Friday, April 18, 2008

When Canadian Police start behaving like Nazis we better call them on it: Sgt. Willie Merenick has been nominated for TN! of the week!

Who doesn't remember the Soup Nazi? Wikipedia remembers:

"The Soup Nazi" is the title of the 116th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which was the 6th episode of the 7th season. It first aired in the United States on November 2, 1995.

The Soup Nazi is also the name of the titular character played by Larry Thomas. The term "Nazi" is used as an exaggeration of the over-regimentation he constantly demands of his patrons.

More recently another profession has increasingly been acting more like the Nazis: we're talking about the police here, especially when armed with or talking about the notorious stun-gun more commonly known as the taser.

Taser use by Canadian police force has grown exponentially in the last few years. Initially the use of the taser has been defended by the police as a replacement tool for the gun. But as of recent the taser has been used on “non-compliant” fair evaders on Vancouver transit. What's next? Tasering babies for crying out loud?

Amnesty International has reported that Taser use can amount to torture, and in case of the Vancouver Transit Police Taserings we couldn't agree more. If someone who hasn't bought a two dollar ticket can expect to be tasered into compliance by Vancouver Transit Police then we know we have given the police far too much leeway for taser usage; tasering someone into compliance is torture.

Torture was something the Nazis were specifically good at, sometimes with the same goal in mind: forcing the victim into compliance. And just imagine: if the taser had been invented during the 1930s, wouldn't all publicly paid Nazi officers have carried it?

Given the descriptions above, isn't it fair to compare current public officers that engage in or promote Taser use on non-compliant but non-violent members of the public, to their imagined Nazi counterparts by calling them TASER-NAZIS? We think it is :)

If you would like to nominate someone for “Taser-Nazi of the Week” then please leave a comment on this page. Here is the repressive “Getting it Right Policy” on nominating someone. The nominee should comply with at least one of the following policies in order to be considered:
1.Anyone paid by the public who uses or threatens to use a taser on a non-compliant but unarmed (non-violent) member of the public.

2.Anyone paid by the public who works at a policing agency (so not a law maker) and who actively advocates FOR the use of tasers while ignoring (either actively or tacitly) the rationelle AGAINST the taser.

3.Anyone paid by the public who keeps repeating taser's unproven mantras (such as “the Taser saves lives” “the Taser prevents injuries” and “the Taser reduces injuries”) when hard facts have proven the contrary (many people have been injured and died after being tasered).

4.Anyone paid by the public who withholds information that can lead to the prosecution of officers that have used the taser gun to abuse or kill a "subject".

5.Anyone paid by the public who obstructs the process that can lead to the prosecution of officers that have used the taser gun to abuse or kill.

6. Anyone who lobbies on behalf of publicly paid workers and who participates in one of the activities described in 1-3.

First nomination for Taser-Nazi of the Week is: Sgt. Willie Merenick.

In an April 2008 interview Mr. Merenick confirmed that tasers have been used 10 times on members of the public in Vancouver by police officers from the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police. The taser was deployed “for the safety of the public, the people themselves and the police”.

The following is what got him nominated:
Sgt. Willie Merenick: “If we didn't believe that Tasers save lives, reduce injuries and are effective, we wouldn't use them.”
Well, Mr. Merenick, let me update you with some hard facts. Tasers do NOT save lives. In fact, there's isn't a shred of evidence that any of the thousands of Tasers out there has ever saved a single life, so who are you fooling here, Willie Merenick?

The same can be said about injuries. No data whatsoever that a taser can PREVENT an injury: If tasers really can prevent injuries shouldn't we all be wearing one? We do know that tasers have caused hundreds if not thousands of injuries (including burns, eye-wounds, broken limbs, and so on) and that many members people have died shortly after they were shot with a taser.

So there you go, Sgt. Willie Merenick, you've been nominated for taser-Nazi of the Week. Repeating corporate mantras while conveniently omitting contradicting facts (also called lying by omission) that would give a more balanced view on the taser has gotten you nominated. Congratulations!

- Vancouver Sun: Transit police back Taser use
- Amnesty International: Taser Related Deaths
- Democratic Underground: Taser Nazi nightmare needs to end


Mé said...

Didn't the Ottawa police threaten to taser a 10 year old because of a noise complaint?

Eric said...

Thank you Mé; indeed, Ottawa police did threaten to taser 10 year old because of a noise complaint.

The anonymous Ottawa police officer who made the threat has been nominated under the adapted rule #1.


Anonymous said...

"TASER-NAZI" - excellent.

Lots more on my blog at:

Eric said...

Thanks Anonymous, I too think the TASER-NAZI has potential to become a widespread phenomenon. People are fed up with it, but police is unfortunately not moving a millimeter on this issue; what better climate could there be for the Taser-Nazi?

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