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ABC TV Journalist Gets Tasered in Vegas

[Huffington Post] We read with horror of the “Try The Taser!” booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where random people can test out what it would feel like to be tasered. The company is marketing a consumer version (in four stylish colors, including metallic pink!), because loosing a bunch of trigger-happy taserists on the world couldn’t possibly go wrong. From the website:

The TASER C2 can stop a threat up to 15 feet away, allowing you to protect yourself and your family from a safe distance. You can also use the C2 as a contact stun device to repel someone – a powerful backup capability.

To “promote responsible ownership,” those wishing to purchase a Taser must undergo a background check, the successful completion of which is necessary to activate the device. Whew, what a relief — that background check is sure to weed out everyone who might not use the Taser responsibly!

Responsible tasering was exemplified by ABC’s Amanda Congdon,[pictured] who absorbed 50,000 volts to the back, jerking violently and needing support on either side to stay upright, and Geek Factory publicist Peter Shankman, who said he “went down like a rifled hippo” and compared it to getting shot.

But how responsible was the tasering, exactly? In Congdon’s video report on ABC, the disclosure from the Taser representatives consists of describing the process as “send[ing] an electrical signal into your body that makes your muscles contract…nineteen times per second” and feeling like you’ve had “a pretty decent workout.” The rep compared it to hitting one’s “funny bone” but about 20 times more intense. He did not mention the voltage. Shankman mentioned the voltage in his blog post on the subject, so he must have found out somehow…but certainly not from the Taser website, which doesn’t list the voltage anywhere that we could find, unless it’s tucked away in one of the PDF files that address medical concerns, like “Absence of Electocaridiographic Effects Following TASER Device Application in Human Effects” (this one doesn’t mention voltage, though it does mention that none of its 32 volunteers died after tasering).

The voltage is also identified here, in this article about two people who died recently after being tasered. (The cause of death was identified in one case of cardiac arrest and not identified in the other case, though a separate article does describe a third Taser death). No word on what was on the release form.

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