Letters to the Editor - Shootings shed light on Taser incident

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  • Letters to the Editor - Shootings shed light on Taser incident

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Letters to the Editor - Shootings shed light on Taser incident

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Monday's tragic shooting at Virginia Tech is the kind of event that provokes a nationwide outpouring of support, sympathy and questions - questions about the killer, his motives and what could have been done to prevent 33 students from needlessly dying.

Campus security, in particular, has received a lot of scrutiny. Why were classes allowed to continue after shots were fired and students were killed early in the morning?

The problem with such questions is that it is easy to ask them accusatorily in the wake of so many deaths. When nobody dies - when security clamps down on threatening behavior before it reaches such a drastic extreme - the questions asked are very different.

In November, here at UCLA, there was another incident that received nationwide coverage - the use of a Taser gun on a student.

Hundreds of people are in the campus library late at night, paying little attention to their surroundings. Per school policy, campus security officers perform student ID checks. One man refused to show his ID.

Now stop and think: Is this man an unarmed student or an unstable psychotic with a cache of weapons in his backpack? At this point, you don't know and neither do the police. The police only know that he is uncooperative and cannot prove that he has a right to be in the library. So they use their Taser guns.

If the police had found weapons in the student's backpack, they would have been hailed as heroes. Instead, they were vilified.

We know the odds are against the student being a homicidal maniac, even if he is uncooperative with police. But should the police have taken a chance against an uncooperative individual?

When a campus is open, like UCLA's, anyone can walk onto school grounds armed to the teeth. The beeper may go off when you try to carry a book out of the building, but not if you walk in with a pair of handguns.

The aphorism "better safe than sorry" exists for a reason.

Alex Fineman
UCLA law student

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Original Source: <a href=http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/2007/apr/23/letters_editor6/>The Daily Bruin - April 23, 2007</a>

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Alex Fineman

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The Daily Bruin

Date

2007-07-15

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Sara Hood

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Saba Riazati <editor@media.ucla.edu>

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eng

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Citation

Alex Fineman, "Letters to the Editor - Shootings shed light on Taser incident," in The April 16 Archive, Item #738, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/738 (accessed October 26, 2014).