Tuesday, August 20

Redesign the TASER.

Tasers are touted as 'non lethal weapons" which is a contradiction since most weapons are designed with the potential to be lethal. There are cases too numerous to count where police have killed people with them. There aren't a lot of cases where civilians have killed people with them and there is a good reason why.


With a gun, police are taught to aim for the torso and shoot until the threat is stopped, in this case a person is dead. TASERs are held and used like guns, they aim for the torso, something the makers expressly warn against because of the risk of heart failure. Police keep firing a TASER because people spasm a lot when jolted with electricity and therefore still a threat. When they stop moving it's usually because they are dead.

So much for non lethal.

It occurred to me that the problem is not just the training but the relationship between guns and TASERs. The Oakland transit cop who shot and killed a man- and it was all recorded on video- claimed he thought he had his TASER out and not a gun. How could he get them confused? Most likely because they felt the same physically and psychologically.

I have a tool belt where I never have to look at the tool I'm reaching for because they each have a different handle to distinguish them. This difference needs to be reinforced with these weapons to avoid such tragedies. The simplest solution is to make the TASER feel totally different from a gun.  A redesign that will make it clear to the user it is not a gun and therefore is not used like one. Whether it's aiming for the torso or repeatedly firing the weapon. Have it shaped like a phaser from Star Trek ( minus the kill setting) or a wand anything other than a traditional gun

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