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Hidden in the Taser story

On October 14th, a newly arrived Polish immigrant died at Vancouver International Airport after being Tasered by the police.
Taser is an electroshock weapon that is used by the police to fire a high-voltage electric shock at the victim in order to subdue his muscles. “Electroshock weapon technology uses a temporary high-voltage low-current electrical discharge to override the body’s muscle-triggering mechanisms. The recipient feels great pain, and can be momentarily paralyzed while an electric current is being applied. It is reported that applying electroshock devices to more sensitive parts of the body is more painful.” (Wikipedia)

Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant arrived at Vancouver, Canada after his first international flight. Speaking only Polish, he was left helpless at the airport arrival lounge for over 10 hours. This left him frustrated, he turned violent, and was left dead when the police fired Tasers at him aiming to control the unarmed man. The whole incident was captured by an eye-witness Paul Pritchard on his camera.

While I strongly condemn the Taser incident there is something in the Canadian society that I think is worth appreciating:

  • I respect Paul for handing over the video to the police in order to help the investigations. Note that this incident involved the police, who, were also the investigators of the incident.
  • I respect the faith a common man has in the police and law enforcement officers here.
  • I respect the fact that the police returned the video back to Paul, fully knowing how humiliating and embarrassing it would be – not just to the RCMP, but to Canada itself.
  • I respect the freedom of press here and how the matter is being discussed openly and transparent manner.
  • Finally, I respect the fact that the common here man believes that justice will be delivered, despite the police themselves being involved in the incident.

The video is here. Content warning.

Indeed, there are many things we (Indians) need to learn…

Image from CBC News

Published inSocial Commentary


  1. This poignant and informative post brought back memories of an article I read last year about a UCLA student being tasered by university campus police. I checked it out on google now and here is the latest on that:
    Fortunately, he survived.

    I do hope justice is delivered in Dziekanski’s case and it’s good to see your faith in the Canadian system.

  2. Priyank,
    I’ve tagged you for a game. It’s simple and easy and I hope you play it.

  3. Celine:
    Thanks for the news story. (I edited your comment slightly. For some reason the link broke into next line.)
    And watch out my next post 🙂

  4. Nice post Priyank and I like the positive angle you took. However it’s not possible to have those kind of citizens here. India is in a different stage of development. Canada would not have been like this say 50 years ago…at least I don’t think so.
    I once quoted the Maslow’s need hierachy in one of my comments…and well that is it for us. We cannot progress to a ‘higher’ level unless our basic needs our satisfied. I am talking of the nation as a whole ofcourse, not individuals.

  5. very informative post..reminds me in a way of the movie india, i can never trust the cops..i am always wary of them..i hope justice is delivered

  6. We are masters in blame-glame… no one likes to accept resposibility here, which is the first step to a lasting solution.

  7. Nita:
    Yes I agree. The thing that bothers me is we like to live in our self constructed castles, while there is so much to learn elsewhere. I am sure India will move in this direction soon, there are miracles like Kerala (my next post).

    Steven Spielberg is a god indeed.

    Yes. And maybe its directly related to bureaucracy (babu culture) in India – more the paper, cleaner thy ass?

  8. Very good and informative post, Priyank. Here, in India as you said we need to learn many things but will it happen ?
    I very much appreciate your positive approach.

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