What are we to make of this:
Here's a link to another version of the same events.
John Kerry released a statement about the events today:
“In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."
Now, I have no idea what Kerry may or may not have been able to see from his position on the podium, but it is distressing that he didn't take a more forceful stance on the student's behalf. It may well be that the kid was being a twerp and Kerry was glad to see him go, but being mobbed by six police, dragged to the back of the room screaming, and then tasered ought to have elicited some reaction from the good senator.
More distressing, however, is the casual use of tasers that seems to be emerging among some campus police forces. I'm thinking not just of this incident, but also the incident that took place recently at UCLA, where a student was tasered on his way out of the library.
Watching the video from the Kerry event, I was struck by the fact that the kid was subdued, begging the police not to taser him, and then they went ahead and did so anyway. What did they imagine they were accomplishing? I realize that tasering is a lot more benign a method of subduing somebody than other ways the police might have considered, but if, as has been reported, the student was down, handcuffed, and not evidently dangerous, and yet he was tasered regardless.
I know the police have a tough job, but have we really gotten to the point where we assume it to be legitimate for police simply whip out the taser with little provocation?