posted on Jun, 27 2006 @ 08:34 AM
I've been following this thread for a while, sometimes with much frustration, so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.
First of all, the proper term is "less-lethal" not "non-lethal". Be it pepper spray, special mutions shotgun rounds, Tasers, what have you, all
can potentially cause serious harm. However, the use of firearms, batons, even bare hands can cause more severe and long lasting effects than OC
and the Taser. Broken bones, blunt trauma, brain damage, and death are all much more likely when traditional methods of restraining or stopping
individuals are used. The whole science of "less-lethal" weapons is driven by law suits evolving from people getting hurt from hands, batons,
bullets, etc. Believe it or not, OC and Tasers are much more humane than say... beating someone until they comply. Does anyone think that beating
someone until you can cuff them is better than 5 seconds of discomfort?
Now, as for the effects of the Taser, I have been hit with it three times, and know some who have gotten hit with it more. It is manditory to get hit
with it (for us) if you are to be certified to carry it. Guess what? We all lived, got up laughing about it (because it was over), and the effects
of the Taser are completely gone once the current flow stops. And no, there are no different settings. Only one. And there are two ways to monitor
its use. There is a data port where you can plug it into a computer and see when and for how long it was used. Plus there are a blue million little
paper markers that are ejected from the cartridge when it is deployed, so that the taser can't be improperly used, then "covered up". Another post
was correct when they stated that the amps in the Taser was probably in the mili-amp range. That is correct. The amps are extremely low, because in
electrocution, it is the amplitude that kills. Once the Taser is fired, a current is sent to the target for 5 seconds, however it can be turned off
sooner. The current is sent in cycles, several a second, which causes exterior muscles to contract and relax with each cycle. It hurts, but that's
all. Most of the subjects shot have the current running in a line of about 12 to 20 inches across their bodies. A good example is from the center of
the chest to the center of the abdomen. I've had the current flow from finger tip to finger tip, through the width of my chest, as well as from one
foot to the opposite hand. I've seen this on others many times, as well. Again, everyone was fine at the end of 5 seconds.
That being said, there some risk with people with heart problems or who are on drugs (especially drugs). But when you are faced with the choice of
either shooting a raging behemoth with either a .45 or a Taser, asking them if they have a heart condition first is not a priority. Also, sure Tasers
are blamed for deaths, but the fact that people swallow several rocks of crack prior to getting Tased gets little notice, because "death by Taser"
makes better headlines. Anyone eats that much crack is going to have some problems with their ticker, Taser or no. And there is some research being
done into these deaths, because believe it or not, death hurts the "less-lethal" industries. If you can't step outside the "cops are brutal
killers" thing, then think of the corporate greed. Lawsuits cost money. Tasers that kill indiscriminately... baaaad.
As for the officer's use of force: From the information in the two articles, I think everything was entirely appropriate.
[edit on 27-6-2006 by hogtie]