I’m embarressed by the RCMP’s handling of this entire Robert Dziekanski fiasco, and although I wish one could offer reassurances to visitors from around the world that this isnt indicative of what to expect, I can’t.
My faith is in the RCMP is tenuous, at best. Not because the 4 officers failed to handle the situation correctly, but because of the political spin now being spit out by RCMP media reps. They should have immediately come out and admitted the officers jumped the gun, and that a different course of action should have been taken – as if THAT would ever happen. They should have handed it over to another force to investigate, to at least attempt to make it look fair and impartial. They instead, make it seem like we, the public, dont understand what was shown on that video, as if there was something else going on there that we could not see.
Whats next from the old RCMP spin machine – he had weapons of mass destruction in his pocket? He was sending them telepathic threats?
The media reps for the RCMP, and those within the RCMP handling the investigation, have done -and are continuing to do – a great disservice to their own members. The ones who do their job well, and with pride ; the officers who go out daily to keep us safe, and sometimes lose their lives in the process of doing so. They are the ones who will suffer the lack of respect and trust from the general public based on their superiors response and handling of the questions surrounding Roberts Dziekanski’s death.
And this does not exclude the airports part in this series of errors. Why wasnt airport medical staff called? Why did he remain in that area un-noticed for so long? Where was a translator, or signage in different languages ? How many other visitors with no english skills have had difficulty, but perhaps luckily found their way around?
Up until this, my knowledge of tasers was really very small, so I’ve done a little fact finding.
Taser use seems to have originated- surprise, surprise- in the United States. In fact, Taser International , the biggest producer of tasers, is an American company.
Because tasers aren’t considered firearms, there are no government regulations to control and govern their use in most countries.
Although extensively used in the US by police forces, some forces have recented halted use due to concerns of deaths following Taser use, until further studies are done.
According to Arizona-based Taser International’s website :
“A Taser temporarily immobilizes a person by using pulsing electricity to over-stimulate the nervous system, which locks up muscles while the current is flowing.
The guns shoot two fishhook-like electric darts about 25 feet. Each time the trigger is pulled, the darts deliver a 50,000-volt jolt for 5 full seconds. The triggers can be activated as many times as needed for the life of the gun’s battery.
Following each 5-second jolt, people who are shocked generally regain all muscle control.
Tasers can also be used like cattle prods, but the effect is more isolated and less painful.”
Well, it all sounds so….. barbaric. There can be a time and a place for this weapon, and it has been used effectively thousands of times.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police says Tasers are effective if used properly but that more studies are needed.
The group’s Taser policy urges officers to use it only to subdue suspects who are violent or about to injure someone; not to use it on a handcuffed person unless he is “overtly assaultive”; to use it the least number of times; and to seek medical attention for anyone who has been shocked. So, in the right situation, it can be an approriate tool.
The problem is, there have been no real concrete studies on how the device affects people with heart conditions, and most deaths due to tasering have been in those individuals that had some medical conditions. Taser International does not seem to have done studies on those with medical conditions, or those who are taking medications or recreational drugs – only healthy individuals were tested.
People who take stimulant drugs, have heart conditions or are highly agitated because of psychological problems are already more likely to die from heart problems – so a Taser’s effect on these people is more likely to have a fatal result.
And what about pregnant women, or minors? Can tasering cause a miscarriage or fetal death? Can minors or smaller individuals handle the electrical shock? What about elderly people?
There seem to be more questions than answers, and with no concrete information, taser use by the police should be suspended,and reviewed, until federal authorities can determine the safety and usage of the device. An immediate halt to usage, pending further studies and regulations.
We, as Canadian’s, need to speak up, and speak loudly, and demand accountibility.
Enough is enough.
Stockwell Day refuses to call for a national review? Well, Stockwell Day, you represent the people, or did you forget? Do not forget that we, the people, elected the politicians in, that you are in public positions of trust, and as such, must respond to public consideration when it is demanded of you.. And we, the people, can speak loudly at the polls – and our memories are long when it comes to bad politics….
I am asking everyone who read this to let the world know that we Canadians find this situation with tasers and the RCMP deplorable. Canada is still a democracy, last time I checked. Contact your local MLA, your MP, your mayor. Put it in writing.
Take a stand for someone who can no longer do so- Robert Dzienkanski .
Someone needs to set a standard here, to prevent deaths like Robert Dziekankski’s from happening again.
I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.