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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The Taser C2: A shocking new accessory

    Chelsea Jo SimpsonColumnist
    Chelsea Jo Simpson
    Columnist

    It’s Friday night, and you’re getting ready to go out. Inside your purse: a cell phone, lip gloss and a matching pink Taser.

    Taser International Inc. released its newest model this summer: the Taser C2, a lightweight, smaller and more affordable version of the previous self-defense Taser. But the biggest change is that it is available in four “”designer colors””: titanium silver, electric blue, black pearl (for all the pirates of the world) and metallic pink. If only they could release a chic brown, I could have a Taser for every outfit.

    A Taser, pepper spray or any other self-defense device isn’t about having some cute little thing to show off at a party. It is a means of self-defense, meant to provide time to get away. I’m not arguing that people shouldn’t carry self-defense devices. But it is alarming that we are not only carrying them – we are trying to disguise them. And in doing so, we lessen the responsibility they hold. Underestimating a weapon only makes it more dangerous.

    The Taser isn’t the first pink weapon. There are hot pink stun guns, rifles with pink grips (that look more like squirt guns) and pink casing for pepper spray. And who can blame the companies that manufacture these pink products? Pink appeals to the consumer. But does a weapon really have to be pink for a woman to want to protect herself?

    Sure, in pink it’s cuter, trendier and less intimidating. But what good is that? It is still a weapon.

    It’s less threatening in pink, mainly because it looks more like a toy. But a weapon is a weapon, pink, orange, black or polka-dotted. We shouldn’t take it less seriously in pink: it’s just as effective.

    In these hip “”designer colors,”” the point is for it to be seen. The Taser is a self-defense weapon – not a high-voltage accessory. Pretty colors and trendy shapes trivialize weapons. A squirt gun should be pink. A weapon should not.

    Beyond the shade, the Taser C2 doesn’t have the design of its predecessors. It’s shaped like a TV remote control. It doesn’t look like a gun, or a weapon, making it less intimidating. And rather than pull a trigger, the owner simply pushes a button.

    A self-defense weapon should be user-friendly but it shouldn’t resemble a toy more than a weapon. And to top off the toy/fashion accessory image, pink and yellow confetti shoots out of the Taser when it is deployed.

    I like to think that the confetti is an extra feature equipped in the Taser to make the owner feel special after zapping an attacker. But the little pieces of paper are actually ID tags that provide information for law enforcement to trace the Taser if it is used in a crime. Lesson: If you’re going to commit a crime, bring a Dust Buster.

    “”Tasers are not on allowed on campus, except by law enforcement,”” says Andrew Valenzuela, a University of Arizona Police Department officer. “”Pepper spray is allowed.””

    My biggest concern in terms of safety is walking around campus. I don’t stroll through the streets of any other part of Tucson. Students need something they can carry on campus.

    “”Police officers are trained in weapon retention, how to keep the gun in my hand in a fight,”” Valenzuela said. “”Most students don’t have any clue as to what it would take to defend themselves in that kind of situation.””

    Carrying a weapon is dangerous enough. Carrying a weapon disguised as a remote control fashion statement is scary. Women have to protect themselves. If it has to be with a pink, rhinestone-encrusted Taser, then so be it. But learn to use it, beyond the training DVD. There is a lot of liability in carrying any weapon, including for drunken friends looking for entertainment.

    If you choose to carry a Taser, that’s fine, but don’t call it something else. Because no matter the color, shape or trendiness level, it needs to be used responsibly. It may not look like a Taser or feel like a Taser – but it’s still a weapon.

    Chelsea Jo Simpson is a junior majoring in journalism and Spanish. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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