In a recent poll of police chiefs in cities across the United States, a full 95% “very strongly agreed” with the proposed policy of police officers using tasers to control toddlers having temper tantrums. (Polling conducted by Alliterative, Fallacious Polling, Inc., margin of error, +/- 100%.) The chiefs, who all refused to be identified by name for this article, pointed to an “uppity citizenry” who need to be “intimidated, physically abused, and irretrievably traumatized into cowering submission” as their justification. Rank and file officers agree. “I mean, just look at what happened to me last year,” said an officer who was at the scene of the tasering of an 8-year old child in South Dakota. “It was terrifying,” continued the officer. “I can’t believe it: I just found out the family is now suing. I mean, what would you have done in our shoes? It was four adult, armed police officers versus an 8-year-old girl wielding a paring knife, for chrissakes. We called the SWAT Team for back up, but they were at the local retirement home extricating a domino from the hands of a 96-year-old, severely arthritic woman who refused to play her turn in a game of dominos. She has done this more than once and her pattern of dissension had to be stopped. This is yet another example of why we need to apply brutal police force early in people’s lives so it never escalates to this point.” The officer requested not to be identified for fear the little South Dakota girl’s friends would ride their bicycles to his home and throw Legos and Barbie clothes at him in retribution. When asked about the growing practice of police officers dressing in military garb creating an “us vs. them,” citizens-as-the-enemy atmosphere, one police chief stated, “Pffft, you think we’re gonna go out there and ‘protect and serve’? You want us to ‘relate’ to the people, hear their concerns, and maybe think about how our militarized tactics trigger survival instincts to counter our attacks? I know there are some pansy cops like that out there, but not on my team! What are we, a bunch of flippin’ Andy Griffiths doing ‘good’ for the people?” “Obama being president has given these young black guys ideas,” chimed in another officer. The Ferguson police department has it right. Racial profiling is smart, efficient policing. Sometimes you have to use deadly force on unarmed citizens. Our department’s policy is to shoot first. Asking questions is for psychotherapists and needy wives. Police forces with tanks and submachine guns and concussion grenades don’t need to ask questions.” An off duty patrol cop being interviewed at a local burger joint who was busily trying to propel a cheeseburger through a slit in his riot helmet said, “Did you see that USA Today article? It reported, per an FBI report, that in the US nearly two times a week a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012. And those are just the killings reported, and who knows about the supposed ‘unjustifiable’ ones? Only two-plus killings a week? We seriously need to up our game.” Betting on the effectiveness of early subjugation, toddler tasing has already been implemented in one police department. The self-described “politically correct ” police chief who spearheaded the effort said, “We are proud of our Toddler Tasing Initiative. Damn proud. Getting citizens to habituate to the egregious overuse of police force can never start too early. Of course, we haven’t tased white toddlers from any wealthy families, only toddlers of color and from poor families. But, I want people to hear loud and clear that we do not discriminate. Regardless of skin color or socioeconomic status, if your child is having a temper tantrum, don’t hesitate to call us and we will come out and taser him or her for you. It’s what we’re here for. It’s part of our community policing duties,” he said, waving his taser in the air and presumably smiling, though it was hard for this reporter to discern his facial features because of his camo face paint. “Is the current trend of ‘out of control, militarized use of force by police officers’ justified?” said a new police recruit training officer, laughing and making air quotes. “We don’t need to justify a damn thing we do. Ever. This is the United States of America.” Carol Norris is a freelance writer and satirist, psychotherapist, and long-time political activist.
August 22, 2014