Design and Violence


Taser International

Less lethal weapon shocks to incapacitate

The Taser is “the most popular less than lethal weapon on the planet” according to TV channel Discovery World. Brightly-coloured to signify its difference to a standard firearm, it fires two small dart-like electrodes connected by wires to the main unit, which deliver high-voltage shocks to incapacitate a person. Controversial in part because they still do cause fatalities, Tasers are part of a family of ‘less lethal’ weapons employed by the police and private security. Less lethal weapons are still dangerous and their use can lead to deaths in situations where a traditional firearm would not necessarily have been used. While causing less harm may seem like wholly a good thing, these types of weapons have the potential to institute a more insidious form of social control, by reducing the public outrage and resistance provoked by the use of weapons that more easily maim and kill.