We all need a “time out.”

This has nothing to do with rheuma, obviously. But I just had to post it. I’m … stunned (pun intended).

A police officer in Little Rock, Arkansas “tazed” a little girl, with her mother’s approval, because the child refused to take a shower.

Officer Dustin Bradshaw’s report states that the girl was “violently kicking and verbally combative,” so he darted her with his Tazer, giving her a “very brief stun to her back.”

Is it just me, or does this seem a trifle … overboard?

I mean, this was a 10-year-old, not a 180-pound man hopped up on angel dust and waving a tire-iron. A 10-year-old girl. Unarmed. Kicking and screaming and obviously out of control, but this is not necessarily abnormal behavior for a child. Annoying, aggravating, even infuriating behavior, certainly, but who in hell would shoot a 10-year-old with a Tazer gun?

Apparently, an American policeman.

Officer Bradshaw has been suspended from duty for a week, with pay. I know the suspension will go on his records, and that’s not so good for him, promotion-wise, but otherwise, it’s like he’s getting a free week of vacation for electrocuting a child in order to stun her into submission. And you know what? He wasn’t suspended for shooting the child, but because he forgot to attach a video camera to the gun before he fired. Seems he broke department rules when he did that.

The little girl was physically unharmed, according to the story by the Associated Press, though one does wonder what her mental state must be, given that her mother called the police on her for not taking a shower when she was told – and then gave the officer permission to shoot her with a Tazer because she was throwing a tantrum.

This is incredible. No – it’s monstrous.

The child is now staying at a youth shelter. Ozark Mayor Vernon McDaniel wants the Arkansas State Police or the FBI to investigate whether the use of the Tazer on the child was proper.

Holygods. This is a question?

What’s next? “9-1-1? Hurry! My 14-year-old son won’t clean his room! Have the police come and taze him! That’ll teach him to do what I tell him to do…”

Sometimes I wonder what we’ve turned into. Where are the brakes? We accepted that our government was torturing people – most of them innocent people. It was, I guess, a kind of revenge for the Sept. 11 terror attacks, along with two wars. Now we stun children into submission with high-voltage darts for not minding their mothers.

America seriously needs a “time out.”

8 thoughts on “We all need a “time out.”

  1. I heard this on the radio this morning – it’s terrifying.

    The culture of instant gratification we’ve created has extended to politics, medicine, law. We don’t know how to hit the pause button. We don’t know how to stop, to wait, to think. When something isn’t quite right, all we know is that we want it to change – now.

    The ability to wait is important.


  2. Instant gratification. Wow — I hadn’t thought of it that way, Helen. And you’re right. I wonder how, and when, we’ll step back from the brink?


  3. I really do feel that this is becoming more and more widespread. We want the things we don’t like to change instantly, and we don’t know how to wait. We can’t stand silence, because it forces us to be with our thoughts. I really think this is why music (or muzak) is constantly piped into public places.

    I had a good friend who went to her doctor for antidepressants the day after her boyfriend broke up with her. There are some things you’re supposed to be sad about. There are some things that take time, but I think we’re terrified of the effort that comes with that.

    I think we’re afraid of making a real effort to change what we don’t like. So instead of talking to children with behavioural issues and working with them, we look for an instant fix-it.


  4. I hadn’t heard about this story. Makes me wonder what kinds of problems there are in a household when a parent would call the police about a ten-year-old. There’s got to be more to the story. I cannot fathom such poor parenting skills.


  5. I’m sure there IS more to this story, WarmSocks. I wondered why the child is now in a youth hostel and not at home. This does at least imply poor parenting skills, at the very least. But for an officer of the law to tase a child in order to bring her into compliance is wrong, no matter what the other circustances. I’m very disturbed about this incident. It’s not the first time since Tasers became a commonly used “non-lethal” control device that an officer has used one in a questionable situation. And they aren’t necessarily “non-lethal.” People have died right after being tased — perhaps not from the jolt of electricity itself, but from other problems triggered by it. Such a shame.


  6. This is crazy, Wren. Your remarks are right on.

    A few weeks ago, we were visiting friends when my son turned the corner in time to see the father of the house spank his son, my son’s friend. My son, being only three and never having witnessed corporal punishment before, began shaking and crying hysterically. He was terrified that this man might hit him too, and was terrified that his friend was hurt.

    Watching my son fall apart over his friend’s spanking was enough to melt my heart. I will NEVER understand how parents can take their own hands to their children. Violence perpetuates violence. My son is as sweet as they come. We are consistent. We do believe in discipline, the kind that teaches, not the kind that punishes with the use of brute force.

    -RA SB


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