Thursday, October 28, 2010


"Let them eat cake" has become "let them buy tasers."   Why high-tech gadgets are doomed to lose the war on crime 
COLUMBIA, 10/27/10  (Commentary) -- Tasers and the taser ban proposal up for a vote this November are more examples of a gulf between Columbia's citizens and public officials that gets wider with each new measure. 
The very presence of tasers, red light cameras, downtown cameras, license plate readers, and other so-called "anti-crime" gadgetry in Columbia boggles the mind, given this community's small, college town ethos, small population, Liberal/Libertarian leanings, and frequent protestations in the name of sustainability and Peace.
Such high-tech measures are short cuts -- some of them with profit motives (e.g. red light cameras).   As such, tasers and their techno-brethren let government leaders, courthouses, prosecutors, crime enablers, judges, and politicians off the hook, forcing more and more of a growing crime burden onto the backs of cops and deputies.
"Let them eat cake" has become "let them buy tasers." 
Who, after all, uses these gadgets to put down crooks?   Monitors red light cameras?  Watches downtown surveillance systems?  Uses license plate readers?   Our men and women in Navy blue and deputy-brown.
Meanwhile, local officials are doing little to get at the root of our growing crime problem, like ending Columbia's ongoing residential segregation; increasing -- rather than slashing -- city support and infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods; ending practices like renting to chronic offenders; and pressuring our courts not to let hard-core felons walk the streets after posting paltry bonds, or do their jail time at home (so-called "home-detention"), wherein they harass the rest of us -- and often re-offend.
This morass of failure in the face of shootings, robberies, gang violence, and drug deals leaves me torn about how to vote.  Saying No to Tasers leaves law enforcement with one less high-tech tool.  At the same time, high-tech tools for law enforcement don't stop crime.  
We -- you, me, and our local leaders -- have to do that.  But so far, while the spirit may be willing, the nature has been woefully weak.  
(Photo from UK DailyMail, 2007)

1 comment:

  1. It is people who kill other people whether it be with a gun,knife,night stick,Taser,piece of lead pipe,a car,poison gas,hand grenades,mines,bombs or whatever the instrument of death might be.

    Are we going to ban all of those things too or are we going to ALL work together to weed out the bad apples who abuse authority that are the real cause of these deaths.

    Chief Burton cannot control any one's individual behaviors but he can set principles and standards in place that if not followed can lead to termination of that officer.

    If you ban one thing you had better ban them all and if you ban Tasers you better be prepared to go back to the days when officers had to go to the E.R. due to injuries encountered on the job and then you better expect your taxes to go up to help pay for those workmen comp claims all because you and others voted to take their Tasers away.

    Are you and others prepared to pay more in taxes to cover the injuries to officers ans suspects once you take their Tasers away? Are you?

    Think about it.

    People's behaviors in ignorance or just the lack of thought are what kill people not the instruments they might choose to use.

    If you had attended the Keep Columbia Safe Meeting last night you would have been able to talk to the PRO and Sheriff Carey directly as I and others did.

    It caught me as strange though that nobody from the NAACP was there and only two from Taser Free Columbia were there. I thought they wanted to work together to build some kind of a bridge and I would have expected more in attendance.

    Another question brought up last night is what will be happening after the election and Prop 2 is either voted down or approved. Where do we go then. Time will tell all wont it.