Against the Taser

Earlier I noted that it’s impossible to write perfect rules governing how police and citizens interact. A functioning society requires more than sound legal frameworks — reasonable people must exercise good judgment.

So one can imagine a defensible rule that enabled police to restrain a suspect by force during a traffic stop if he or she attempted to flee the scene. Imagine someone announcing that they’re going to get back in their vehicle and pushing past the detaining officer in order to do so.

Now watch as a police officer exhibits behavior that sickens me, and may well reflect a kind of cowardice I cannot quite understand:

The video brings to mind something my friend Apollo once wrote:

The cost to a cop of shooting someone with a gun is very high. The cost to a cop of shooting someone with a Taser is very low. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in economics to work out the incentive structure and realize that cops possessing Tasers is going to produce an awful lot of Taser victims where, absent the Taser, a non-violent outcome would have resulted. And beyond that, it makes cops more aggressive because they know they can resort to violence without having to justify shooting their gun.
This is not how a free people should be policed.