In my post from a couple of days ago on the topic, I took care to describe what happened as a case of electrocution not tasering.
This is because of my concern that the use of the instrument's name (taser) to substitute for the action (electrocution) creates an antiseptic representation of this form of state sanctioned police violence. When "the student was tasered" stands in for "the student was electrocuted," I read the message as slightly removed from the jolting, transfixing shock of electrocution. We see this, similarly, in the lingo "sentenced to die in the electric chair" or "sentenced to the chair"; the chair, not the electricity, does the acting.
Another problem I have with how the events are being described concerns what is described as the motivation for the repeated electrocutions. In this article from today's LA Times, a piece that has been picked up by a number of other papers, we see the electrocutions described as for the purpose of subduing the student.
Hoping to calm the furor created when UCLA police used a Taser to subdue a student studying in Powell Library, the university's acting chancellor announced Friday that a veteran Los Angeles law enforcement watchdog would head up an independent investigation of the incident.
You need only to watch the video to get a very different impression of what happened: a subdued student (cuffed, in fact) was repeatedly electrocuted in order to get him to stand up and peacefully leave the library. The logic of this—electrocuting someone gets them to stand up?—is beyond reason.
Library patrons here at UIUC, particularly those not keen on being electrocuted in front of their classmates, may be somewhat relieved to read this local FAQ:
*Does [UIUC] Library Security Carry Tasers or any other Weapon?*
Neither Library Security, nor Campus Police carry Tasers. Library
Security guards carry pepper spray, only to be used in the event they
feel their lives are in danger. Campus Police carry equipment comparable
to that issues to members of municipal police departments.
UPDATE: Click here to check out the Petition to Ban the Use of Taser Guns by the UCPD.