Sunday, May 18, 2008

Taser! Taser! Taser!

The Taser has become the panacea of law enforcement. It has been marketed successfully as a less-than-lethal alternative. In 2005, information surfaced that Taser International was involved with the Department of Defense study to determine if the military should purchase Tasers. Getting the majority of your research from the company attempting to sell you their product represents a basic conflict of interest.

A San Francisco Cardiologist Zian Tseng recently stated Studies on tasers are flawed. Dr. Tseng pointed out, Most commonly cited studies that show the devices are safe were financed by Taser International.

Taser International has taken an aggressive policy of suing Coroner's and Medical Examiners who cite Taser's as partly or wholly responsible for deaths of people after having been "Tased". Amnesty International cited 291 deaths from June 2001 to September 2007, in the United States. Truth Not Tasers Blog is a blog in memoriam for Robert Bagnell, who died after an taser incident with Vancouver Police.

So, whom to believe? Well... Taser International does have a demonstrable bias. If their weapons are shown to have contributed to the deaths of people then they aren't the non-lethal force option they're claimed to be. Opening up Taser for lawsuits, loss of sales and the destruction of their corporation.

Personally, I have experienced a Taser and I've got the patch to prove it. I Rode the Lightning for 5 seconds. However, it was modified Taser hit, the probes which are shot out and embed themselves in the suspect were attached to my belt and lower back. It did not feel good.

I think the Idea of the Taser as a magic bullet conflict-ender may have convinced (I don't use "brainwashed" but others have) police forces to overlook the possibility the devices are not as safe

The Taser dilemma is also indicative of the continuing transformation of US police forces into a more Paramilitary mindset.

Read about the recent Colorado Taser Duel.

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