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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tase Me Out to the Ballgame

So, your little Apron is conflicted.

See, as a blogger who frequently takes interest in and writes about issues surrounding law enforcement, I feel compelled to write about the kid who got tased by Philly PD at a Phillies game as he ran around on the field.

Then, as someone generally resists the urge to involve himself in and comment on moronic antics that somehow always become water-cooler issues the following day, I feel compelled to ignore the kid who got tased by Philly PD at a Phillies game as he ran around on the field.

But, on the other hand, as someone who thinks tasers are FUCKING AWESOME-BALLS (my birthday is May 12, visit www.taser.com for details), I feel compelled to write about the kid who got tased by Philly PD at a Phillies game as he ran around on the field.

Of course, as someone who knows that this is, in essence, a silly story that will most likely blow over by the time I hit "Publish," I feel compelled to ignore the kid who got tased by Philly PD at a Phillies game as he ran around on the field.

But, as a Philadelphia-centered blogger, I feel compelled to write about it.

Yet, as someone who knows nothing and cares nothing about sports, I feel compelled to ignore it.

FUCK!

Well, I think we all know by now that I'm not ignoring it.

Because, let's face it: when some jerkoff gets bejouled in front of 44,817 semi-inebriated sports fans, it's pretty hard to ignore.

I struggled with how I feel about this one-- and I struggled hard. It might surprise some, or most, of you to know that my gut reaction was that the officer acted in the wrong. From the video (which people are watching on YouTube more often than they're watching the "30 Rock" clip where Alec Baldwin impersonates various members of Tracy Jordan's family-- "Now do the white dude that my moms left my dad for!") it's clear that Steve Consalvi, 17, known as "The Tased" was not acting in any threatening manner that put the pursuing officer, the other security personnel, the overpaid players, or any of the 44,817 semi-inebriated sports fans in serious jeopardy. He wasn't involved in a struggle with the officer, where the officer's gun could have become intentionally or accidentally torn from its holster and used against him, or any of the other aforementioned individuals. Consalvi was just acting like an asshole, like lots of 17-year-old high school students have done before him, and will likely do after him.

Should you get tased for acting like an asshole?

It's an interesting philosophical question. Had the officer been a little more fit, a little more fleet-of-foot, he would have easily caught up to Consalvi and tackled him to the ground and arrested him, the way streakers, etc were dealt with back in the bad old days, before hand-held devices that fired Neuro-Muscular Incapacitation jobbies that made you dance, Monkey.

And, sure, that would have been cool to watch, too-- might have even seen a replay or five on the Jumbotron, but it never would have made headline news on www.philly.com, where the kid's father states, shockingly, that his son should never have been tased. (One eloquent comment on that site stated that Consalvi's father should be tased as well. I laughed. Tases for all involved!)

But, getting back to the question: (Should you get tased for acting like an asshole?) I'm just not sure. You can act like an asshole in your basement all you want, of course, and it's nobody's business but your own. Want to sit on your basement floor, cover yourself in creosote and a wool blanket and bang pots and pans together while singing the Chinese national anthem? Hey, this is America, brother-- and a man's basement is his castle/porn-trove. Of course, when you step out into the public (and the public arena, I might add) the rules change a little bit, don't they? We can't just walk up to every beautiful woman we see strolling about in a tank-top, honk her right breast and shout "A.M.!" and honk her left breast and shout "F.M.!" because we think it's fucking hilarious and a fitting tribute to Marchese Marconi.

No.

In public, we must exercise something called restraint. And that's a challenging concept for most of us, especially seventeen-year-old kids who have hormones leaking out of their eye-sockets on a regular basis.

(.) A.M. (.) F.M.

N'yah mean?

Everybody knows stepping onto a baseball diamond while a game is in play is a bad idea. Consalvi knew it, that's why he called his daddy to tell him he was going to do it before he did it. (Dad advised against it, just so you know-- before you weigh in with whether or not Papa Consalvi ought to be visited in the night by a Taser X12.) He knew it was wrong, but he did it anyway. And then, when a police officer got behind him and shouted "STOP!", well, I'm sure Consalvi knew it was wrong to keep running.

Here's a little lesson in police vs. civilian etiquette:

When the police officer says "STOP!" that means it's game over time. Because now you're not just acting like an asshole, you're fleeing and eluding and resisting lawful arrest.

In the '70s, they shot you in the back for that. Fortunately, there were no Jumbotrons in the '70s.

Did the officer have a legal right to fire that Taser round into Consalvi's back? Most likely. Was there another alternative avenue of force to explore besides firing the Taser? Most likely. Taking out his legs with an asp (retractable baton) is always fun-- but isn't possibly breaking this kid's leg on national television maybe worse than momentarily stunning him and having him involuntarily piss himself with no after-effects other than soaked shorts and bruised pride?

Truthfully, I don't know what the answer is-- and that's rare for me, as an insufferable fucking knowitall.

Maybe, because this happened to Consalvi, people will think twice before trying to get in on the action at a sports game. Maybe, because this happened to Consalvi, people will do it more. Maybe the officer fired his Taser because he knew he couldn't catch Consalvi on his own steam, and he was worried about being embarrassed in front of his fellow officers, and 44,817 semi-inebriated sports fans. Maybe he tased Consalvi because that's what it says to do in the procedures manual that we civilians don't get to read. Maybe there are consequences to our actions, even if, to some, it's just a case of "boys being boys."

Maybe you'll really buy me a Taser for my birthday. Don't bother with the wrapping paper, Bro.

8 comments:

  1. Jesus, it's not like they shot him or anything!

    No lasting damage? No harm, no foul.

    I think more kids these days should be tased...teach 'em all some GD respect
    *she says, while jabbing her cane into the air for emphasis*

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  2. Stay classy Philly.

    I'm getting sick of saying that every week.

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  3. Tasing will be the swing topic in the 2012 presidential election.

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  4. Prepare yourself... I'm giving you a legit answer here.

    I applaud the officer for what he did. it was one of many correct/proper decisions that he could've made in this situation. They could've chased the kid for a few more minutes, which probably would've ended in a tackle, in which the kid and the tackler could both potentially get injured. They could've (as you mentioned) whipped his legs w/ a baton, possibly causing serious damage. Po-po could've pulled out the pistol and scared the living shit out of the kid, but everyone knows you don't point the gun if you don't have the intention of killing the person on the other end of the barrel.

    Instead, the officer used this technology that not a lot of people had been witness to before, the taser. He gave the kid opportunities to stop on his own, and then said "fuck it" and took him out.

    Excessive? Perhaps. But it's not like the kid faceplanted. You can clearly see from the replays that as he topples, he's able to reach out his left arm and brace his fall. The officer, once certain that the kid was staying down, let off the juice button, and within a matter of seconds, the kid was restrained, on his feet, and being escorted off.

    A couple points:
    1) Given all of the "possible" solutions, I feel that this was the best one. Prevented others from getting injured, and stopped the incident right in its tracks.
    2) When you're trespassing on a baseball field, with players that get paid millions of dollars... you don't take chances. This should be the case with everyone (and their property), but it's not. Oh well.
    3) As a huge sports fan, I know a handful of professional athletes at a somewhat-personal level. Completely across the board, I heard this: "That kid's just lucky we didn't get our hands on him." They don't take kindly to people intruding on the game. Remember Ron Artest?

    Kudos to the officer for having the balls to do this. 100% correct in his judgement and handling of the situation.

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  5. Whether it was right or not, I don't know.

    But watching someone get tased is ALWAYS good entertainment.

    Oh, and I wish someone would come up to me in the streets and honk my breasts. I mean, how could I be mad about that?

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  6. Its been happening a lot in my area actually. In my hometown, some skater punks got tased. At my college alma mater someone got tased for something I can't even remember. And I think there was some cop show where a belligerent older lady got tased? In all of those cases people came down pretty hard on the cops for use of excessive force. But I have a hard time getting too worked up about it, because like you said, in the 70s you could have gotten shot in the back. None of these people are the next Rodney King, you know?

    In conclusion, my opinion is a resounding...meh. No one's dead.

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  7. Nic-- That response of yours was a pleasure to read. I do love meaty, insightful responses, just as much as I love imagining honking random boobies whilst saying A.M., F.M.

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