Amidst the week’s long trial of the cop that murdered George Floyd – and yes, I use the term murder because we all witnessed what he did… he murdered George, someone with whom he had bad history… [no wonder he didn’t testify, it would have made the premeditation obvious] – we have yet another black man murdered by a cop in Brooklyn Center.
This time, it’s a “mistake” in that the female officer Kim Potter pulled, not her taser – a device meant only to stun – but her service revolver, a device that fatally wounded a man “unintentionally”. Apparently, even though everyone can clearly see the BLACK GUN in the body cam footage, she was too flustered to realize she hadn’t drawn her brightly colored taser, but her pistol which would render a young father dead.
My question is this:
Why would we design a tool meant to only stun to be SO MUCH LIKE a tool meant to inflict potentially lethal damage?
With all the video games in the decades throughout my life, we’ve seen an amazing array of designs, not only for controllers but for new types of fitness gadgets from Wii Fit to Virtual Reality controllers. My wondering as I contemplate the murder of Daunte Wright, is why they didn’t design tasers to be more like a light saber or Wii fit paddle or FUCKING ANYTHING… besides a lot like a God Damn GUN?
I’m not the only one with this idea…
Alpert said a major factor in why officers mistakenly draw their firearm is that stun guns typically look and feel like a firearm. St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter brought up the same point during a news conference Monday.
“Why do we even have Tasers that operate and function and feel and deploy exactly like a firearm?” Carter asked. “Why can’t we have Tasers that look and feel different? That you could never mistake for deploying a firearm so that we can ensure that mistake that has happened before can never happen again?”EXPLAINER: How does an officer use a gun instead of a Taser? By SEAN MURPHY April 12, 2021 (my emphasis)
If there has been confusion – and there has been, as recalled in the above AP piece which mentions police fucking up like this in the past in Oakland, Tulsa, and St. Louis – then WTF are we not doing something about it? Is it because things are operating fine according to the managers? Or is it too much trouble to re-design & re-train? I mean what’s a couple more dead black folks… to the system? Apparently no worry… as we watch settlements instead of solutions.
How many trials will the citizens of Minnesota pay for – and how many settlements to families wronged by police action will be paid – before we see real change?
It seems a simple solution is in order:
Design Tasers to look, feel, and deploy DIFFERENTLY than Guns.
Will we see solutions? Or just more cops acting like the real criminals are those protesting their unnecessary and avoidable murders?
Perhaps our children can again light the way as adults seem to continue to fail…
While I was visiting my son in Colorado, we had a chance to experience Virtual Reality via a game called Beat Saber. This game is kind of a Star Wars meets Guitar Hero. The design has music playing with blocks associated to the beat which you slice through with light sabers (blue and red, so use the correct one for each block! And slice in the correct direction and a mid-point for best point totals…) to keep the music going.
Watching Celia play was amazing like a swing dancer cutting those blocks with a flip of the wrist. I too liked the swing of the patterns which guide you – yes, running the game without the slice indicators is FAR HARDER to manage as you must think to decide the best approach. Tom, on the other hand is stiff and robotic aiming for max precision on his blows. We also played Skyrim which was fucking amazing to experience! Running down hills of snow and shooting arrows… too cool.
While we enjoyed our vacation and helping our kids get settled in a new home, it was bittersweet being away from home watching many horrors unfold, from the Chauvin trial to the new daily atrocities facing people of color in the Deep North.
If our children have access to tools that clearly differentiate between gaming systems, is it not reasonable to expect that our police officers can do the same for tasers and guns? Especially as it is literally a matter of life and death?
Journalists are taking a stand against the egregious behavior of Minnesota law enforcement, now ordered by Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright (no irony there?) to obey the law with a Temporary Restraining Order. (FFS – is that what is required for police to obey the fucking law???)
The examples within this document referenced below are a depiction of the unlawful ways Minnesota law enforcement is dealing with protest, including violating the freedom of the press… simply working to document and protect Minnesotans and tell the story for citizens who are not present.
While it is good to see the Minnesota Department of Safety and State Police ordered to obey the law regarding journalists, there is no mention of County or other local law enforcement being held to the requirements of this TRO.
…April 16, District Court Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining all “agents, servants, employees, and representatives” of the Minnesota Department of Safety and the Minnesota State Patrol from committing violent and threatening acts against journalists, including:
(1) “arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force—including through use of flash bang grenades, non-lethal projectile, riot batons, or any other means. . .
(2) Requiring Journalists to disperse, or arresting Journalists for not dispersing;
(3) “using chemical agents” including pepper spray and tear gas; and
(4) “Seizing any photographic equipment, audio- or videorecording equipment, or press passes.”
Yet as discussed on our call, reports from journalists on the ground indicate that over the last several days—and even last night after the TRO was in effect—law enforcement officers have engaged in widespread intimidation, violence, and other misconduct directed at journalists that have interfered with their ability to report on matters of intense public interest and concern. …
On today’s call, the question was posed whether this type of tension between law enforcement and the media is commonplace these days, or whether Minnesota is a unique example. Certainly, we live in politically and socially tense times and that is true across the country. But the abuses perpetrated by law enforcement officers in the Twin Cities over the past several nights—and going back to last summer—are alarming and, yes, threaten to set this State apart. They also are clear violations of the First Amendment, and for those officers subject to the TRO, they are in direct violation of the TRO.30+ News organizations write to Governor Walz
And where is Walz? On FB, his update on this issue is… pretty quiet… except to blame Republicans… for his inability to manage the situation. And how about protecting the CITIZENS of Minnesota – you know, those people who elected you? Where we at with that, Timmy Four-Fingers? Silence.