Any thoughts on tasers?

homeboundMarch 4, 2010

Just wondering what electricians think of tasers. Are these things really safe or not? I have a hard time believing that so may folks who have died after being stunned are blamed for having "underlying medical conditions". Any thoughts on the subject? Thanks.

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petey_racer

I don't think they are used nearly enough.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 7:00PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Tasers are into a group of products designed to be "less than lethal" but under the right, albeit relatively uncommon, circumstances can be quite lethal. That doesn't preclude them from being a useful too for law enforcement.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 8:18PM
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maryland_irisman

It depends on which end of the thing you are on!!

You only hear of the number instances where someone dies from their use. You don't hear of the multitude of times they are used with no lasting effects (other than a memory for the next time). Same thing with a gun...you hear of the occasional person who is killed by a gun but you never hear of the millions of people who have guns that haven't shot anyone.

I agree with petey all the way...and I think they are safer than the alternative for sure. There's 2 choices when someone is in a situation serious enough to stop a violent act...use a tazer to immobilize the person or shoot them with a gun. I admire the police officers who use the tazer, for their desire not want to serously hurt someone. In most cases I've seen, they could have justifiably used their sidearm. When committing a violent crime, I'm sure the miscreant knows in their mind they could get tased or shot....it's a decision they made with full knowledge of the possible consequences.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 8:26PM
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homebound

Yeah, but I'd need more scientific certainty on the "less than lethal" aspect before I discharged it on some drunken idiot.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 8:29PM
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maryland_irisman

What should be used on the drunken idiot instead...rolled up newspaper? I meant for this to be a funny remark but thinking about it, what better alternative would there be? Many people died from night sticks. Police offeicers down in Baltimore are not even allowed to carry night clubs.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:23PM
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wayne440

I figure a weapon that can place thousands of volts within inches of my heart is potentially deadly. There might be a market for a dielectric garment that would negate much of that possibility.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:46PM
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homebound

They're not used just to stop crimes, but to deal with folks deemed "uncooperative" in any number of ways. That's a whole lot of folks for a device that could be a roll of the dice on the outcome.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:09PM
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maryland_irisman

I understand where you're coming from but based on all the alternatives, my opinion is it is the lesser of the evils. In theory the amperage is at a low level where no permanent harm is done. Based on the persons body chemistry, overall health and even atmospheric conditions of the time they are tased determines the amount of impact it would have. Just yelling boo kills some people. Based on the number of times tasers are used, the incidents of death are pretty low. What other device could be better used to protect you, a loved one or your property? It's unfortunate things like this have to be used but what else could be done?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:41PM
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maryland_irisman

Check this out when you get time

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=eaf_1258270221

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 11:56PM
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homebound

It had me for a moment, but that video seems to be a bunch of reenactments (as is the Operation Repo show). Still, point taken for those types of instances (even though an officer would be justified to shoot one of those knuckleheads if they approached him/her in such manner).

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:20AM
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brickeyee

I have done some work with them and research to support the work.

Many of the manufacturers claims used to justify the 'less than lethal' claims are from very poorly conceived and executed tests performed under the supervision of an MD with no real electrical knowledge.

Even their claims of current flow behavior in the human body are demonstrably false. They love to spout the "average current" number, but averages are NOT used to measure electrical current and voltage. We use RMS (root mean square) to convert non DC waveforms into a number that indicates their value.

The current control on the devices is also very poor, relying mostly on source impedance inadequate to limit the current to safe levels.

The claims of 'no autopsy has found damage;' is also specious.
Even a defibrillator does not leave any internal signs of its use, and if adequate conductive gel is used there may be no external signs either.

Even the device used to measure the voltage is inadequate for accurate results.

The claims of "less than lethal" have in a number of cases led to their over use and resulted in action against officers.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:51AM
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jtwtech

I'm all for tasers. I had to some work on a fire alarm panel in a control tower of a county jail. They keep the tower dark, so the guards can see out. I couldn't find my flashlight, so one of the guards used his taser as a flashlight for me.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 3:37PM
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don_1_2006

for an eye opener Google taser abuse.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 6:03PM
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petey_racer

And for a laugh Google "taser fun".

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 7:14AM
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mikie_gw

Police officer tasers your dog because the dog was simply growling, it could be animal cruelty.

Didn't the do away with electro shock treatments of metally ill people for some shocking reason.

Cops are taught how to fight and restrain.. most seem to love the macho thing of supreme power .... are they wimps if they use a taser ?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 11:30AM
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maryland_irisman

Anywhere anyone has any power of some sort, there are abuses. The abuses should be dealt with quickly and harshly. However, I'm not convinced the majority of police officers are quick to abuse a taser. I do think they would be more apt to use one quicker, than they would their service piece. However, reading brickeyee's information, I think the user is influenced by the safety information they are told while being trained to use one. I think most even get a taste of the thing while in training. I will admit, if an unprovoked, unrestrained dog (or any animal or human)comes at me growling, I'd feel threatened and would pepper spray, tase or whatever else was at my disposal.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 5:34PM
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pharkus

The local police showed up to question one of my friends. He was intoxicated and passed out, and they couldn't wake him up...

So they tased him awake.

Useful devices, wielded by evil people.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 6:30AM
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hrajotte

Like any weapon, proper training on its use and, especially, WHEN to use it, is vital. Tasing (is that an actual word?) a person should, in most circumstances, be the next-to-last resort before using a gun.
Also, keep in mind that many of the people who get tased are hyped up on drugs, so their hearts may be ready to quit anyway. The taser may or may not be a contributing factor. As brickeyee pointed out, this is difficult to impossible to determine by autopsy.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 7:53AM
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countryboymo

If you feel threatened and like your being backed in a corner with no way out than light him up. No matter what do not carry it if you are not sure if you can use it on someone. If you pull it out follow through, do not threaten with it cause the level of suck when lit up with your own weapon is extremely high.

You worry about what the taser will do to him just like he is worried about what his actions will do to you long term. It might kill someone but will probably just give them loss of control for a while and wet shorts that the damaging effects will be gone within hours. If the same person robbed, mugged or raped you how long would that hang with you? Their actions could stress your heart and cause you to die also... think they are worried about it?

I say take a class on self defense and learn how to use it and take care of yourself with it.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 11:22AM
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saltcedar

Texas cop Tasers 72 year old, great-grandmother

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas cop Tasers 72 year old, great-grandmother

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:25AM
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Billl

If someone posted here that every time they touched the kitchen faucet, they were shocked hard enough to knock them off their feet, would anybody call that situation "safe"? Obviously, no. There is an obvious chance of injury whenever a taser is used.

Of course, it is safer to tase someone than to shoot them.

Of course, it is safer to tase someone than to beat them with a baton.

Of course, it is best if police officers can resolve the situation without resorting to any of those.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:52AM
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brickeyee

"Of course, it is safer to tase someone than to beat them with a baton."

Only based on the Tazer manufacturer's data, and it is not exactly peer reviewed science but self serving.

The MD who performed the testing is a shareholder in the company.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Billl

Safer than "getting beaten with a baton" really isn't a big hurdle. Most people who are tased are perfectly fine the next day. Most people who are beaten into submission aren't. I don't think that is really debatable.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to question whether the safety rate of a taser - ie is it 2% injury or 5% or 10% etc. Just keep in mind where that fits in the overall spectrum of dangers. Getting beat with a club is 100% chance of immediate injury and a substantial chance of permanent injury.

I also think it is perfectly reasonable to question whether the safety assertions are leading current officers to use this weapon more frequently then officers would have used a baton in the past. If a taser is 10 times safer but is used 10 times more often, you haven't really made the overall process safer.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:13AM
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maryland_irisman

More people have died in motor vehicle related instances than have died in all the wars this country has participated in. The maiming rate is even much higher!! Your chances of no long term harm after being tased are much better than every time you get behind the wheel. Which is most humane?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 3:44PM
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brickeyee

"Just keep in mind where that fits in the overall spectrum of dangers. Getting beat with a club is 100% chance of immediate injury and a substantial chance of permanent injury."

Only when they go nuts and go nuts and start striking the head.

We have ZERO independent data available on the long term effects of tazer use, and at least a number of deaths and injuries have resulted.

The coroners look and do not see anything, since there is not a lot to see from an electrical transient that disrupts the heart.

But hey, it's not like 7.2kV that is very lethal and leaves nice burn marks.

Falling after getting tazed is not a 'zero risk' occurrence.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:23PM
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inox

Brickeye's comments on the tazer issue are the most eye-opening I have seen in the last week on any issue. The runner-up:

Your hamburger made from ground beef may be the product of 5 kilocows:

Here is a link that might be useful: Anderson Cooper 360 transcript, March 4, 2010

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:19PM
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    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:22PM
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christophersprks

petey...you crack me up....lol

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:35PM
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