The debate over the appropriateness of Taser flying-cattleprod stun weapons took a new turn this week. Those fearing that the crippling electric weapons might be used inappropriately will be alarmed, but it's possible that the jitter-jolt blasters may become more popular in some quarters.
A chilling warning to American men.
The latest development - perhaps a predictable one following Taser International's 2007 decision to market pink, handbag-sized zap pistols to women under the slogan "I will control my own destiny" - has seen a woman in Florida allegedly confront and tase her love-rat former boyfriend, leaving him twitching in the dirt with his skeleton flashing on and off through his skin.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Elena Jevene Walker, 27, has been charged with burglary with assault or battery [surely assault with a battery powered device?] "after allegedly using her hot-pink Taser" on her ex-boyfriend at the weekend.
Walker's former squeeze, Joseph Calloway, is reportedly the father of her child but nowadays lives with another woman. Walker is said to have arrived at Calloway's new home and "began banging on the door". An argument ensued, during which the romantically unfortunate stungunner attempted to electrocute her love rival. However Calloway, evidently not without some gallant instincts, apparently sprang into the line of fire and took the darts meant for his new lady.
According to the Sentinel, Walker "admitted she went to her ex-boyfriend's apartment and argued with the couple but denied using the Taser".
The truth of that should be relatively easy to establish. The Taser C2 - the only model offered by the firm in pink (also leopardskin) - comes with an "anti-felon ID system", which scatters uniquely-coded confetti whenever the weapon is fired. There's an owner background and identity check before the weapon can be activated. If Walker did discharge her zapgun at Calloway's apartment, it should have left solid evidence at the scene. That said, the C2 can also be used as an ordinary contact stunner, in which case it leaves no confetti trail.
Regardless of the facts in this case, the finger of blame may nonetheless very well point at Taser International rather than at Walker herself, for seeking to incite trouble among US womenfolk. The company's marketing seems designed to deliberately stoke the bubbling cauldron of feminine rage which is such a menace to the peace of modern society.
"I will control my own destiny," said Taser's marketing when the C2 was launched. "In today's world, maintaining self confidence involves ... the TASER™ C2 ... Buy Now."
Salesmen have even gone so far as to say things like "TASER products are giving women the power they need to take control".
Taser are playing a dangerous game here, one which they (or the male staff of the company, at any rate) may come to regret. ®