Taser™ Funded Safety Studies Find Tasers To Be Pretty Much Safe


From the NYT research page on May 13: 

Cardiologists at the University of California, San Francisco, reviewed 50 published studies on Taser guns, including 23 financed by the manufacturer, Taser International, or written by someone affiliated with it, and 27 conducted by independent researchers.

Twenty-two of the 23 studies linked to the manufacturer concluded stun guns were either not harmful or not likely to be harmful. Seventy percent concluded they were not harmful at all.

In contrast, just over half of the independent studies found that Tasers were either not harmful or unlikely to be harmful. Twenty-six percent concluded they were not harmful at all.

From Reason magazine's Tim Cavanaugh on May 12: Sheriffs Kill Innocent Man With Taser.

NEXT: Napolitano Says "Very, Very, Very Few People" Get Pat Downs. How Many Is That?

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  1. Look who’s dismissing arguments based on who funded them now.

    1. I dunno, I’m dismissing based on the fact that Taser is funding it, but more so on the fact that people have died. But maybe that’s just me.

      1. I have to agree with you, sage. The fact that people HAVE died from tasers pretty completely invalidates the 70% of Taser funded (and 26% of independent) studies that found that they are not harmful at all.

        That leaves us with 7 Taser funded studies and 20 independent studies that may be valid. Of those, 1 taser study, and 13 independent studies did NOT conclude that tasers are not likely to be harmful. IOW, 14% of possibly valid Taser funded studies, and 65% of possibly valid independent studies found that tasers are likely to be harmful.

        1. people have also died from choke holds and baton strikes to the skull, which are the other options

          tasers are safER than the options, the problem comes in when they are used as a form of punishment rather than as a way to subdue a dangerous person

    2. So, in your mind it’s not legitimate to point out the significant discrepancy in the results between studies funded by a group interested in getting certain results and studies funded elsewhere?

      The same could be said of AGW studies funded by governments interesting in getting certain results …

    3. Arguments from bad faith is a valid point of contention, Hobie.

    4. Look who’s dismissing arguments based on who funded them now.

      They’ve been mostly sucessful in legally redefining the word electrocution to serve their own interests. I would say that they’ve amply demonstrated that they’re untrustworthy on this issue.

  2. I’m shocked, shocked!

    (Sorry…I had to do it.)

  3. And who, pray tell, funded the 27 “independent” studies? The money had to come from somewhere. Were those funding sources totally disinterested in the question? Pete Suderman doesn’t seem to care.

    1. This post is from Mike Riggs, so you may be right there.

      1. Good point. Hey Suderman, do you care about Mike Riggs’ research?

    2. Big Rubber Bullet.

    3. I don’t even care about that question, I just want to have a moment of recognition for the fact that somebody actually used “disinterested” correctly on the internet.

      1. Is the incorrect usage of disinterested a rampant problem on the internet?

    4. Hey Dan, how long have you fantasized about being the meat in a man sandwich? (NTTAWWT)

    5. Fuck off, dipshit.

  4. Dan T. thinks more people should be Tasered to death. Typical.

    1. If you could only get an erection after being electrocuted, you’d be sympathetic toward Taser too. Have some compassion.

    2. Well, if you prefer bullets I’m sure an exception can be made. Obviously tasers are useful for when shooting someone might be seen as disproportionate use of force. Plus they make disorderly conduct and public drunkenness stops more fun because now you can just shock them into submission. And that’s what it’s all about, submission.

      1. It is about submission. When cops first started carrying tasers, it was supposed to be a replacement (in most situations) for a gun. It was said that cops wouldn’t use them, unless the situation called for a gun, and this new tool was just not (as) lethal. Now, it is completely about submission. Hence “Don’t tase me, bro.” Like the cops couldn’t have just tackled and handcuffed that kid.

        1. That’s what I have always said about Tasers. They should be a substitute for shooting someone with a gun. Not a “pain compliance” technique, or whatever the fuck they call it.

    3. nothin beats a good ol billyclub beat down!

      1. You must be from Philly. Under Rizzo, it was a requirement. Sometimes the cops would give you a choice. Either get beat, or get arrested. That’s fair, right?

    4. We should give TSA tasers. Then we can learn how they work on toddlers and grandparents.

      1. oh noes, not the CHULDRNEZ !

        1. Take your pick:


          1. About 2,430,000 results (0.39 seconds)

            -Miami-Dade police tasered a 6-year-old boy who was wielding a piece of glass in a school office and threatening to hurt himself, officials confirmed Thursday.
            -An Ozark police officer has been suspended with pay after using a Taser on an unruly ten-year-old girl one week ago,
            -when a 12-year-old girl who was skipping school was found drinking and smoking in a swimming pool, Miami-Dade police officer William Nelson
            -The incident took place Tuesday at a day care center in Martinsville, Ind

            1. you have to reduce the voltage when you zap the little ones

  5. Don’t you love it when you go to a gun show and every 5 minutes you heBZTZZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTZTTZTZ

  6. Who funds studies on the safety of drugs, medical devices, pesticides (and other statutory “pesticides” under FIFRA), food additives, cosmetic ingredients, automobile parts, and helmets?

    1. Dow Chemicals?

    2. I do.

      1. Hardly ever, actually. Gov’t agencies around the world do hardly any safety testing of those products. What they do is command the sellers of those products to do such testing, whose results are usually submitted to gov’t agencies for review. No requirements I know of in the USA for helmets, though, which are privately certified.

        1. Do they at least run a totally awesome cluster analysis?

          1. (spitting coffee through my nose)
            You owe me a keyboard.

          2. What was that from again?

            1. Oh yeah, the libertarian vs. disaffected quiz.

        2. they don’t do the testing but they do cough up the money.

  7. Curious definition of “harm” they must be using if being electrocuted into incoherence doesn’t qualify.

    1. It’s just like getting smacked with an energetic pillow; stop being such a pussy.

    2. Curious definition of “electrocuted” you must be using if there is a chance that incoherence doesn’t necessarily follow.

      1. huh? what’s goiign onn heereeee guysSS?

      2. I find that zapping my bum with a cattle prod actually increases my eloquence.

      3. Electrocution is the killing of someone with electricity. I figure death is a fairly coherent state, in the sense of coherent meaning “having a natural or due agreement of parts; harmonious.”

        1. I never realized that “electrocute” was a portmanteau of “electric” and “execute” before. Thanks for being so pedantic.

          1. Portmanteau – a large travelling case made of stiff leather, esp. one hinged at the back so as to open out into two compartments.

    3. elec?tro?cu?tion noun \i-?lek-tr?-?ky?-sh?n\

      : death by electric shock

      Words have definitions.

  8. Wait ’til you see MY funded study!

    1. Puhleeze!

  9. If you’re a really big purchaser of a product you use in your business, it might pay you to fund a safety study on it. Otherwise the only people who can afford to fund safety studies and who have enough interest to do so are the mfrs. of the products in question, the gov’t, and in a rare case, a voluntarily funded non-profit. In that last case, about the only cases they’ll be interested in, with their very limited resources, are those where there’s already some controversy.

    With non-profits dependent on donations, they’re less likely to use animals to test safety, which in many cases is the cheapest technology, but is frowned on by many donors.

    1. Of course the funding may be indirect in some cases. Mfrs.’ insurers and industry consortia may do safety testing.

  10. Discussions of the ‘safety’ of the Taser vs a baseline of – nothing – are absolutely meaningless. Any device whose primary design intention is to incapacitate a human being is going to have a risk greater than zero when compared with ‘no action’. By that standard, crochet is a hellish danger that we should ban at once.

    Many uses of the Taser are by LEO’s who have legitimate and justified grounds to employ reasonable force to subdue or incapacitate a person. Discussions of the ‘safety’ of the Taser should be made by comparing the relative risks of the Taser against the risks of the other means that a LEO might have to use in the same circumstances. Any other comparison is meaningless drivel.

    I’ve been Tasered. It was an unpleasant experience, I kid you not. Would I take another shot from the Taser vs tactical strikes to the kneecaps? In a heartbeat, I would. If I was being a belligerent, uncontrollable ass, the most likely result of being Tasered would be that I would wind up in handcuffs, in the back of the cruiser, ruffled but essentially unhurt. Going to Fist City with a couple of coppers whose duty it would be to subdue and restrain me – the likelihood of coming out unscathed is considerably lower. I’ll take the Taser, Alex.



    1. I think what you just pointed out is indeed the implied point here. Studies like these have the potential to be a justification for:

      a) more police departments and individual leo’s having tasers
      b) increasing the amount of situations in which it is considered reasonable or appropriate to use tasers instead of using other immobilization techniques

      So, as a citizen, you may be looking at more state actors who are able to shock you into submission, and more situations where this action is acceptable.

  11. So what if Taser funded the studies? I’m sure there are studies funded by people who hate Taser. Besides, how else are we supposed to fight criminals? “Freeze or I’ll give you a lap dance!” “Stop or I’ll tickle your balls.” Come on, this real life, not a porn movie. Bad people (anyone who gets bitchy with the cops) deserve the electric touch. Including that black professor Obama defended, which by the way, didn’t get tased. So the way I see it, “do tase me, bro.”


    1. Submit to boy blue or get shocked into submission. Thanks for the interesting take on liberty.

    2. Who hath summoned me?

    3. Are you here again? Don’t be.

    4. Bad people (anyone who gets bitchy with the cops) deserve the electric touch.

      Is this a troll? Bad people are those “who gets bitchy with the cops”? Rly?

      1. Is this a troll?

        In more ways than one.

        1. But at least he’s fashionable.

          1. Nothing improves a thread more than Sage’s fashion picks.

            Well played, sir. Well played.

      2. I personally think Gregooo is a leftwing plant here to make rightwingers look stupid. He is the furthest thing from a libertarian.

    5. Jesus christ, can’t you take a hint. No one cares what you think, Grego.

      1. I totally care! I care about the fact that he’s just so wrong on many, many levels.

  12. It’s not like the police are going to suffer any adverse consequences; they don’t give a shit.

    Now, if a private citizen fatally tasered a burglar in his living room (no, not the burglar’s living room), he might find himself subject to prosecution for manslaughter. But who cares what happens to private citizens?

    1. Not if it’s at night, and you’re in the South. We give out medals for that.

      1. Not if the guy’s still around to use up tax dollars.

    2. In Florida it would be perfectly legal; as would be killing the intruder with a firearm. Gotta love that castle doctrine.

  13. u know who else didnt care what happened to private citizens?

    1. me?

      1. Is this a spoof?

  14. So if, hypothetically someone tased a police officer it wouldn’t be a crime based upon the fact that tasers are harmless?

    1. Only if the cop got bitchy with you.

    2. IIRC, there was a case not too long ago about guy that tasered a cop and was charged with attempted murder.

      1. Well, that’s consistency!

        Cop uses taser on citizen = absolutely harmless.

        Citizen uses taser on cop = deadly weapon.

  15. You know, I guess I’m going to be the contrarian here, but Taser or even the use of tasers doesn’t bother me. It’s the misuse of tasers which bothers me.

    Criticizing the taser as possibly unsafe is a roundabout and ineffective way of criticizing overzealous cops.

    Guess what, Glocks are dangerous too (often times to the owner *ducks*) but the cops aren’t going to stop using those.

    What we need to do is change the way police use these lethal and non-lethal tools.

    Either that or we go back to the days when cops only carried a whistle and nightstick.

    Which I admit may not be such a bad idea if we can’t affectuate corrective action on the part of our police forces.

    1. Oops. Didn’t even read your post before I spouted off. You make some really good arguments!

    2. Six shot revolvers would be a good choice to replace the Glocks or any other hi cap semi automatics used by cops.

      1. +1

        If cops knew they only had six rounds, they would likely place each shot carefully, rather than spray-and-pray, with all its attendant danger to bystanders.

        1. I don’t know if there’s any real evidence that cops are spraying bystanders. Cops, with all of their faults, seem to be pretty good at hitting the targets they aim at.

          The problem is they’re aiming at bystanders and innocents. And dogs.

          And grandmothers.

          And guys carrying closed pocket knives.

          Nah, the problem in my estimation isn’t hi-cap mags, it’s hopped up cops.

      2. Cops went to semiautos staring in the late 80s due to myths about being “undergunned” as if everyone they encountered had an AK-47.

        How many lethal assailants can one person handle, anyway?

        1. The FBI Miami shootout, and then the LA shootout, are used as proof that cops are undergunned. But, in both cases, the cops won. Maybe all cop cars should have a Ma Deuce on top.

          1. Maybe all cop cars should have a Ma Deuce on top.


      3. Six shot revolvers would be a good choice to replace the Glocks or any other hi cap semi automatics used by cops.

        I’d go with single shot muzzle-loaders.

    3. I agree. A taser is a good thing if used in stead of a gun. It is a bad thing when used because the cop didn’t like some guy’s attitude.
      The relative danger posed by a taser is only relevant because of claims that they are safer than they really are. They need to be considered less lethal weapons, not non-lethal.

    4. Criticizing the taser as possibly unsafe is a roundabout and ineffective way of criticizing overzealous cops.

      I don’t think that’s right at all. Yes, the problem is tasing the wrong people, not tasing the “right” people. But emphasizing the danger of tasers, the fact that they are not simply some fun, harmless, totally safe alternative to beating the shit out of or shooting someone, is critical to turning both public and police opinion. The public doesn’t take tasing incidents seriously. Maybe they would if they realized the devices are actually dangerous.

  16. Tasers are harmful, tasers aren’t harmful, who gives a shit? They are less harmful than a Glock. That’s the point.

    What is harmful is tasing innocent people. That’s a cop problem, not a taser problem. In the long run, if I were innocent, I’d rather be tased than shot by a dickhead cop.

    1. I’d rather tase then shoot a dickhead cop. That’s the point.

      In the long run, that’s a cop problem. if I were innocent, who gives a shit?

      1. Is that really you, Nick?

    2. Agree with this as well. But I would add that even tasing guilty people is harmful if it was not necessary.

  17. There are numerous instances of people dying after being tased. How fucking hard is it to see that they can kill some people? That “some” may represent 0.0000001% of all people, but it’s still some people.

    I’m not opposed to arming police with tasers (I have seen numerous instances where they could have been useful), but you’d have to be either completely oblivious or drinking some serious KoolAid to think that tasers are “not harmful at all.”

  18. A taser is a torture device. That’s the long and short of it.


  19. A taser is a torture device. That’s the long and short of it.


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