Cunning stunts – tasers revisited

I had a look at what Wikipedia has to say about tasers and found some interesting and also amusing stuff – although not necessarily having both qualities at the same time…

‘Taser and its supporters in the police community regularly attribute the cause of deaths that follow Tasering to “excited delirium”, a phenomenon in which agitated or disturbed individuals being apprehended by police respond in an irrational, bizarre and hyperactive manner. Critics argue that as this alleged condition only exists in relationship to being apprehended by police, its existence is dubious.’

Hmm…people do tend to get stressed out when apprehended by the Old Bill somewhat…

Police officers that patrol schools, including grade schools, in several U.S. states (including Kansas, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Florida), currently carry tasers. In 2004, the parents of a 6-year old boy in Miami sued the police department for tasering their child. The police said the boy was threatening to injure his own leg with a shard of glass, and claimed that using the taser was the only option to stop the boy from injuring himself.

Sheesh…6 years old…Don’t hurt yourself or I’ll…er…I’ll….hurt you…Child psychology at its best!

Supporters of taser use in schools argue that merely switching on the device, and threatening to use it, can be effective in frightening violent or uncooperative students into desisting from inappropriate behaviour, if verbal reprimands have not succeeded.

I’ll bet it’s effective. So is a gun FFS…

Taser devices are not considered firearms by the U.S. government. They can be legally carried (concealed or open) without a permit in 43 states.

Why am I not surprised…?

Simply stunning

So, 30 000 UK police – not just specialist firearms officers – are to be equipped with tasers or ‘stun guns’ as they’re commonly known.

Predictably, Amnesty has criticised the move and all I can say is better 30 000 tasers used by the police than 30 000 extra guns, even though it’s a great pity that we need to do any of this.

It amused me on Radio 5* last night hearing Stephen Nolan – a phone in host – say ’50 000 VOLTS!!!!!!!’ in capital letters and with many exclamation marks when describing the weapons.

Given that our domestic UK power supply is a nominal 240 volts and can kill, perhaps he’s playing on that, but also taking advantage of his listeners’ ignorance regarding the fact that it’s the current that kills, not the voltage.

Another prime example of how the media constantly sensationalises facts and figures – whatever happened to SARS and bird flu? We were all going to die in a gross eruption of coughing, vomit and snot, hospitals were going to be packed to the rafters with the dead and the dying and society was going to collapse.

Ironic that – minus the outpouring of bodily fluids – it should be the global financial system that poses a bigger threat to world security than any virus.

I wonder how much the VAT will be on a taser?

*The BBC radio station you can’t even say shit on.

Mandy lifeboats!

Is this as humorous as Mandelson gets?

I rather think it is…

VAT’ll do nicely?

Is reducing VAT on ‘non-essential’ goods from 17.5% to 15% really going to do any good?

Say I see an mp3 player I fancy that retails at £100 plus VAT today – that’ll cost me £117.50. If VAT then gets reduced to 15% then it’ll cost me £115.

Is that going to make me wait to buy it?

Is that going to make me continue spending my money on high VAT-rated items?

I think not.

Given that Alistair Darling has stated that if you give money to the poorest people then they’re more likely to spend it – and I find that not only cynical, but deeply offensive – wouldn’t it be better to give them more money via tax credits, for example, that they’re more likely to spend?

David Cameron’s recent comment on the government’s measures to rescue the economy made me laugh:

‘The government is giving with one hand and taking away with the other’

No change there then…

Trailer trash

I’ve just started watching a DVD I bought the other day – ‘The Mist’, not that it matters – and had to sit through three trailers before I could access the menu. Everytime I tried to get the menu I was told ‘Operation prohibited by disc’!

Now, I don’t mind sitting through all the legal guff, although that’s a bind, but having to sit through the trailers? I’m really bloody annoyed – it’s my disc in my DVD player and I should be allowed to watch as much of it or as little as I want.

Watch this space – I’m going to make a formal complaint.

Have they got yours?

Fascinating!

Something of interest

Say what you like about the BBC but sometimes its radio programs are hard to beat.

I’ve just listened to ‘From our Own Correspondent’ on Radio 4* – always an interesting listen – which kicked off with a story about how hard it is to get credit in Italy and how the Mafia has moved in to ‘help’.

I couldn’t quite catch whether it was dollars or UK pounds, but apparently the Mafia has made 60 billion (!) from business loans there in the past 12 months.

The Mafia even sets its own interest rate for business loans – it’s currently 4.5%.

Not bad, I hear you say.

Ah, but that’s 4.5% per month

And if you don’t pay up they send a couple of guys in designer suits, with matching accessories such as guns, to ‘persuade’ you.

*The BBC station you can say ‘shit’ on during the afternoon.

Just when you thought…

…things couldn’t get any sillier.

In the government’s propsals re ID cards:

“people undergoing a sex change will be entitled to two ID cards”

and – even better:

“Homeless people wanting ID cards may be able to give their home address as a bench, bus stop or park where they are often found.”

Rearrange these words into a wellknown phrase or saying: “stock” and “laughing”…

A matter of BBC Trust

And still the fallout from the Brand/Ross affair rains down…

For those who don’t know, the BBC Trust – henceforth referred to as the Trust in this entry – is a body set up to act as a watchdog and protect the license payers’ interests; although I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it does or not.

After a pretty clear statement that anyone involved in editorial decision-making re the Brand show failed to edit anything, the Trust chairman goes on to say something I find quite surprising:

“Mr Tait said the offence of the original broadcast was compounded by Russell Brand’s appearance on Chris Moyles’s Radio 1 show on 21 October, when the pair talked about the incident.

He said this discussion, in itself, was also in breach of editorial guidelines in respect of privacy, offence and the fact it was broadcast at a time when children were likely to be listening.”

So, it’s the children now, is it?

OK, Mr Tait, how come I could tune into an afternoon play on Radio 4 the weekend before last and hear someone say the word ‘shit’?

Or is it one rule for culture on the radio and another for ‘that edgy youth’ stuff? Is this the clear thinking we need from the Trust?

Now, I don’t give a rat’s how much swearing there is on the TV and radio – the required equipment has an ‘off’ button and they’re only words after all – but what I do care about is decisions being made on my behalf as to what I can or cannot hear on my radio or TV based on a wholly inconsistent policy.

It gets even muddier when you take into account other stations on the BBC radio network.

It seems to be a given that there is no swearing allowed on late night Radio 5 phone ins, for example.

So, let me get this clear…

1) You can’t say ‘fuck’ on Radio 2 after 9pm.

2) You can say ‘shit’ on Radio 4 before 5pm.

3) You can’t say ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’ on Radio 5 at anytime.

4) (Bit of a grey area this) You can’t refer to someone saying ‘fuck’ on Radio 1 before 9pm.

I think I’ve got that right.

I was going to add a number 5) involving Radio 3 saying that you can say ‘shit’, ‘fuck’ and even ‘c*nt’* on there because no-one listens anyway, but that would be facetious.

Seriously though, no wonder there’s all sorts of fuss over this issue – no-one really knows what’s permitted.

So, here we go – my idea to sort this all out once and for all.

Times have changed, so introduce a 10pm watershed that applies to all broadcasting. After that time, until 5am, allow any swearing at all – anything goes. If people know that they’re going to be offended between 10pm and 5am then they can switch off or turn over and any parent who allows their child to hear swearing after the 10 o’clock watershed has only themselves to blame. We can’t carry on kowtowing to the ignorant and ineffectual all the time.

All I want is some consistency so that I can be treated like an adult.

Is that really too much to ask?

*Yes, I know I censored myself, but it’s my blog.

OK, it might all be a bit of fun…

…but when I see stuff like this then I start to wonder whether we’re all living on the same planet.

Why, only a few weeks ago we had our beloved PM decrying Brand and Ross.

So, what’s the chance of a government minister saying something about the Baby P case?

Fuck all chance, I’d say.