A shocking tale, revisited

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This month Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers allowed himself to be “tased” by a Coyotes fan as a charity stunt to benefit the 100 Club of Arizona.

“It hurt,” His Honor remarked of the experience. “It hurt bad.”

Well, I could have told him that.

Readers of Wrangler News with long memories may recall that I was tased, or tazed, or tasered, or whatever the proper term is, by officers of the Chandler Police Department back in 2003. I wish I could boast that this was due to some rowdy behavior on my part, but no, I volunteered to be zapped by the boys (and, of course, girls) in blue.

This was part of a presentation to members of the media designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the weapons, which were then becoming part of the Chandler PD’s repertoire, by then-Sgt. James Halsted.

I wasn’t actually shot by the wire probes that deliver a five-second blast of 50,000 volts, incapacitating the target without inflicting any lasting harm. Instead, I and several other members of the media allowed ourselves to be hooked up to alligator clips and delivered a quarter-second jolt—just a taste.

I vividly remember the first volunteer, who I believe was some ink-stained old vet from The Arizona Republic. When he got his zap, he barked an obscenity and his knees gave out. He then apologized for his language, to which one of the Chandler cops replied “It’s OK, it does have a tendency to induce Tourette’s.”

A lovely young reporter from one of the Spanish-language channels went next. She squealed, kicked out one leg like a Rockette, and then her legs gave out as well.

And then came my turn. They clipped one wire to my collar and another to my pants, counted to three and let me have it.

I can still remember that sickening feeling of the current snaking down the side of my body. My reaction, I regret to say, was less dignified than that of the lady who preceded me but slightly more restrained than the old guy’s shriek. I said, mildly enough, “Oh God,” in a whimpering voice, as I sagged.

Later that day, I was telling a coworker, a young “extreme sports” type, about the experience, and he was appalled at my feeble response.

“Tell me you didn’t say ‘Oh God,’” he said with disgust. Alas, I had to disappoint him.

In the column I wrote at the time, I said that “…afterward, as far as I could tell, I was no worse for the wear.” That was true, but at the time I didn’t mention that, despite assurances to the contrary from Sgt. Halsted, my side hurt for the rest of that day.

If I had to choose between being tased and being shot with a bullet, I’d take the taser every time, of course.

But even so, I say again as I said back then—and as I would have advised Mayor Weiers, if he had asked me—if anyone ever points one of those things at you, think hard before you allow them to pull the trigger.

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