"It is not the most comfortable thing."
-- Officer Darren Wilson explaining why he doesn't carry a taser
I have no idea of all the details about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, when Michael Brown was shot and killed. Part of the reason I don't know is that I wasn't there, and part is because I haven't been following all the daily details. I've read enough to formulate some opinions, but whether I understand completely what happened or just enough to feel comfortable about my perceptions of the tragedy, I don't know.
But it's difficult to read some direct quotes and not feel at the very least perturbed. And I'm just wondering in what world a police officer wouldn't want to taser someone because it's uncomfortable, but he's okay with shooting the person dead.
To be clear, I can't understand why a police officer doesn't want to carry a taser. Maybe it's extra weight he doesn't want to carry around. Maybe he feels tasers aren't effective deterrents. Perhaps he doesn't feel accomplished in their use. One can accept those reasons or not.
But to say it's because they're not comfortable to the victim, so it's better to shoot them dead??? Seriously? I don't even begin to understand that. How many people do you know, yourselves included, who would rather not feel very uncomfortable for a minute, and instead would prefer to be killed?
I'm going to guess that Officer Wilson has the same response to the question as you and your acquaintances. "Better off dead" just doesn't seem to fit here.
I can see why an officer might be reticent to use a taser, and put it off almost entirely, only doing so if it's the very last resort before having to resort to shooting. But to be so deeply considerate of the public to say you won't even carry a taser because it's so uncomfortable to the victim, and instead thoughtfully offer them the only other option after pepper spray as being shooting them to death -- it just is too bizarre.
I believe that Officer Wilson doesn't carry a taser. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around the reason he gives why not. It may even be his real reason. But if so, it says a lot about the man. And what it says isn't as thoughtful and kindly as he thinks it is.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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