Ohio Politician Proposes Adding Cats to the Growing List of Pigs, Other Animals, and Humans Killed by Tasers
"We can taser them. Legally, although we don't have the authority to shoot them, you could taser them."
-- E.C. "Betty" Blair
Like cockroaches spilling out of an old urine-stained mattress, the cat-haters just keep on coming. It therefore is not the least bit surprising that as the antipathy that they harbor in their corroded breasts for the feline species continues to fester they are becoming increasingly desperate, violent and, above, mentally unhinged.
A good case in point is E.C. "Betty" Blair, a Lorain County commissioner from Elyria, Ohio, who on March 27th proposed that cats be shot with Tasers as a precursor to capturing and sterilizing them. (See mug shot above.)
"We can taser them," she crowed to The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria on March 28th. (See "Commissioner: Once Stunned by Tasers, Felines Could Be Spayed, Neutered.") "Legally, although we don't have the authority to shoot them, you could taser them."
That declaration leaves open the possibility that Blair would endorse shooting cats if she believed for one moment that she could get away with doing so. Although a professed cat owner herself, she quite obviously does not have any empathy for those felines who are less fortunately situated than her own companion.
County dog warden Jack Szlempa was quick to agree with her as to the feasibility of tasering cats but drew the line at housing them at the dog pound. Since it is supported in part through revenues derived from the sale of dog licenses, he argued that it would be illegal to house cats at the facility.
Reading between the lines, it seems safe to assume that Szlempa would be more than willing to accommodate Blair in her fiendish plot if it were not for the petit fait that he is far too lazy and cheap to care for any cats that might somehow miraculously survive being scorched with fifty-thousand volts of deadly electricity.
Amherst resident John Lapinski, who ignited the controversy by complaining to the commissioners about cats, said that he was opposed to tasering them, not because it was inhumane, but rather because it would not work. "You get within eight to ten feet on them and they take off," he bellyached to The Chronicle-Telegram.
He instead would like to see them licensed with the shekels generated from this scheme put toward trapping and killing all cats that roam. Regardless of whatever else can be said about this devout ailurophobe, detractors must grudgingly give him credit for having the chutzpah to suggest that devoted cat-lovers foot the bill for the execution of homeless cats.
Blair's outrageous proposal received a tepid reception from her fellow commissioners. Ted Kalo, for instance, pleaded ignorance not only of cats and Tasers but the English language to boot. "I don't know what Commissioner Blair meant by the comment," he told The Chronicle-Telegram.
The third member of the ruling triumvirate, Lori Kokoski, objected on the grounds that these horrible weapons should be reserved for use on dogs. "The only reason we use Tasers is to fend off an aggressive dog. It's not to catch a dog...," she said.
That left it up to county administrator James R. Cordes to dispel the notion that Elyria was completely devoid of denizens with bon sens and compassion. "I would prefer we never taser an animal," be bravely declared. (See photo above.)
Local animal rights groups also were quick to condemn this barbaric proposal. Denise Willis of the Friendship Protective League stated unequivocally that her organization neither owns nor has ever considered using such lethal weapons on cats. Instead, she quite sensibly recommends using humane traps baited with smelly fish.
"It seems impractical as well as cruel," was the reaction from Peg Tucker of Community Action to Save Strays. "You would certainly traumatize them. If their adrenaline was up, they would have claws and teeth."
On that last point she is most likely dead wrong. Since the inventor and manufacturer of these weapons, Taser International of Scottsdale, Arizona, recommends that they not be used on individuals weighing less than sixty pounds it is highly unlikely that any cat would be able to survive a blast from one of them.
More to the point, despite the massive propaganda campaign mounted by both Taser International and the law enforcement community, these weapons are an invention of the Devil. (See graphic below for details on how they work.)
First of all, an undisclosed number of animals have been killed and maimed during both Taser's developmental trials as well as safety tests conducted by authorities outside the company. For instance, vivisectors at Cook County Hospital in Chicago killed two of eleven pigs that they shot with Tasers in a 2006 study. (See CBC, January 30, 2008, "Chicago Study Calls Tasers' Safety Claims into Question.")
Since no individual or group should have the right to experiment on animals for any reason, the development of these weapons should never have been sanctioned in the first place. As noted primatologist Jane Goodall once astutely pointed out: "If anyone other than white-coated scientists treated monkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, and so forth as they do behind the locked doors of the animal lab, he or she would be prosecuted for cruelty."
According to Amnesty International, at least three-hundred-ten individuals were killed by Tasers, shorthand for Thomas A. Swift's Electrical Rifle, in North America between June 2001 and October 2007. With the exception of nineteen deaths in Canada and possibly a few in Mexico, two-hundred-seventy-seven of these fatalities occurred in the United States. (See Inter Press Service, March 29, 2008, "Taser Use Soars as Concerns Mount over Safety.")
Of special concern are non-native speakers and the deaf who are not in any position to comply with a police command to halt. Mobile phone users and those who are tuned in to loud music over headphones are vulnerable to surprise attacks as well.
Tasers can also be deadly for individuals with chronic heart conditions as well as those with implanted pacemakers. The elderly and infirm, the very young, and pregnant women are considerably less able to withstand a jolt from these diabolical weapons than healthy adult men.
As a result, dozens of product liability and wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Taser International, including a few by police officers who were injured while learning how to operate the devices. Quite naturally, Taser vehemently insists that the weapons are safe.
In marked contrast to the general apathy demonstrated by Americans, a sizable portion of the Canadian public was outraged by the brutal murder of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski last October 14th by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Vancouver International. (See photo below of protesters.)
Despite the alarming number of fatalities caused by these allegedly nonlethal weapons, their usage is continuing to proliferate not only amongst the law enforcement community but with military personnel and private individuals as well. In fact, citizens in forty-three American states can legally own and use them.
They also have emerged as the capitalists' weapon of choice in order to silence and subdue protesters. For example, they have been used for years in order to disrupt anti-globalism demonstrations at G-8 and other economic summits.
On April 1st, eight environmentalists demonstrating at Duke Power's coal-fired Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford and Cleveland counties of western North Carolina sustained burns to their bodies when they were tasered by arresting officers. (See WYFF-TV of Greenville, South Carolina, April 2, 2008, "Duke Power Protesters Arrested, Stunned with Tasers.")
Not about to be left out of the fun, campus police forces all across America now are armed with these deadly devices. In separate incidences, a student at UCLA was tasered by campus security inside Powell Library on November 14, 2006 while another pupil at the University of Florida in Gainesville got the same treatment during a speech by the Pickle Man on September 17, 2007. Like a knot on a log, the Democratic Party's 2004 standard bearer stood silently by and gawked as this gross violation of civil rights was committed.
It does not take any genius to figure out that if these devices are lethal to both pigs and humans that the same would be true even more so for cats and dogs. Besides, it is virtually impossible to distinguish a homeless cat or a dog from a domesticated one.
It should not, however, make any difference because all cats and dogs have a right to live regardless of their socio-economic status. (See Cat Defender post of March 31, 2008 entitled "Cecil, Pennsylvania Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo.")
The crux of the problem with Tasers is that they allow police officers to carry out their duties the easy, albeit often lethal, way. For instance, instead of chasing down and subduing suspects they now instead can zap them with electricity.
Consequently, numerous individuals are being denied their day in court because they are being unlawfully gunned down in the street by cops. The same will be true for cats and dogs if people like Blair are allowed to prevail.
America is, or at least used to be, a nation of laws and as the result public officials must be held accountable for their actions. Cops, in particular, are paid to get their uniforms dirty and noses broken, not to dispense their own special brand of street corner justice.
The same rationale applies equally to firefighters who have become so derelict in their duties that they will no longer rescue cats stranded in trees and on utility poles. (See Cat Defender post of March 20, 2008 entitled "Bone-Lazy, Mendacious Firefighters Are Costing the Lives of Both Cats and Humans by Refusing to Do Their Duty.")
For those public officials and private individuals who simply cannot keep their hands off of homeless cats, the only halfway humane alternative is TNR. Likewise, just as there are humane traps for cats, police officers have an abundance of nonlethal methods (tear gas, pepper spray, lassos, etc) at their disposal in order to apprehend suspects.
Should existing methods prove to be inadequate, there are numerous individuals scattered around the globe who certainly are creative enough to invent a nonlethal alternative to Tasers. Any such attempt no doubt would be met with stiff opposition from Taser International which annually rakes in around $50 million in revenues.
Photos: Lorain County (Blair and Cordes), BBC (Taser graphic), and Yahoo News (Canadian protesters).