Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tasered Florida Student Now a Web Star But How Do Tasers Work?

Andrew Meyer, the University of Florida student tasered by Police this week in Gainsville, FL has become a web star. U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) was accepting questions from students following his address in an auditorium filled with students and faculty.

Video clips have been shown all around the world and have been seen more than 400,000 times.

The American Civil Liberties Union & Amnesty International have now rose in support of the student who has tested the waters of free speech at a public forum. Sen. Kerry has said that, "..I could have handled the situation without interruption..."

While Tasers are now being added to the arsenal by many Police agencies today, how do tasers work? Are they actually safe?

Tasers delivery a lot of volts and have resulted in deaths when not used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. Tasers are tethered to long insulated wires and can be fired from a weapon with a burst of carbon dioxide.

Once the electrodes hit their target, the taser sends a pulse of 50,000 volts and a few miliamps on its standard setting, the pulse cycles for 5 seconds before shutting off but may continue as long as a Police Officer holds the trigger. The 5 second shock, sends intense signals through an individuals central nervous system, which results in considerable pain and triggers contraction in all the muscles. Temporary paralysis can set in and most victims fall to the ground.

The manufacturer has warned that tasers may cause breathing problems, skin irritation, small puncture wounds and minor burns, the muscle contractions may result in athletic type injuries.

Amnesty International contends that tasers have resulted in more than 150 deaths nationwide since 2001 an individual who is intoxicated or may have a pre-existing heart condition are more at risk than an average adult.

Sen. Kerry said that he never felt threatened as he attempted to quiet the crowd and he asked the Police to permit Mr. Meyer to ask his question.