The Handcuffed Homepage

Have you ever been handcuffed? And we're not talking sex play here; we're talking about the real thing: getting handcuffed by the police (maybe in public, maybe not) and then carted off to jail. It could happen anywhere, in any country. Maybe the USA, maybe Japan, maybe France, maybe Iran. Wherever it happens, getting a pair of handcuffs slapped on you is not a pretty picture. For most of us, it's something we just see on TV or in the movies. It's not real, just a Hollywood conceit, something that happens to the bad guys. That's what we thought, too, until we found ourselves handcuffed in a foreign country and being led off to jail for a crime we did not even commit. In some countries, you are guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around, as in the USA, "innocent until proven guilty." Until the existential moment when the handcuffs are slapped on and locked, it is soemthing you cannot imagine! But then suddenly it's real and you are in handcuffs and you aren't a kid playing cowboys and Indians in your backyard. No, you are being carted off to jail with a pair of handcuffs on your wrists and you feel like you are in a movie yourself. "This can't be happening to me," you say. But yes it is happening. So in an effort to help familiarize the reading public with what it's like to have handcuffs put on, we have created this HANDCUFFED HOMEPAGE as a public service homepage. We are not against handcuffs; neither are we for handcuffs. Depending on the situation, handcuffs are useful and necessary; sometimes they are not necessary and humiliating. A friend of ours was recently deported from a foreign country and shipped back to his homeland -- and was forced to walk handcuffed in full view of the travelling public through a major international airport to his waiting plane! He said it was one of the most humiliating experiences of his life, especially as he had not even committed the crime he was accused of by the guilty until proven innocent police state he found himself in. At any rate, if any other readers have had experiences with handcuffs at the hands of police authorities, please send in your anecdotes and stories to HANDCUFFS INTERNATIONAL at this email address: apt_6f@hotmail.com IN THE MEANTIME, here are some stories to keep you informed: (1) a photograph of Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr, a wire photo that was sent worldwide on the AP wire service system, was published on December 10, 1997 in many newspaper around the world. Dressed in a jacket and tie, the actor is seen being led away by a court officer. The caption reads: "Actor Robert Downey Jr is handcuffed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy after being sentenced to jail for six months for violating parole on a prior drug conviction in Malibu, California." The reader can see Downey's hands behind his back...in handcuffs! Now, while is perfectly legal to handcuff people accused of crimes, one does wonder why on Earth the authorities felt they had to handcuff Downey. He wasn't about to runaway! He had come to court with his lawyer to squarely face his problems with drugs and alcohol. We at the HANDCUFFED HOMEPAGE feel that it was totally unnecessary to handcuff Downey in this situation. He wasn't a murdered, he hadn't embezzled money; he simply had and has an emotional problem and uses drugs and alcohol as crutches. (2) A friend of ours was deported from Japan in handcuffs for overstaying his visa due to a medical problem. Instead of understanding his problem, however, the Japanese authorities locked him up in a detention center, put him on trial, sentenced him to a 1.5 year jail term suspended for 3 years and deported him in handcuffs at Narita International Airport in full view of the public. A nice touch: in Japan, in order to show some respect for the deportee, the immigration police cover the handcuffs with a soft velvet covering (grey) that makes it look as if the deportee is wearing some kind of new Harajuku fashion and not a pair of handcuffs. Very Japanese, very polite, very considerate. Do other countries do this, cover up handcuffs when deporting people in public? (3) In Taiwan, suspects who are rounded up by police for alleged crimes are routinely shown on Taiwan TV news programs sitting or standing in police stations with their handcuffs on (and in some cases with ankle-cuffs on their legs). One sees these pictures on TV and in the newspapers all the time in Taiwan, according to our Taipei correspondent, even on men and women who are only suspects, only alleged criminals, not judged guilty yet! But in Taiwan, as in Japan, one is guilty until proven innocent. This is an Asian sense of justice, very different from the legal systems that have evolved in Europe and North America. (4) Now for a question for our astute readers: who invented handcuffs, and when were they first used on human beings? If you know, please send us an unhandcuffed email message today. There are a number of HANDCUFFS homepages listed on the World Wide Web, but most of them are police pages or commerical pages that SELL the damned things and offer catalogs. You can find them on any search engine. This homepage, however, as you may have already guessed, is somewhat of an anti-handcuffs organization, which questions the ubiquitous use of handcuffs all over the world. Why, you might be wondering, does this particular webmaster have an undisguised interest in banning handcuffs? Turns out he was once the victim of over-zealous handcuffs cops and having once been burned, he now hopes to warn others of the dangers of unbridled handcuff use. As the Good Bible says, there is a time and place for everything, even handcuffs. But as a civilized society, we must learn when and where to apply handcuffs and when and where not to. (5) more to come...