Since the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown CT, lawmakers and politicians in certain states have been considering equipping school teachers with deadly force in order to help prevent future tragedies. There is an ongoing debate however, on whether or not we should be increasing gun use or placing stricter controls on what types of firearms should be allowed and who should be able to acquire them. A better alternative might be, however, to train our teachers in the use of non-lethal weaponry such as TASER devices and pepper sprays. These are products that could serve the intended effect of stopping a would-be gunman while minimizing or eliminating the potential dangers that guns entail in the hands of teachers. Tasers for teachers, rather than guns, may be the solution we are looking for.
As we all know, firearms have deadly effects, especially in untrained hands. Innocent people can be killed, the weapon can be taken and used against you, there is a great deal of emotional and psychological trauma involved, and so much more. Additionally, most people are not mentally or physically trained to handle such a device. Even police officers and military personnel sometimes have a difficult time properly using their service weapons, despite all of the training that they go through. For practical uses, a gun just is not a good choice for self-defense, particularly in a school environment. This is where non-lethal alternatives come in to play.
The Taser is a non-lethal self-defense product designed and manufactured by TASER International. It is an electroshock weapon, much like the stun gun, that interferes with the electrical signals in the human body. The electric current from the device makes contact with the body, disrupting voluntary muscle movement and inducing temporary paralysis. Unlike the stun gun however, the Taser is not a direct contact weapon; it shoots out two barbed prongs from a distance and hits the intended target. Regular civilian models (like the Taser C2) can fire up to 15 feet, while police and military models can fire up to 35 feet depending on the cartridge used. The latest edition, the X3 Home Defender (HD) —a civilian model—can fire up to 25 feet away from the target. There is a length of time in which a target is ‘tazed.’ Police models are usually 10 seconds, while consumer models subdue the attacker for up to 30 seconds.
Pepper spray is an excellent backup for the Taser. Because the time someone is incapacitated is limited, pepper spray works as a great follow-up for keeping an assailing gunman down. Because it is an inflammatory agent, it works by causing the eyes to clamp shut (leading to temporary blindness) and restricting breathing to mere life support. The effects normally last from 45 minutes on up to an hour, making it a great choice for bringing a criminal to their knees. An even greater advantage is that some models have a range between 15 to 20 feet, allowing for more flexibility and greater safety.
In conclusion, a TASER is probably a far better choice, not only within a school but in general. It is highly recommended to equip Tasers for teachers rather than calling for legislation to implement the more deadly and costly lethal counterpart. As with any weapon, proper usage and training is necessary. Teachers should be required to take monthly or annual training courses in order to be adequately prepared, should the need to use the Taser arise. The same goes for pepper spray, though it is far easier to handle. Introducing this kind of policy could very well prevent the many tragedies this nation has gone through from occurring in the future. It will take vigilance, courage and transparency to see it through.
You can purchase TASERs from the Taser International website. Though we sell them, we currently have no product listings posted. You can find pepper spray here.