Entering the Andrew Meyer taser debate with both eyes wide open
This Week’s Top Scrooge – September 21, 2007
The definition of Taser as found in Wikipedia:
The name Taser is an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”. Arizona inventor Jack Cover designed it in 1969; naming it for the science fiction teenage inventor and adventurer character Tom Swift.
Modern taser-type weapons fire small dart-like electrodes with attached metal wires that connect to the gun, propelled by small gas charges similar to some air rifle propellants. The maximum range is up to 10 meters (30 feet). Earlier models of Taser needed the dart-like electrodes to embed in the skin and superficial muscle tissues layers; newer versions of the projectiles use a shaped pulse/arc of electricity which disrupt nerve and muscle function without needing the metal prongs on the projectile to penetrate the skin. Early models had difficulty in penetrating thick clothing, but the ‘pulse’ models are designed to bring down a subject wearing up to a Level III body armor vest.
Tasers are currently in use by a number of police forces worldwide to try to reduce firearms-related deaths.
Andrew Meyer is obnoxious. According to several reports, his is quite the attention seeker. However, did he deserve to be tasered while disrupting a John Kerry Q&A and then making quite a fuss while police attempted to subdue him?
You can look at it from many angles and judging by a few quick internet searches, opinion runs wide and wild.
This from the online version of the now defunct newspaper Pravda (which, by the way, is Russian for “truth”):
The Empire is Zapping “Free Speech”
Andrew Meyer, a University of Florida (Gainesville) senior telecommunications major, was brutally restrained and tasered by police after trying to question presidential candidate John Kerry about why he didn’t contest the 2004 presidential election, why there had been no moves to impeach President Bush and whether he and Bush were members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University. The 21-year old Meyer is a student in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.
OK…so, then there is the other spin, by I’m afraid, some right wingers. This is an excerpt from a letter from an eyewitness, sent into Michelle Malkin:
…all of a sudden Meyer rushed to the microphone with cops in pursuit. At that point no one knew what was going on. Could he have a gun, a bomb? Immediately, Meyer began yelling into the microphone that he had been waiting in line forever and that Senator Kerry should “spend time to answer everyone’s questions!” Senator Kerry tried to calm the student down by telling him that he would “stay here as long as it takes to get the questions answered.” The police approached Meyer who began taunting them by saying “what! are you going to taser me? are you going to arrest me?!” The police grabbed Meyer, but Senator Kerry asked the police to let him go and that he would answer his question. Senator Kerry finished answering the other student’s question and then proceeded with Meyer. (*This entire scene is not in any video I can find so far. This is why 2 cops are seen right behind Meyer at the start of some videos*).
Meyer approached the microphone and began to talk about a book he had which stated that Kerry won the 2004 election because of disenfranchisement of black voters and faulty voter machines that produced “Bush” as the winner. He then posed another question about why President Bush had not been impeached. “President Clinton was impeached because of a blowjob, why not Bush?”. The third and strangest question he posed to Senator Kerry was asking him if he was part of the skull and bones society with Bush at Yale. Meyer’s mic cut off after that, probably because he had mentioned the word “blowjob”.
…I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but Andrew Meyer is a former sports writer for the school newspaper The Alligator. In his columns, he has been known to make ridiculous statements in order to gain attention for himself. Was today a publicity stunt?
Of course, the reaction by many to the “shock felt around the world” is that Meyer deserved it.
While Meyer might have brought on his own wrath, TheLedger puts it: And just like that, the University of Florida – the state’s flagship university – is raw meat for every cable news commentator and every Internet blogger in the virtual world.
And so is everybody else from President Bush and his administration to conspiracy theorists everywhere.
So, as usual, there is lots of blame to be thrown around. Is Andrew Meyer a bad guy? Or, is it the police officer who did the tasering off base?
I’m going to go back to the definition of “taser” and its use. Was Andrew Meyer a physical threat by either carrying a weapon or physically threating with his fists? No, especially after being held by 6 police officers.
So, relax, all you Andrew Meyer supporters adorned in “Don’t Taze Me, Bro!” T-shirts. I’m not tagging This Week’s Top Scrooge on Meyer or the anti-taser crowd. This Week’s Top Scrooge belongs to the police officer and law enforcement team, who tasered Meyer…and all those who say he deserved it!
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