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Saturday, December 02, 2023

The phrase made famous by UF telecommunication senior Andrew Meyer has made its way so deep into the American lexicon that it has earned an entry in one of the most prestigious dictionaries.

Well, it's an online dictionary. And nearly all of its thousands of entries are slang. But it has become a part of our society's psyche nonetheless.

One of the ten definitions on Urban Dictionary for Meyer's catchphrase reads, "Don't Tase me, bro: The hip thing to say after resisting arrest."

Since Meyer's arrest, it seems like Taser use is in the news more and more frequently, and more people seem to be dying as a result of being Tasered. And now, Tasers are considered to be a torture device.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture ruled Friday that Tasers can be a type of torture.

Last week in Jacksonville, two men died in two separate incidents after police officers Tasered them. In all, six men in the U.S. and Canada died last week after they were Tasered.


Tasers aren't the first weapon of their type to be deemed torturous. Electric shock torture was used in the Vietnam War. Electric fencing has been used for decades to keep animals and people out - or in - of certain areas. And then there's the electric chair.

Electricity is powerful and dangerous and should never be taken lightly. Using Tasers on people with heart problems and young people could be a recipe for disaster. Using a Taser too long could also be fatal. There are a whole slew of reasons for police departments across the country to let go of the trigger.

Here's another one: The Department of Justice's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives does not regulate Tasers because they aren't classified as a firearm. That means Taser makers don't have to hold their product to any safety standards or requirements. That's a scary thought, but hey, at least a consumer model of the stun gun now comes in pink.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has not done any safety investigations on Tasers. But a Taser is still a gun - a deadly weapon - and should be treated as one. Something needs to change with Tasers if so many people who were Tasered are dying in such a short time period.

It's pretty much up to individual police departments to decide when to use Tasers. While a Taser is often a much better alternative to a gun, a police baton or even a kick in the shin, officers must be more prudent about when they use this weapon.

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Several groups, including Amnesty International and a Maryland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, are protesting trigger-happy Taser users.

It seems Tasers are becoming the go-to gun, rather than being used as a last resort. A police officer in Utah pulled his Taser on a man who refused to sign a speeding ticket, according to a article.

Incidents such as this one did not merit a Tasering, and we don't think Andrew Meyer's outburst did, either. It's a good thing no one was Tasered at former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' speech.

Although, how fitting would that have been, given his history of condoning torture?

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