Cincinnati police officer Kevin Brown’s decision to fire a Taser at an 11-year-old girl suspected of shoplifting from a grocery store in August immediately drew criticism from city officials and advocates.
But Ohio state Representative John Becker had a different take. Had it been his daughter, he announced in an August newsletter, “I’d be ashamed and embarrassed that she did something stupid enough to get herself tased.”
This is even worse than the police union’s take on the incident, which referred to the completely expected backlash as “kneejerk.” But, hey, I guess deciding to tase an 11-year-old in the back — one who reportedly was all of 4’11” and 90 pounds — couldn’t possibly be portrayed as a kneejerk reaction by a law enforcement officer. When force isn’t truly needed, we can be sure some cops will deploy it anyway.
But Rep. John Becker’s take is the hottest take of all. Anyone tased by a cop — even an 11-year-old — is a person who brought that crackling, barbed punishment down on themselves. There’s no reason to question the wisdom or necessity of the Taser deployment. Rather, we should question ourselves. And perhaps society. But mostly ourselves.
Becker also addressed police shootings in his newsletter. If his child were shot by police, he wrote, “rather than blaming the cop, I’d be blaming myself and endlessly soul searching to figure out how I failed as a parent and why my kid grew up to be a punk.” He added, “Based on the evidence of what I see on television, it often times appears to me that justice was delivered to the dead punk.”
“Based on the evidence of what I see on television…” Holy shit. This is an elected representative. And he thinks the TV is giving him the “evidence” he needs to make snap judgments on tased kids. Blame the victim. And blame the victim’s parents.
The police chief — in a surprisingly reasonable statement — said the Taser deployment was “unnecessary.”
Back to Becker:
Becker also told The Appeal that if police tase a child, “it could be an indication of a parenting problem.” He added, “If I were to do research, I would expect to find that kids that come from two parent in-tact [sic] supportive families are less likely to get in trouble with the authorities than kids that came from tougher environments.”
“If I were to do the research…” Would this be research beyond the television watching that’s given Becker such keen insight into officer-involved shootings? Who knows? Becker’s certainly not going to do the research. He’s just going to stick by his electro-guns and blame victims of cop violence for being raised badly or otherwise being harmed by the disintegration of the nuclear family unit — the 2.5 children born to married heterosexuals who have managed to weather an escalating divorce rate, porn, video games, movies, television, the internet, social media, Satanism, multiple pagan-based holidays, postal rate hikes, alternate sexual orientations, public school indoctrination, Daylight Savings Time, mandatory vaccinations, HAARP projects (known and unknown), President Obama, Brown v. Board of Education, morning-after pills, weird Twitter, the removal of prayer from schools, the Simpsons, artistic expression in general, and whatever else has reduced the American way of life to a hideous nightmare where punk kids manage to live their whole lives without being deservedly tased by blameless, saintly police officers.
Becker is an idiot, but let’s pretend the research he didn’t do actually says what he thinks it will say. Even if a majority of kids tased/killed by cops are raised by single and/or inattentive parents, that doesn’t justify force deployments that far exceed the danger presented by the developing situation. This 11-year-old was tased in the back by an officer who was taller, weighed more, and had the ability to summon any number of additional officers if it appeared this preteen was going to, I don’t know, grow a foot, add 100 pounds of weight, and produce an arsenal of weapons before the officer got the mild shoplifting situation under control.
If you agree with John Becker, you’re probably John Becker. Or a cop who hates using force reasonably or responsibly. But you’re definitely not the sort of person who can be trusted with government power.