TED Conversations

Theodore A. Hoppe


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Are Conductive Electronic Weapons (CEW), or as they are more commonly know, Tasers a "non lethal" weapon?

Stephen Coleman has set his TEDTalk up as a TED-Ed lesson using the term "non-lethal" for tasers. He should know better. Tasers are now being referred to as "Less Lethal" even by it maker.

"Fourth Circuit upholds multi-million dollar award in Taser death:

The jury awarded the mother and father of the young man ten million dollars. While the amount was later reduced to $5.5 million the significance of the case is that it shows that Tasers are deadly weapons when used as the company recommended, and as the evidence showed the officer was trained to use it. "


I posed this question in the "guided discussion," at TED-Ed, and not only did no one responded, the question was removed.
Should TED-Ed remove the lesson?

Topics: tasers

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    Dec 4 2013: The lethality of a weapon depends solely on how it is used.

    Pillows are lethal weapons... With that said, mace and rubber bullets do not affect suspects that are under the influence of narcotics. (That's a pretty high percentage of them.)

    Only tasers are 100% effective.
    People die from tasings because they resist.
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      Dec 4 2013: Re: People die from tasings because they resist.

      In some, but not all cases. I'll question whether you bothered to read the news story.
      It reports that, "The youth died of cardiac arrest as a result of being tasered in the chest. The evidence showed that the office used an abnormally prolonged dose of electrical current because the subject failed to be debilitated from the initial shock."
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        Dec 5 2013: "Failed to be debilitated from the initial shock."
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          Dec 5 2013: It's not clear what you argument is. What was the measured extent of the "initial shock?"
          Allow me t answer this for you. The story states,""abnormally prolonged."
          How much do you know about taser use?
          I know enough about tasers and taser policy to know that the chest is one of the places where you don't want to aim for because of cardiac related issues.
          Additionally, while the story does not address these facts I will ask you,
          1) How much is an "abnormally prolonged dose of electrical current (12,000 volts).
          2) What is excessive, by policing guidelines?
          2)How long did it take for EMTs to arrive at the scene?

          The defense certainly could have presented this information to the jury, if it was supportive to their case, but the jury's finding were against the police office(s).

          Take a look at the comments of the Coleman talk, and the talk, if you have not watched it.
          It's littered with YouTube videos, most are dashcams, where the police use questionable judgement when employing tasers.

          The fact are, a death occurred, a taser was the cause. Non-lethal? That is the question.
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        Dec 5 2013: "a taser was the cause"

        This is where we disagree.
        I understand now why we are debating & why this story caught your attention.

        We agree that the taser was misused, but we will likely never agree as to whether or not tasers are too dangerous a force to be used on civilians.

        I simply accept the fact that the police accidentally kill people from time-to-time.

        With that said, I vehemently oppose the idea that such a device be used on a child. This officer acted very stupidly indeed... but using tasers on violent drunks has saved many-a-life.

        Tasers have their place.
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          Dec 5 2013: Are tasers non lethal or less lethal is this conversation, in part.
          The newspaper concluded in its commentary that, "There is, in our judgment, no question but that they are lethal weapons."
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          Dec 6 2013: The court didn't see it your way.
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        Dec 6 2013: And in this specific case... they were correct! This taser was misused.
        Some policemen choose tasers over mace.

        Mace debilitates everyone in the area when it is used... except on occasion for the lunatic they're trying to arrest. This makes mace a bit more dangerous to use than tasers... Not for the suspect, but for the officer. Especially so in close quarters.

        When a taser is used properly (not fired at the chest / used on children) they are a perfectly viable method a debilitating an enemy without causing them harm.

        How often do you hear of police actually having to shoot a suspect? You have tasers to thank for that.
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          Dec 6 2013: I wouldn't bother going much further with this. Even though it seems obvious from the report that the weapon was misused he is still asserting in his argument that it was used as directed and therefore is to be considered lethal even when used as directed.

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