(Originally posted by FleetFlatFoot 4/4/08 at SixPackTech.blogspot.com)
As some of you know – perhaps independently, perhaps because you astutely deduced from my handle, I make my living as a cop. Hard to hide that when referring to myself as fleetflatfoot. Anyway, I went through some interesting training today as a way to keep myself, my colleagues and my city safe. My department has entered the new age and purchased TASERs for us to carry and deploy as needed.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with what a TASER does, and you may have seen the infamous “Don’t Tase me, Bro” video. You may also disagree with its function, as media outlets often skew the facts on an incident where it is used and fail to tell the whole story. Whether you are pro or anti-TASER, allow me to educate:
TASER is an acronym for Tom Swift’ And his Electric Rifle. Tom Swift is a fictional book character, and the inventor of the TASER, Jack Cover, was a fan, giving the character a nod by naming the device after him. A TASER is classified as an Electronic Control Device (ECD), but TASER is the most recognizable name in the business, therefore becoming a household name. TASER is the name of the company, with each device getting its own product name, such as the X26.
The TASER has evolved throughout the years and the current model works like this: Two metal barbed probe projectiles are fired from a cartridge which attaches to the “stun gun” portion. The gun delivers an electric current through steel wires which connect to the probes. The probes penetrate a subject’s (bad guy’s) skin and shock the bejesus out of him in an effort to gain compliance.
The difference between a traditional stun gun and a TASER, is that a well-placed TASER shot will place the probes somewhat far apart on a bad guy’s body. It allows for a larger area to be affected, completing a circuit which allows electricity to coarse through the body. The bad guy loses control, goes rigid throughout all his muscles, and is physically unable to resist the shock. A stun gun is used more for pain compliance, which a very strong person, or someone extremely high on drugs may be able to fight through. Not only is the TASER painful, but it disrupts the muscles’ ability to obey the brain’s signals to move independently.
Believe what you will about TASERs, but I urge you to check out their website if you have doubts. Despite many claims that a TASER contributed to a subject’s death, TASER has never been found liable for anyone’s death, and they have tons of research and numbers to back their product. You’ll find everything you want to know directly from them.
Now on to the fun stuff: the real reason for this article. At the conclusion of class today, after learning about situations in which to deploy the TASER, its effects, and how to properly operate it, we all performed practical tests and became certified to carry TASERs as a less-lethal force option. But, just so we could add validity to our knowledge of the TASERs effects, to give us more credibility when testifying in court, we were given the opportunity to be hit with it for a full 5 second cycle.
That’s right. The choice to be TASEd was before me. How could I deny it? I felt the overwhelming urge to display my manhood amongst my peers and take the ride. Check me out, below. Go full screen if you can.
So, how does it feel? One classmate described the sensation as “like licking a 9 volt battery, but all over your body.” I agree. But it’s so much worse. It is so hard to describe, but I can give you tidbits of what I felt:
I wanted it to be over the instant I got hit.
When the instructor told my spotters to lay me down, I didn’t want to be moved. After looking at the video, I realize that they laid me down almost immediately. It felt like 5 seconds before they were even told to move!
I could almost see electricity arcing between my eyes.
I don’t remember if I was breathing, but I remember the groaning.
The only thoughts in my head were: “Wow, this blows,” and “Oh, man, when will 5 seconds be over?” It felt like WAY longer than 5 seconds.
I heard the pop from the device shooting the probes at me, but I never felt them impact my body and didn’t feel them being plucked from my skin. It was hit dead-center between my shoulder blades with one and waist level on my left side with the other. That probe actually penetrated my leather belt and still stuck in my skin and delivered the current. The second video shows my reaction when my spotter tells me I may have to take a second hit because of my belt. Yeah, real funny.
I actually feared the barbed probes worse than the shock initially. The actual probes used to shock me are pictured above. What a souvenir!
When the current stopped flowing, the pain and rigidity went away completely. Nothing hurt except my calves, which I flexed so hard they cramped a bit. They are still sore now, 3 hours later. For the next 30 minutes, I felt like I was coming down from a huge adrenaline rush, feeling exhausted but still excited from what I had just experienced.
So I survived, but I have no lousy T-Shirt to prove it. My heart didn’t stop, my breathing wasn’t affected, and I couldn’t do a damn thing. I look forward to having this tool available to keep myself alive at work. I wish some of the doubters could take the 5 second experience to know just how effective the TASER is. TASER even offers a free X26 (over $800 value) to any officer who withstands 30 seconds of the beast.
Not me, brother. I’d rather die than wish for death for 30 seconds.