shocks administered as "therapy" to the mentally ill. So much so that if it is to be used now in the most extreme cases, the patient is properly anesthetized first.

We all saw the photos of Abu Ghraib and now it seems that the use of electrocution is becoming both more public and identifiable. Not only is this practice used in prisons, but if the practice is seen outside of a prison, the person being electrocuted must have deserved it somehow.

Would Jon Stewart be talking about how much this child was a douche bag if he hadn't been publicly electrocuted? Probably. He was. But was he such a nuisance that police needed to administer 50,000 volts to his body? I have to say, I doubt it. If that were an applicable ratio, Ashcroft would have been barbecued alive for his soaring eagle karaoke number.

I can't make sense of it at the moment, I haven't yet wrapped my raw, uncooked brain around it. I have only this as an offer and a reminder: tazer is an acronym. It stands for Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle. The word for what the weapon does is electrocution. That is the verb. But it's not what we're talking about.

He wasn't "tazered", "overly restrained", "improperly subdued" or anything else we're hearing. He was silenced by only one act:



Craig Sauvé said...

Very true; it seems that the powers that be and their personal militia, the police, want to control the vocabulary, which is a magnificent way of influencing debate.

Craig Sauvé said...

Here's a great article on the subject from heather Mallick of Rabble.ca: