Much has been made in the past 36 hours about 17-year-old Steve Consalvi, who was Tasered after running onto the field of Citizen’s Bank Park Monday during a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game.
Consalvi hopped the fence and scurried about centerfield for a few minutes, eluding a few security officers before he was brought down by a Taser. He was fully clothed at the time, not on any substance of any sort and didn’t appear to be a threat to anyone, so many have come forward to claim security shouldn’t have used excessive force.
I’m coming at it with the unique experience of having been Tasered. Voluntarily, at that. In Fall 2004, the year after a riot broke out during homecoming festivities at my college, the local police force had prepared to thwart another riot with non-lethal weapons, including Tasers. Me, a middling editor for the A&E section, thought it might be a nice news story to have a writer experience what it’s like to hit with 50,000 volts. When no one else volunteered — unsurprisingly — I took the assignment.
The Mankato (Minn.) Police Department was more than happy to take part in the experiment. However, my college wouldn’t allow it to take place in campus because it was a “liability.” So, I went to down to police headquarters where local media had shown up with cameras to tape the idiot kid from MSU who volunteered to be electrocuted.
Consalvi was shot by a Taser, whereas I was wired to one. A giddy police officer clamped one wire to my belt loop and another to my right sock. I was told to kneel onto my knees and sit on my heels. I should point out my heart is racing as I type this…
After I gave the police officer a thumbs up, he pulled the triggered. My legs legs instantly shot out from underneath and every muscle in my body seemed to cramp. I could feel my veins exploding as I let slip a stream of expletives. I felt like an infant at the mercy of a rabid pitbull. It was the most painful experience of my life.
But then, it was over. For five seconds, there was excruciating pain. After five seconds, there was nothing. That’s maybe the beauty of the Taser — there’s no pain after the round has been expired. That five seconds is long enough to get someone’s attention, though.
Whenever I hear of policemen or security unnecessarily using a Taser, I suppose I’m not as angered as most. Then again, I’m a law-abiding citizen. I understand the way the weapon works. (Effectively!)
The night after Consalvi’s famous incident. an unnamed 34-year-old man leapt onto the field of Citizen’s Bank Park in copycat fashion. This time, no Taser was deployed. This time around, the unruly fan was arrested for defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and narcotics possession.
The Phillies have a problem on their hands and after all the headlines Consalvi’s incident received, it’d be surprising if this didn’t happen yet again in Philadelphia or elsewhere. Consalvi was a trending topic on Twitter Tuesday. Unfortunately, that’s noteworthy in this day and age.
Because I don’t want to see every baseball game or every televised event interrupted by some bozo starved for attention, I’d like to see the Taser used more commonly. Does it hurt? Hell yes. But it’s not as if these hooligans have to run onto a field. The easiest way to avoid being Tasered would be to sit in your seat and enjoy the game like a dignified person.
If you haven’t seen the Steve Consalvi incident: