This isn’t the easiest time to be a police officer. I get that.
One of my good friends is married to a police officer in a state that’s emerged as a coronavirus hot spot. Not only does she have to pray that her husband comes home safely after every shift, she has to pray that he doesn’t bring a deadly virus home with him. It can’t be the best feeling in the world.
However, it’s not a reason to start dehumanizing people as you arrest them in order to socially distance yourself from them.
But in India, that’s exactly what they’re doing thanks to a device with frightening implications.
Chandigarh is a city of a little over a million people in the northern part of the country, capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana. Currently, an area containing 60,000 residents is under extreme lockdown, according to the Indian Express, because of coronavirus cases; no one can enter or leave the colony.
Again, I get the sensitivity of the situation. I question what situation, however, would necessitate this:
VIP Security wing of Chandigarh Police has devised this unique way of tackling non-cooperating corona suspects and curfew breakers.
Great equipment, great drill !!!
Way to go @ssptfcchd and Insp Manjit, HCt Gurdeep, HCt Pawan and Ct Usha pic.twitter.com/oTLsGoe6yt
— DGP Chandigarh Police (@DgpChdPolice) April 25, 2020
“VIP Security wing of Chandigarh Police has devised this unique way of tackling non-cooperating corona suspects and curfew breakers,” a tweet late last month announced while showing off the demonstration of a device more appropriate for dogs.
“Great equipment, great drill !!!” the department wrote. “Way to go @ssptfcchd and Insp Manjit, HCt Gurdeep, HCt Pawan and Ct Usha.”
I furthermore get the idea that American notions of liberty don’t necessarily travel as well as they should, but there are several things about this display that should still frighten the heck out of you.
For one thing, this assumes a compliant individual. If the person is non-compliant, you’re not going to get the person involved to raise their hands above their head or assume a stance that makes this device particularly usable.
If you have a compliant individual, however, you don’t need this device. You can get the person to socially distance on their own.
Thus, there’s not a particularly good reason to use this — unless, essentially, part of this is to degrade people who dared cross the government.
All this proves is that the Chandigarh Police feel themselves at liberty to treat their subjects like they’re involved in animal control once they track the lockdown-evading miscreants down. The problem is that they’re dealing with human beings. They might not know that, but yes, they still are.
All of this didn’t escape Twitter commenters.
This is not done ..These type of equipments are used for animal catch…
It’s better to educate people..
And in Chandigarh people are cooperating with the officials…
यह इंसानियत के खिलाफ है..यह तो हथकड़ी से भी ज़्यादा है।@vpsbadnore @KirronKherBJP @pawanbansal_chd @HMOIndia
— इण्डिया Insider (@InsiderInd) April 25, 2020
Simply unnecessary and stupid.good luck catching with that ???
— Ajai joy (@Ajaijoy2) April 26, 2020
Ingenious! Similar to tongs that is used to catch SNAKES.
— Vasudha (@WordsSlay) April 26, 2020
What unique way? Looks like kids made something for playing with. Unless the suspect cooperates, this won’t work.
— Murali Aiyer (@Murali_Aiyer) April 26, 2020
Part of the problem, however, is that we’re now entering a unique and troubling period in modern history where basic concepts of humanity, dignity and logic have gone out the window:
Nice to see innovation! I know this is a demo; I will assume #CoronaVirus patients will be taken in an ambulance and not this truck ?. Tweets are international and I don’t want non Chandigarh resident to make an assumption.
— Rohit Prabhakar #Digital (@rohitprabhakar) April 25, 2020
Yeah, I wouldn’t want anyone to make any untoward assumptions or anything.
The likelihood this comes to the United States is probably minimal for all of the reasons I’ve listed.
The likelihood something like it comes to the United States? If we want to keep our country locked down for longer and if someone invents a more foolproof version of this before they invent a vaccine, that we can’t be as certain about.
Personal freedoms should be universal freedoms. When they aren’t, you get devices like this.
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