My friend Noah got Tased for an article on Wired. I’ve been hit with stun guns and with a very very very early version of a Taser which I’m sure is nothing compared to the X3 he got hit with. He got a 1 second shock and it took him out and made him scream. You can follow the link and watch the video, but this is the best part of his article and something I think should be asked more often:
By the company’s estimate, Taser-wielding police and troops have blasted more than 750,000 men, women and children. On average, they received a five-second shock. Which means I got off relatively easy: Mine was just a one-second blast, at 19 pulses per second…
What I keep wondering is: Who would inflict that kind of pain? And under what circumstances? We all know that our tools change our behavior. Give us cars, and we’ll go new places; give us iPhones, and we’ll check our e-mail way more often. So when we hear stories about grandmothers and kids and handcuffed prisoners and even runaway sheep getting tased, I asked Smith, what does that say about the stun gun’s impact?
The question wasn’t answered, but I think enough research has been done with things like the Stanford Prison Experiment to indicate what happens when one person has power over another. I know from my own experience being a bouncer that when you know you have the authority and can get away with anything because everyone else on staff will back up your story, the rules and what is “legal” get very gray and flexible. It’s not a pretty situation and I think tools like Tasers are not the deterrents they are touted to be, I think they give people who are already a little drunk on power the excuse to hurt other people and get away with it pointing to policy and “non-lethal” tools at their disposal. Billy clubs leave marks and break bones, guns have the potential to kill you. Tasers are seen as a much safer option than those to, but because of that they are used much more often. When people are forced to think about the long term results of their actions they are more cautious, when they aren’t… well, they aren’t.