Better tasered than being shot, but common sense is best

police taser Picture by Jon Corken
Police taser (Picture by Jon Corken)

Today’s announcement that Ontario will allow frontline police officers to be armed with tasers is good news for the general public as it might lead to more preventable deaths.

Before today’s announcement, only certain officers such as supervisors or members of tactical units were allowed to carry such device.

But after the Sammy Yatim incident where the young man was shot nine times and later tasered while confined on a TTC streetcar surrounded by many police officers the Ontario Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services decided on this change due to the overwhelming public outcries against police brutality.

Although the Ontario Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services said that their decision was not specifically related to the Sammy Yatim case as the idea of equipping police officers with tasers was in the works already, the Sammy Yatim incident may have helped speed things up. Because the use of gun which seems to be the first response to any incidents these days will almost certainly lead to fatal death.

This is not to say that police officers who come in contact with a dangerous situation that could cost them their lives should be afraid to defend themselves with deadly force. We think that they should shoot when necessary, but whatever happened to common sense? Police officers should look at the situation and diffuse it by dialog first, then only as a last resort deadly force should be applied.

Thinking back to the movie “Training Day” starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, Detective Alonzo Harris, played by Denzel Washington, asked the bad guys “You wanna go to jail or you wanna go home?” Sometimes, it can be just that simple to diffuse a difficult situation.

Of course, there are opponents to tasers too because the electrical current can also kill due to various medical conditions, but the idea of being shot versus being tasered, it is probably safe to say that the latter may be better for you as your chance of survival is greater.

No matter if you agreed or disagree with tasers, we think the best weapon is to use common sense as different situations call for different tactics whether that be dialog, baton, taser or a gun.