Tuesday, July 14, 2015


It just seemed like a bit of good, clean American fun:
Have some aggression toward city officials? If you live in Van Meter, Iowa, you're in luck.

For the price of a $5 raffle ticket, the Des Moines suburb town with about 1,100 residents is offering its residents a chance to use a police Taser on a city official, with tickets being sold as part of a public safety fundraiser.

The raffle winner will get the chance to Taser or spare City Administrator Jake Anderson or Councilman Bob Lacy at the Van Meter Fire Association Street Dance on July 18.

A police officer will assist with the Tasering, with the proceeds going to help the department purchase a second squad car, add speed radar and possibly expand its six-member part-time and reserve force.
Yes, this is how we fund government needs in America: by tasing government officials. Oh, don't worry -- no plans were ever made to tase anyone forcibly (at least for this purpose):
"I volunteered to be Tased," Anderson said of the idea that came up during a meeting with police about funding.

"The joke was sort of, yeah, let's Tase the administrators. They make all the friends," Anderson said. "I was like, yeah, that's funny. Do you think you could raise some money?"

Lacy volunteered to add a little competition, and Anderson was glad.

"I didn't want there to be a 100% chance I'd be Tased," he said.

I'm usually no fan of libertarians, but I give Reason's Nick Gillespie a bit of credit for finding this a tad off-putting:
About 1,000 people live in the town, according to the Census, and it's unclear whether out-of-towners can buy raffle tickets.

If so, perhaps family members and friends of 540-plus people who have died after being tasered by U.S. police since 2001 will want to work out some anger issues on Van Meter's Jake Anderson or Bob Lacy.
However, as it turns out, this isn't going to happen:
It had the ingredients of an all-American fund-raiser.... But the raffle prize ... raised eyebrows far beyond Van Meter.... On Monday, after a bout of criticism and national attention, the town’s police chief said that corporate donors had agreed to help buy a cruiser, and that no one would be stunned with a Taser at Saturday’s street dance. “We’re much better off,” said the chief, William Daggett. “What we wind up with is the ability to do more than we could to begin with.”
The corporate donors actually implored the town not to go through with this:
Chief William Daggett said the Aware Not Afraid organization based in Colorado has agreed to donate funds to help purchase the vehicle "as long as the event is to educate the public on the use of Tasers and a person is not tased during the event.

Daggett said Wise Tactical Products and Uniforms has also agreed to donate all emergency lighting and sirens, "again asking that no one be tasered."
These donors don't appear to be libertarians or bleeding hearts. The Colorado donation appears to be from two Colorado security consultants who've written a book called Aware, Not Afraid: Safeguarding Yourself and Your Loved Ones Against Crime and Disaster. Wise Tactical Products is a local small business that sells emergency lighting, high-visibility clothing, biohazard gear, and the like.

I don't want to use a self-righteous term like "white privilege," but, really, this is a hilarious idea only to people who think it couldn't possibly happen to them in a million years. A lot of our fellow citizens don't have that luxury.


The New York Crank said...

They're not really going to tase the city fathers? Shucks! I was beginning to wonder how high up I could turn the voltage, and how long the tasting could last.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Philo Vaihinger said...

Sounds dangerously stupid, to me, and stupidly dangerous.

Victor said...

And thus, the normalization and acceptance of Tasing people continues.

"Hey, how bad can it be? One of our politicians got Tased at a charity event, and it was all in good clean fun, har-har!"

I'm 57, and don't recognize this country anymore.

I feel like I'm in a sci-fi film, where there's an alternative stupid and evil duplicate Earth on the other side of the Sun, and we can't see it - but I ended up there somehow.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the Taser International themselves didn't step up and buy the squad car for them (I guess they could have funneled the money through one or the other of the two donors).

Imagine the bad press if either of those guys has an undiagnosed condition that killed them when they got tazed. Much cheaper to just buy a squad car and ask them to cut it out.

(Also WTF - Van Meter has a population of a thousand people. If they can't afford to equip a police department they should just give it up. They should be able to pass a levy or something to get the department a new car every few years - they shouldn't need to be holding a Mad Max Bake Sale like this.)

Glennis said...

Maybe they could restage this event using the Republican candidates for President.

aimai said...

I would bet you anything the Taser companies funded the donation to prevent a public tasering of white officials who might actually learn how dangerous and humilitating being tasered is. There's no way on earth Taser inc. wants people in power to experience the tasering. The lawsuit potential is devastating and the educational potential even more devastating if people in power start to realize how dangerous tasering is to "normal" people (i.e. citizens who can complain).

aimai said...

oops. I see that NonyNony got there first.