City of Roses
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?
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