Torture in Gitmo, and Tasers in the USA.

Police discuss torture with tasers

tasers as torture cartoon, 5th amendment cartoon

Nancy Pelosi seems so far away now, doesn’t she? There was a story that didn’t last long. Or tptb buried it! Yet it was just last month…

I’m sure she did know about the CIA tortures in Guantanamo Bay. Politico says she did. She was probably only given a few details, and didn’t quite understand it: no one is proud of torture, even, or maybe especially, the armed services. Many decision-makers just believe it has to be done. I’ve read that it’s not an efficient way to get confessions,  but I’m quite sure I would squeal about anything in the world after about 1 minute of it. Maybe less.

News reports say only 3 of the Gitmo detainees were actually waterboarded, which everyone agrees is the worst kind of torture. One of these guys claimed responsibility for beheading Daniel Pearl – and nothing is more heinous than beheading someone, in my kingdom. But US News & World Report says:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, has claimed responsibility for beheading Pearl, but it recently came to light that the al Qaeda operative was waterboarded more than 180 times in 30 days. This has left some of Pearl’s colleagues skeptical of the confession.

Um, me, too, now.   This is certainly going overboard. Who’s telling the truth?

I’ve written before that I hate torture more than murder. Still, I do think that as a LAST RESORT it MIGHT be necessary to save many many more lives. Just seems like common telephone marketers and “people persons” like bomb squad talkers, could do a better job at getting people to talk, doesn’t it?

But let’s jump to our legal torture, Tasers. Police in the US have been using Tasers for what, 8 years? Reading the news, it appears that most, if not all major cities use it. Electrocuting our own people. I remember the first (and only, thank God) time I saw it, on the news, when California Highway Patrol used it to subdue one of those very dangerous people, freeway joyriders, who drive at 40 mph on the freeway, helicopters circling, until they run out of gas. When I saw the officer (using that word loosely) shoot the driver, and saw his body twitching and convulsing for a good minute, obviously in excruciating pain, I burst into tears, and immediately called the LAPD to complain.

Some police have been tasered themselves, as a way for the department to inure themselves to the violence they were about to affect on others. They describe it as unbelievable, excruciating pain that first makes you rigid, as all muscles contract and then release, over and over.

When my first book was published I had a couple of headaches that were nerve based, from my neck, and sent me to the emergency room. It felt like an electric cattle prod is applied to your spine and I screamed and wept because of the jabbing pain. I’m sure the taser pain is much worse, but most of the time, no one remembers it.  They black out because of it, but observers can see them writhe and scream. Short-term memory loss – how convenient for the Taser company.

But beyond pain, how about DYING? Amnesty International has been keeping track of Taser deaths, but I see many more just reading the LA Times than they actually count at AI. In fact, I’ve been cutting out articles for a folder on this, and it’s quite full. People die frequently from getting Tasered. By our own police, to us.

This is a rather gentle cartoon, about a horrifying torture device. The Taser Company itself has a quaint explanation of how they got the name:

The name stems from an acronym created by the original inventor of TASER technology, John H. “Jack” Cover, former chief scientist of North American Aerospace’s Apollo Moon Landing Program. Jack’s favorite book character is Tom Swift of the Tom Swift Series, authored by Victor Appleton in 1910-1941. One of the books, TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RIFLE, inspired Jack to create the acronym TASER.

They have a picture on the home page of a mom and child who will buy one together, all family-like. That sounds like a winning combination.

Youtube of 72 year old grandmother being tasered. USA Today has an article from 2004 that says Seattle police used Tasers 500 times that year. CREEPY.  The UN Committee Against Torture condemns Tasers as being torture.

So do I.