Sunday, December 30, 2007

Headline of the month: "Yoga Instructor Zapped by Officer for Yelling"

I must have missed this story in all the pre-Christmas hoopla. Everyone else must have missed it, too, because otherwise I would think (that is, I would hope) that it would get more press than just a couple of paragraphs.

From The Ledger:
DAYTONA BEACH | A police officer used a stun gun to zap a yoga instructor who yelled at her in a crowded department store, drawing questions about the non-lethal weapon's use.

Elizabeth Beeland, 35, went to a Daytona Beach Best Buy on Nov. 26 to purchase a CD player for her father. Her lawyer said she stepped outside the store when she received an emergency call about her daughter, leaving her credit card behind.

A store clerk suspected Beeland was using a stolen card and called over Daytona Beach Police Officer Claudia Wright, who was at the store.

When Wright approached Beeland, she became "verbally profane, abusive, loud and irate," Wright reported.

In a video posted on the Daytona Beach News-Journal Web site, Beeland is seen backing away and avoiding Wright before crumpling to the floor after being hit with the Taser's 50,000 volts.

She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer without violence.

The "Don't taze me bro" story from earlier this year got lots and lots of attention and outrage at the time. Unfortunately we were all subjected to repeated showings of the young man badgering John Kerry at the Florida speech, and I guess eventually we all thought, well, he was getting kinda obnoxious. After watching the video over and over again, well, tasing started to seem almost reasonable. I at least wanted to flick him in the forehead.

But here we have a woman who's in the pre-Christmas shopping nightmare that is Best Buy, and she mouths off to a security guard. And that's enough to get her tased?! Good lord almighty! What's next -- Customer Service will have a handy taser behind the counter for when customers get upset about an expired 30 day warranty?

I emphasized the final sentence in the news story because this is where your civil rights just gasped their last sigh: She was not violent, yet she was tased. The arresting officer said the woman was "verbally profane, abusive, loud and irate."

Sister, I taught six years of middle school. Do you know how many hundreds of students I would have tased if that were the benchmark? There was a time in this country when we were allowed to be an irate customer.  Have we become so afraid of the terrorist shadow that even that little slice of our lives has been taken away?

I, for one, plan to continue to be an irate customer when warranted. But I guess I'd better invest in one of those t-shirts: "Don't tase me, bro!" for whenever I hit the mall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Citizens' rights are going straight out the window.