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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Protecting ourselves from things that go bump in the night

What to do about the rare but deadly wack jobs who occasionally walk among us spreading death? At the risk of offending those who have a vision of a return to gun-toting Tombstone, I think Phil Bowermaster at The Speculist: A Third Option is on a better track:
So let's go back to the firearm advocates' assessment of yesterday's tragedy. If there were students or faculty members at various points around campus carrying legal, concealed firearms, might there not have been an opportunity to stop this monster before he killed 32 people? Seems to me there might have been. But if you had an equal (or greater) number of people armed with Tasers, wouldn't they have had a similar chance of taking the shooter down?

Opponents of the concealed carry argument argue that students and faculty members would be shooting each other, or that cops would accidentally target an armed good guy rather than the shooter. But that equation changes somewhat if the good guys (including the cops) are all carrying less-lethal weapons.
It has always been my advice that homeowners and boat owners avoid buying Dirty Harry .44 magnum pistols and instead buy shotguns for armed defense. My theory has been that if an exciting moment arises, the danger of killing your neighbors is lessened by using a shotgun while the possibility of actually doing damage to a bad guy is enhanced. Killing your neighbors creates troublesome liability issues.

Further, it seems to me that it would be much easier for us all to get along in public places if we were known to be carrying non-lethal force delivery systems instead of, well, guns or not being armed. I mean, some of you can carry guns if you like and get permitted. And conceal them. It creates an element of doubt in the mind of the potential wrong-doers. Even better if the bad guy knows that not only are some people carrying deadly weapons, but it's virtual certainty that almost everyone else can Tase him or gas him or whatever.

My choice of a Mace product is the Triple Action Fogger, described as a:
Compact, powerful model features flip-top safety cap. This 60 gram cone shaped fogger unit sprays up to 8 feet. Contains 15, one second bursts.

And this Taser web page has a good graphic that makes the point that with a Taser,
A hit anywhere on the body can be effective with the TASER device, making it easier to use and more reliable under stress than any other use-of-force option.
And, in reality, it's hitting the target that really matters.

And, here's a Taser advantage:
TASER devices are not considered firearms by the U.S government. They can be legally carried (concealed or open) without permit required in 43 states.

Prohibited citizen use in DC, MA, RI, NY, NJ, WI, MI, HI & certain cities & counties. CT and IL legal with restrictions. Check local laws on carrying electronic control devices.

Scottish Prayer

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

UPDATE: The ACLU doesn't like Tasers! One more reason to like them.
UPDATE2: Here's the ACLU anti-Taser logic:
Since 1999, at least 148 people in the United States and Canada have died after encounters with police who shocked them with Tasers. More than half of those deaths occurred in the past year, of which 15 took place in northern and central California.
In eighteen years, in two countries (I guess the numbers weren't high enough if you just used the U.S. 148 people have died after being Tased. That's a little over 8 people a year. And, though the ACLU wording attempts to fluff the issue- there is no indication of how many among that 148 died as a direct result from being Tased. As worded, it's entirely possible that some portion of that numbered were Tased but still acted in some manner that caused the police to have to shoot them with regular weapons.

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