Thursday, May 20, 2010

Abstinence FAIL

My niece and I were chuckling (well, laughing out loud, really) over news coverage of a U.S. Congressman who resigned this week over an affair with a staff member.

The most amusing part was that the staffer in question had hosted a video interview with the Congressman on the topic of...wait for it...abstinence.

My niece turned a video still I found online of that fine piece of work into a motivational poster that she said I could share:

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

It Has Come to This

I wasn't aware of this incident until I saw this piece at Digby's blog.
During Monday's Phillies game, a person in attendance at Citizen Bank Park ran onto the field while the Cardinals were up to bat. According to those at the game, this fan was promptly tasered.
This is just amazing to me. We seem to have lost all sense of proportion. Having a young child myself, I'm used to hearing kids threaten death and dismemberment for all sorts of minor transgressions. That's developmentally appropriate at a certain age, but eventually we're supposed to grow out of it as we come to understand both physical and social realities. By the time we're adults (or even teens), we are supposed to have developed some sense of measured response.

But really. Fans (usually inebriated ones) have been running onto fields for a long time: At least as long as games have been televised. And I am old enough to remember the "streaking" fad. For those who are fans and want to watch the game, these things are an annoyance, but a minor one at most. You have a delay while the intruder eludes a few security guards or police for a few minutes, then they subdue the person, remove them from the premises, and the game resumes.

In my experience, the intruder usually eludes being captured for a few minutes, probably causing a little embarrassment for the pursuer, but truly nothing of consequence is happening here.

So why is it even remotely reasonable to use a weapon of any kind, much less a taser, to subdue such a person? Delaying a sporting event isn't a serious offense. No one is in serious danger of attack (though there have been assaults on players an coaches, nothing that remotely justifies this kind of response to someone just running around). Embarrassing security personnel isn't smart, but again, it can't possibly justify subjecting the interloper to this level of physical danger.

[As someone once wrote about the decision to run out on the field, it probably seems like fun at first, but once you get removed from public view, you may get a lesson on differing interpretations of the term "reasonable force," especially if you've made the security guard or off-duty police officer run around and look a little foolish. But that was talking about a little roughness, not electrical shocks.]

My hat is off to Digby for her ongoing coverage of the taser issue. The taser is a great example of how our society has become inured to violence and torture and how the threshold for these things has gotten ridiculously low. Are we really so culturally immature that we believe this kind of behavior is reasonable?