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Thoughts on Taser C2

October 24th, 2009 | Posted by revdisk in Firearms | Law | Rants - (2 Comments)

Disclaimer: While I believe the Taser is not a product I would own or rely upon for my safety, I am NOT an expert. All of my information is based off the product marketing material, the Taser website, and conversations with Taser users (LE, instructors, etc). You should do your OWN research and make your own choices. The following rant is entirely geared around my own assessment for my own situation and the single case cited in the rant. YOUR situation is entirely different and thus my rant probably does not apply well to you.

Tasers are less lethal weapons. They are not 100% safe (safe being nonlethal), and cannot be. Any weapon capable of incapacitating someone in a semi reliable manner has the chance of killing. This should be drilled into anyone’s head before they use a weapon. If a suspect dies from a tasing, it should be reviewed in exactly the same manner that using a firearm would generate. Lethal force is lethal force, regardless of whether a suspect was shot, tased, or brained with a baton. “But I used a taser!” is not and should not be a defense. Mind you, I’m not saying an officer or non-LE person is automatically in the wrong if any suspect dies (regardless of method used), far from it.

Personally and professionally, I find Tasers to be not a good product. Not from a “don’t tase me bro” anti-police way. Bit of background, I’m a “security specialist” in a generic sense. Information security, IT security, physical security, etc. When I look at something, I ponder all of the strengths and weaknesses.

One day an acquaintance asks me about Tasers. She works with a lot of cash and occasionally has to transport it. Her company allowed and encouraged carrying a Taser. She asked me what I knew about them. Aside from learning about them in a basic sense back in the military along with other less lethal weapons for crowd control, I didn’t know much. Thankfully, there’s a EMS/fire/LE/etc supply store across the street. So I went across the street and learned more about them.

First off, two models. LE and a “civilian” model, the Taser C2. (The clerk didn’t like when I joking pointed out that police are civilians too, which was even more amusing.) I didn’t ask too much about the LE version, as my acquaintance was interested in buying one of the cute looking C2 models. The civvie model is light, curvey and non-threatening looking. It’s called the Taser C2, and is visually packaged to express the impression of “consumer electronics” instead of weapon. But hey, that’s just aesthetics. Nothing wrong with that. So let’s move on to why it’s a bad product that is dangerous to the user.

It fires a single cartridge costing $25, which contains compressed air, wire, barbs, etc. And allegedly some kind of micro-ID thingies that can potentially be used to identify a perp as well as the owner. There is no OEM training cartridge for the civvie model. Which means you CANNOT safely test the device unless you’re handy with electricity and know how to safely ground something conductive. There is no way to turn off the juice, so it is risky to test the Taser on anything that is conductive and improperly grounded. Besides it being insane to never being able to safely test and practice with an allegedly life saving device, why is this worrisome?

If you did not read the manual, did not test the device and need to use it in self-defense, you will quickly learn that you have been hauling around a $350 ish paperweight. See, the device needs activation.

I swear to the gods, I am not lying. A weapon that needs permission before usage. I find the concept horrifying, personally, but I guess certain folks would love it. Here is the proof: https://activate.taser.com/c2activation/ You must pay an additional fee for a private company to conduct a background check. If you do not pass or don’t activate the product, the Taser C2 is disabled. If the person processing the request makes a mistake or the necessary IT equipment malfunctions, you are out $350 for the device and another $10 for the background check. Since it is a private company, there is no oversight or accountability laws to govern its background checks. And since you can’t safely test it, you have no guarantee that your unit will function as it is needed to function. If you somehow can safely test the unit, it is $25 per functionality check.

Why is this? So if a felon buys a Taser, he can’t use it. Yes, that is the company’s exclusive justification for such a radical product flaw. Because no felon would lie and give false information to Taser’s activation folks, or pay someone else to activate the Taser. Felons are known for their scrupulous honesty and for never lying to suit their own needs.

Let’s ignore the fact that you also handed over your name, address, driver’s license and other deeply personal information to a company. An identity thief’s dream. I wonder how much they pay their data entry clerks? Enough that they wouldn’t be tempted to earn some side cash selling your information? This also assumes the company will not give out your personal information or sell it. Let’s also ignore the deeply offensive treatment of their customers. Each and every customer is treated like a potential criminal at best, and like a mindless child at worst. It is their company, and they can make a buck however they choose.

Well, let’s move onto usage. The design is only practical if you have one attacker. It converts to a “stun gun” if the cartridge is expended (and the unit is not disabled), which is a nice thought and only slightly less useful than having a heavy rock. It allows you to zap a person up to 50 times. But the official usage doctrine for the C2 is to press the button (the C2 model gives shocks in 30 second durations), drop the unit, run to a safe location and call 911. So following that logic… the manufacturer specifically suggests the unit is near useless against more than one aggressor. Unless you carry multiple Tasers, of course.

A $2 knife is starting to sound like a more durable, better designed and significantly safer weapon. I’d buy my acquaintance a full auto MP5 and pay an insane retainer to the sharkyist defense lawyer in the region before I could in good conscience pick up a Taser for her. Hell, I’d buy her a rock before I’d buy her a Taser. Thankfully, the tasteful PR DVD included in the product packet was enough to convince her that they are a really bad idea. It’s a dangerous, poorly designed, and hideously expensive weapon with limited functionality. She’s leaning towards a Keltec or a XD compact.

Politicians, bah.    Gods, Hope n’ Change is wearing thin these days.

Folks did not like the NeoCon rule.  The excessive fearmongering, Iraq, excess spending, infringements on civil liberties, creation of entire new beaucracies, etc.  It ended up with Bush having an extraordinarily low popularity, and with Congress having even less popularity.  Comes the election.  Change is promised.  It sells, the bums are thrown out.  Not much changes.  Few if any of the Bush era excesses are repealed.  Certain Republicans are shocked (shocked!) that now the shoe is on the other foot.  They are actually surprised when their base is declared the enemy.  DHS is declaring right wing extremists, primarily veterans, are the most significant threat to the United States.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans is little more than rhetoric and a few unimportant wedge issues.  Both love spending, taxing, controlling and economically destroying US citizens.  The only significant advancements in civil liberties are those that the citizens take for themselves.  Either through the courts or forming special interest groups powerful enough to threaten the politicians.

The US Constitution was written to strictly limit the role and abilities of the federal government to specific activities.  If an activity is not enumerated in the Constitution, they are not allowed to do said activity.  This has been strongly ignored since FDR.  Now, the view is the federal government is allowed to do anything which is not strictly forbidden.  The Bill of Rights is only marginally enforced by the courts.  The Executive and Legislative branch have given up nearly all respect for the Amendments enumerating specific civil liberties, and only bow to it when forced to do so by special interest groups.

A lot of folks in the media are giving the NRA flack for actually trying to have the Second Amendment respected and enforced.  They claim that the NRA is manipulating Congress and the courts for malicious purposes.  The Second Amendment is very clear in its intentions.  The Constitutional arguments that it applies only to the National Guard or only allows government entities to be armed is beyond tortured logic.  There is no government on this planet that has ever existed that has denied itself weapons. None.  Even the Vatican grants weapons to some of its employees.  The sole purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure the right of the people to keep and bear arms.  Why this is necessary is interesting philosophic debate, but is not essential to the central point.  Folks are allowed to have guns and the government bears a heavy burden in any restrictions they may wish to impose.

My point isn’t to rehash the Second Amendment or RKBA.  It is to point out that the government has a very strong desire to disarm its citizenry.  It is significantly more difficult to oppress a minority group if they are well armed.  It gives the potential for the government to answer to its citizenry.  It’s not a magic wand that grants freedom, liberty and prosperity to all.  It merely gives you a chance.  One you must maintain.  All governments become more restrictive and oppressive as they age.  It is the nature of all governments, as far back as human records go.  The citizenry must hold their own against their own government.  The most intelligent way to do so is to band together for a common goal.  Even if I disagree with the individual actions of a special interest group such as the ACLU or the NRA, I very much agree with the sentiment.  Banding together for mutual protection is the only way to hold your ground, and possibly retake some.

In the last few decades, think of what ordinary citizens have accomplished.  Concealed carry reform has spread.  Obscenity laws have been dismantled.  Income taxes are merely crushing instead of blatantly confiscatory.  The Internet has taken mass information dissemination away from the hands of the few and has given the chance for any one person to get information out to millions.

Despite the plethoria of infringements, there have been a few advances in civil rights directly in spite of our politicians.  Some of these are minor, some are significant.  It grants one hope.  Real hope, not the plandering of a Chicago politician who has never held honest employment in his life.  Get involved, do what you can.  Don’t protest to ‘feel good’, be effective.  Law suits, bribery (the legal kind, campaign contributions), networking, etc.  If what you are doing is not effective, drop it and try a new set of tactics.