When the TASER was first introduced to law enforcement it was touted as an alternative to deadly force. In other words, when all else failed and your only other option was to shoot, the TASER offered an alternative that was less likely to be fatal. It was the weapon of (second) last resort. Since that time, it appears that, in the hands of many officers, it has become the weapon of first resort. No need to try to talk to the individual, or find out what the problem is, just TASER him (or her) and the questions can come later. And that misuse of this weapon is exactly why the RCMP finds itself in this mess today.
What will it take to put the TASER back where it belongs in the escalating use of force continuum? Well, since the killing of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport on October 14, I have seen and heard of several demonstrations where police use the TASER on other officers to show just how safe it is. One day the demonstration won’t go as planned and the targeted officer will not walk away. When that happens, when one cop kills another cop with this “safe” device, we will finally see appropriate guidelines for the use of this weapon. How sad that more life will have to be lost before the authorities come to their senses.