Reporter's Notebook: Getting
By Ryan M. Monk
September 15, 2006 | I don't care if you are a heavyweight,
a Taser gun will bring you down. At the hands of the
Cache County Sheriff's Office this reporter can attest
that getting "Tasered" is both disabling and humiliating.
At a routine Utah State University journalism field
trip to the Cache County Sheriff's Office Friday, a
Taser gun demonstration was held. When Chief Deputy
David L. Bennett jokingly asked for any volunteers,
I stepped forward. My watch, cell phone, and iPod where
removed from my pockets for safety while deputies attached
the stun gun's electrodes to my body.
Being in a room full of deputies can be intimidating.
Being in a room full of deputies giggling at what is
about to happen is flat-out scary. At this point, I
realized I was stupid for volunteering, and this was
going to suck.
Fifty thousand volts of electricity ran through my
6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound frame for two seconds, causing
me to lose control of my body except for my vocal cords
that let me curse loudly. I couldn't ignore the pain,
I couldn't move at the deputy shocking me, all I could
do was scream and hope it would end soon.
And that was the "nice" version.
In a real-life situation a deputy doesn't place electrodes
on you while a friend holds your cell phone. Two barbed
needles are fired at you, piercing the skin, and electricity
flows through you for five seconds.
Despite being painful, being hit with a Taser gun
is very safe, said Chief Deputy Bennett. "No one has
ever died from a stun gun," he said.
"It's the amps that kill you, not the volts," said
Bennett. A stun gun has about as many amps as getting
a static shock from rubbing your shoes on carpet then
touching a door handle.
People who have died while getting Tasered usually
do from excited delirium, a symptom where someone --
usually it's a chronic drug user -- gets excited, like
being in a fight, and the body temperature rises too
high, said Bennett.
People have urinated themselves from getting Tasered,
said Bennett, but this rarely happens and only when
the suspect really has to go.