A group of Long Island yoots recently embarked on a minor mugging spree using a taser to intimidate their victims. I’ve never been tased, bro, but can’t imagine it’s a pleasant experience. Unlike ratings-whoring TV reporters during sweeps month, I’m not about to volunteer for electrical stimulation. But this raised a question in my fevered brain. Is being held at taser-point a sufficient threat to respond with deadly force (and not go to jail for many years)? My guess is the standard varies by state. And possibly by local jurisdiction. In the immortal words of master thespian Keanu Reeves, if you’re held at taser-point, what do you do? What do you do?

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19 Responses to Question of the Day: How Do You Handle a BG With a Taser?

  1. Wasn’t that a stun gun? I thought a taser fired darts on a wire. The story uses both terms interchangeably, but I believe that to be incorrect, and it makes a difference.

    A stun gun I would consider to be equivalent to knife. If some one threatens me with it at 10′ or less, shoot.
    With a taser I would react as if it were more like a firearm. The Taser C2™ has a claimed range of 15′. Which means (IMNSHO) inside 25′ feet I would shoot.

    Outside 25′ would I think, be problematic from a legal standpoint. How do you claim someone is attacking you (absent shooting at you) when they are more than 8 yards away? I tend to believe this holds true for someone with a gun as well.

    • Agreed. Enough people have died or suffered serious injury from tasers that I think it can be treated as a knife for DF purposes.

      An additional justification in this case, I think: the question assumes you’re armed. Which means the choice isn’t really between shooting the bad guy or not shooting him, it’s between shooting him and allowing him to take your gun. I really couldn’t live with myself if I knew I’d armed a criminal when it was in my power to stop it.

    • In the picture, that’s a taser. Note the “magazine well” is where the rechargeable battery goes. At the end is either a fired cartridge or an arc with the cartridge removed. The smaller, X26, is what I am more familiar with. It has the light/laser area in front of the trigger guard-roughly guiding the shot, on all models.

  2. The taser hurts! I was shot in the back during training. I arched my back, shouted “God d###it!”, and fell forward. My back muscles didn’t relax until hours later when I took a muscle relaxant. The average person is helpless-and the more muscular you are, if it hits in those muscles, the more pain as the muscles clench. Only mental cases, 2 in my experience, seem to have immunity. Personally, if threatened, I would draw and shoot. The taser barbs that fire can, and have, gone into peoples’ eyes. If the taser cartridge has already been fired, it can still get you from contact with the end of the taser. If it’s been fired on you, and the barbs are still in you-the taser’s trigger can be pulled repeatedly to give you a 5 second ride each time. Just don’t confuse the taser, which fires projectiles attached by wires, to a stun gun, which solely relies on physical contact.

  3. A taser looks a lot like a gun. If someone threatens me with something that looks like a gun I’m going to use every means available to defend myself, up to and including deadly force.

    If, after I shoot, that “gun” turns out to be a taser or a pellet gun or a bar of soap, all I can say is “tough shit.”

  4. I think it’s a given that if you’re threatened with a taser, lethal force is acceptable. A taser will incapacitate, leaving you vulnerable to robbery, physical abuse or worse.

  5. the way I see it this is a felon attempting to disable you . once disable you can no longer defend yourself and are helpless. then they can take your gun and cap you with it . The police respond with deadly force to any attempt to disable and disarm them, as they should. I don’t se why it should be any diffrent for civilians.

  6. A taser is IMO potentially as deadly as a knife, bat or brick, and at longer distances. If I was close enough to get tased, bro, I’d shoot if I had to. Too bad for the BG, bringing a taser to a gunfight.

  7. Interestingly, the mandatory experience of being hit by a taser, for L/E qualification on the taser, is now voluntary. There have been deaths, the reasons are in dispute by both sides of the lawsuits. I see it this way, your heart and brain run off electricity. I’ve had lightning hit me from a chain link fence, it sucked. I’ve been shot with a taser, it sucked. I wouldn’t recommend either experience, I would shoot any one trying to shock me with anything-I don’t know that this shock won’t be the straw that broke the camel’s (Cujo’s) back.

    • Which is why tasers and such are now referred to as “less-lethal force” instead of “non-lethal force”.

  8. i think i would opt for pepper gel instead, hurts and there is less liability for possible permanent damage

  9. From my archives.

    Self Tasering

    Last weekend I saw something at Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Toni. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety….WAY TOO COOL!

    Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-a batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I’d get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

    Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn’t be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries, right?!!! There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

    So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

    All the while I’m looking at this little device measuring about 5″ long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, “no possible way!”

    What happened next is almost beyond description, but I’ll do my best…..

    I’m sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, “don’t do it master,” reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn’t hurt all that bad.. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION @#$%^&*!!!

    I’m pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, “do it again, do it again!”

    Note: If you ever feel compelled to “mug” yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative.

    SON-OF-A-B***H.. that hurt like he**!!! A minute or so later (I can’t be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they up get there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I’m still looking for my testicles. I’m offering a significant reward for their safe return.

    • I found a pair in the park recently. The ones I found might be yours. Were they very, very tiny before the tasering, or did they just shrink after? BTW, if you really want to get the full effect of a taser, try it in a bubblebath. 🙂

  10. A Taser gives off a different message in a situation like an attempted robbery. If someone has a gun has a gun in my face, I’m going to assume that they want to shoot me. If someone has a knife, they mean to stab me with it. A Taser, however, says they mean to disable me. The last thing I want is to have someone take away my ability to fight back in defense of my life or a friend\loved one. In that case, I would view a Taser as a higher threat level than a knife or a gun and respond with lethal force. As my Ex-SF martial arts instructor would say over and over again to us, “If your attacker is willing to shoot or stab you in the middle of a parking lot, what do you think they will do to you when no one is around?”

  11. If I am attacked by someone holding a weapon I will do whatever I can to fight back. A weapon = anything designed to hurt/kill/incapacitate me.

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