I, American, wish we would follow this Canadian example

Canada orders review after Taser death

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada ordered a review into the use of Tasers on
Thursday after graphic video footage emerged showing police using the
stun guns to shoot an unarmed Polish immigrant who then collapsed and


The video cast severe doubt on the official Royal Canadian Mounted
Police account of the incident, which said officers fired Taser shots
at Dziekanski after he became abusive.

The video, taken by a
bystander at the airport, initially shows a sweating and upset
Dziekanski throwing a small table at a window in the luggage retrieval
section and shouting at airport staff. By the time a team of four
police officers arrives, he has calmed down and is standing still.

Police then fired at least two shots from Taser stun guns at the
40-year-old man, who collapsed to the ground howling in pain. At least
three policemen could then be seen kneeling on Dziekanski, who died
shortly afterward.


The left-leaning New Democratic Party said it was unhappy the Mounties were investigating the conduct of their own members.

"There is a litany of cases in which serious errors have been made when
the police investigate themselves," said spokesman Ian Capstick.

Imagine if this had happened in the U.S. First, not one member of either of the two big political parties would have a thing to say about it. Second, the law enforcement agency would have automatically concluded that justice was done, and would only delay this announcement by the routine "investigation".  The media would report this rather uncritically and the average voter would be satisfied.

Let's take a lesson in being civilized from the Canadians on this one.

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Cruel Americans

There is a kind of viscious punitive mentality that still underlies much of America. Unfortunately this is coupled with respect for "law and order", ironically much more so among (minarchist) libertarian conservatives than many liberals who technically support a far broader and intrusive state.

I believe it's more cultural, rather than some natural outcome of laissez faire. The relatively nomadic, peasant and frontier lifestyle of Americans historically, and the continuing infulx of immigrants with that same kind of "old school" view of social relations keeps it going.

I spelled vicious wrong


Guess that depends on how you define "libertarian conservatives"

"Unfortunately this is coupled with respect for "law and order", ironically much more so among (minarchist) libertarian conservatives than many liberals who technically support a far broader and intrusive state."

Without taking a survey, I guess if you define libertarian conservative as someone who has a "viscious punitive mentality" and calls themselves a libertarian then I'll buy it.   That way you get 100% rate of this attitude amoung "libertarian conservatives".  I'm sure I've heard outrage expressed by a least one liberal on this issue, which brings the liberal rate below 100%.   I'm sure if you define liberal a certain way we can make the difference "much more" than that.

Of course if you don't define it this way then you need to first identify these groups and do a survey.  I don't know where all these surveys you guys seem to be using are published.   How does Randall come to the conclusion that the "average voter would be satisfied".    I hope you guys are aware that it is next to impossible to tease out what people want from the political process.    The results we get do not neccesarily reflect the desires of the voters.   Voters are voting on entire collections of positions and not single issues.  Plus the politicians lie and do other that what even they intended to do.

We don't have to imagine

We don't have to imagine if it happened in the US. In the US, police do kill innocent people, and then there's a reaction. To take two examples, there was an incident in which a no-knock raid on the home of an old woman led to an exchange of fire in which the police killed the woman, and there was an incident in which a woman with some sort of mental problem was somehow killed by agents in an airport.

In the case of the old woman in the no-knock raid, according to Wikipedia, "On April 26, 2007, Smith and Junnier pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation, and making false statements. Smith additionally pleaded guilty to perjury."

In the case of the woman in the airport, Carol Gotbaum, her family appears to be pursuing the matter, and it's getting national coverage because the news organizations are perfectly aware that average viewers would be outraged by this and therefore that it makes for healthy sales of papers and ratings for TV news.

Meanwhile, it appears that the Canadian police acted badly, lying about the incident, and that it took the happenstance of a bystander's video to turn things around. This makes official Canada look very, very bad. While I don't think official US is fantastic, I really don't see anything here that turns Canada into this great civilized model contrasted with the barbaric US. There was the guy with the camera, but we have those in the US.

AFAIK Carol Gotbaum commited

AFAIK Carol Gotbaum commited suicide by strangling herself in her cell. The woman was just plain crazy.

Uncritical voter!

You must be one of those uncritical American voters who swallow the official story. :)

Good outcomes in two cases

Good outcomes in two cases out of thousands--that's bad odds.


That was two cases out of two, not two out of thousands, in the relevant sense (sampling). I actually learned about both these cases well before their final results. So, no, I wasn't following thousands of cases and then picked the two that came out well, nor did I first learn about these cases after they had wrapped up.

Anyway, the Canadian anecdote is no different. It's an anecdote. You didn't offer statistics, but an anecdote, and your anecdote made the Canadian government look horrendous (they tried to cover it up, and they would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for that meddling bystander and his dumb camera). And then you get all, "we're not worthy", like Canada is Alice Cooper.

Maybe you were just being sarcastic about the Canadians?

Why praise the Canadians

Here's the video.

I'm not sure what Randall found so exemplary in the Canadian behavior that we should emulate.    I recall many instances where there were calls in the US for reviews of tazer policy for less than lethal instances of abuse.  

I don't have to "Imagine if this had happened in the U.S." since lesser incidents happen in the US and get the same response.   Reviewing tazer policy (use guidelines and rules) doesn't mean that the Canadians are going to stop using tazers.   These guys seemed to use the tazer and the nightstick in a way that disregarded the health of the victim.    

Now either the Canadian police were following guidelines, in which case Canada is worse than some districts of the US, or they were not which means perhaps no changes will be made to them.   It might just be a matter of under training also.    

I said "some districts" because we don't have a uniform system, it's more like anarchy, here in the states, not sure what goes on in Canada.    Some of our precincts have zero rules and guidelines on tazer use.

Besides, aren't you arguing from an anarchist perspective?  Are you arguing that tazers shouldn't be used at all or that this was abuse of tazers?   What makes you think that in an anarchist society the same exact issues wouldn't come up, or perhaps things might be worse?


A few additional points on the Canadians..

First, I live in Vancouver, the city in which this happened. There are a few more points to the story that have been missed in the post and below comments. None of these points make the Canadian police and government look good at all. The story goes as follows: The incident occured and the fellow with the camera took his video. Shortly thereafter, the police requested that he hand over the video for the sake of their internal investigation, promising to return it within 48 hours. Of course, this did not happen and as soon as our officialdom trusting camera man asked to have his video back, he was politely informed that he could, indeed, have his camera back, but that the video would not be returned for at least two years, and perhaps never. (A time long enough for any damage the video could do to be completely forgotten) During the time in which the RCMP had the video, thinking it would never reach the light of public viewing, they made several OFFICIAL statements that were outright lies: First, they claimed that three officers had responded to the call about the polish man. Second, they calimed that they needed to use the tazers only after he commenced using abusive and dangerous behavior, and third, that they were unable to use simple pepper spray due to the crowds of other people surrounding them. All of these were lies, and proven to be so once the video became públic,(there were four cops, not three, they attacked a nonviolent man, and they were alone with him in a glass enclosed area) and the video only became public because our camera man didnt just sheepishly accept their refusal but, instead, hired a lawyer and filed a claim to have his video returned.
Now the cops look like the lying assholes they are, and the only reason that the Canadian government is bothering with any of the public denounciation, is due to the fact that the whole thing has become public and looks real fucking bad. Just two months before the airport incident, a young man in the RCMP´s custody, in British Columbia, was shot through the back of the head and killed, even though at the time he was handcuffed. For this also bizarre incident, there was no public outcry, no media recrimination, and no call from any politicians to investigate further. Why? because there was no video that made it all over the world.