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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Taser Controversy

More barbed commentary from Chefjef. Read it all the way to its shocking conclusion. Oh...and Chefjef's occaisional drooling has nothing at all to do with multiple tasings...

As most folks who keep up with the daily news already know, there is a great deal of attention being paid to the use of Taser stun guns by law enforcement personnel. Recently, a lawsuit was filed involving the September death of a 21-year-old man who was allegedly shocked with a stun gun. In that case, the manufacturer, Taser International, is accused of knowingly marketing a dangerously defective weapon as being “safe and non-lethal.” The product liability lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the decedent’s infant son, adds to the growing controversy about Taser stun guns. According to Amnesty International, 94 people have died in the United States and Canada after being shocked with stun guns. Amnesty is calling for a moratorium on Taser use until independent medical research resolves safety concerns.

Tasers fire twin metal barbs that emit a 50,000-volt charge into a suspect, causing him or her to collapse from loss of muscular control. The manufacturer has maintained that the stun gun does not generate enough electrical current to disrupt the heart. These guns have proved to be very popular with law enforcement personnel and appear to be very effective in dealing with the criminal population in this country. Furthermore, every police officer (including me) who carries a Taser has been shot with the weapon; none of the hundreds of thousands tased have died. Moreover, many S.W.A.T. and other tactical officers have been tased several times over, and none have had any serious, adverse effects as a result thereof.

There are also indirect benefits to the taser. Since being issued a taser, I have not been involved in a fight with a suspect. In situations, in the past, where I was required to fight a suspect – where in EVERY case the suspect, or I, or both of us, were injured (and in some cases the suspect was hurt badly enough to require medical attention) – I now deploy the taser and avoid suspect and officer injuries that, in the past, required medical attention that was paid for at taxpayer expense, and avoid potential lawsuits to the City. In one instance, I deployed the taser on a suicidal individual who was cutting himself with a large knife. In times past, there would have been a (expensive, time and personnel consuming) stand-off that would have ended in either the suspect being “talked –down,” or in officers having to risk their lives and “rush” the suspect. In this past case, upon deployment of the taser the knife immediately flew out of the suspect’s hands and he was taken into medical custody, without incident, within five minutes of law enforcement making contact with him.

Nevertheless, the controversy over the safety factor relating to Tasers continues


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