In placing Proposition 2 on the Tuesday, Nov. 2 ballot, City Council and the mayor have entrusted a crucial decision regarding public safety to the voters of Columbia. This proposition would make it unlawful to use or threaten to use Tasers and all other Conducted Electrical Devices (CEDs) within the city limits. This ban does not affect ownership of CEDs. And it applies not just to law enforcement, but to everyone.
Voting Yes on Proposition 2 is important to the safety of both citizens and law enforcement for many reasons that include the growing number of deaths, injuries and liability suits, both nationwide and in our region, subsequent to the use of CEDs. But the primary reason to vote Yes is based on the following principle of good judgment: These devices are unreliable and unpredictable in their effects. These qualities of uncertainty make them highly dangerous to everyone. Far from making our community safer, CEDs, because of their uncertainty, make us less safe. Taser International, the company that produces and markets these devices, issued an advisory warning in Fall 2009 not to shoot into the heart and chest area. Since the company itself is still finding out the effects of CEDs, these devices should not be used.
Our elected City Council and mayor, who are charged with the well being and safety of our community, could have passed an ordinance making CED use unlawful. They did not. Now we, as citizens who are committed to public safety and the common good, have the opportunity to make Columbia a safer place to live by voting Yes on Proposition 2.
Catherine Parke is a Columbia resident.