EDITORIAL: Don’t Tase us, bro

Funny that earlier this week a young man in Florida would make a fool of himself at a prominent political figure’s lecture and then get Tasered by university police.

And here, we have Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama visiting Friday and a Board of Regents wrangling with the issue of arming campus police with guns.

We hope that’s where the parallels end.

Hopefully by now you’ve seen the video – preferably one of the longer clips – in which University of Florida senior Andrew Meyer makes a scene at a Q-and-A session with Kerry, and after refusing to cooperate with campus police, is wrestled to the ground and Tasered.

We don’t expect that to happen here.

But if it were to happen again, and we were the police, we would not have Tasered Meyer.

Several officers surrounded Meyer as he lay on the ground yelling for help. He posed no threat to anyone. And as more and more officers surrounded him, what started as an annoying, grandstanding student rambling about politics appeared to turn into a fiasco of excessive use of police force.

The Taser – along with Meyer’s chilling screams – was the spark that lit the media inferno that has ensued.

We hope, above all, that this incident reminds us why there’s so much passion surrounding the debate of arming campus police – what these officers can do is scary, and if you can show a lack of judgment with a Taser, you can show a lack of judgment with a gun.

We’re not saying the campus police would abuse their weapons – a majority of the Daily Editorial Board still believes they should be armed – but the thought is scary.

ISU Police Cmdr. Gene Deisinger said campus police must go through certification to use weapons and go through renewal training and reviews annually afterward.

He also said that since Tasers were introduced to the force in 2002, he believes they have been displayed to perpetrators or actually deployed a dozen or so times.

It’s comforting to know that the Tasers are hardly ever used.

It’s a shame that one was used on Meyer.

However, it will be a bigger shame if this Taser incident leads to any snap judgments.

For the complete story, click here.