I Was a Taser Guinea Pig

From Danger Room:

First, they attached the metal probes to my hip, and to my sneaker. Then, two men grabbed my forearms, in case I fell over. After a deep breath and a final look, I gave the thumbs-up. That’s when Taser International chairman and co-founder Tom Smith blasted me with his latest stun gun, the X3.

It was brutal – like sticking your finger in a socket over and over and over again. I screamed in pain as he zapped me. I screamed some more after it was over. Then I cursed, and put my fingers to the bridge of my nose. “Kind of like hitting a funny bone,” Smith said. “Like a good workout.” Uh, not exactly. Five hours later, I was still tingling.

By the company’s estimate, Taser-wielding police and troops have blasted more than 750,000 men, women and children. On average, they received a five-second shock. Which means I got off relatively easy: Mine was just a one-second blast, at 19 pulses per second. The X3 can fire up to three sets of probes into a single target, generating 57 pulses per second. The company’s XREP wireless, shotgun-fired projectile can keep shocking for as long as 20 seconds. I guess there must be someone out there tough enough or crazy enough to take on that much punishment.

What I keep wondering is: Who would inflict that kind of pain? And under what circumstances? We all know that our tools change our behavior. Give us cars, and we’ll go new places; give us iPhones, and we’ll check our e-mail way more often. So when we hear stories about grandmothers and kids and handcuffed prisoners and even runaway sheep getting tased, I asked Smith, what does that say about the stun gun’s impact?