Digby has been covering the excessive and inappropriate use of tasers for a long time. Now the Occupy movement is raising awareness of some of the brutal techniques being used to control people and the militarization of American police forces in general. She has a great post today about the use of pain to control and achieve compliance.
A couple of months ago I was really surprised by the sheer numbers of San Francisco police in riot gear sent out in response to (and in anticipation of) the OpBART protests. But the nationwide response to the overwhelmingly peaceful protests with riot police, pepper spray, batons, tasers, tear gas, sound cannons, and flash grenades is just stunning.
The notion that people gathered in peaceful protest can or should be brutalized is appalling. This is the same mentality that justifies torture. Torturing people to elicit information is wrong, as I have written repeatedly. Torturing people to make them compliant is just as wrong.
I used to think we'd come a long way from the days of using fire hoses and police dogs to intimidate and control protesters. It now appears we have come a long way, but in the wrong direction: we now have higher-tech methods of abusively controlling people, and seem to have little compunction about applying them.