Should Tasers be Moratoriumed?
A Taser is a hand-held weapon that delivers a jolt of electricity through a pair of wires propelled by compressed air from up to 10.6 metres away (CBC 2009). There has been a lot of debate about whether Tasers should be allowed to be used by the police, or if they should be banned. These tools should be allowed to be used by the police as a form of self defence. This is because they are non-lethal and much safer for the criminal than a gun. Also considering that more than 16,200 law enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries use them, (CBC 2009), it would be a huge negative impact on many police forces.
The main reason Tasers have been under scrutiny is because they have been seen as the reason for many deaths. Amnesty International says that between 2001 and August 2008, 334 North Americans died after Taser shocks, (CBC 2009). What is not stated is the circumstances of these deaths. For example, on February 19th 2005 Robert Heston at age 40 was supposedly killed by a Taser. The fact that he was Tasered may have had a small impact on why he died, but the main reason is because of his toxic methamphetamine ingestion, (CBC 2009). Being on some sort of drug was the case for many of the deaths related to tasers, (CBC 2009). Also, Amnesty International says that many of the deaths due to stun guns were caused by misuse of the tool. Many of the criminals were subjected to multiple or prolonged shocks, not the amount regularly used. All this being said, the Taser itself seems to not be the problem, but rather the people involved being special cases of either police officers making mistakes, or of people that are on some sort of illegal drug.
Another reason there should not be a moratorium on Tasers is that it would cause a huge negative impact on many police forces in various countries. As stated earlier, Tasers are used by 16,200 law enforcement agencies in more than 40 different countries. If there were to be a moratorium on Tasers, what would these officers use to defend themselves? Previous methods such as guns and pepper spray are no where near as safe and effective as a