25 February 2009

And Water Isn't Wet, Either

Don't you just love it when someone from a BAH organization says something publicly that is so incredibly inane, yet says it with such sincerity that you'd swear that they believe it themselves. And what's even better is when they construct their own little system of logic that makes it true for them, and preserves the integrity of the BAH system to which their identity is inextricably hooked. And, like all good BAH systems, their BAH system cannot be wrong (otherwise, it's identity crisis time).

So it was the other day with the sincere, but inane, statements from the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, calling for increased use of Tasers by saying, "To date there is no evidence, either scientific or medical, that a conducted energy weapon has been the direct cause of death ... on any person."

Technically speaking, that's probably true. There have been hundreds of studies done, most of them sponsored by Taser International, or performed by hired consultants for Taser International, or both, that demonstrate that the "conducted energy weapon" - the Taser - has not been the direct cause of death. But that's like saying there has been no instance in which a "firearm" (gun) has been the cause of death. That's a technically true statement. You see, it's the bullets that cause the damage, not the gun. And even bullets themselves have never been the direct cause of death, technically speaking. All persons that have succumbed subsequent to an incident involving the acceleration of a projectile from an individually targetible contained chemical explosive device have all experienced either extreme vascular tensivity or sudden organ failure that contributed to their deaths. (Translation: everyone who has died of gunshot wounds either bled to death or had their insides blasted to smithereens.)

You see, to say anything else about Tasers, to deny the myth of Excited Delirium, is to admit that the BAH system is wrong, that decisions taken for what seemed to be valid reasons were actually inappropriate, ill-advised, or poorly thought out. It is to admit that there are indeed police officers who exhibit latent sadistic behaviour, and some who succumb to their own frustrations and weakness of character. And, above all, a BAH system cannot, under any circumstances, be shown to be wrong. Any such revelation will compromise the premises upon which the BAH system is built, namely the infallibility of its intrinsic processes.

And on this topic, kudos to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who has taken a reasonable and responsible approach to Tasers, essentially treating them in the same category as police officers' service revolvers.

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1 comment:

Paul said...

I think that a lack of transparency is symptomatic of any BAH system. As with any highly vertical structure, whether it be organizational or physical, they become sensitive to small disturbances and have to work hard to dampen their effect lest the foundations become weakened. Covering up or denying mistakes also makes them fertile ground for corruption and failure to right wrongs leads to arrogance and unaccountability. Just look at how the BBC has behaved in recent years.