Sunday, January 6, 2008

Move Over Tupperware, It's Taser Time

Okay. Seriously. This is just too weird.

Do you remember those Tupperware parties your mom used to attend when you were a kid? And then she would come home all excited about her new plastic products? Or maybe she even hosted a few?

Well, Move Over Tupperware. Bring Out The Tasers.

Apparently, concerns about the newest form of Russian Roulette doesn't bother this lady any. Dana Shafman, an 'independent entrepreneur', purchases tasers from Taser International at a discounted dealer rate. She's then invites other women into her home and uses their fear of home invasions to sell them Tasers.

The worst nightmare for me is, while I'm sleeping, someone coming in my home," Shafman says, drawing a few solemn nods from the gathered women. Shafman, 34, of Phoenix, says she knows how they feel. She says she used to stash knives under her pillow for protection.

Welcome, she says, to the Taser party.

On the coffee table, Shafman spreads out Taser's C2 "personal protector" weapons that the company is marketing to the public. It doesn't take long before the women are lined up in the hallway, whooping as they take turns blasting at a metallic target.

"C'mon!" she says. "Give it a shot."

That's right, folks. She is selling, totally legally I might add, the same weapons to, presumably, everyone from housewives to computer analysts, as those whose use in the hands of trained police officers has resulted in eighteen deaths in Canada alone, a lot of public outrage and various public enquiries. No training, no warnings, no permits required. But rest easy, the company does require a criminal background check before the code is provided to turn the weapon on. Because they're, like, a responsible corporate citizen, dontchya know.

Company officials say they're now selling Tasers in 43 countries and more than 12,500 police agencies in North America are either using or testing their weapons. With its weapons dominant in law enforcement, Taser is turning its attention back to the civilian market.

It launched the C2 in August. Though it packs the same electric punch, the C2 is smaller than the bulky personal stun guns Taser developed years ago, and its sleek exterior makes it look more like an electric razor than a weapon. They're legal in every U.S. state but New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Washington D.C.

Shafman says many of her women customers love that the C2 is small enough to fit in their purses, and that it comes in a variety of colours. When it comes to choosing weapons, she says, a lot of women want them in pink.

"It's a girl power kind of thing," Shafman says. "You're kind of making a statement: I know I'm a woman. I know I'm the most sought after victim in regards to sexual assault, sexual abuse. So please stay away from me. If in the event you do come after me, I'm going to use my pink Taser to put you on the ground."

Oh yeah, dude. Watch out for me. My taser is pink. And if I accidentally hit someone else with it and they happen to die, well, hey, you gotta admit ... it is a totally cool fashion accessory.


doorkeeper said...

I haven't weighed in on the Taser thing yet because I haven't found anywhere to get the facts on the cases where deaths occurred. Or, what percentage of use caused death. Sorry if I missed it in your earlier posts.

And I'd say from the tone of this one, I don't have to ask how you feel about girls who carry guns to protect themselves.

Still, the "girly" attitude was a little grating ;-)

MMC said...

You could just be mistaken. I don't feel any differently about girls carrying guns than I do boys. And I don't think (as in all honestly I am not 100% sure of this statement) that I have a problem with either sex carrying for protection provided they are properly trained in their use. I assume you feel the same way, that you wouldn't want some 'city slicker' (for example)that has never handled a gun before running around shooting it the first time they get spooked.

And the fact is that tasers can be lethal for some people. If you read the Russian Roulette post I referenced in the post, you should find links to most of the facts.

The girly attitude... not sure what you meant there. Mine or hers? :D

doorkeeper said...

Her girly attitude! Checking back, but I don't recall any circumstances listed which the deaths had been caused by in addition to the taser.....

MMC said...

Sorry, I think you had a typo or something in your last comment?
But try this here

Primary cause was the taser in this one

In this one they couldn't find a cause of death

I came across one more where they couldn't find a cause of death too but I lost the site and can't make myself go back and look for it again.

doorkeeper said...

Well, I finally found the old post, and reread it. Sorry, still leaves a bad taste in my mouth (not the parts you wrote, necessarily, the ones you quoted.)
I still don't see anywhere where there's this huge number of deaths caused (definitively, proven) by Taser alone. Well, in the group most likely to be tazed (and sorry, I feel for the disabled, but they're a tiny fraction--which is not to say they shouldn't be treated well and in accordance with their needs, we agree, I am sure, in full there, and police, etc., need more training.)
But in the group most likely to have this device used against them, there's likely to be other factors putting their lives at risk--drug use, violence, etc.
I am still seeing only evidence of 12 deaths EVER totally attributable to the Taser....and have no information on the circumstances.
I'll follow your links tomorrow, and we can talk this out any time ;-) but what really bothers me is (my perception of?) the attitude in most of the reporting that cops are stupid people who like to use their toys on unsuspecting citizens. I run across this attitude a lot, it's very common--we want to be completely, 100% safe from everything YET we are not willing to pay our police a living wage, or give them the tools they need, we handicap them at every turn, and despise them--as a nation (US) it's very common. We rant and rave and write music about how they should all be killed....we would not like our daughters to marry them--we'd like one living...well, on the NEXT BLOCK, you don't want "those people" too close, you know.........

And it's just another facet of how the military is treated, universally. There's a lot of good people out there who don't feel that way...but they never say so. They let the nasties have all the say.....and silence equals consent.

Hit a hot one, didn't ya? 8-)
more later, but I seriously don't find Tasers a danger. Convince me.

MMC said...

Actually we agree. On a piece of it anyway. It wasn't until I went looking for cases where tasers were the cause of death tonight to show you that I found quite a few where I *thought* they were the cause of death but found out that they weren't. There's a lot of reporting that implies if not outright states shortly after the incident that this guy and this guy and this guy were killed from a taser. When actually they died after being shot by a taser. Which isn't the same thing as saying the taser killed them. It was actually hard finding the ones I cited to you. Of course, that doesn't mean that tasers can't cause death in some susceptible individuals. And that was more original point. That they can be lethal. Personally, I'm not scared of them either. Simply because I doubt that I am one of those people.

No, I don't think most cops are stupid. But I do believe ... actually I know I've read it in this recent rash of taserings, about how much training police in Canada get around using the taser. And its pretty pathetic. It's got nothing to do with being smart or stupid. But I strongly believe they require more training around using their taser. And that the whole legal system, including the cops, does not handle issues of mental illness well.

Hey, I would have thought you would have liked the quarter or so of the Russian Roulette post. ;-)

MMC said...

doorkeeper, I just found this one today.

Although the point of my original post was that I don't think they should be in the hands of ordinary citizens (female or otherwise) unless they have been trained in their use. And just maybe that pink tasers as fashion accssories are just creepy. ;-)

neardem said...

I guess I will only say that business is business is business is business... tupperware style or otherwise.
As for doorkeeper's comment on not finding facts where deaths occurred, it's a bit like those who think vaccines can never be dangerous. Sigh ...
And that the recipient of a taser sting or whatever is always a deserving one is not necessarily so -mistakes have been known to happen. I fear mistakes.