Friday, August 14, 2009

The Braidwood Chronicles: Taser International is shocked... the Braidwood Commission's first report, on the use of "conducted energy weapons."

So shocked that it's going to court to have sections of Braidwood's report "quashed."

Does anyone else think this is simply bizarre, as I do? The Braidwood Commission was struck in part to look into the uses and abuses of the weapon in question. It is a commission of inquiry, not a court of law. It made findings on the basis of which it offered recommendations, not instructions.

So a court is now being asked to second-guess the first Braidwood Report. What does that actually mean, practically speaking? Effectively, Braidwood issued an opinion. Taser doesn't like it, for obvious reasons. But to ask that a judge "quash" it, or parts of it? All that would mean, if the company were successful in its quest, is--another opinion.

Why not simply try to make their case in the public sphere? Point to the scientific literature, wish away all the deaths, demand that the Taser be used on jaywalkers, whatever. Lobby governments to ignore Braidwood's recommendations. By all means, let's keep the public discussions going, if they so desire. But no court of law will be able to "quash" any aspect of the debate. To think otherwise is to suggest that creationists could have the theory of evolution thrown out by a judge, for example.

A court of law might well declare Tasers safe, or rule that the earth is flat. Who cares?

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