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Don't tase me in the chest, bro

Taser International has formally notified customers that shocking someone in the chest can cause an "adverse cardiac event."
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

The stun gun game will never be the same.

Taser International has formally notified customers that shocking someone in the chest can cause an "adverse cardiac event."

Publicly the company is not backing away from the idea that Tasers are relatively safe.

The company says its October 12 training bulletin should be seen only as a recommendation to "avoid controversy" and maintain safety by, say, shocking people in the gut.

The company's home page still features this impressive picture of a new model with the slogan "upgrade to a semi-automatic."

But customers, and the plaintiff's bar, are now on notice. Next time a suspect is zapped in the chest and dies there is going to be a lawsuit.

Certainly political opposition to the Taser remains. A site maintained by relatives of a Canadian tasing victim features the names of 451 people it says died from use of the product, whose inventor, Jack Cover, went to his grave early this year insisting his aim was always to save lives, not take them.

Despite its protests, this is a serious reversal for the company. Police love the product, and politicians who love police also like to try and demonstrate its safety.

But the cops are now on notice. Don't tase me in the chest, bro. Don't go Taser happy if you want to stay out of court.

This will doubtless lead to some hesitation in firing the weapon at suspects. Yes, firing. The newest Taser product, the XREP, released early this year, is a tiny Taser bullet that an be fired from 12 mm shotguns.

Cops think using a Taser isn't shooting a suspect, and that subduing people with a Taser is not harmful. Usually, it is. But now, the company admits, that might not always be the case. Police will have to consider that before pulling out the weapon, and probably have to file an incident report each time they do.

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