Murphy's Law: Non-Lethal Headlines


December 16, 2008: Once more, the Taser (a gun like device that fires two small barbs into an individual, and then zaps the victim with a non-lethal jolt of electricity, which causes the victim to collapse and fall) is under attack because it kills people. This time, the hubbub is in Canada.

All this is a common problem with "non-lethal weapons" (as things like Taser are called), which are not one hundred percent non-lethal. But people love to call them non-lethal, because such devices are intended to deal with violent individuals without killing them. A classic example of how this works is the Taser, which has been popular with police, who can more easily subdue violent, and often armed, individuals. Before Taser, the cops had a choice between dangerous (for everyone) hand-to-hand combat, or just firing their weapons and killing the guy.

While the Taser has been a great success, for every thousand or so times you use it, the victim will die (either from a fall, another medical condition, use of drugs or whatever). This is unacceptable to those who take the term "non-lethal weapon" literally. Thus the periodic media madness. Naturally, the manufacturers of these devices want zero deaths, and the users want a device that will bring down the target every time, at a price (for the device)  they can afford to pay. There's no way of satisfying all these demands, but it makes great press, insisting that someone should make it so.


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close