Friday, September 30, 2011

Tasers Don't Work

By Rob Watson

Several years back I talked myself into buying into a partnership in a gun store. The agreement was we would work together for six months. If we got along, I would buy half the business. Good plan. Didn't work. However a lot of good stories came out of the experience...

It was a small store in an out of the way location. It was fairly unusual to have more than one browser in at a time, (Browser, that is what businesses use to call folks looking for stuff.)with lots of time in between. On this particular day there were half a dozen browsers, myself, and Partner. Enter a tall, handsome, young man with an attractive young woman on his arm.

The couple was striking enough in appearance to draw most eyes to themselves. It was a warm day and both were in shorts. After browsing for a bit the young man asked to see one of our stun gun devices. Partner handed him the less expensive, smaller model. The man took the device, touched his bare leg and pulled the trigger. He seemed not to react to the 50,000 volt charge he had just put through himself.

He handed the device back to Partner saying: "That wasn't much." Now ALL eyes were on the man. Partner was actually insulted that the man had disparaged his self defense device. (For the unfamiliar, when you press the trigger on one of the things, they issue a loud popping sound and produce an impressive blue spark discharge about two inches long between the prongs.) Partner took back the less expensive model and handed over the newer, larger, expensive stun gun, saying: "Here, try this."

Every person in the store was now aware of what was about to happen. This foolish young man was going to take a large self defense stun gun and deliberately shock himself. And, he did.

Handing the device back to Partner, he replied: "Oh, that's better."

Everyone, the young man excepted, was struck completely speechless. For myself, I COULD NOT BELIEVE what I had seen. My amazement and surprise at that moment has been surpassed by no more than three other events in my life. (The Kennedy assassination, the 9/11 attacks, and the death of my very best friend.) I was shocked into near immobility. The young man and his date walked casually from the store.

Partner, with his mouth wide open and the stun gun poised in the position he had received it, having still not spoken, pressed the trigger on the stun gun, no doubt to see if it was actually working. The device produced the loud popping sound and the impressive blue spark, two inches long. There was some discussion about one of us trying the same stunt, but there were no takers.

Intellectual curiosity has always been a passion of mine. In the following case we should just call it curiosity. I could not stand it. I had to know what that shock felt like. I have been holding sparkplug wires for cars and lawn mowers when they discharged. These were truly unpleasant events... just unpleasant, not harmful. After three days, I "screwed my courage to the sticking place" (Shakespear, I think) and shocked myself with the smaller stun gun. (I shall tell you how it felt... shortly.)

It was a revelation. My eyes opened and I felt an epiphany. The first thought to my mind was: "How in the hell can anyone defend themselves with this silly device." I took the larger device and shocked myself again. The kid had it right "Oh, That's better." I called the lady who had sold us the expensive stun gun and told her the story of the young man and his girl. I did not tell her my own story, yet. Her reply was: "I can't help it if some kid wants to show off for his girlfriend!" to which I replied, "Hey, I shocked myself with that damned thing and I want to know how someone can use it to defend themselves!!"

"I teach a self defense class to women." She began. "I tell them to wrap their arms around the assailants arms and their legs around his legs..." Think about this... You're getting this picture, right? "... then I tell them to hold the device on their spine for three to five seconds."  I asked for my money back. She sent it.

No refund on the smaller one. That was OK. I used it to sell several guns and lots of pepper spray. (I later learned that most pepper spray will not stop a determined attack from a human, especially one who has experienced it previously. Varmints such as dogs, but not all bears, will be stopped by pepper spray.) When a customer would come to me and ask for a stun gun for self defense, I took them to my cheap one. I demonstrated the loud popping sound and the bright blue spark, then stuck it to my knee and pulled the trigger again.

I asked the customer if he/she saw me fall down and pass out like you see in the stun gun films. "Well, no." was always the response. Then we went to the gun counter...

If I had thought one of those things would impress the girls, I would have bought one in the 8th grade, when girls first became interesting to me. What does it feel like? Put a bandaid on a hairy part of your body and yank it off in one quick jerk. Leaves a little red mark. Yesser, I would have traded two or three such shocks for a movie date with a young lady of my own choosing.

1 comment:

  1. Glad we didn't buy a taser for self protection. If someone comes at me, I want to make sure I can stop him/her before they reach me. And, by the way, you're a brave soul to use yourself as both the testee and tester!