Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fashionable Tasers

Despite more than 150 deaths in the US since 2001 that followed taser use, Arizona based Taser International is pushing to get tasers into the hands of as many consumers as possible.

From a business point of view, you can't blame them. There will tighter regulation at some point. They're trying to sell as many devices as quickly as possible. From a human being point of view, their latest marketing ploy is disgusting. They're selling a taser/mp3 player combo:

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which is expected to receive more than 140,000 visitors this week, is no stranger to bizarre gadgets but the iTaser - as it has been dubbed - must rank as one of the oddest. It combines a Taser stun gun, used by 12,000 law enforcement and security forces, including the Metropolitan police, with an MP3 player and earphones. ...

Arizona-based Taser International sells the handheld stun guns under the rather hyperbolic banner of "Changing the World and Protecting Lives". It maintains that the iTaser "allows for both personal protection and personal music for people on the go".

According to Rick Smith, founder of the company, "personal protection can be both fashionable and functionable".

The company says the new device is particularly aimed at women - with red, pink and even leopard print designs intended to make carrying a stun gun fashionable. A spokesman in Las Vegas said the inclusion of a music player would encourage purchases by women who want a form of self defence while out jogging, but would otherwise choose to take an iPod or other MP3 player with them instead of a weapon. ...

Taser International, however, maintains that the devices merely stun people and, with proper training, are otherwise harmless. The guns shoot two small probes, at speeds of more than 48 metres a second, which are connected to the device by insulated wire. Those probes deliver an electric charge that causes instant neuro-muscular incapacitation, causing the victim to crumple to the floor. They also lose the ability to move for a few seconds.

And is Taser International going to make sure that all consumers receive the proper training required to ensure safe use (if there is such a thing)? Somehow I doubt it. Tasers are legal and barely regulated in most US states. That leaves the corporate entity that sells the device acting as the sole steward of safety.

In other taser-related news, a school district in MS has tabled, for now, a plan to arm school security officers with tasers.