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Thread: Tasers - An Electronics Tech's Opinion

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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Tasers - An Electronics Tech's Opinion

    As an electronics tech, I was taught a long, long time ago that a relatively low current and voltage placed across the heart could very readily cause death. At the same time, I was taught to troubleshoot live circuits with my left hand in my pocket (for the military, putting your hand in your pocket is rank heresy, but it was the military who taught me so) to avoid creating a current path across the heart. Along with that, we were also taught to avoid being grounded through our feet. Rubber-soled boots were deemed sufficient.

    Now, we look at tasers, a supposedly less-than-lethal device that, even properly used, has the potential of putting thousands of volts, at a current rating I've never seen, across the heart. Giving a police officer who uses this device the benefit of the doubt, there still exists a high probability of its accidental improper use. We won't even discuss those officers who, for whatever reason, have it in their mind that they can use the device as punishment for perceived conduct.

    My premise is that a device which causes the skeletal muscles to lock or spasm so that the target is unable to stand also has the potential to cause the heart to spasm or go into fibrillation. Either condition, if unrecognized and untreated, will rapidly end in death.

    Of the deaths which have been documented, most have been labeled as due to "excited delirium", a condition which no medical textbook lists.

    Bottom line: I have had, and still have, serious doubts about the supposed "safety" of these devices. Despite all the best efforts of the manufacturer to suppress negative publicity, there are still too many stories of deaths resulting from the use of tasers.
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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Tasers are documented to have killed citizens. There is no and can not be ambiguity. Tasers are lethal weapons.

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    Regular Member Brace's Avatar
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    They're "less lethal". I would still rather be shot by a taser, tear gassed, or shot by a rubber bullet, than shot by standard ammunition. I think you're right about the safety concerns being excessively downplayed though.

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    Regular Member Primus's Avatar
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    Its not voltage but amperage that kills you. Our tasers are .0008 amps. Not lethal. A normal healthy person can take that hit and survive. If there are other medical complications then yes you can die. I took the hit as have pretty much all the guys who use them. In order to be an instructor (around here) you have to take a hit.

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    Regular Member Primus's Avatar
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    Also it depends on if you deploy prongs or use a drive stun. To use a drive stun there is no muscular contractions. Its pain compliance only since the spread of the electricity is on an inch or so. If you deploy prongs and depending on the spread you can get elctromuscular interruption. That just means the signals going to your muscles gets interrupted. Again... depends where they are hit with prongs. I've taken hits in the leg as well as back. I've seen guys take hits all over the body with varying results.

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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brace View Post
    They're "less lethal". I would still rather be shot by a taser, tear gassed, or shot by a rubber bullet, than shot by standard ammunition. I think you're right about the safety concerns being excessively downplayed though.

    +1

    Might be time for people to start wearing mesh impregnated clothing with a trailing ground wire.
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    The current is actually high voltage low current displaced over a small area of skin causing muscle contractions. While a taser could kill someone with a weak heart, not from the shock but the stress, they do not shock the heart. Actually small shocks to the heart return the heart to normal rhythm. The 27th of this month I will be getting a taser placed under my chest with wires leading to my heart, to in case of abnormal rhythm to shock the heart back to normal. They will also be putting a pacemaker in at the same time, hopefully, depends on the size of my veins.

    The doctor doing this is called a electrologist and I asked many questions having to do with shocks to the heart. The shock delivered is much like a taser, high voltage low current using tiny capacitors.

    I'll research but I believe pepper spray has been fatal when used but very rare. A person with pepper food allergy is in deep doo doo if sprayed with pepper spray.
    Last edited by WalkingWolf; 12-18-2013 at 03:13 PM.
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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolina guy View Post
    +1

    Might be time for people to start wearing mesh impregnated clothing with a trailing ground wire.
    Ground wire not needed, the current crosses the path only of the prongs. Just the mesh would short it out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brace View Post
    They're "less lethal". I would still rather be shot by a taser, tear gassed, or shot by a rubber bullet, than shot by standard ammunition. I think you're right about the safety concerns being excessively downplayed though.
    "Less lethal" is the whole point. Just about any physicality during a seizure by a cop could result in death. Tasers are an option to avoid using guns or sticks, both of which can readily kill.


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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    Ground wire not needed, the current crosses the path only of the prongs. Just the mesh would short it out.

    Quite true...
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    A stun gun/taser works like striking a nerve hard enough it sends messages to the brain that overloads the brain. This results in more than just pain, it can result in convulsions, spasms, vomiting. The taser just does not cause the tissue damage that baton does to the nerves and surrounding tissue.
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    I'd guess that most Taser deaths are from heads hitting concrete due to an uncontrolled fall.
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    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    Its not voltage but amperage that kills you. Our tasers are .0008 amps. Not lethal. A normal healthy person can take that hit and survive. If there are other medical complications then yes you can die. I took the hit as have pretty much all the guys who use them. In order to be an instructor (around here) you have to take a hit.

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    "One medical expert, Dr. Douglas Zipes, a cardiologist and electro-physiologist at Indiana University, called the Taser weapon’s connection to heart attack’s “obvious.”
    He has testified for plaintiffs in Taser death lawsuits against law enforcement agencies and authored articles on their danger.
    “It’s obvious to me that Taser electric shocks can make the heart stop,” Zipes said. He said a tasered person’s heart can race from 400 to 600 beats a minute and send them into cardiac arrest."

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013...led-non-lethal

    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/...7-9ef44e9747f2
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    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    I'd guess that most Taser deaths are from heads hitting concrete due to an uncontrolled fall.
    You've summed up where much of the dishonesty lies in reporting deaths from taser use. Unless the taser inflicted the broken skull, a person that has died from a broken skull following being tased has their cause of death is listed as "fall".
    Liberty is so strongly a part of human nature that it can be treated as a no-lose argument position.
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    From the cop’s perspective, the expression “law-abiding citizen” is a functional synonym for “Properly obedient slave".

    "People are not born being "anti-cop" and believing we live in a police state. That is a result of experience."

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuller Malarkey View Post
    "One medical expert, Dr. Douglas Zipes, a cardiologist and electro-physiologist at Indiana University, called the Taser weapon’s connection to heart attack’s “obvious.”
    He has testified for plaintiffs in Taser death lawsuits against law enforcement agencies and authored articles on their danger.
    “It’s obvious to me that Taser electric shocks can make the heart stop,” Zipes said. He said a tasered person’s heart can race from 400 to 600 beats a minute and send them into cardiac arrest."

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013...led-non-lethal

    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/...7-9ef44e9747f2
    Actually that is not heart stopping, it does cause the blood to fail because the heart cannot contract to push blood to the body. A shock is what is used to return a heart to normal rhythm. To stop the heart for surgery they actually use the same drug used for lethal injection. Keep in mind that the doctor testifying is getting paid to testify, and trying to sell a book. A heart that is prone to racing is one that is below 35% refraction, and just about anything can set about the racing heart beat. The purpose of the defibrillator/pace maker is to deliver a shock when the heart does race. With a refraction below 35% there is a 15 to 20 percent chance of a fatal event within a year. The use of the defibrillator is to keep those with limitations alive.

    It is very unlikely a taser would cause the heart to go into cardiac arrest on a person with normal refraction.
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    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    Police reporting "ain't nothin' to it" is actually rather meaningless. They get "hit" in a controlled environment, on a padded surface, medical response staff on the ready, and they are mentally prepared.

    The citizen facing being tased may be in a state of mental health emergency, or distraught and frightened at the prospect of being the next victim of police unaccountability. Far too often a person tased for "failure to comply" is not resisting arrest, they are fighting for air. Chest compression is the sadistic means of legal torture police like to use. Someone fighting for air while the victim of chest compression is told to stop resisting, then all too frequently tased for trying to breath. For their instinct to survive. One's adrenaline might just spike when put in a situation where everything indicates you are dying from deprivation of air. That person's heart rate might be approaching red line out of fear before officer Wonderful goes sadist with the taser. This seems to be followed with the all too predictable "Failure to comply failure to comply failure to comply".
    Liberty is so strongly a part of human nature that it can be treated as a no-lose argument position.
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    From the cop’s perspective, the expression “law-abiding citizen” is a functional synonym for “Properly obedient slave".

    "People are not born being "anti-cop" and believing we live in a police state. That is a result of experience."

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    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    Actually that is not heart stopping, it does cause the blood to fail because the heart cannot contract to push blood to the body. A shock is what is used to return a heart to normal rhythm. To stop the heart for surgery they actually use the same drug used for lethal injection. Keep in mind that the doctor testifying is getting paid to testify, and trying to sell a book. A heart that is prone to racing is one that is below 35% refraction, and just about anything can set about the racing heart beat. The purpose of the defibrillator/pace maker is to deliver a shock when the heart does race. With a refraction below 35% there is a 15 to 20 percent chance of a fatal event within a year. The use of the defibrillator is to keep those with limitations alive.

    It is very unlikely a taser would cause the heart to go into cardiac arrest on a person with normal refraction.
    I don't know enough about how tasers affect those tased to argue the mechanics of it. I will offer that well after a year since the study's release, few medical experts are challenging the finding, and independent medical experts have agreed with the findings.

    Here, Robert J. Myerburg, M.D., professor of medicine and physiology at the Miller School, UNiv. of Miami and the American Heart Association Chair in Cardiovascular Research along with Kenneth Goodman, Ph.D., professor and director of the Bioethics Program at the U of Miami offered what appears to be supporting observations.

    http://med.miami.edu/news/robert-j.-...tion-editorial

    No question, it is hard to come up with unbiased, objective studies on the use of tasers. It is hard to ignore that Taser is paying out millions in hush money [http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/13/5...jury-or-death], police departments are banning the use of tasers

    http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/234897...stop-taser-use

    There are too many unknowns to tolerate "less lethal" weapons being used as compliance threats.
    Liberty is so strongly a part of human nature that it can be treated as a no-lose argument position.
    ~Citizen

    From the cop’s perspective, the expression “law-abiding citizen” is a functional synonym for “Properly obedient slave".

    "People are not born being "anti-cop" and believing we live in a police state. That is a result of experience."

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    There has to be restraint in any method used to effect a arrest. As seen shoving a young lady into a wall is too much force. I don't blame the taser, I blame the person who abuses it. If a officer uses a taser that results in a death in a situation that did not call for a taser, that officer should be charged with manslaughter.

    I only used mace, and stun gun as a last resort to a combative(fighting) suspect. I would never use it to get a person out of a car, because they refused. Though I did see a state trooper pour water out of a gas can on a car. The woman refused to come out, after he poured the water he held a lighter, she came out of the car. He got six days suspension for that, my how times have changed.
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    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    There has to be restraint in any method used to effect a arrest. As seen shoving a young lady into a wall is too much force. I don't blame the taser, I blame the person who abuses it. If a officer uses a taser that results in a death in a situation that did not call for a taser, that officer should be charged with manslaughter.

    I only used mace, and stun gun as a last resort to a combative(fighting) suspect. I would never use it to get a person out of a car, because they refused. Though I did see a state trooper pour water out of a gas can on a car. The woman refused to come out, after he poured the water he held a lighter, she came out of the car. He got six days suspension for that, my how times have changed.
    Seems any taser related thread goes to the responsible use of the device, to the point of hijacking the thread from it's original premise. I refuse to make a conclusion based on Taser International propaganda, and refuse to ignore conflicting studies and the ever growing body pile. I may go so far as get on board that the taser is not responsible for the death, the taser user is responsible. The problem there is the limited accountability of the users, the worn out cliche of "he failed to comply and I feared for my life and my fellow officers lives and all the kids in the schools lives and little kitties and old people in nursing homes lives so I zapped him until I used up all the power in my taser then the next 12 officers that showed up used theirs. He just died or something". This, followed by the all too predictable "we found all 13 officers that used tasers on the 91 year old man that refused his meds acted within their training. Medals will be forthcoming".
    Liberty is so strongly a part of human nature that it can be treated as a no-lose argument position.
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    From the cop’s perspective, the expression “law-abiding citizen” is a functional synonym for “Properly obedient slave".

    "People are not born being "anti-cop" and believing we live in a police state. That is a result of experience."

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    So, what about when tasers are used to 'punish' a perpetrator, or a LAC who has too much audacity? Or is that not SOP?

    Primus, do you have a cite to prove your devices have 0.0008 amps?

    TIA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick9 View Post
    Primus, do you have a cite to prove your devices have 0.0008 amps? TIA
    More usually written 80 mA.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    Its not voltage but amperage that kills you. Our tasers are .0008 amps. Not lethal. A normal healthy person can take that hit and survive. If there are other medical complications then yes you can die. I took the hit as have pretty much all the guys who use them. In order to be an instructor (around here) you have to take a hit.

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk
    So, not to get too far off subject.... JUST how do you determine as you go through your use of force continuum that THIS PARTICULAR POTENTIAL RECIPIENT of this little jolt does not have an underlying condition making this more than a "less lethal" experience!
    RIGHTS don't exist without RESPONSIBILITY!
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    The current is actually high voltage low current displaced over a small area of skin causing muscle contractions. While a taser could kill someone with a weak heart, not from the shock but the stress, they do not shock the heart. Actually small shocks to the heart return the heart to normal rhythm. The 27th of this month I will be getting a taser placed under my chest with wires leading to my heart, to in case of abnormal rhythm to shock the heart back to normal. They will also be putting a pacemaker in at the same time, hopefully, depends on the size of my veins.

    The doctor doing this is called a electrologist and I asked many questions having to do with shocks to the heart. The shock delivered is much like a taser, high voltage low current using tiny capacitors.

    I'll research but I believe pepper spray has been fatal when used but very rare. A person with pepper food allergy is in deep doo doo if sprayed with pepper spray.
    Ask your ELECTROLOGIST about the problems associated with receiving these LITTLE high voltage low amperage shocks to your heart at RANDOM parts of the normal cardiac electrical cycle.....

    And just how does the deployer of any STUN GUN device make sure they are only delivering this shock at the known "safe" parts of this cycle?
    RIGHTS don't exist without RESPONSIBILITY!
    If one is not willing to stand for his rights, he doesn't have any Rights.
    I will strive to stand for the rights of ANY person, even those folks with whom I disagree!
    As said by SVG--- "I am not anti-COP, I am PRO-Citizen" and I'll add, PRO-Constitution.
    If the above makes me a RADICAL or EXTREME--- So be it!

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    More usually written 80 mA.
    That would be 0.08 A, not 0.0008 A.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky View Post
    So, not to get too far off subject.... JUST how do you determine as you go through your use of force continuum that THIS PARTICULAR POTENTIAL RECIPIENT of this little jolt does not have an underlying condition making this more than a "less lethal" experience!
    To play devil's advocate, it is still "less lethal" than a bullet in the overall odds.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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