From Houston comes confirmation of something obvious to observers whose minds aren’t hostage to state-think: The Portable Electro-Shock Torture device (PEST, more commonly called the Taser) is a lethal weapon — not a “non-lethal” weapon, or even a “less-lethal” one.
The catch is that a PEST/Taser gun is considered lethal only when it falls into the hands of someone other than the sanctified personages in blue.
Houston police officer R. Gardiner was moonlighting as a private “security officer” recently when he came upon a domestic squabble. When he intervened, Gardiner was physically overcome by the male half of the couple, who snagged the officer’s Taser and allegedly exclaimed, “You’re dead now.”
Gardiner responded by pulling his service revolver and firing at least two shots, killing the man.
The shooting will be investigated by the HPD’s internal affairs division, as well as the homicide division, since it involved a use of lethal force by a police officer, albeit one who wasn’t formally on duty.
The fact that Gardiner was not immediately charged with criminal homicide tacitly attests that the shooting was considered a proper response to a potentially lethal threat — namely, that Gardiner would find himself on the receiving end of the torture toy frequently employed by police against unarmed citizens.
Under many state statutes, the criminal offense of “disarming a peace officer” applies to both firearms and Tasers. (Why doesn’t any state explicitly recognize that disarming a citizen is a crime?)
In Wisconsin a few years ago a father and son were prosecuted for “illegal possession of an electric weapon” after the son swiped a Taser from a patrol car. In some states, “civilian” Taser ownership is permitted, but possession of Taser-resistant fabric is (surprise!) limited to those who wear government-issued costumes.10:28 pm on August 2, 2009 Email William Norman Grigg