Recently I received a few questions about the TASER electronic control device (ECD). These stem for a posting on the Kiss of Death email group. I thought others might want to know a few of these items also.
Why is TASER all in capital letters, is it an acronym for something?
Yes, it is an acronym for “Thomas [A] Swift’s electric rifle” an homage to the adventure books by Victor Appleton. The company the makes the TASER has officially been renamed, Axon. The company makes a host of public safety products including cameras and records management software.
What is the difference between a TASER and a stun gun?
The TASER pulses the voltage. When a TASER is used you can actually hear the clicking of the voltage pulsing on/off. The pulse rate is at the same wavelength our brain uses to send signals to muscles to move. That pulsing of the voltage causes all the muscles in the body to lock up. You can’t move no matter how hard you try.
Stun guns don’t pulse it is just a straight voltage arc. So stun guns only cause pain. They will not lock out the muscles.
Why is the TASER not effective sometimes?
Often times it is a case of the darts not getting into the person. A TASER works by two darts attached to thin wires hooking into the suspect. If one misses or is not long enough to penetrate layers of clothing the suspect will not get a shock.
Otherwise, some people on drugs will have alterations to the brain function. When this happens the pulsing might not be the right synch rate so the suspect’s muscles don’t lock. Likewise, they may not be feeling pain so the pain aspect might not phase the suspect.
Have you been shocked by a TASER? Can you describe the feeling?
Yes, I am part of the old school group that was forced to be shocked with the TASER to carry it. That is no longer regular police training practice. It is completely optional, but it seems a large percentage of recruits take the ride. Might be peer pressure from classmates might also be a rite of passage feeling, might be a bit of both.
So the first thing you feel is two needles poking into your skin. Next, the voltage hits. You know that feeling when someone rubs their feet on the carpet and touches you to give you a shock. Imagine feeling that shock all over your body from deep down inside. That was how it feels only amplified by a few thousand times and it lasts for five long seconds.
Is it true people defecate and urinate when hit by a TASER?
For the most part no. If I recall from training right only about one out of a thousand people will have an accident. Usually it more a result of the body relaxing after the shock than a result of the direct application of the voltage.
I saw a TASER demo and there was a bunch of confetti that came out with the darts, why?
That confetti is part of what is called AFID (anti-felon identification). The paper dots hold serial numbers for the cartridge being used. It is intended to prevent people from using the device in an unlawful way.