Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A day where I almost sound like a conservative...

,,,emphasis on the *almost*,..

- In the wake of the news that the suspect in the attempted car-bombing of Times Square this weekend was able to buy a firearm after his name had been added to the government's terror watch list, there have been calls to bar people on that list from purchasing a firearm.

This is a bad idea that shouldn't go any farther than than a few election year press releases.

The conservatives will be against this because they oppose any restrictions on firearms possession.

I oppose this because nobody really knows how people get on the watch list (I could end up there because of this post, and won't know about it until the next time I fly somewhere) and it is almost literally riddled with errors.

Bottom line: People are innocent until proven guilty, even those suspected of association with terrorist activities/organizations. When somebody has been fairly and openly charged, tried, and convicted, then their civil rights can be curtailed. Until then, if they haven't actually done something to merit a firearms ban (felony conviction, mental illness, domestic violence), they should be able to purchase a gun like everyone else.

- On Monday, a Philadelphia teen ran onto the field during a Philadelphia Phillies' baseball game and ran all over the field like a complete idiot until he was tasered by a Philly PD officer, prompting calls for an investigation into the officer's use of the taser.

Do I think that the use of the taser was appropriate? No matter what the Philly PD says, NO. The kid wasn't a threat to himself or others; therefore there was no reason to use potentially lethal force on him.

I also think that the given the vast number of times that tasers have been used under circumstances that were questionable at best, the uproar over this one seems to be rooted in the fact there there were witnesses to this particular use, and that the suspect was a clean-cut (though profoundly dumb) white kid.

All incidents involving use of force by the police should be independently investigated, not just the incidents where there are thousands of witnesses.

BTW - I'm fully aware that if the officer *hadn't* tasered the kid and instead had tackled him (as is the norm for most such incidents) and the kid had been injured, there would be an uproar over that, too.

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