Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tools Versus Methods

Alternative Ballistics's THE ALTERNATIVE™ has raised the hackles of some gun-safety proponents and the hopes of some law-enforcement critics. Ferguson, MO will be the first police department to deploy the new tool, following a fight between a police officer and a felony suspect in which the tool most likely would have not changed the outcome of the altercation. (But it might have helped reduced injuries sustained to people shot with rubber bullets during protests that followed the Brown/Wilson fight.)

Whether it works as intended as a less-lethal tool - or whether it fails to protect the lives of criminal suspects, deranged individuals, and LEOs - will be evident once it is deployed. Its success depends on its inherent effectiveness, the tactics applied in its use, and the context of its use.

But I suspect that the larger context of the relationship of law-enforcement officers and other citizens will show THE ALTERNATIVE™ to be a stop-gap, uselessly-divergent tool - that might end up being deadly. Tasers offered a similar less-lethal tool and have proven deadly at times, and have shown that "less lethal" might just be an avenue for LEOs to apply unneeded force in situations that can be resolved my less violent means. Much of the failures of Tasers can be deduced to the misapplication of the tool. Will the same be said of THE ALTERNATIVE™?

And what of the general relationship between LEOs and other citizens? Are suspects being more violent? Are cops becoming more violent? What came first? The chicken or the egg? And is the enforcement of victimless crimes - clear violations of individual freedom - bringing into question the legality of police activity on a more fundamental level, and therefore debasing the moral legitimacy of LEOs? What came first? The chicken or the egg?


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