Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Straight Dope

Posted By on Sun, May 10, 2009 at 11:00 AM

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How lethal are Tasers? I know there's talk about police being Taser-happy and torturing people with these devices, but has anyone been Tasered to death?

— DUGIE C., CALGARY

News a little slow getting up to Calgary, Dugie? Lots of people have died after being Tasered — which is not to say they were necessarily Tasered to death. According to a widely publicized Amnesty International study last year, 334 people in the U.S. plus 25 more in Canada died between 2001 and 2008 after being zapped with a Taser by cops. The Taser's defenders say it beats shooting people and reduces the risk of stray bullets injuring bystanders. Wrong argument, says AI. The Taser isn't a replacement for guns but rather for billy clubs and such — for a lot of cops, it's become the default method of subduing the unruly. OK, getting whupped upside the head in the old days wasn't a pleasant experience, but at least it didn't involve 50,000 volts.

Continue reading Straight Dope.

(Illustration by Slug Signorino)

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