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19 October 2012
Incredible but true. This is a story of the blind shooting the blind. It raises the question of whether police authorized to fire dangerous weapons should be able to see clearly before being let loose on the public. You would think the answer to that question is obvious. Not in the North of England, it ain’t.
On 12 October 2012 an innocent blind man was shot in the back with a 50,000-volt Taser by police in Chorley, Lancashire, after they mistook his white stick for a samurai sword.
Colin Farmer, aged 61, who used to run an architects’ practice, was in Peter Street on his way to meet friends when police struck.
Farmer said: “The Taser hit me in the back and it started sending all these thousands of volts through me and I was terrified. I mean I had two strokes already caused by stress. I dropped the stick involuntarily and I collapsed on the floor face down. I was shaking and I thought ‘I’m going to have another stroke any second and this one is going to kill me. I’m being killed.’”
Farmer was subsequently taken to Chorley Hospital for check-ups.
Lancashire police have apologized to their victim but said that after receiving reports that a man was walking through Chorley with a samurai sword they had sent out patrols to look for him. After Tasering Farmer, police subsequently arrested a 27-year-old carrying a samurai sword. He is suspected of being drunk and disorderly.
Farmer has made an official complaint to the police and is said to be taking legal action. Apparently, he wants the officer involved to be charged with assault. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the case.
However, the police officer who fired the Taser has not been suspended from duty.
Either Lancashire police need to have their eyes tested or they should pay an educational visit to a museum of Japanese culture in order to learn what a samurai sword looks like. Maybe, while they are about it, they also need to go to an old folks’ home as well so that they can find out what a walking-stick looks like.
As the Lancashire saying goes, “Don’t some mothers ‘ave ‘em!”
In normal circumstances, unlike in many other countries, police in Britain are traditionally unarmed. However, because of the perception of an increased threat from terrorists as a result of the invasion of Muslim countries this century by the West, guns and other controversial weapons, such as Tasers, have increasingly been deployed by police forces in Britain.
Less seriously, one cannot help but wonder whether Japanese swords are not a popular accoutrement now among men-about-town in provincial Lancashire, but then “it’s grim up North” and the natives no doubt have to do something to amuse themselves.
According to the 10th edition of The Chambers Dictionary, a Taser is “a small gunlike device which fires electrified darts or barbs” for the purpose of immobilizing or stunning the person targeted.
A samurai was the military retainer of a Japanese feudal lord (daimyo).
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.