Your Tax Dollars At Shocking Work

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The 12-gauge shotgun taser may be coming soon to a local police force near you. From the AP report:

The eXtended Range Electro-Muscular Projectile, or XREP, will be a shotgun shell designed to combine the blunt-force trauma of a fast-moving baseball with the electrical current of a stun gun.

"It will truly cause incapacitation," company spokesman Steve Tuttle said.

Taser hopes to release the product in 2007. The Office of Naval Research funded the approximately $500,000 it took to develop the shotgun shells, Tuttle said.

That amount actually seem extraordinarily low for government work.

See this April 2005 Reason article by me for some of the concerns with old-style Tasers in the hands of often-reckless cops. And here is the Amnesty International anti-Taser report cited in that article.

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  1. So, a combination of Tasers, which sometimes kill people, with “non-lethal” projectiles, which sometimes kill people? What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Oh man, I so can’t wait to get one.

  3. Jeff, it’s double the fun!

  4. Save us some money and arm ’em with Hi-Points.

  5. “It will truly cause incapacitation,” company spokesman Steve Tuttle said.

    Good ol’ fashioned buckshot does the trick, too.

  6. Killing people with lightning bolts. Gee, that’s original..

  7. In the old days (1960, _The Koehler Method of Dog Training_) one of the accessories for transition to working at liberty was the “throw chain,” a lightish blob of loosely linked chain that could be hurled unseen at a dog who thinks, “Ha, there’s no leash, I can delay responding for a bit” wham! It suggests you can always get to him to enforce a command, even without a leash. But it has to be mysterious how you do it, and so it’s very hard to set up a case of disobedience right so that you can make the point, not to mention that you need considerable skill to nail the dog. (You want loosely linked chain so that it does not all stop at once, but rather a link at a time, and so causes no injury while at the same time transferring all its considerable momentum to the dog. A juice can HALF full of pebbles works the same.)

    Now though there are radio controlled shock collars, and they instead result in extremely nervous dogs, because they’re too easy to use, and hard to resist, in all but really experienced hands.

    The throw-chain dogs are certain what causes the mysterious whump and how to avoid it; the radio collar dogs are in constant surprise.

    The taser, in all but the best cops, is likely like the radio controlled shock collar, a decided decline in training ability.

  8. I have less problem with what you arm them with (although I am sympathetic to the argument that every podunk jurisdiction shouldn’t have a SWAT team) than with how they’re trained.

    Most police are now trained to “take control of the situation” every time they interact with the public. In many cases, this means treating innocent citizens like criminals until they’ve proven themselves innocent to the cop’s satisfaction. And the judiciary bends over backwards to allow it, because the police unions are very effective single issue advocates for politicians (judges are either politicians or appointed by them).

    I guess I’m just saying that tasers or whatever are a symptom more than the cause of the problem – which is the creeping militarization of our police.

  9. Hey, now you can shoot the quail and fry it at the same time. This is going to be bad news for Travis county lawyers.

  10. If your life is in danger, you want a gun. If your life is not in danger, a cop ought to be trained well enough to subdue someone with a baton/pepper spray. If this were truely a substitute for guns and prevented cops from killing people, then I would be for it. It of course is not and will become like the dog shock collar talked about in the above post. Cops will overuse it and shock and sometimes kill a billigerent drunk who should have been subdued physically. It is basically a way to save money on training cops in self defense. It is a lot easier to train a 5 foot 100 pound female cop on how to subdue a pissed off 6 foot 200 pound drunk with one of these than it is to train her to do it using self defense.

  11. I assume this advanced technology relies on the cop putting the proper shell in the shotgun.

  12. “Save us some money and arm ’em with Hi-Points.”

    ROFL!

    “I assume this advanced technology relies on the cop putting the proper shell in the shotgun.”

    A lot of PD’s have beanbag shotgun shells, and evidently you’re supposed to have a seperate shotgun, that usually has an obvious visual cue, like a red or orange stock, letting you know that it’s only for the less lethal stuff.

    But the danger still exists.

    Ron Hardin makes the best point so far. People who have a less-lethal weapon at their disposal are far more likely to employ it than a lethal one. I suspect that as this sort of thing develops, in the future you’ll see them using less lethal weapons to disperse crowds of protesters “just in case.”

  13. Why does the Navy need such a shotgun?

    Are they fighting rowboat-to-rowboat, skiff-to-skiff now?

    Apprehending suspects and controlling crowds are activitities that normally take place on land.

    Why would the Navy conduct research into a weapon that would, for them, be tactically useless and unnecessary?

  14. Question,

    The Navy has its own law enforcement people to control its sailors and it also works a lot with the Coast Guard at drug interdiction.

  15. I don’t understand why you’re attacking tasers and I’m alarmed at how similar these arguments are to the ones that pro gun control groups make. The problem here seems to be undertrained / ill supervised police officers. Issuing tasers may be an excuse not to properly train officers, but it’s surely only one of many.

    While most of the police officer serving our country are doing so honorably, there are some bad cops out there who use their power to attack those they should be protecting. Those bad cops will use any means at their disposal – batons, tasers, firearms, bare hands – to inflict harm. Let’s not take a useful tool away from the good cops to stop the bad cops from abusing it. That’s the same libertarian principle of personal responsibility applied to our police force.

  16. We need some sort of weapon that phases light through a dilithium chamber. A phase-lighter, perhaps? Phase-laser? What the heck should we call it?

  17. The Navy has been working on a number of shotgun shells. They’ve pretty much perfected a high explosive shell that can be fired from an ordinary 12 gauge. They are looking into the possibility of using these in conjunction with fully automatic shotguns as combat weapons for urban environments.

    Remember that the Marines are a part of the Dep’t of the Navy as well. Marine Embassy guards are frequently armed with shotguns. Imagine that you’re an embassy Marine standing guard in front of an embassy in a not so stable country. Rioters attacking the embassy? You start out shooting the stun shell, and if that doesn’t convince them, move onto buckshot or HE.

    Beats the shit out of an M-16 at close range.

  18. I don’t think these arguments are similar to gun control arguments at all. When I was a kid (10 years old) my dad allowed me to own a gun (a .22, naturally) but would not allow me to have a BB or pellet gun. His reasoning was that he trusted me not to go shooting up the neighborhood with a real gun, but he thought the temptation to plink with a BB gun would be too much, that I would do it under unsafe circumstances because “it’s just a BB gun” and that I would end up, yes, putting someone’s eye out. There is a similar psychology at work with “non-lethal” weapons and cops. If the threat of death or serious bodily harm is the threshold for using a gun, then naturally some lesser threat will justify these other methods. The lesser standard is harder to define, and the slippery slope results in what we have seen– a fairly gratuitous use of Tasers on subjects that in the past would have been subdued in other ways or not “subdued” at all, but merely made to calm the fuck down. And the fact is, as I jokingly said above, these non-lethal weapons can be very lethal indeed.

  19. “The Navy has been working on a number of shotgun shells. They’ve pretty much perfected a high explosive shell that can be fired from an ordinary 12 gauge. They are looking into the possibility of using these in conjunction with fully automatic shotguns as combat weapons for urban environments.”

    God, that’s hot.

    I had a chance to watch a friend put a magazine through a USAS-12 at an event where you could rent machineguns. He was able to do 2-3 shot bursts, but it looked like it was tough to control.

    He steps off the line, removes the hearing protection, looks at me and says “That thing weighs 14 lbs, and I’ll be damned if it’s not heavy enough.”

  20. “We need some sort of weapon that phases light through a dilithium chamber. A phase-lighter, perhaps? Phase-laser? What the heck should we call it?”

    The Alan Parsons Project.

  21. “We need some sort of weapon that phases light through a dilithium chamber. A phase-lighter, perhaps? Phase-laser? What the heck should we call it?”

    The Alan Parsons Project.

  22. Minarchist thought of the day:

    1. Restore the 2nd amendment’s literal interpretation.

    2. Pass an amendment baring non-military police from using lethal weapons, while on duty. (Yes, I know this is similar to what L. Neil Smith & Aaron Zelman suggested in Hopepolitely!

    Comments?

  23. Gee, if they combined this with one of those GPS gumdrops when they shot you they’d know exactly where you are while you’re falling on your ass.

  24. “1. Restore the 2nd amendment’s literal interpretation.”

    Wish in one hand…
    Realistically, it won’t happen. The only way to win back our civil rights is the way we’ve lost them; incrementally.

    “2. Pass an amendment baring non-military police from using lethal weapons, while on duty. (Yes, I know this is similar to what L. Neil Smith & Aaron Zelman suggested in Hope!”

    I don’t have a problem with cops having guns. I have a problem with them having guns that I can’t.

    I also have a serious problem with cops who shoot less than I do getting a pass when they negligently shoot someone, whereas a citizen in the same situation would be locked up for the rest of his life.

    Solve those two problems, and I don’t care what the cops use.

  25. I got all the way to the bottom and no one even told me if I should be buying TASR stock or not. The free market CAN actually sort this one out for us, unlike most of the other topics discussed here.

  26. Invest in America! BUY, BUY, BUY!

  27. While most of the police officer serving our country are doing so honorably, there are some bad cops out there who use their power to attack those they should be protecting.

    What type of pollitically correct nonsense is this? You are not running for president, this is the reason Hit and Run comments. You can talk the truth.

    Everyone knows that the vast majority of police officers aren’t “serving honorably”. All the people who have become cops or had an interest in becoming cops that I know did so because they wanted to shoot guns and kick ass. All the white people I have ever met that were cops or expressed an interest in becoming cops were violent racists.

    Most cops job involves extorting people for money under the premis of enforcing “traffic laws”, with the occasional distraction of invading people’s homes military style looking for drugs. When they are called to do something remotely to “protect and serve” they have no interest. A girl I was dating once was told by a cop, after her house was broken into, “We aren’t going to do anything… I mean, what do you expect in this neighborhood?”. I worked for a company that ran public events, and bribing the police force was a universal prerequisite for having a public event in any city.

    The vast majority of cops are thugs. They are the same as criminal gangs in most places. The “honorable” cops are a rarity indeed. Maybe before the criminalization of damn near everything, there might have been a time when cops were honest, and made an honest attempt to help people… but nowadays, I don’t see how you could be an “honest” cop and drag people to jail for smoking outside a buisness, or have 100% of your on duty officers stationed at speed traps. No honest person would become a cop under our current system.

  28. –“Good ol’ fashioned buckshot does the trick, too.”

    I believe the traditional non-lethal shotgun load is rock salt.

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