Non-Lethal Taser Is Pretty Lethal
The Justice Department said last month that 181 people have died after being shocked by Tasers since 2000. Use of Tasers by lawenforcement has increased sevenfold in the past five years, the department reported.
And U.S. District Judge James Ware yesterday denied a motion submitted by defendant Taser International Inc. to dismiss a lawsuit, which was filed by the family of a man who died after being stunned multiple times by a Taser.
"Moral blame may be inferred by Taser placing the product on the market in 'conscious disregard of the safety of the public,'" Ware wrote in his order.
This is a major set-back for Taser, the company which hired the later disgraced former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Mr. Kerik, who was on the board of Taser, recorded a profit of more than $4.4 million in 2004 when he exercised company-issued stock options. The transactions, reported in the New York Post, came as Taser stock was skyrocketing as a result of a government-authored report, parts of which were released on Oct. 18, that Taser said concluded its technology was "generally effective without significant risk."
Taser shares continued to rise until Nov. 26, 2004, when a New York Times report questioned whether the government's study had, in fact, found Taser's product safe. That sent Taser shares, adjusted for a split, down 7% to $23.50 and they've been dropping ever since.
Because so little is known about the medical effects of Tasers, last month the National Institute of Justice, a research arm of the Department of Justice, announced it would investigate Taser deaths.
Personally, I have to admit that if I'd have the choice of being hit by a Taser or by a bullet from a real gun, I'd take the Taser anytime. Then again, police may use Taser's more often than they'd use a real gun. Then again, before Taser's, this is what things looked like, at least in L.A.:
Conclusion: If the police doesn't like you it doesn't matter if they have a Taser or not.