Just Tase Me, Bro! The Evolution of Electrocution in the Land of Idiocracy | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Just Tase Me, Bro! The Evolution of Electrocution in the Land of Idiocracy

May 9, 2010

Starting things off I have to give a huge shout out to Golden Sombrero Nation.  Lil’ Arlo has the site looking fresh and everyone has been throwing in nicely.  Two quick hollas: one to Dee, the fantasy guru of the dental world, and the other to Griff, America’s most dangerous high school teacher, who also unfortunately happens to be my older brother.  I personally haven’t played organized baseball since my balls dropped and I don’t play fantasy.  I have spent countless hours on and around baseball fields as an umpire and spectator/hell-raiser, but I wouldn’t consider myself more than a casual fan of the game.  I only occasionally watch baseball live and when I do it’s more to find things to heckle failing players about than to keep track of whatever nerd stats most of this site is concerned with.  However, I do hold a higher than average appreciation for the game of baseball and amazingly, The Golden Sombrero has now overtaken Big Sausage Pizza as my #9 shortcut when opening new tabs in Internet Explorer.  Keep up the good work, guys.  I’m honored to be contributing and if this can keep just one person out there from getting real work done, I’ll feel I have succeeded.

By now I hope everyone has been fortunate enough to see what took place Monday night at the Phillies game.  The Cardinals were in town and Boyerton High School senior Steve Consalvi was out with some friends on a school night to watch the game.  The game had been fairly uneventful until the 7th inning, when the Cardinals launched a 5 run barrage that the Phillies wouldn’t be able to match and unassuming Steve Consalvi simultaneously began hatching a plan that would unwittingly throw him into the national spotlight and will likely score him more ass than a goofy-looking seventeen-year-old deserves.  By the conclusion of the 7th inning stretch, young Stevie, supposedly not at the behest of any sort of dare or bet but possibly encouraged by the camaraderie of an especially rousing rendition of Take Me out to the Ballgame, mustered up the courage to call his dad and ask for permission to run onto the field of Citizens Bank Park.  Word has it that Steve is a bright kid, going to Penn State in the fall.  But I question the common sense of anyone who by the age of seventeen still believes their father has the power to grant permission for such things.  Everyone thinks their dad is Superman when they’re seven, but still a decade later honor-student Stevie still thought Dad had final say over the hundreds of public and private security officers, not to mention ball boys and groundskeepers, protecting the stadium and playing field that evening. “Well, no,” elder Wayne calmly replied, “I don’t think you should, son.”  And of course, since Steve’s parents are divorced and he hasn’t actually lived with his dad for a decade, he totally disregarded the old man’s advice.  So, full of youthful sanguinity and the belief that what he was doing gave him a pretty good chance of getting laid, or at least squeezing his first boob, Steve leapt down onto that silky smooth yard and began what he assured his dad would be a “once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

Sports can inspire incredibly powerful feelings of love, hatred and everything in between all in an instant, and the energy of athletic competition consistently compels people to act in ways beyond what is normally expected, be it playing the game or watching it.  When on-field athletes exceed our expectations it’s usually in heroic moments of jaw-dropping physical prowess, the kinds of plays you see and secretly think to yourself how in Darwin’s natural world this jock is way more deserving of furthering the species than you are (thank god for technology).  On the flipside, when a spectator does something that draws the attention of the entire crowd it usually leaves us all feeling a bit more of the pressure to carry on the human race in a respectable manner.  And the short, sad, saga of Stevie Consalvi was no exception.

Hearing Steve’s brief reasoning behind his actions, that this was going to be some sort of “once-in-a-lifetime event”, I must once again call into question his common sense.  While this incident has now surely become the highlight of short-bus Stevie’s brief existence, and could possibly remain so for his entire life, it began as a simple act of time-honored hooliganism.  We have all seen that guy in the crowd, usually about a Benjamin deep in nine buck beers and highly susceptible to the urgings of crueler, fellow spectators like me.  “Yeah dude, you should totally do it!  There’s no way those fat, lazy security guards stand a chance at catching you.  You’re (insert idiot’s name here) damn it!”  People have been running onto the fields of pro sporting events probably since spectator sports began, so why should this individual troublemaker warrant any special attention?  It began as an act that should not have been “once-in-a-lifetime” for anyone but the naïve schoolboy, but Monday night in Philadelphia will now go down in the annals of baseball spectator stupidity, right up there with Disco Demolition and Ten-Cent Beer Night. I honestly didn’t even see the highlights of the game, but I have watched silly Steve’s shit-eating grin shucking and jiving across every channel on television for two days now.  I even sat through half of the O’Reilly Factor to see what that old idiot had to say about it.  For the record, I was let down.  Yet I still haven’t gotten tired of the electrifying antics of this teenaged rebel-rouser.

That’s because slim Stevie’s forgettable moment turned magical the second he hit the juke button.  See, little Stevie wasn’t your average flabby, sloshing, ballgame drunk that gets smothered before his foot-powered joyride really even begins.  This kid was young, agile, and most importantly, sober. And little Stevie’s mini-marathon made that elderly Phillies security crew look pretty damn pathetic.  With a bomb strapped to his chest and a real hankering to meet Allah, he probably could have detonated the visiting dugout into smithereens; he definitely would have scorched the infield dirt.  Instead, Stevie was your typical American jackass, enjoying that perfectly mowed grass the best way he knew how. While the kid was admittedly no Barry Sanders, he didn’t need to be with that paltry, private security squad having to lay down their walkers before taking chase. That whippersnapper was turning figure eights on this sad crew like he was in Looney Tune Land, waving his white towel and laughing his ass off harder than Bugs Bunny.  But now that the juvenile was illegally trespassing on private property he was subject to the full force of the law.  And alongside those poor, balding, Phillies rent-a-cops was one of Philadelphia’s finest, and he was tired of fucking around.  This mockery of authority went on for about thirty seconds when the portly police officer, who surely thought he’d scored big earlier that night when being placed on outfield foul line duty, finally decided enough was enough.  Out came the Glo-light yellow plastic firearm and the treading trespasser went down with a hard dose of Edison medicine.  Turf-snortin’ Steve Consalvi fell face first into history Monday night being the first person ever Tasered for running onto a pro baseball field.

The one tool capable of bringing this wily teenager down was the fabled Taser, gift of Taser International and best friend of doughnut-grubbing cops everywhere.  Invented in 1993, the Taser is one of the most popular less-than lethal devices in use by private and public security forces today.  This magnificent piece of modern technology hits the skin with an electrical current of 50k volts, then drops to and remains at 19k volts after initial contact, providing a shock to the body of about .02-.04 amps and 1-2 joules of power. For comparison, a heart defibrillator delivers about 1-2 amps and up to 400 joules of power.  However, what sets the near-mythical Taser apart from the rest of the stun-gun market isn’t its power; it’s the technology that Taser Int. calls Neuro Muscular Incapacitation (NMI), basically an electrical current that overpowers your body by disrupting voluntary control of your muscles.  The Taser, unlike other stun-guns, isn’t designed to inflict pain.  Tweakers and hardasses and maybe even a kid jacked up on the adrenaline of running circles around a major league outfield can withstand a lot of pain.  Tasers work so that they are equally incapacitating to all.  Every single person will feel the exact same uncontrollable muscle contractions and react in a very similar manner.  If you are struck by a Taser you will certainly writhe, you will likely unleash more contorted abominations of human speech than Linda Blair in the Exorcist, and if you’re lucky you just might poo yourself.

When executed properly, and assuming you have no underlying heart conditions and aren’t so jacked on uppers that your heart explodes, after a minute or two you will walk away feeling fine.  In 99.7% of proper uses of Tasers there is no serious or lasting physical damage.  Other than mud butt and possible cell phone video footage there isn’t a lot left to show you’ve even been tased. The makers of Tasers are so confident in the safety of their product that, according to their website all senior management and most employees have taken voluntary exposures with various Taser devices.  I’d like to see the guys at Glock give that a try. To date, Taser International has only lost one Product-Liability lawsuit, in 2008, despite numerous claims and court appearances. This weapon is just strong enough to leave nothing more than a lasting (hopefully deserved) reminder of why you should follow directions and do as the Man says.  The other most popular options for instilling this valuable lesson are either batons or pepper spray.

Now I have never been Tasered, but I have been pepper sprayed and I have no problem admitting that I would rather roll around screaming for twenty seconds and crap my pants than deal with those hours of insufferable burning ever again.  I proceeded to drink myself into a state where I could no longer command my own feet to carry me home yet the inferno on my face never ceased.  If you thought waking up hungover sucked, wait until you’re hungover and covered in pepper spray. Not only are the effects of pepper spray much longer lasting, when the liquid is sprayed in a crowded setting it will almost surely be blown straight into the faces of innocent bystanders.  Just ask anyone that had to be evacuated from Rickett’s Park during the middle of a Connie Mack World Series Game after police broke up a scuffle in the parking lot outside the stadium using pepper spray. Nice going Jason Snyder and Tyler Sneed. Not only were you imbeciles so stupid to start fighting in the middle of literally the only major police presence in town, you delayed the game and nearly caused a riot so half a stadium full of people could rush to the nearest source of water and flush their eyes.  Thanks a lot.

If Philly cop had tried taking down sly Steve with his fiery, devil juice not only would he have come up dismally short but he would have been to blame for ruining the night of roughly 46,000 Phillies fans instead of just one. Nobody wants to deal with one angry Philadelphia sports fan, much less a whole stadium full.  Those jerks even booed Santa Claus. As for the baton, just ask anyone who has ever been struck forcefully with a blunt object what they think about the lasting impact of that.  Hell, ask Rodney King which he would prefer to be subdued with next time, I bet I know the answer.  But the best feature is the Taser’s detachable electrodes can reach suspects from up to 35 feet.  That means not only less work for the tubby, badge holder your punk ass is lapping, it also poses much less danger to those with the unenviable task of wrangling in rabid, violent offenders.  The point is Tasers are remarkably effective in subduing uncooperative subjects, even those of remarkable strength, intoxication, or hostility.  They can be dangerous, even deadly, when abused, but when used properly the Taser is arguably the most effective less-than lethal weapon in any security’s arsenal.

The Taser has been getting a lot of bad press over the last few years, most notably the “Don’t tase me, bro!” incident during a 2007 John Kerry town hall forum at the University of Florida in which a student pleaded with officers not to be tased after he was already in custody.  This was an incident of what is known as “dry-tasing”, when the Taser is applied directly to the skin.  This is a different setting on the Taser than the projectile electrodes, and in the wrong hands this continuous shock function can be used as a torture device, just as any other potential weapon might be.  The Taser itself is not to blame here.  This was an incident of an overzealous police officer wantonly inflicting unnecessary pain and punishment on a subject already in custody.  Nearly every single Taser use that has caused death is attributable to similar abuses, typically in which the suspect was held down and subjected to continuous electric shock for minutes at a time.  Clearly these are despicable acts and the responsible parties should be held accountable for their actions, meaning those abusing their position of power as well as the human rights of others. Obviously the Taser is very effective in what it does, and obviously the Taser also has a serious potential for abuse.  So the question remains whether the tasing of Steve Consalvi was appropriate or abusive.

The main argument against using the Taser in this instance is that it was excessive force because sweet Stevie wasn’t a threat.  He was just another jackass teenager, doing the same kinds of jackass things my friends and I were doing at his age.  The kid meant no ill will. I couldn’t agree more; I too was escorted from a sporting event in handcuffs as a high school senior while totally sober and never once feeling like a threat to anyone. I’m sure Steve thought his senior prank was harmless, and watching the video it is fairly obvious that the child posed no real danger.  But the only reason we are able to reach such an obvious conclusion is because he spent a solid half minute eluding the so-called “authorities.”  Bill O’Reilly was so embarrassed by his peers’ pitiable performance that when he showed the clip he blacked out the entire screen except for scrambling Stevie.

If those wrinkled geezers had been able to contain the ruffian and pin him down in a timely manner, there’d have been a whole lot more questions the next day and a whole lot less “aww shucks, it’s just a kid being a kid.” People would have wanted to know who this nut job was, and what the hell he thought he was doing threatening America’s pastime.  Fans in the stadium would debate amongst themselves, but all would surely congratulate the grounds crew for running a tight ship, taking care of business. Instead, a seventeen-year-old made an absolute mockery of the “security” fans are supposed to trust to protect them in the event that the person jumping that fence is more sinister than today’s everyday American idiot.  The fact that almost the entire security staff was buckled over at the waist following the arduous 30 second workout tells me that Philly and probably every other ballpark need more than just a staff of untrained laborers hired off Craigslist to guard the lives of both the fans and the team’s lucrative on-field investments.  I have worked security at large events like this. So has my grandma.  Let’s face it, for 8 dollars an hour you ain’t getting Blackwater.  Clearly a police presence is necessary to ensure proper protection in a stadium holding almost 50 thousand people.

Now the moment some crazy fucker drops off that fence onto the warning track it is any police officer’s duty to react accordingly, so in comes Johnny Law from off his comfy perch down the line.  He doesn’t have time to check if Steve is grinning madly because he is about to be greeted by 70 virgins or if he is really just having that good of a time playing tag for an audience.  This is America, the country where innocent people get killed at church, school, and the post office.  So to say it can immediately be assumed that Steve is harmless, for any reason, is preposterous. It’s sad, but the glory days of streaking are long gone and Morganna the Kissing Bandit is probably as aged as the Phillies security. If you think the fact that he was a teenager makes it harmless I implore you to speak with former Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa, who in 2002 was attacked in the coach’s box by a knife wielding shirtless fifteen-year-old and his toothless twenty-seven year old father.  Sure, it is probably unfair to be grouping Steve together with scum like them after all the facts are laid out, but I would rather police be on the conservative side when it comes to dealing with problems like this on the spot.

It is within a landowner’s right to defend his property from trespassers. One streaker at Augusta Golf Club in Georgia had his bare ass peppered by groundskeeper’s buckshot.  Maybe Major League Baseball should institute a shoot-on-site policy for anyone running onto the field, not only to deter these idiots but to protect our cherished athletes. Too harsh, you say? Monica Seles may disagree. And I am yet to hear one major league player come out in defense of Steve.  I am not saying I condone MLB killing people for being stupid, even if they would be legally justified in doing so.  All I am saying is that running onto a professional sports field is no longer just innocent fun; people have been attacked and seriously injured by deranged fans in instances not a lot different than the one Monday night.

It sucks for harmless goofballs like Steve Consalvi that the psychos had to go and ruin it.  But that’s the way of the world.  If you think Stevie is getting shafted, think about what happened to all the dudes rocking black trench coats after Columbine or Arabs trying to travel after 9/11.  We are all falling further under government scrutiny by the day, and anyone presenting himself the slightest suspicion of being a threat should expect to be treated like such, right or wrong as that may be.  This was nothing like the University of Florida student begging “Don’t tase me, bro!” while being dog piled and crushed by multiple cops.  This was one daring fool, dashing his way to fifteen minutes of fame.  He willingly broke the law, probably expecting nothing more than to be tackled and dragged away to thunderous applause.  But then Steve went and rubbed it in the establishment’s face with the run of his life, weaving in and around a bunch of retirees and one porky, sweaty cop. I’m not saying Steve Consalvi was wrong.  I’m not even saying he shouldn’t have done it.  In fact, I applaud his selfless dedication to providing us all with such classic slapstick humor.  In a tense, fearful world it’s nice to see a guy being stupid just for stupidity’s sake, although sadly for Steve and probably Steve’s boxers that meant crumpling like a convulsive sack of potatoes.  But the kid deliberately broke the law in a potentially dangerous manner only to then embarrass the peace officer attempting to catch him. In today’s America, there isn’t another scenario that could scream “JUST TASE ME, BRO!” any louder. And if you don’t like that, the World Cup is starting soon and everybody knows how wild soccer riots are.

6 Comments

  1. H Calcote says:

    Too damn funny and actually very well written. I have always enjoyed your wit and will definitely tell Heather about this website. She will love it. She has a blog – she writes about nutrition and running.

    H

  2. A Ritchie says:

    I wish I could tase some of my students….
    By the way, you did in fact keep me from getting any work done so congratulations!

  3. Hey I think your blog is good. I found it on yahoo I will definately check back soon.

  4. Lindsey Griffith says:

    Wow Brett,

    Possibly one of the most entertaining thing i’ve ever read. well done. (hope you’re doing well)

    Lindsey Griffith

  5. Tyler says:

    those poor people in the stands !!! cry me a river !!!

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Heads Up! | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Leave a Reply