The Atlantic's Citylab reports that the cash-strapped town of Van Meter, Iowa is selling $5.00 raffle tickets for the chance to apply a Taser to the city administrator or a town councilman (depending on who gets the most votes).
The city says it needs the money to replace a crashed patrol car.
"It's about fundraising," [Van Meter's police chief] says. "It's not about 'We've got to tase somebody.'"
What a relief. Indeed, the raffle winner can elect not to tase the unlucky official.
About 1,000 people live in the town, according to the Census, and it's unclear whether out-of-towners can buy raffle tickets.
If so, perhaps family members and friends of 540-plus people who have died after being tasered by U.S. police since 2001 will want to work out some anger issues on Van Meter's Jake Anderson or Bob Lacy.
Tasers are supposed to be (and in the vast majority of cases are) non-lethal, but it's clear that they can also cause serious injury and death (Taser International argues that these things only happen when cops misuse the device, which seems to be often).
I can appreciate the financial straits of Van Meter, but it seems to me that electroshocking a city official (or worse, not electroshocking a city official) is a pretty screwed up way of fundraising that not only trivializes local government but, more troublingly, police abuse.
In 2012, Reason TV asked "Who's Lethal?: Police or Tasers." Watch below.