A Taser to Match Your Outfit A new sleek line of Taser stun guns is available to the public come April. The new devices come in a variety of colors, are smaller than their predecessors, and, of course, deliver 50,000 watts per shock.

A Taser to Match Your Outfit

A Taser to Match Your Outfit

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6868227/6868228" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A new sleek line of Taser stun guns is available to the public come April. The new devices come in a variety of colors, are smaller than their predecessors, and, of course, deliver 50,000 watts per shock.


Last week, our tech contributor Mario Armstrong brought you coverage from the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, or CES. Now one gadget that made the news was a sleek electronic weapon called the Taser. It's going to be marketed to consumers now. So the new model shoots 50,000 volts of electricity to the assailant or whoever else is on the wrong end of a 14-foot cord. The civilian Taser won't be released until April, but Taser International is already taking preorders.

Commentator Jimmy Izrael calls the little Taser a dream come true, sort of.

Mr. JIMMY IZRAEL: This is going to get me in a lot of trouble. But I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for the Taser to make its way to the consumer market. Probably since the 1970s when a (unintelligible) to death leapt a foot and a half off the ground and lost control of his bladder on national TV during a demonstration of this new, non-lethal weapon.

Me and the scratchy housecat, Bobby, on the outs at the time, looked on in amazement. I turned to him with a maniacal smile and I said, you better watch your step.

While it's been a widely available since the 1990s, a small TV-remote size version is set to hit the market soon and the anticipation is killing me. It's true; people have been Tasered to death by police who are prone to blast them numerous times. See how long it takes before they lose control of their bowels. But why should cops have all the fun?

Now, for sure, there are those among us reticent to live in a world where people can randomly zap you for no reason at all. Like you live on "Battle Star Galactica" or in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Yeah, consumer Tasers could be a real problem, you say. But I submit to you, you have not explored all the options. Consumer-graded Tasers could make this world a better place to live.

Think about what it could mean for customer service. What if you could Tase rude taxi drivers? Now, when the rude barista gives you too much lip and not enough cream, you can sock it to him. And what about regulating family life? Ladies, no more nagging hubby to get the garbage out. For husbands, Tasers could be a gentle deterrent to drop-bys from the in-laws. They could become door prizes at wedding receptions, barbecues, family reunions, anywhere else drunk relations stand up on tables and tell tales out of school.

Tasers could be fun for mommy, daddy and baby. But the revolution in some ways has already begun. Police have already begun Tasering unruly kids. Now it's only a matter of time before it becomes the preferred behavior gesture in intercity schools across America.

Maybe Steve Jobs will come out with an iZap cell phone. Cell phone companies will have an instant zapping option in the service package. Won't those bill collectors be surprised.

Now given the dearth of quality television, a reality show where contestants could randomly Taser people for cash and prizes doesn't sound that farfetched. Or how about a match up where fans can meet and Tase reality TV stars like Omarosa, Hulk Hogan, and Flavor Flav.

Yeah, boy. I could get down with that. You know, it'll become the new joy buzzer. Fans will Taser stars. Employers will Taser their bosses. And kids will Taser their parents.

Now I'm on record as decidedly anti-gun. But I'm not ready to come out against Tasers until we've explored all the ways they can enrich our lives.

(Soundbite of music)

CHIDEYA: Jimmy Izrael is a columnist for the Web site AOL Black Voices.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.