January 17, 2008
24 Hours Toronto
The makers of the Taser want Canadians to be able to buy the personal defence version of the popular stun gun, including the new female-friendly pink, red and leopard-print models announced this week.
But even this media-savvy and marketing-focused corporation knows the public image of their zapper has been tainted in Canada, due to high-profile Taser-related deaths including that of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died Oct. 14 after RCMP officers stunned him with a Taser at Vancouver International Airport.
Right now, trying to sell the Canadian government on lifting personal ownership restrictions against Tasers would be folly, say company execs.
"We have a hurdle right now, and that's to re-educate the Canadian public on Tasers," said Stephen Tuttle, Taser International Inc.'s vice-president of communications. "I think it would be foolhardy for us to go in there right now and say, 'Hey! Citizens are up next!'
"There's too much controversy right now. There's a healthy debate that's got to take place," Tuttle said. "When that takes place, we'll look at that."
At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Arizona-based company held a press conference to announce a new version of their Taser C2, now available in pink, red and a leopard-print design under the slogan "fashion with a bite."
The devices can be legally owned and carried by citizens in 43 U.S. states and some European countries.
Taser will also begin selling a holster for the Taser C2 that includes a built-in MP3 player, so owners can rock out to AC/DC before zapping muggers with 50,000 volts of current.
The company says women make up the majority of Taser owners, whether they buy the device for their own protection or have one purchased for them by concerned loved ones.
While the device has several outspoken opponents, including Amnesty International, the company maintains Tasers don't kill.
"Not one medical examiner to date has ever listed the Taser as a contributing factor or cause of death in Canada, and all this controversy has been spawned because (in recent fatalities) medical examiners haven't ruled yet," said Tuttle.
Tuttle said Taser representatives will be in Toronto today (THU) to meet with police and address questions and concerns about Taser use by cops, who are rethinking their stance on the devices.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Thursday, January 17, 2008
January 17, 2008