US violence sparks need for reform

THE shadow of the violence visited on a primary school in Connecticut on the weekend eclipses almost anything in this country in the last couple of days.

However, two acts of violence have shown tasers are still a vital option in law enforcement despite recent negative findings.

The NSW Assistant Commissioner of Police, Alan Clarke was quoted in yesterday's metro media stating tasers were used at the weekend when two Bathurst emergency nurses were threatened with a knife and an officer was attacked outside a pub in Glen Innes.

Just last week there was a report from the NSW Ombudsman who said the taser was a weapon regularly misused. Few would argue it was the right decision to employ the taser when the nurses at Bathurst Base were attacked by a man who they were treating for an eye injury.

It was alleged the 40-year-old man pulled a knife and threatened them both. As police were negotiating with the man, other officers entered the emergency department and tasered him from behind.

And thus a potentially tragic incident was avoided.

We cannot hope to have a society that is violence-free; but surely people can make decisions that do not result in a firearm being used to solve a problem because a gun is freely at hand?

The right to bear arms does not mean an individual can pull a handgun to resolve a minor traffic infringement.

Law-makers in the US have some difficult decisions ahead and there will be plenty of angst before solutions are reached.


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