Tasers have become controversial lately. Without question, the use of tasers on certain individuals are lethal. We all know of the example where the RCMP's use of "Thomas A. Swift Electrical Rifle" killed Robert Dziekansi in Vancouver. Airport security called the RCMP for help after Dziekanski allegedly was pounding on windows and throwing chairs and computer equipment. After engaging Dziekanski with the Taser, the Mounties speculated that he died shortly after from a rare condition called excited delirium, though the coroner's office has not concluded the cause of death.
Not more than a week after Dziekansi's death, a Montreal man was killed after being tazed by by police. Quilem Registre, 38, was intoxicated when he was stopped by police on Oct. 14 for a traffic violation. Police say he became aggressive when questioned and officers were forced to use a Taser. He was sent to hospital in critical condition, where he died Oct. 17. Registre was the 17th person to die from a stun-gun-related death in Canada.
Two prime examples of the National call on a moratorium on the police use of Tasers. So what is the alternative? The handgun? The baton? Pepper spray? More non-lethal weapons that police should use on suspects they approach who may be armed and/or reportedly violent? I have travelled abroad this Country and throughout the world and if ever stopped by an officer of the law, the universal "reach for the gun" method has always been a deterrent for criminals to cease and desist of their behaviour. Unless extremely intoxicated, high, or mentally ill, those who do not understand that an officer has his weapon out usually know that severe consequences will result if they do not abide by the officer's demands.
So how do we keep officer's and the public safe if we lessen an peace officer's ability to subdue a violent suspect by removing Tasers and allowing them to resort to sidearms? I would really hearing from people on this subject as this topic will form part of discussion at the next Federal/Provincial Ministers of Justice and Public Safety Conference held in Quebec this fall.