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Taser Problems Continuing?

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I guess that Taser International has some continuing public relations and product marketing problems concerning training and use of the company’s stun guns. This time, according to a new article on the web site News Inferno discussing possible defects in the Taser product,

The death of a 56-year-old wheelchair-bound disabled woman in Florida after being shocked by a Taser stun gun has only heated up the controversy on both fronts.

Over the past two years, safety concerns have continued to mount against the company on three fronts: (1) increased reports of deaths and injuries directly associated with the use (or abuse in many cases) of the stun gun; (2) deaths and injuries indirectly associated with the device; and (3) injuries to law enforcement officers during training exercises involving the Taser.

The article identified the death of the wheel-chair bound woman as a prime example of poor training about when a police agency should use the Taser:

It is difficult to imagine how a wheelchair bound 56-year-old woman could have posed so serious a threat to a number of able-bodied police officers that she needed to be shocked by 50,000 volts of electricity in her wheelchair.

Even assuming she was, in fact, brandishing knives and a hammer as claimed, her threat was, at best, easily avoided because of her very limited mobility. Moreover, her age, obvious disability, and confinement made it clear to the responding police officers that this was not an optimum situation for the use of a stun gun.

Taser has had a controversial number of years. In fact, according to the Arizona Republic, since 1999, 167 victims have died following the use of Taser’s non-lethal weapons. I guess that for these victims, the only thing missing from the Taser product was the term “non-lethal.” Taser International consistently denies that its products are defective. Apparently, product sales are rebounding as a result. Within the past few days, the Phoenix Business Journal reported that Taser made money selling its non-lethal products in the first quarter. Looks like Taser has weathered the storm of controversy pretty well and has gone about increasing sales and turning a profit. I can only hope that if indeed Taser products are not safe for specific intended uses, our system of justice will expose these safety concerns and problems and force the company to make a safer product. Maybe by doing so, the term non-lethal will have some actual meaning. Click here for more information about the Taser product defect allegations and controversy