Should bus drivers and subway conductors be able to fight back against unruly riders with Tasers? State Senator Eric Adams and TWU Local 100's president John Samulsen are two prongs shooting into the chest of "yes." "Equipping and training our members to responsibly use Tasers will end the assaults that are currently plaguing our members." Lance McRubberneck, the president of Amalgamated YouTube Fight Video Aficionados Local 44, agrees: "Oh man, can you imagine a spaghetti fight/bus shouting match combo WITH Taser strike? I'm gettin' hot just thinking about it."
Adams sponsored a bill allowing the employees to carry Tasers last year, but in its amended form, it's gaining traction. According to the Daily News, bus drivers and train operators were assaulted 94 times last year (example 1, example 2), an increase from 72 incidents in 2010, but we still find Samuelson's claim that Tasers will "end" assaults, dubious. So does the MTA.
“The MTA makes protecting our transit personnel a top priority in everything we do,” MTA chairman Joseph Lhota told the paper. “However, the proposed legislation is the wrong way to go about protecting MTA employees. Asking them to carry weapons would cross the line into law enforcement, a function that is best left to the NYPD.”
Tellingly, the NYPD doesn't even allow regular beat cops to carry Tasers, reserving those for sergeants and specially trained Emergency Service Unit officers. And can the cash-strapped MTA really afford any lawsuits related to the "non-lethal" weapons?
What say ye?