the Disillusioned kid: Non-Lethal? Erm... Not Exactly
| Email | Home | Linkage | Profile |

Monday, October 03, 2005

Non-Lethal? Erm... Not Exactly

Oh dear:
The manufacturer of a stun-gun used in the arrest of a July 21 London bomb attempt suspect is restricting the use of the phrase "non-lethal" in its marketing campaigns amid an investigation by American state authorities.

Taser International, which makes weapons that fire up to 50,000 volts and are used to incapacitate a person, also said it would no longer claim in its consumer literature that its guns "left no lasting effects".
This cosmetic shift seems to be concerned primarily with the commercial sale of the electro-shock-stun-guns (yes you can actually buy your very own taser - in the States at least), but the potential ramifications for their use by law enforcement officials should be obvious. While Taser's president Tom Smith goes out of his way to emphasise the voluntary nature of these (and other) concessions even claiming that his company suggested many of them, it's hard to avoid the obvious signs of furious back-pedalling by a company terrified of expensive litigation and the effects of tighter regulation of its product. (The introduction of background checks as a prerequisite to purchase in some states caused revenues to halve between the final three months of last year and the first quarter of 2005.)

Among the other changes is the substitution of "leave no lasting after-effects" with "are more effective and safer than other use-of-force options". It might just be me, but don't you think "might have lasting after-effects" would have been more honest? Particularly if they added an admission that they've never really bothered to find out either way.

None of the above is likely to slow the deployment of tasers in the UK. This fits a worrying pattern. Just as the US is becoming increasingly concerned about the use of tasers (the company have even faced legal action from police injured by the weapons during training) the police in the UK are dishing them out to their officers with not inconsiderable enthusiasm.

The article contains one further interesting tit-bit towards the end when it notes that "in 2001, Home Office researchers discovered people who had been in contact with CS gas were at "serious risk" of catching fire if a Taser gun was subsequently used. Many officers are told to use CS gas to resolve a situation before employing a more extreme method such as a Taser." But you needn't worry, it's not like this sort of thing could actually happen outside the lab is it?

Danny Boy has more, including the intriguing suggestion that the police be armed with toy guns and plastic swords.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Side Projects

Carnival of Anarchy
The Peace Pipe
UK Watch Blog


Against the Current
Culture hits and gendered bits
Daniel Randall
In The Water
Mike Wood
On The Barricades
Pizarro's Sword
Space Cat Rocket Ship
Surveillant Assemblage
TashCamUK FotoPage
The Naked Lunch
The Peace Pipe
The World of the Dynamite Lady


Anarchoblogs Blog
Arte & Lingua
Barker in Valencia
Blood & Treasure
Bombs and Shields
Born at the Crest of the Empire
Chase me ladies...
Chicken Yoghurt
Craig Murray
Dead Men Left
Disreputable Lazy Aliens
Empire Notes
Friends of Al Jazeera
Global Guerillas
Guerillas in the Midst
I Blame the Patriachy
Informed Comment
Janine Booth
Lenin's Tomb
Life of Riley Blog
Media Watch Watch
Neil Shakespeare
NO2ID NewsBlog
One Hump or Two?
Otto's Random Thoughts
Pitch In For Uzbekistan
Run over by the truth
Solidarity With Iraqi Workers
Shut Up You Fat Whiner!
Sudan: Passion of the Present
Talk Politics
The Anthropik Network
The Daily (Maybe)
The Devil's Kitchen
The Disillusioned
The f-word
The Head Heeb
The Killing Train
The Revenge of Winston Smith
The Socialist Unity Blog
The Wicked Truth
Theory of Power
Things I Don't Have Time For
This (Fresh) Gringo
This Is My Truth
Thumping the Tub
Time The Dreaded Enemy
UK Watch Blog
UK Poli Blogs
Under The Same Sun
What Fresh Hell Is This?
Where is Raed? (RIP)
Who Are You to Accuse Me?
Words and Rocks
Z-Net Blog


Asbo Community Space
Eastside Climate Action
Faslane 365
No Borders
Nottingham Student Peace Movement
Refugee Forum
Stop the War
Sumac Centre
The Demo Project

Ivory Towers

Anarchist Studies Network
Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice
Postanarchism Clearinghouse


Anarchist FAQ
Chagos Discussion List
Chagos Support Forums
Electronic Intifada
Future of Iraq Portal
Index of Political Blogs
Indymedia UK
Iraq Occupation Focus
Refuser Solidarity Network
Socialist Unity Network
The New Standard
UK Chagos Support Association
UK Watch
Weekly Worker

The Progressive Blog Alliance

Register here to join the PBA.