To tase or not to tase. That is the trendy question, right? But I think when it comes to women specifically, there are a lot more questions about how they work and if it’s the best route to follow for personal self-defense. I bring up this topic because I received an invitation today to join a Network Marketing Company just for taser parties. Yeah, that’s right: Tupperware or Mary Kay, but a little more electrifying. And I thought the Passion Party I recently attended was a little bizarre! Before you can make a decision for yourself (and never let anyone else make it for you), it’s best to get educated. So let’s start with the facts:
-The taser is an electroshock weapon that uses Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) technology. This makes muscles contract involuntarily throughout the body, and the sensory and motor nerves go into overdrive.
-The Taser fires two little electrodes, kinda like baby darts. They are connected to the hand-held unit by conductive wire and propelled by compressed nitrogen charges (similar to paint guns). The air cartridge contains a pair of electrodes and propellant for a single shot and is replaced after each use. For consumer models, they are limited to shooting a distance of 15 feet. When the darts hit the target, they penetrate clothing and hook into the skin.
-Police officers use two different models, the M26 and X26. Taser International is also marketing a civilian model called the C2.
-According to the Associated Press, there have been 180 deaths from tasers up to 2006. However, a study by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center studied nearly 1,000 people after getting tazed. They concluded that 99.7% of the subjects had either minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, or none at all. So go figure.
I have never been personally tased, and I’d prefer to keep it that way. But I’m curious, sometimes to the point of stupidity, so I’d probably volunteer to get zapped just for the sake of research. I think a person can only have so much of an opinion about this until they have felt the effects themselves. I would like to know if someone who has been tased can still continue an attack, or if they are just totally incapacitated.
For the sake of women’s safety, we have to give a few things consideration:
#1: Who is most likely to attack us? Statistics say our most common threat is a person we know. So if you’re going to be armed with a taser, you should be prepared to use it against anyone, stranger or not. This argument should also be made for any physical self-defense, like a palm strike. I mean, you have to be ready to use it on anyone and fully commit with the intention of escaping…including someone you might care about.
#2: Is is a replacement for other self-defense? I get a little nervous when anyone’s self-defense response is a can of pepper spray, a taser or any other product du jour. You’ve got to have a plan if the batteries die or if you miss. What then? I think your mind and body are your best weapons, and anything else you decide to use is a bonus.
#3: Are you going to carry your taser all the time? A mistake we often make is to arm ourselves only when there is a perceived threat. (i.e, walking through a dark parking lot, in a big city at night, etc.) Sometimes we deem certain situations “dangerous” and others as “safe.” Truly effective self-defense needs to be used all the time, as part of your daily routine. So consider if you’d take your taser to your pedicure appointment at 11am on a Saturday in suburbia.
#4: Will you get training? Sometimes women buy safety products, only to FEEL more safe. This is more dangerous than not carrying anything at all, because it creates a false sense of security. Anything we arm ourselves in, we should also know how to use under stress.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about tasers. Anyone get zapped recently? Any of my law enforcement and military buddies have a comment on this?