The TASER gun goes on trial, starting tomorrow, on the North Shore - where I live. I'm annoyed by TV3's coverage of this. They started off by saying opposition to the TASER has grown in the last few days. Then they immediately cut to a babbling member of the Mongrel Mob, talking about how he wouldn't like to be TASER'd. Fair and balanced.

I'm especially annoyed by their description of what a TASER is. They said it has an "optimal firing range of two to five metres". I think that's misleading. The TASER is effective up to ten metres - sure, that's not the 'optimal' range, but, nevertheless, five metres is just an arbitrary distance they're pulling out of their arses to make the TASER sound less like a gun that fires two barbed metal prods into your flesh before sending 50,000 volts down thirty foot wires.

And that's really what this is all about. Guns. I'm sick of hearing New Zealand Police say the TASER is a 'safe alternative' without mentioning what the TASER is an alternative to.

'TASER' is a brand name; the generic name is 'electroshock gun'. In October last year, Taser International reneged their claim that their guns are non-lethal. Now, all they say is that their guns are "less-lethal" than old-fashioned gunpower-and-lead guns. They no longer say their guns "have no lasting effects" either. Why? Because the simple fact is that in the five years leading up to 2005, 73 people died from electroshock guns. It's now 197 people, in the last six years, in the US and Canada. The most recent death was of a prisoner on August 17.

And now these guns are in my neighbourhood. Why don't I feel any safer?

Edit: This Youtube clip is of United States police officers murdering a restrained man with TASER guns. Don't watch it if don't know whether you should - it's very, very disturbing. They hold him down while strapping him into a restraint chair. They tell him to stop resisting. "Don't kill me. Don't kill me." Out comes the TASER. Six minutes later he's dead.