Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tasered!

I suppose you may have already seen this video of this student being "tasered" after asking a (somewhat aggressive) question to Kerry by University of Florida police.
Sure, the guy may have been annoying or even pushing it but frankly, you get all sorts of wackos at meetings like those but it certainly doesn't justify "tasering" them.
How about free speech?
Watching the video, you will see that the crowd is also stunned and eventually shocked and angry.


Not only did the police fail to apologize but they charged him with "disturbing the peace' and resisting an officer.
Apparently, the police have been increasingly using the taser when arresting people and particularly "annoying" students.
I wonder how the Civil Rights movement would have turned out if the taser had been in use back then. There may not have been many sit-down protests - think of Rosa Parks being tasered!
The comparison may be far-fetched - of course today's students are no Rosa Parks, but still, using the taser in those circumstances is yet another breach of our great principle of free speech.

NOTE:
On a linguistique note, do you know where the word TASER stands for? That one you cannot guess if you don't know: it stands for "Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle". Who's Thomas A. Swift, you may ask? He was a fictional young inventor in children's science-fiction novels written in the early 20th century, including Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle. (CBC)
In 1974, a NASA scientist named Jack Cover invented the first stun gun, which he named the TASER, or “Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle,” after Tom Swift (source)
And as often the case in English, the acronym became a trademark, then noun and then a verb.


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