Monday, July 30, 2007

Ouch! Quit It!

I don't like the practice of protesters chaining themselves to things to get their way. Kinda like holding your breath until you turn blue to get your way. Or holding a gun to your own head and yelling out the bank door, "Give me a car a and a plane or I'll shoot!"

But I can empathize with these protesters. Captain Rowell said the use of the Taser was within guidelines and that there was no other way. But what about just waiting them out? Sooner or later they would have become hungry or tired and let go.

I would define torture as the application of significant noxious stimuli until you get the result you want. It doesn't have to be deadly or disfiguring, just serious badness. Is waterboarding torture? Yeah, I think so. That doesn't mean I think you should never do it.

I agree that these people were tortured to get them to let go, at least from the limited information in the article here. I believe that withholding treatment from a junkie who is in withdrawal in order to get a confession is torture.
Activists opposed to development planted flowers and herbs in a gentle protest that stretched through the night. In the morning, when they refused to leave a vacant lot where a truck stop has been proposed, things got ugly. The protesters were Tasered by police.

"It was torture," said Janisse Ray, one of the protesters, who witnessed Jonathan "Slug" Crowell and Samantha Kilmurray being shocked.

Police acknowledged that they used the devices Tuesday, but said they had to use them to get the protesters to move.

"There was no other choice," said Captain Steven Rowell, a police spokesman.

Rowell said it was the first time officers in the town, which is known for its outspoken activists, have used Tasers against protesters. The action was in line with the department's policy on the use of force, he said.

Police Chief John Martin has said he will investigate, but has stood behind his officers.

About 20 activists brought trowels and seedlings Monday to a strip of Route 5 lined with big-box stores, to protest what they feel is a creeping commercial assault on the town.

A few, including Crowell and Kilmurray, both 32, stayed all night. When police arrived in the morning, they arrested the couple, but found that they had chained themselves to a steel barrel.

The barrel was rigged so that the pair could release themselves, but police needed tools they did not have to remove them.

"Like a jackhammer," Rowell said. "It's a typical strategy used by Greenpeace and other professional activists."

Officers shocked the two with Tasers until they agreed to release themselves. (source)
These folks are going to sue the city and get mega-bucks. I like that the police chief is standing behind his officers pending an investigation, though.

Hat tip: Not So Confidential

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