Not that anyone is physically making that trip, mind you. But psychologically, the growning acceptability of extreme, but non-lethal, force has enabled the mental leap from one place to the other. With the presidential precendent set via the recently signed Military Commissions Act for making it up as you go along, police seem to be using increasingly out-of-proportion measures to ensure "compliance." Witness the recent incident in which a UCLA student was brutally tasered for failing to produce student ID in a library. And when I say "witness," I mean witness: the incident was captured on video by a fellow student using his mobile device and posted to YouTube [Warning: The video itself is disturbing. In particular you may want to turn down your speakers, as his screams of agony will stay with you for a very long time.] Towards the end of the video, police can be seen and heard threatening innocent bystanders with equal treatment if they don't "get back."
The police may view the taser as a better solution to ensure compliance than lethal force, but I doubt very much that the facts of this case - student who is sitting, minding his own business and doing his research without ID in the library - would have justified an arms-drawn response. Rather than a replacement for the handgun, it seems that at least the UCLA police are considering the taser as an acceptable alternative to handcuffs, or even conversation. As for UCLA's administration, the acting chancellor defends the action, because anyone in the library after 11 p.m. without student ID could be a terrorist, dontcha know.
What a shameful state of affairs.
[Technorati tags: ucla | taser | reversal of america]