Friday, October 14, 2011

A Look at Taser Guns

This past week, I was catching up on the neighborhood news via, and noticed that the online news editor decided to see what it was like to get shocked by a taser gun. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a co-worker of mine a few months ago, who tends to be a bit paranoid towards the police and some of their tactics. One thing he was totally against, was cops with taser guns, due to the fact that there have been hundreds of people who have died as a result of being shocked by a taser gun by police officers. At first, I was skeptical about it, due to past conversations I've had with him and sometimes can't believe some of the stuff that he has said.

I'm an anti-gun control advocate, simply because guns are deadly weapons that carry a life-altering change to whomever carries it and whomever is on the other end of that weapon. Just thinking about holding one in my hands or even being near one gives me the chills, so that's why I feel that taser guns are the best alternative - one step closer to a safer society.

When taser guns began to be carried and used by police officers here in the United States and elsewhere, I felt that it was truly a step in the right direction. In the United States alone, 5,000 law enforcement agencies now have taser guns as part of their arsenal. In an article done by CBC News out of Canada, Steve Palmer, the executive director of the Canadian Police Research Centre says that "We don't speak often enough about the number of lives that have been saved, the number of people that are up and walking around today that might not have been had it not been for a Taser."

Taser guns are not considered firearms by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF). This is because the cartridges that are used for taser guns, is a compressed, inert nitrogen gas that's used to launch the probes instead of gun powder. They are able to shoot up to 50,000 volts of electricity into a person's body through the  two compressed nitrogen-fueled probes, by disrupting a person's electromuscular system - making the person stiff as a board and fall over.
Taser guns are legal and can be either concealed or worn openly without a permit in 43 states. They are prohibited for civilian use in the Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and certain cities and counties. Both Connecticut and Illinois have restrictions on their legal use.

Soon after hearing that there have been hundreds of deaths in regards to people being tasered, I did some research and found that he was right. Amnesty International says that between 2001 and August 2008, 334 Americans died after Taser shocks. Although, the stun gun was deemed to have caused or contributed to at least 50 of those deaths. Most suspects were unarmed, and many were subjected to repeated or prolonged shocks, according to Amnesty.

Taser are able to shoot up to 50,000 volts of electricity into a person's body through two compressed nitrogen-fueled probes, in which it disrupts the electromuscular system - making the person stiff as a board and fall over.

A possible reason for why there have been so many deaths caused by taser gun use, may be due to   "excited delirium,' as coroners have called it, which can be due to frenzied or aggressive behavior, rapid heart rate and aggravating factors related to an acute mental state and/or drug-related psychosis. This makes a ton of sense, since many of the people that police go after and have to take down, are usually running as fast as they can from the police and due to the fact that they are overly frantic about getting caught.

Over the past year or so, I've noticed that taser guns have gotten a lot of focus in the news, due to how people have misused the technology.  They've been used against unruly schoolchildren, unarmed mentally disturbed or intoxicated individuals, suspects fleeing from minor crime scenes and people who argue with police or fail to comply immediately with a command.

When it comes to defensive weapons, there's always going to be risks involved. I choose taser guns over guns, despite some of the facts that I've uncovered.

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