Taser justice

Miami police used a Taser to subdue a six-year-old boy who’d threatened to cut himself with broken glass in the principal’s office. He was shocked with 50,000 volts.

Police said the officers talked to the boy without success. When the boy cut his own leg, one officer shocked him with a Taser gun and another grabbed him to keep him from falling.

They couldn’t just grab him?

Update: In another incident, a Miami-Dade officer Tasered a 12-year-old girl, who was running away after being caught cutting school and drinking.

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Comments

  1. Mad Scientist says:

    Would you just grab someone flailing away with a sharp object? Shock the little hellion. Repeatedly. Better yet, let’s just put dog training collars on all the kids to keep them in line. One sasses back, and ZAP! That ought to learn ’em some manners!

    Seriously, it’s not the voltage that kills, it’s the amperage. Temporarily paralyzing the kid was for his own damn good.

  2. >>Would you just grab someone flailing away with a sharp object?

  3. Mad Scientist says:

    Yeah, you are right. A taser is just too nice. Use a rubber hose instead and beat him senseless.

    Or, better yet, just let the kid slice himself to bits.

  4. Apparently they really like doing this. An AP report says they’ve done it twice now, once to the six-year-old, and to a 12-year-old girl truant from school.

    Here’s a link to the article in the Miami Herald: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/10170605.htm?1c

  5. Paul Snively says:

    Folks, as Mad Scientist has already pointed out, it’s vastly safer to use a Tazer on someone wielding a sharp object than to “just grab them.” 50,000 volts isn’t a lot. Don’t believe me? See <http://www.hobbytron.net/Van-De-Graaf-Generator-Kit.html>, or just Google on “van de graaff generator volts” for more information. Many Van De Graaff generators that you find in science museums or catalogs for school science class supplies generate as many as 1,000,000 volts, or 20 times as many as a Tazer, and people voluntarily walk up to them, put their hand on the sphere, and have fun making their hair literally stand on end as the 1,000,000 volts course through them.

    Let’s please try to avoid adding to the “This is outrageous!” discourse based on bad science; there’s enough of that going around as it is.

  6. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “They couldn’t just grab him?”

    It depends on how far away they were, and how fast the cops were. An edged weapon depends on speed, not strength. Even a six year old can damage himself with one.

    Defending cops pains me. But, not being a conservative, I feel the truth has value in it’s own right, and should be defended. Cops are scum. But there are more than enough valid reasons to say so.

  7. Richard Nieporent says:

    Cops are scum.

    Thanks, Richard Brandshaft for your cogent comment. You better hope that you are never in need of the police.

    What is about leftist that makes them incapable of rational discourse?

  8. If the cops had just grabbed at the kid, they could have received some pretty nasty cuts on their arms – not life-threatening, but requiring an impressive number of stitches and putting them on limited duty for weeks. On the other hand, if they keep zapping people with tasers, they’ll eventually have someone with a heart defect or something die from it. And any adult who can’t move much faster and more accurately than the average six-year old shouldn’t be on the police force, so chances are if they’d just grabbed for his arm, everything would have been fine.

    Given that the kid had started cutting himself, and that there was some danger to the cops too, I think that using the taser is justifiable. It not only eliminated the risk to the cops, but averted more serious injuries to the kid. The cops had to do something fast and using the taser wasn’t unreasonable, whether or not people with all day to think about it can come up with better ideas.

  9. I think I come down on the ‘anti’ side here…reluctantly. It’s pretty easy to second guess the people who had to make the real-time decision, and I’m normally unwilling to do so.

    However, in this case we are dealing with a six year old, and there has been another incident with questionable taster use on a 12 year old girl in the same area. I bet there have been no studies of taser effects on small children…so it’s not clear what the real risk level is.

    All in all this seems to me to be something that should have been dealt with _before_ the police arrived.

  10. He’s lucky he was in Miami, and not San Jose.

  11. Many Van De Graaff generators […] generate as many as 1,000,000 volts, or 20 times as many as a Tazer, and people […] have fun making their hair literally stand on end as the 1,000,000 volts course through them.

    Try touching the 1 MV VanDerGraff generater, and then go home and stick your finger in a 120 volt lamp socket, and tell me that the voltage comparison makes sense. The Tazer generates higher current and uses two conductors to complete the circuit.

  12. >But, not being a conservative, I feel the truth has value in it’s own right, and should be defended.

    Um, Mr. Brandshaft, would you care to defend that nice juicy ad hominem by telling us what, exactly, it has to do with supporting the police on this?

  13. Try touching the 1 MV VanDerGraff generater, and then go home and stick your finger in a 120 volt lamp socket, and tell me that the voltage comparison makes sense.

    You’re right: the voltage comparison doesn’t make sense. Volts aren’t what kills you. That 120V wall socket is carrying 15-20 amps(as little as 0.7 amps can be lethal).

    The Tazer generates higher current and uses two conductors to complete the circuit.

    You misunderstand the way electricity works. Using water as an analogy: voltage would be the diameter of the pipe through which the water travels; watts would be the amount of water(the charge); amps would be the pressure(the current).

    As you can see, an increase in voltage actually makes the charge less lethal by delivering it with less force(and over a longer period of time). Now then, given that a Taser delivers up to 26 watts, that means the total current comes to no more than 0.00052 amps. I’d hardly call that something to be overly concerned about.

  14. Mad Scientist says:

    Uh, andyo, lethal amperage is usually accepted to be 70 miliamps (or 0.07 amps). But the point is generally correct.

  15. andyo, is that peak current, or RMS? If the latter, the peak current could be considerably higher.

    My point about the Tazer having two conductors is that it can actually deliver what it is capable of generating– essentially pumping the current through the body. Current from the VanDerGraf generator is limited by the capacitance of the body– once it is charged up to the same voltage as the source, no more current can flow.

    voltage would be the diameter of the pipe through which the water travels; watts would be the amount of water(the charge); amps would be the pressure(the current).

    Your water analogy is incorrect. Voltage is a measure of electrical pressure, amperage is the volume of current flow, and watts is the product of the two, describing the amount of work (or damage) that can be done.

  16. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “…You better hope that you are never in need of the police…” That’s weird logic. The fact that police are important makes it MORE a matter of concern that they are scum. Not less. An equivalent argument is that you shouldn’t object to medical malpractice because you might need a doctor some day.

    “…would you care to defend that nice juicy ad hominem by telling us what, exactly, it has to do with supporting the police on this?”

    Despite my opinion of cops, I feel criticism in this case is unwarranted, and felt I should say so. This is a mainly liberal ethic, which, sadly, has had minimal effect on main stream political discourse.

  17. amperage is the volume of current flow

    Sorry, I should have said rate of current flow, e.g. gallons-per-hour. “Volume” (“gallons”) is measured in joules.

  18. “Despite my opinion of cops, I feel criticism in this case is unwarranted, and felt I should say so. This is a mainly liberal ethic, which, sadly, has had minimal effect on main stream political discourse.”

    Richard, maybe I’m just an idiot, but I still don’t see what conservative-bashing has to do with your point on that. And the truth is now a partisan ethic? Really? Golly gee whiz, I sure missed the boat on that one!

  19. Uh, andyo, lethal amperage is usually accepted to be 70 miliamps (or 0.07 amps).

    Voltage is a measure of electrical pressure, amperage is the volume of current flow, and watts is the product of the two, describing the amount of work (or damage) that can be done.

    Well, that’ll teach me to get involved in a physics discussion. 🙂

  20. Richard Nieporent says:

    Isn’t that cute. We have our own little revolutionary. Hey Richard you forgot to include “Power to the people!” and “Kill the cops!”. So you believe that all police, whether white, black, brown, yellow, red, male or female are scum, is that correct? That is not very charitable of you. And I thought it was only those evil conservatives who are mean and nasty. Yes, I understand your “logic” Richard. The police are instruments of our racist and Fascist country, so they must be scum. Tell me, do you go out of your way to make a fool of yourself or does it come natural?

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