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Hit me with your best shot

A young woman was shot with a Taser at an anti-war protest this weekend. It begs the question: as anti-war sentiment gains intensity, will the police response intensify as well?
 
 
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To prove how safe Taser guns are, police departments sometimes ask an officer to volunteer to be shot by one. Fourteen of those officers are suing Taser International for injuries including strokes; hearing, visual, cardiac, and neurological damage; irreversible impotence; and loss of bladder control.

Deespite these charges, a number of wrongful death cases, a class actions suit, and a SEC investigation into whether the company deliberately misstated the safety of the weapon, Tasers are still being used against "hardened criminals," like this poor woman who happened to go to an anti-war protest in Pittsburg this weekend. Apparently, she refused to disperse quickly enough. A 68-year-old grandmother also failed to get out of the way, but she at least was only bitten in the thigh by a police dog.

So far, things have been relatively peaceful at the protests in Crawford, Texas, except for the guy who drove his truck over the wooden crosses and the guy who fired shots in the air at Camp Casey who said he was "practicing for dove season." Still, the police response in Pittsburgh and the growing crudeness of the attacks against Cindy Sheehan makes one wonder: as public frustration with the war in Iraq grows and the Bush administration digs in its heels, what kind of battle will be fighting on the home front?

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.