The National NAACP asked for a ban or moratorium on tasers until independent scientific research regarding their safety can be performed, according to Tony Millner Jr., president of Martinsville NAACP Branch 7089. [LINK]
From the same news story...
Steve Tuttle, vice president of media relations for Taser International, said the devices are designed to prevent the body from coordinated acts, not affect cardiac tissue. “It is not a pain compliance tool.”
Fact - It actually operates way above and beyond normal pain levels. You have to trample way beyond pain compliance to get to incapacitation - but the over-the-top pain remains. Reilly estimated the pain from a taser is about 2000x more than 'intense pain'. It has been described as extreme and excruciating. I'd call it torture. You don't want to think about what some of their overseas clients are doing with their tasers in the dark dungeons.
When deployed, small barbs or darts affixed to two thin copper wires are thrust from the device.
Fact - this is only when the weapon is used in that mode. The other mode, called Drive Stun by Taser and more-accurately called Touch Torture mode by this blog, is strictly a pain compliance mode where the darts are not used and the weapon is directly applied to the subject.
One contains a positive charge, the other a negative charge.
Fact - a vast oversimplification to the point of being utterly false. But about on par with the level of technical sophistication displayed by Taser's brain trust.
As they come in contact with the body, “a very low amp” energy path is created with the goal of interrupting the “blips” or signals sent from the brain to nerves, Tuttle said.
Fact - Although Taser makes much of the average current being only about 2mA, they've redacted from their later brochures the more-indicative RMS current which they previously admitted is about 160mA. It remains an open question that perhaps they've overshot the safety limits bell curve in their quest to make a more powerful weapon.
Energy from the Taser causes muscles to contract and that is the extent of it, he said. “All the Taser is doing is taking away your ability” to perform coordinated reactions for a brief time period, Tuttle said. The sensation is over and the body returns to a normal state immediately after, he said, adding that is typically that is within five seconds for law enforcement models.
Fact - The heart is made of, and is a, muscle. Electricity can affect the heart. Taser made claims of safety for their older 1999-era M26 taser based on the current waveform being 'safe' high frequency and 'safe' low duty cycle. But then in 2003, Taser started selling the X26 where the current waveform contains significant 19 Hz low frequency and those spectral components are therefore 100% continuous duty cycle. If a person had to point at one major f-up by their design staff, this might well be it.
In summary, Mr. Tuttle's reassuring and calming words are designed to make you relax about tasers.
The more appropriate reaction is to identify his verbiage as the misleading propaganda that it actually is and continue to be very concerned.
Fact - Martinsville resident 17-year old Jones was tasered and died immediately. Sudden deaths like this are extraordinarily rare, except when tasers are involved. Then they seem to happen every few days.
It isn't rocket science folks.
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