The most commonly cited argument against Taser use is that although the company that produces them, TASER International, claims that Tasers are "non-lethal," suspects have died after being shocked with Tasers.
However, the number of people who die as a result of being shocked by a Taser is extremely small. Between Sept. 1999 and Oct. 2004, tens of thousands of Taser uses by law enforcement personnel in the United States and Canada resulted in the deaths of only 73 suspects.
In the vast majority of these 73 cases, medical examiners and coroners concluded that either the use of drugs, including methamphetamine and PCP, or other injuries sustained earlier in the suspects' confrontations with the police were the primary cause of death. In fact, out of these 73 cases, only eight of the suspects were determined to have been killed as a direct result of being shocked with a Taser.
Additionally, not only is the number of people who die as a result of being Tasered trivially small, but opponents of Tasers often forget that police officers use the Taser as an alternative to firearms or other lethal weapons. Thus, since the alternative for the suspect is certain injury and possible death from a gunshot wound, any lives that the use of Tasers may save is a benefit.
Another common argument against Tasers is that because they are considered "non-lethal," they are subject to a high potential for abuse.
However, the Taser is equipped with a built-in camera and microphone that automatically records each time the Taser is fired. Even though the hand of a corrupt cop could hypothetically cover the camera, the microphone would still capture the sounds of the incident and the date and time of the use would still be recorded. This makes it extremely difficult for law enforcement officials to escape investigation if their Tasers are used questionably. Thus, the Taser comes with a built-in check against police abuse.
Furthermore, there is no reason that the potential for police abuse is specific to Tasers. Many other weapons which the average police officer wields, such as pepper spray, batons and guns that fire rubber bullets or bean-bags, also have high potential for abuse. Nevertheless, all of those weapons are still widely deemed a crucial part of any police officer's arsenal of tools.
The arguments in favor of the deployment of Tasers far outweigh the arguments against it in high-crime cities. Police officers have just as much of a right to go home uninjured from work as anyone else.
Statistics show that the use of Tasers has saved many lives of police officers across the country and, when it comes down to it, the concern for the safety of the police officer ought to outweigh the concern for the safety of the criminal being Tasered.
Additionally, surveys in cities where Tasers have been employed have shown that the general trend is a sizable drop in firearm use by police officers, as well as drops in injuries to both officers and suspects, since the deployment of Tasers.
Thus, because Tasers have been empirically proven to be an effective, non-lethal alternative to firearms that saves the lives of both police officers and criminals, it is obvious that the Taser is a necessary tool for any police officer who commonly finds him or herself in hostile, stand-off situations. http://voice.paly.net/view_feedback.php?
BACKGROUND: A wide variety of pepper sprays is currently available and gaining increasing popularity among both professional guardians and amateurs. Adverse side effects to the anterior segment of the eye are known but underestimated.
HISTORY AND SIGNS: We present two cases with severe corneal and conjunctival damage after accidental self injury by a pepper spray (Jet Protector Guardian Angel), benzyl alcohol 90.1 %, capsaicinoids 2.6 %).
THERAPY AND OUTCOME: Despite immediate and intensive irrigation, a complete epithelial defect, extensive ischemia to the limbus and the conjunctiva and a circular conjunctival chemosis were diagnosed. After slow re-epithelialization in both cases, a neurotrophic superficial keratitis, a reduced corneal sensibility and in one case deep stromal scarring were noted.
CONCLUSIONS: Pepper spray application to the eye might result in severe and permanent damage to the corneo-conjunctival tissue which is not adequately addressed in the current literature. From the present case reports arise the discussion whether the irritative and lipophilic capsacin/benzyl alcohol mixture or the pyrotechnical additives nitrocellulose und sinoxide are responsible for the anterior segment injuries
It must also be pointed that the ACLU of California published a report in the mid 90s (when Pepper Spray was relatively new) that there was one fatality associated with every 625 uses of Pepper Spray. They cited 26 such fatalities.