Here is the world we live in now:
Cops in Leeds, England, decided it was better to Taser a man, twice, and hold a pistol on him, because he was found on a bus unresponsive due to a diabetic coma. Better safe than sorry, right?! He could have been one of the floods, deluge, of terrorist bombers that have carpeted our Western Lands. Not one of the one or two people who are citizens in medical distress, or confused, or in need of help.
A commenter, I think on BoingBoing, in a thread discussing how police in Vancouver killed an innocent although distraught man in an airport (either from the Tasering or the putting all of one officer’s weight on his knee on top of the guy’s neck…the medical examiner’s report isn’t out yet), has remarked that Tasers have made cops lazy. Instead of actually doing their job, using their brain, intuition, experience, training to figure out what a situation is and then deal with it in the most appropriate manner, they just shoot a “non-lethal” Taser at the problem until it’s jerking around helpless on the ground soiling himself, then they’ll bother to figure out what’s going on.
Just this last year, off the top of my head, we’ve had the cop brutally and sadistically Tasering the drunk woman on the side of the road and she’s screaming in pain and fear and terror, the guy at the airport killed by Tasering cops, the politically questioning college kid Taser’ed needlessly outside the John Kerry appearance, the diabetic coma guy Tasered for being unresponsive–all in this last year.
Then there’s the several incidents of “War on Drugs” cops decked out in military body armor and carrying CAW shotguns and MP5 submachine guns and M15 assault rifles breaking into houses of the occasional innocent person or family, either because of their own mistake, an informant’s mistake, or an informant’s lie, and at worst killing innocent people and planting evidence or at best terrorizing and threatening peaceful and innocent families. (See: The war on drugs, liberty, reason.)
There’s peaceful protesters in Burma, Georgia, and Los Angeles set upon by brutal and violent military (or militarized police).
London has CCTV cameras on nearly every city block.
The NSA is tracking the phone calls, phone records, email, even buying habits of American citizens….
I have to ask, seriously, am I just blowing things out of proportion? Am I succumbing to the common cognitive bias that all times in the past were better than they are now? Has society always been this f–ed-up, or are things getting worse? Have police always been thugish brutes in general, willing to shoot up houses and people with military issue weapons without asking questions? Have always been spied on with such wanton disregard to privacy and personal liberty, and I’m just being a crotchety curmudgeon Chicken Little?
Or are we in the middle of some terrible, horrific, slide into a coming socio-political nightmare? I truly want to know.