Yes, Tasers ARE “Less Lethal” & Shaun King is a Moron

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In digging through Google this morning, looking to see if the autopsy report for Chinedu Okobi, the brother of the Facebook executive who is on the cop hating warparth, had been released yet, I stumbled upon a piece written by our favorite white guy who pretends he is black, Shaun King.  The title of the piece is “My Morehouse Brother Chinedu Okobi Died After Being Electrocuted by Police. Tasers Are Not ‘Less Lethal’ Weapons.”

Holy crap!  How is it actually possible for someone who is college educated to be this stupid?

Hey Shaun, dipshit, the term is “less lethal,” not “non-lethal.”

LESS, as in not always, not necessarily, not designed to…

Here, maybe this will help.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

LESS – adjective
1 : constituting a more limited number or amount
– less than three
– less than half done

2 : of lower rank, degree, or importance
– no less a person than the president himself

3a : of reduced size, extent, or degree
b : more limited in quantity
– in less time

To put that in context, Tasers and other electronic control devices are designated “less lethal” because they are 1) not designed to kill and 2) in normal conditions, do not kill.  This phrase, “less lethal,” is specifically chosen because it differentiates Tasers and other “less lethal” devices from lethal weapons, such as firearms.  Items such as a beanbag shotgun are also designated “less lethal,” but that does not mean they cannot kill you, it just means they are not designed or intended to cause death.

Now, for Shaun, and for Ebele Okobi (the Facebook exec), and all the others out there who are slow on the up take, Tasers are not the cause of death.  In almost all instances where someone died after being Tasered, the cause of death was a heart attack, which is what happened to Chinedu Okobi.   The reason they are suffering a heart attack is from extreme physical exertion, usually a pre-existing heart condition, and more often than not, illicit drugs on board.  That extreme physical exertion, that is the part where they are fighting the cops, which is what causes them to get Tased.

Coincidentally enough, many other people suffer heart attacks during extreme physical exertion, even world class runners have been known to have heart attacks while exercising.  But I digress…

Back before we had Tasers, you know how cops handled someone who was violently resisting arrest?  They beat them into submission, with batons, fists, and boots, and whatever else, because we had no other way to stop them.  You know what used to happen a lot more back before we had Tasers?  People died from heart attacks while being beaten by the cops while they violently resisted arrest.  You know what happens far less now?  I’ll give you one guess…

So let us examine this specific case since King seems so happy to lay all the blame on the “racist white cops” and their “police violence.”  As King so accurately points out, while unnecessarily drawing out his Okobi’s race, “He was a big Black man, a dark-skinned Nigerian who was 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed 330 pounds.”

He was a big dude, a very big dude.  What King does not tell you, intentionally, is that the first officer to contact Okobi was attacked by him and called for cover.  That officer was later treated at the hospital for his injuries.  Five cops struggled with Okobi trying to get him in custody, but were unable to get him to comply until they used a Taser.

Of course, King tries to draw a correlation between deploying a Taser and shooting him with a gun, because theatrics sell and that is what King does.  “Let me phrase that another way: Chinedu was still shot, but by guns that electrocute people to death instead of tearing apart their flesh and organs with bullets.”

King rambles on for a few paragraphs blaming everyone but the violently resisting guy, and then he drops this pile a steaming horse hockey:

“That such dangerous shocks would be administered to people with mental illnesses is especially upsetting. Every single day in this country, hundreds of thousands of nurses treat adults and children who are living with mental illness.  Those patients are regularly in crisis, and nurses consistently face them down without ever having to electrocute them into submission.”

So, let me get this straight, just because a guy has mental illness, that means he is not a danger?  A 6’3” 330 pound guy, who happens to be mentally unstable, is not a threat?  Am I getting that right Shaun?  Oh yes, by all means, draw a comparison to hospitals.  Fine, we can go there, seeing as my wife is a nurse and I have spent quite a bit of time sitting in an ER while on duty with arrestees.  You know what they have in hospitals, you freaking idiot, they have sedatives that they administer to violent patients.  You know what else I have seen done in the ER was the staff calling the cops for violent patients who have assaulted staff, and the patient then got Tased by the cops in order to get the patient back under control, strapped down onto the bed, so that they could be SEDATED.

King is an idiot, and he draws comparisons that are not remotely comparable, all the while blaming it on skin color.

You know what King does not address is just how many people were saved by the use of a Taser.  “What the hell is this guy talking about?” you are asking yourself.  Think of all the people who were armed, and instead of shooting them with a firearm, the cops managed to use a Taser to get them to drop their weapon or stun them until they could be subdued.

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In my career, I personally have Tased three men who all would have been shot had we not had a Taser.  One was a suicidal guy standing in the middle of a cul-de-sac holding a handgun.  With plenty of lethal cover, I approached him from the side until I was in range and deployed the Taser, causing him to drop the handgun.  He went to the hospital and lived to see another day.

On another occasion, a crazy guy in a care home lit the apartment on fire and armed himself with a butcher knife.  All of the staff and the other patients fled, but the crazy guy remained inside, and the fire department refused to enter to fight the fire because there was a crazy guy armed with a knife.  So two of my partners and I went to the apartment, kicked open the door and there he was, standing 20′ inside the smoke filled, burning apartment holding the 10” butcher knife.  I deployed the Taser, he went to the floor, we got the knife away, dragged him out alive and fire saved the building.

And on the last occasion, which happened to be caught on dashcam, a suicidal retired firefighter with terminal cancer, was sitting on his front porch, facing sideways to the house, holding a handgun.  He was refusing to drop the weapon and would not comply with any directions.  He wanted us to kill him, he was hoping for suicide by cop, and it was starting to look like we were going to oblige him.  I told the deputy who was calling out the commands (he is a Lieutenant now…) that I was going to circle around, come up behind the guy and Tase him, which I did.  As I hit him with the Taser, he dropped the gun, rolled forward out of the chair, and my partners rushed forward and detained him.  He left that situation alive, but eventually the cancer got him.

In all three of those instances, people’s lives were saved, and a cop did not have to live with the aftermath of taking someone’s life, because we had a Taser.  And that is just the experiences of one cop in one jurisdiction.  Imagine what those stats are like nationwide.

So, go ahead, scream, clamor, demand that cops stop using Tasers.  When cops start killing more people because you took away one of our more effective LESS LETHAL options, I’ll be here to say I told you so.

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Matt
Deputy Sheriff at California
Matt is a full time Deputy Sheriff that has been on the job since 1996. During his time as a LEO he's attended countless training classes and is a court recognized firearms expert. Matt brings a unique perspective to discussion regarding the second amendment given his LEO experience and life time appreciation of firearms and our 2nd Amendment rights.