“Don’t shoot at the chest” says Taser, while pushing more dangerous weapons

“Don’t shoot at the chest” says Taser, while pushing more dangerous weapons

How apt that just days after Taser International issued a new directive that police should shoot people in the chest with Tasers, there are media reports of the company pushing its new semi-automatic and multi-shot devices.

I’ve been meaning to write about the new Taser directive for days, but this new publicity has finally pushed me to it.

If you thought Tasers were dangerous, wait until you see these new devices.

As New Scientist has previously reported, US government funded research has found that there are serious health risks to people who are hit with some of the new Tasers. The long-range Tasers were found to be able to deliver shocks for up to five minutes, rather than the standard 20 seconds.

As New Scientist says, Taser International has argued that they have changed the design of the long-range Tasers but there has been no independent testing.

But back to this “advice” that has been issued by Taser International: they claim that they have told police not to shoot at the chest simply to “minimise controversy for police officers and police departments”.

But if there is no connection between Tasers and heart attacks, why would there be any controversy?

Basically they are saying “don’t shoot someone near their heart because it might result that in a controversial outcome, but if it does result in that outcome it will of course be pure coincidence”.

Hmmm…

Considering that the chest is probably one of the easiest places to shoot a suspect (and I believe officers are trained to shoot that part of the body with firearms), I would be very very nervous if I was a police officer who was expected to use a Taser right now.

(Here is a link to the Taser directive. I was hesitant to put it up because it has stopped displaying correctly on my computer, but I thought I would just in case you have better luck).

About the Author

Amy is a Sydney-based journalist and commentator with an interest in politics, music, culture and evidence-based medicine. She is currently working as a medical journalist for a series of "Specialist Update" websites, and she has also been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey, New Matilda, and Vibewire's anthology "Interface". She was a panelist with the Sydney Writers' Festival in 2007 and 2008, organised the Sydney Writers' Festival event "erotic fan fiction" in 2009, and is a regular broadcaster on FBi radio.