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Passions in Poetry

Tasers: Safe Gun Alternative or Lethal Tool?

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Mistletoe Angel
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0 posted 01-03-2005 08:09 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Arizona-based Taser International has been coming under fire recently after it has been reported three Floridians have died from Taser shock-related incidents during the month of December.

The most recent of the three deaths occured December 28th, when 19-year old Christopher Hernandez died several hours after fighting with Collier County sheriff deputies, where he was said to be kicking and tugging at their uniforms, where he was then zapped with a Taser gun and doused with a substance similar to pepper spray.

A Coral Springs man died Dec. 15 after a Hollywood officer shot him with her Taser. And on the 23rd of December, 31-year-old Timothy Bolander was stunned with a Taser gun at Delway Beach after a report he was taking heroin. Autopsy and toxicology tests continue to struggle to determine exactly what killed Bolander, as his history of drug and alcohol problems, including being previously arrested five times in Florida, on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, drug possession, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license, challenge the theory the Taser shock led to his death. His mother Jody Hersey made a public criticism of Tasers, and its use in handling the situation with her son after his death.

Taser stun guns charge suspects with 50,000 volts of electricity, which disrupt not only the victim's central nervous system, but also the sensory nervous system and the motor nervous system, for up to 5 seconds at a time, disabling muscle control and temporarily incapacitating the person.

Three Taser-related deaths have also been reported in Washington since 2001. At least 74 have been said to have died from Taser shocks since 2001, and Amnesty International has called for a moratorium on Tasers, citing them as "potential tools of torture".

More than 5,000 U.S. law-enforcement agencies now use Tasers, with more and more rapidly getting access to them. Commerical airlines now allow the usage of Tasers. New models such as the X26, smaller than the popular brand M26 and has a rechargeable battery pack, rather than AA batteries, are also being picked up quickly on the market.

Tasers were lauded by some as a non-violent alternative to guns. However, Tasers have recently come under increasing criticism, as the technology is argued to be too new to know for sure what effect it has on the heart, particularly when drugs are involved. Further criticism has come under Tasers in attempting to find their ways onto school and university grounds.

Are Tasers the ideal non-lethal alternative to guns, or are they simply another lethal instrument of abuse or torture?

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20
Alicat
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1 posted 01-03-2005 08:57 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

All depends on the usage, and motiviation of usage.  Law enforcement personnel have been looking into many various non-lethal devices for the past 30 years or so, including tazers, different types of pepper spray, something akin to a tennis ball galting gun, cork bullets, gooey nets fired from shotguns, and even more I can't remember right now.  Tazers do have a proven track record of stopping most police assailants in their tracks.  The few they didn't work on were very toked up on heavy duty drugs and alcohol, like Rodney King.  They hit that sucker several times with tazers after he brutally resisted arrest, but all they really did was slow him down a bit.

Again, it's all about intent, since just about every single non-lethal thing out there, including dripping water, can be used as a torture device.  Saddam rather enjoyed using a few car batteries, junper cables, and his imagination; the Viet Kong were known for strategically placed bamboo slivers.  And by the by, almost all non-lethal police weapons are tested by and on police as part of their training.  They have to know how it feels, the reasoning being that if they know what it feels like, they are less inclined to use that technique unless absolutely necessary.  Ask any cop about the various pepper sprays, and which is worse.  My ex-brother-in-law really hated Habenero Spray (he's one of the youngest to graduate the police academy in Brazoria County, TX, and was the youngest member of Freeport's S.W.A.T. team).
Christopher
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Purgatorial Incarceration


2 posted 01-03-2005 09:18 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Yes, let's take away the tasers and force them to rely on guns.

Good plan.
Balladeer
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3 posted 01-03-2005 09:29 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Chris always has the right answer!
Mistletoe Angel
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4 posted 01-04-2005 01:01 AM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

You know, I will also admit that I believe Tasers appear to be much better off than guns. I think that can be unanimously agreed.

Of course, you all know me. I tend to be a softy toward non-violent conflict resolution and thus feel passionately about finding ways to solve dilemmas without guns and tools which can injure or affect someone abnormally. Again, my emotions trigger, in my heart, the need to start threads such as this, as I believe though Tasers are far less worse than guns, I still believe much more improvement can be made.

What I fear particularly is when police are put in a situation where they have to react quickly and use a Taser, and, for example, a woman who so happens to be pregnant, etc. is shocked. I'm concerned about that for one thing. Also, I am not thrilled with the prospect of patrols on college campuses and schoolgrounds possessing them.

So I guess my stance is I would welcome all guns to be replaced by Tasers, but I believe the research behind these tools has to be taken seriously and it must be discovered exactly if it affects the nervous system or the heart abnormally, etc. And, of course, much attention should continue to be aimed to finding an even better method to restrain a suspect/defend a victim without personal or fatal injury.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20
 
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