Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle ( TASER)


A Taser is an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. Its manufacturer, Taser International, calls the effects "neuromuscular incapacitation" and device's mechanism "Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) technology". Someone struck by a Taser experiences stimulation of his or her sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions. Tasers do not rely only on pain compliance, except when used in Drive Stun mode, and are thus preferred by some law enforcement over non-Taser stun guns and other electronic control weapons. At the present time, there are two main police models, the M26 and X26. Both come with various accessories, including a laser sight and optional mounted digital video camera that can record in low-light situations. Taser International is also marketing a civilian model called the C2. On 27 July 2009, Taser introduced the X3, capable of subduing 3 suspects without reload.

Tasers were introduced as less-lethal weapons to be used by police to subdue fleeing, belligerent, or potentially dangerous subjects, often when what they consider to be a more lethal weapon would have otherwise been used. The use of Tasers has become controversial following instances of Taser use that have resulted in serious injury and death

Name
Taser is an acronym, named for a fictional weapon: Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle. Taser is a registered trademark. It has prompted a backformed verb to tase, which means to use a Taser on; however, to taser is also commonly used.


History
Jack Cover, a NASA researcher, began developing the Taser in 1969. By 1974, Cover had completed the device, which he named after his childhood hero Tom Swift. The Taser Public Defender used gunpowder as its propellant, which led the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to classify it as a firearm in 1976. In 1991, a Taser supplied by Tasertron to the Los Angeles Police Department failed to subdue Rodney King. Its lack of effectiveness was blamed on a faulty battery.

Taser International CEO Rick Smith has testified in a Taser-related lawsuit that the catalyst for the development of the device was the "shooting death of two of his high school acquaintances" by a "guy with a legally licensed gun who lost his temper." In 1993, Rick Smith and his brother Tim began to investigate what they called "safer use of force option[s] for citizens and law enforcement." At their Scottsdale, Arizona facilities, the brothers worked with the "... original TASER inventor, Jack Cover" to develop a "non-firearm TASER electronic control device." The 1994 AIR TASER Model 34000 had an "anti-felon identification (AFID) system" to prevent the likelihood that the device would be used by criminals; upon use, it released many small pieces of paper containing the serial number of the Taser device. The US firearms regulator, the ATF, stated that the AIR TASER was not a firearm. In 1999, Taser International developed an "ergonomically handgun shaped device called the ADVANCED TASER M-series systems" which used a "patented neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI) technology." In May 2003, Taser International released a new weapon called the TASER X26, which used "Shaped Pulse Technology." On July 27, 2009 Taser International relasead a new type of taser called the X3 which can shock 3 people without reloading the cartridge.


Function

The M-26 Taser, the United States military version of a commercial TaserThe Taser fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductive wire as they are propelled by small compressed nitrogen charges similar to some air gun or paintball marker propellants. The air cartridge contains a pair of electrodes and propellant for a single shot and is replaced after each use. There are a number of cartridges designated by range, with the maximum at 35 feet (10.6 m). Cartridges available to non-law enforcement consumers are limited to 15 feet (4.5 m). The electrodes are pointed to penetrate clothing and barbed to prevent removal once in place. Earlier Taser models had difficulty in penetrating thick clothing, but newer versions (X26, C2) use a "shaped pulse" that increases effectiveness in the presence of barriers.


Drive Stun

A Taser, with cartridge removed, making an electric arc between its two electrodesSome Taser models, particularly those used by police departments, also have a "Drive Stun" capability, where the Taser is held against the target without firing the projectiles, and is intended to cause pain without incapacitating the target. "Drive Stun" is "the process of using the EMD weapon [Taser] as a pain compliance technique. This is done by activating the EMD and placing it against an individual’s body. This can be done without an air cartridge in place or after an air cartridge has been deployed."

A Las Vegas police document says "The Drive Stun causes significant localized pain in the area touched by the Taser, but does not have a significant effect on the central nervous system. The Drive Stun does not incapacitate a subject but may assist in taking a subject into custody." "Drive Stun" was used in the UCLA Taser incident and the University of Florida Taser incident. It is also known as "dry tasing", "contact tasing", or "drive tasing".

Amnesty International has expressed particular concern about Drive Stun, noting that "… the potential to use TASERs in drive-stun mode — where they are used as 'pain compliance' tools when individuals are already effectively in custody — and the capacity to inflict multiple and prolonged shocks, renders the weapons inherently open to abuse."


Accessories
The TASER CAM is a specialized device designed for the Taser X26 to record audio and video when the Taser's safety is disengaged. The CAM is integrated into a battery pack and does not interfere with the Taser's existing function.


Users
Taser use in Phoenix increased from 71 in the year 2002 to 164 in the year 2003. In addition, the number of officer-involved shootings decreased by seven during this time period.[citation needed] In Houston, however, police shootings did not decline after the deployment of thousands of Tasers.

According to the analysis of the first 900 police Taser incidents by the Houston Chronicle, no crime was being committed and no person was charged in 350 of those cases. In addition, it has been reported that the Houston Police Department has "shot, wounded, and killed as many people as before the widespread use of the stun guns" and has used Tasers in situations that would not warrant lethal or violent force, such as "traffic stops, disturbance and nuisance complaints, and reports of suspicious people." In Portland, Oregon, meanwhile, police found that 25 to 30 percent of the situations in which a Taser was employed met the criteria for the use of deadly force.

Although Tasers were originally proposed as alternatives to lethal force, they have entered routine use as a way to incapacitate suspects or as a "pain compliance" method at times when the use of firearms would not be justifiable. The American Civil Liberties Union alleges that, since 1999, at least 148 people have died in the United States and Canada after being shocked with Tasers by police officers.Police departments counter that while Tasers were used to subdue these individuals, their in-custody deaths were un-related to their encounter, and could have likely been caused by more traditional police impact weapons (like batons).

A recent development has included marketing Tasers to the general public. A line of pink Tasers are specifically being marketed for women. The Taser website states "Who says safety can't be stylish?" in reference to its "latest designer TASER C2 colors" and patterns, which include leopard print patterns and a range of colors.


Legality

Canada
According to previous interpretation of the Firearms Act, Tasers were considered to be "prohibited weapons" and could be used only by members of law-enforcement agencies after they were imported into the country under a special permit. The possession of restricted weapons must be licensed by the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program unless exempted by law. A 2008 review of the Firearms Act found that the act classifies "the Taser Public Defender and any variant or modified version of it" as "prohibited firearms". However, Canadian police forces typically treat Tasers as "prohibited weapons", inconsistent with the restrictions on firearms.

The direct source for this information comes from an independent report produced by Compliance Strategy Group for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The report is called An Independent Review of the Adoption and Use of Conducted Energy Weapons by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In the report that is available through access to information, the authors argued that the CEW was, for several years after its adoption by the RCMP, erroneously characterized as a prohibited "weapon" under the Criminal Code, as opposed to a prohibited "firearm." This misunderstanding was subsequently incorporated into the RCMP's operational policies and procedures as well as those of other police services in Canada. While the most recent RCMP operational manual, completed in 2007, correctly refers to the CEW as a prohibited firearm, a number of consequences of this error in classification remain to be dealt with by both the RCMP and other Canadian police services. Consequently, it could be argued the police in Canada may not have had the proper authority under their provincial policing Acts and Regulation to use the CEW in the first place. The point of unauthorized use by the police was also raised by Dirk Ryneveld, British Columbia's Police Complaint Commissioner at the Braidwood inquiry on June 25, 2008.


Estonia
Tasers are allowed to be used by the police force (both military and civilian). A civilian person may not possess a Taser because it is considered a torture device in the hands of an ordinary person. Due to shootings in Finland, US, Germany and other countries the parliament of Estonia passed a new act of weapons which is considered even more serious than the previous act.


France
Tasers are used by the French National Police (Police Nationale) and Gendarmerie. Since September 2008, they have also been available to local police.


Hong Kong
Under HK Laws. Chap 238 Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance, "any portable device which is designed or adapted to stun or disable a person by means of an electric shock applied either with or without direct contact with that person" is considered as 'arms' and therefore, the importation, possession and exportation of Tasers require a license by the Hong Kong Police Force which would otherwise be illegal and carries penalties up to a fine of $100,000 and 14 years in jail.


Israel
Israeli police approved using Tasers. As of 16 Feb 2009, the first Tasers became available to police units.


Poland
Under Polish law, Tasers are not considered to be firearms. No permission is needed to buy and carry one.


UK
Tasers are considered to be 'prohibited weapons' under the Firearms Act and possession is banned without the written permission of the Home Secretary. The maximum sentence for possession is ten years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Taser guns are now used by British armed police as a "less than lethal" weapon. It was also announced in July 2007 that the deployment of Taser by specially trained police units who are not firearms officers, but who are facing similar threats of violence, would be trialled in ten police forces.

The 12 month trial commenced on 1 September 2007 and took place in the following forces: Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, Gwent, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Metropolitan Police, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, North Wales and West Yorkshire.

Following the success of the trial, the Home Secretary agreed on 24 November 2008 to allow Chief Officers of all forces in England and Wales, from 1 December 2008, to extend Taser use to specially-trained units in accordance with current Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) policy and guidance, which states that Taser can be used only where officers would be facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves, and/or the subject(s).

A fund for up to 10,000 additional Tasers is being made available for individual Chief Officers to bid for Tasers based on their own operational requirements.


U.S.
Taser devices are not considered firearms by the U.S. government. They can be legally carried (concealed or open) without a permit in 43 states. They are prohibited for citizen use in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, as well as certain cities and counties. Their use in Connecticut and Illinois is legal with restrictions




Safety concerns
Main article: Taser safety issues
Taser International claims that Tasers are safe, but critics disagree, citing the number of deaths occurring after Taser use. Amnesty International has documented over 245 deaths that occurred after the use of Tasers. Amnesty International Canada and other civil liberties organizations have argued that a moratorium should be placed on Taser use until research can determine a way for them to be safely used.

A number of studies have investigated the potential dangers of Taser use. They have included examination of incident records, limited human testing, and experimental studies on pigs. Although tests on police and military volunteers have shown Tasers to function appropriately on a healthy, calm individual in a relaxed and controlled environment, Amnesty International says that they "do not take into account real life use of Tasers by law enforcement agencies, such as repeated or prolonged shocks and the use of restraints".

At least one police official has been tased to demonstrate confidence in the device's safety. Police officers in at least five US states have filed lawsuits against Taser International claiming they suffered serious injuries after being shocked with the device during training classes.

While their intended purpose is to circumvent the use of lethal force such as guns, the actual deployment of Tasers by police in the years since Tasers came into widespread use is claimed to have resulted in more than 180 deaths as of 2006.It is still unclear whether the Taser was directly responsible for the cause of death, but several legislators in the U.S. have filed bills clamping down on them and requesting more studies on their effects. Despite the growing controversy, a study funded by the U.S. Justice Department asserted that majority of people tasered from July 2005 to June 2007 suffered no injury. A study led by William Bozeman, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, of nearly 1,000 persons subjected to Taser use, concluded that 99.7% of the subjects had either minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, or none at all, while three persons suffered injuries severe enough to need hospital admission, and two other subjects died. Their autopsy reports indicated neither death was related to the use of a Taser.

The use of the Taser has come under scrutiny in Canada following national media coverage of the 2007 Robert Dziekański Taser incident in which a Polish immigrant died after being tasered five times by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer at the Vancouver International Airport. As a result several official reviews of Taser safety are underway in Canada and two police forces have put large orders of the device on hold.


In October and November 2007, four individuals died after being tasered in Canada, leading to calls for review of its use. The highest-profile of these cases was that of Robert Dziekański, a non-English-speaking man from Poland who died in less than two minutes after being tasered by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at the Vancouver International Airport, October 14, 2007.Followed by three other post-Taser deaths, this incident led Amnesty International to demand an end to Taser use in Canada


On December 12, 2007, in response to the death of Robert Dziekański, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day requested that the federal Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC) prepare recommendations for immediate implementation. The CPC report recommended to "immediately restrict the use of the conducted energy weapon (CEW)" by reclassifying it as an "impact weapon." The commission released its report on 18 June 2008; recommendations include restricting use to experienced officers (5 years or more), providing medical attention to those who have been zapped, improving previous documentation of specific deployment of the weapon, among other things.

In June 2008, a federal jury ordered Taser International to pay the family of Robert Heston, Jr., $6 million in punitive and compensatory damages for the 2005 death of the man a day after he was shocked repeatedly by officers using Tasers. According to a press report, the jury "said Taser had failed to warn police in Salinas, California, that prolonged exposure to electric shock from the device could cause a risk of cardiac arrest."

In December 2008, in light of extensive testing of Tasers by the CBC, many Canadian police agencies, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have suspended use of either all Tasers or just those manufactured before 2006
Excited delirium




Taser and its supporters in the police community regularly attribute the cause of deaths that follow Tasering to "excited delirium", a term for a phenomenon in which agitated or disturbed individuals respond in an irrational, bizarre, and hyperactive manner when confronted or apprehended by police. Critics argue that as this alleged condition exists only in relation to being apprehended by police, its existence is dubious. Grame Norton, director of the public safety project of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association argues that "Anytime you see a specific condition being referenced in only one context, it raises serious question." Other critics assert that the term is used to mask police brutality. While the term "excited delirium" has been accepted by the National Association of Medical Examiners, in the United States it has been rejected by the American Medical Association while the Canadian Medical Association Journal dismisses it as a "pop culture phenomenon". The condition is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Police psychologist Mike Webster testified at a British Columbia inquiry into Taser deaths that police have been "brainwashed" by Taser International to justify "ridiculously inappropriate" use of the electronic weapon. He called "excited delirium" a "dubious disorder" used by Taser International in its training of police.



Incidents
May 2006, USA. Otto Zehm
November 2006, USA. UCLA Taser incident
September 2007, USA. University of Florida Taser incident
October 2007, Canada. Robert Dziekański Taser incident
September 2008, USA. Iman Morales Taser incident
Use in schools and on children

Police officers that patrol schools, including grade schools, in several U.S. states (including Kansas, Minnesota, Kentucky, Virginia and Florida), currently carry Tasers. In 2004, the parents of a 6-year-old boy in Miami sued the police department for tasering their child. The police said the boy was threatening to injure his own leg with a shard of glass, and claimed that using the Taser was the only option to stop the boy from injuring himself. Taser International asserts that the Taser is safe for use on anyone weighing 60 pounds (27 kg) or more. Nevertheless, the boy's mother told CNN that the three officers involved might have found it easier to reason with her child. Two weeks later, a 12-year-old girl skipping school was tasered in Miami-Dade. In March 2008, an 11-year old girl was shocked by a Taser. In March 2009, a 15-year-old boy died in Michigan after being tasered.

Supporters of Taser use in schools argue that merely switching on the device, and threatening to use it, can be effective in frightening violent or uncooperative students into desisting from inappropriate behaviour, if verbal reprimands have not succeeded. Critics counter that Tasers may interact with preexisting medical complications such as medications, and may even contribute to someone's death as a result. Thus, critics say, they should either be prohibited altogether in schools, or classified as possibly lethal weapons and as a consequence, should be regulated very tightly. Critics also argue that using a Taser on a minor, and especially a young child, is effectively cruel and abusive punishment, and therefore it should be banned on the same grounds that other, older forms of physical punishment such as canings have been banned from use in many schools.

Tools of political suppression
Tasers and other electroshock weapons have been used at political protests such as those by the anti-globalization movement in the United States, France, Switzerland, Germany, and several other countries. Members of the movement, as well as world press are concerned that the technology, and other "less-lethal" weapons, are likely to become tools for suppressing legitimate protest associated with imposition of "neo-liberal economic policies".[67] Thomas Gebauer, of the German non-governmental organization Medico International, describes "non-lethal weapons" as a symbol of "the growing repressive character of European and North American governments" willing to suppress protests against the spreading social injustice. According to Gebauer, "the aim of these weapons is to guarantee social borders, to install perennial control of movements, to restrict democracy."


Torture
A report from a meeting of the United Nations Committee against Torture states that "The Committee was worried that the use of TaserX26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use." Amnesty International has reported several alleged cases of excessive electroshock gun use, that possibly amount to torture, including the death of an individual after being struck 12 times with a Taser in Orange County, Florida. They have also raised extensive concerns about the use of other electro-shock devices by American police and in American prisons, as they can be (and according to Amnesty International, sometimes are) used to inflict cruel pain on individuals. For example, Eric Hammock of Texas died in April 2005 after receiving more than 20 Taser shocks by Fort Worth police officers. Maurice Cunningham of South Carolina, while an inmate at the Lancaster County Detention Center, was subjected to continuous shock for 2 minutes 49 seconds, which a medical examiner said caused cardiac arrhythmia and his subsequent death. He was 29 years old and had no alcohol or drugs in his system.

In response to the claims that the pain inflicted by the use of the Taser could potentially constitute torture, Tom Smith, the Chairman of the Taser Board, has stated that the U.N. is "out of touch" with the needs of modern policing.

"Pepper spray goes on for hours and hours, hitting someone with a baton breaks limbs, shooting someone with a firearm causes permanent damage, even punching and kicking - the intent of those tools is to inflict pain, ... with the Taser, the intent is not to inflict pain; it's to end the confrontation. When it's over, it's over."

- Taser Chairman Tom Smith
Tasers may also not leave the telltale markings that a conventional beating might. The American Civil Liberties Union has also raised concerns about their use.






اعلنت شركة تاسر المنتجة لمسدس الصعق الكهربائي المعروف باسمها الاثنين نسخة جديدة من مسدسها المثير للجدل ليصبح قادرا على الاطلاق على ثلاثة اهداف متتالية بدون الاضطرار لاعادة شحنه.
وقال ريك سميث المدير العام لتاسر انترناشيونال وهي شركة مقرها في اريزونا (جنوب غرب) في بيان ان تاسر اكس-3 "سيحسن الفعالية والسلامة قياسا الى الاجيال السابقة لتاسر".
واضاف "انه السلاح اليدوي الاكثر تطويرا في صنعه على الاطلاق" موضحا ان المسدس يمكن ان يسجل مزيدا من المعلومات من النموذج السابق تاسر اكس 26 الذي اطلق في 2003 واستخدم بشكل واسع من اجهزة الشرطة في الولايات المتحدة وفي اوروبا.
وتاسر اكس 26 الذي يرسل الى هدفه دفعتين بشحنة 50 الف فولت يجهز به منذ 2004 الجيش والشرطة الوطنية والدرك في فرنسا. ومنذ 2008 يمكن استخدامه ايضا من قبل الشرطيين البلديين.
وسجلت حالات وفاة عدة بعد اطلاق النار من مسدسات تاسر خصوصا في الولايات المتحدة وكندا.
وبحسب منظمة العفو الدولية فان 334 شخصا قتلوا في الولايات المتحدة بين 2001 واب/اغسطس 2008 بعد ان اصيبوا بصدمة كهربائية من تاسر. وهذا السلاح "تسبب او اسهم" في التسبب بالوفاة بصورة مباشرة في نحو خمسين حالة بحسب استنتاجات خبراء استندت اليهم المنظمة غير الحكومية

The company producing the Taser electric stun gun known as the name of Monday a new version of the controversial gun to be able to launch three consecutive goals without having to re-shipment.
Said Rick Smith, Director-General of Taser International, a company based in Arizona (south west) in a statement that the Taser X-3 "would improve the effectiveness and safety compared to the previous generations of the Taser."
"It is the most manual of arms in the development of manufacturing at all," adding that the gun can register more information than the previous model Taser X-26, launched in 2003 and used in a wide range of police services in the United States and Europe.
The Taser X-26, which aim to send the shipment of two 50 thousand volt processed by the Army since 2004 and the national police and gendarmerie in France. Since the 2008 can also be used by municipal police officers.
Recorded several cases of death after the shooting of Taser guns, especially in the United States and Canada.
According to Amnesty International, 334 people were killed in the United States between 2001 and August 2008 after he suffered an electric shock from the Taser. This weapon "caused or contributed" to cause death directly in the case of about fifty, according to the conclusions of experts based on their non-governmental organization

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