Killing Them Safely
Directed by Nick Berardini
In the early 2000s, two brothers found tremendous success when their company began selling a device that has been called 'the biggest revolution in law enforcement since the radio.' But as their company grew, they made decisions that would have lasting impact on both the public and their increasingly skeptical customer base.
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★★★½ review by kaleigh on Letterboxd
Weapons are weapons and cops are cops. Give a cop a weapon and they'll find a way to kill you with it.
★★★½ review by Aaron King on Letterboxd
A doc that seems to raise big questions about it but doesn't point in any real directions other that tasers kill people. It seems like rather than move to regulate them or set up a standard it just wanted to show that it kills people. It is fascinating to think how much these founders of the company are trying to cover up that their tool kills people and it does but it tries to be a safer tool.
★★★½ review by Reed Benson on Letterboxd
In my naivete, I never really realized how dangerous Tasers - pretty much guns with electricity instead of bullets - could be. But send enough volts into a human, and you'll likely kill him or her.
This documentary does a good job of covering all the info on Tasers and the TASER company. Lots of talking heads and documents. Several videos of people being Tasered, some of the harrowing. Lots of sad stories of unnecessary deaths. For that, I think it's worth watching.
Two stories emerge from all the info, but only one is really hammered in: the TASER company cares so much about their bottom line that they're all in denial regarding the dangers of their product. They constantly insist that they've all been Tasered and they didn't die, so the problem of Taser-related deaths must be the fault of the officers using the weapon. They just keep pushing this utopian idea that they've created the perfect non-lethal weapon that actually saves lives. They even have a ticker on their website counting the estimated number of lives they've saved.
I guess that means that, if the cops had guns instead of Tasers in any given situation, someone would've been shot to death instead. Or it means that, if the cops had had guns in certain situations, they wouldn't have been allowed to use them and thus wouldn't have stopped the criminal from killing people, but since they can use Tasers legally at anytime, they were able to stop the bad guys before people were killed.
I think that the TASER company's denial is a problem; really, it's a problem with any big company that has some controversy affect it. But I think the more pressing issue, and the story that this doc doesn't cover nearly enough, is the trigger-happiness of the police officers who use Tasers. In the case of one of the tragic stories covered, three or four officers ought to be able to restrain a single, tired, jet-lagged individual who's brandishing nothing more than a chair without resorting to Tasering him twice. And I can't think of any situation outside of The Omen or Children of the Corn where a Taser would need to be used on a pre-teen child, much less an early teenager. Better training is obviously needed for the officers who use Tasers so that they don't go zapping people left and right because they think it's ultimately harmless.
Unfortunately, the documentary doesn't cover that side of the story much at all. Instead, they tend to paint the officers as innocent victims of the Taser company's deception.
I think a better solution than ditching Tasers is to properly train police officers in how and when to use them. I wish the movie had taken that track instead of the same old corporate villainy story.
★★★★ review by E A on Letterboxd
A very seemingly well ballanced and compelling doc with great depth and examination.
★★★½ review by WreckItDee on Letterboxd
With all the controversy of upheaval of the gun-ownership laws in the States, the equally lethal neutralizer used by police force for ages now and synonymous to cops more than a baton these days, were gaining notoriety through a documented series of mishaps as shown in this well-crafted documentary.
What's captivating about this documentary is the typical oblivious nature of the corporate suits in this case the CEOs of the company, the Swift brothers, constantly falling into the faux pas they had created through the trials.
However we all knew Taser and the company would be too big to fall and all these mortality issue of their products would be treated with a pinch of salt and swept under the rug.
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