A couple decades ago, before digital cameras were available, I worked for a big city newspaper. I can remember covering an event and driving to the newspaper office to file the story and pictures.
It wasn’t a bad area of town, during daylight hours. I actually kept half a pool stick handy in my vehicle. How effective I might have been using it against an assailant, thankfully I never learned.
Flash forward to today and our choices are so much better, and not so dependent on our own power. In fact, our “power” comes from a variety of items loaded with voltage to help us disable an assailant. The most well-known of these items is the Stun Gun; but the “stun gun” technology is available disguised or added to a number of common items such as flashlights, and even, lipstick.
To make a choice, we need to know how it works. We’re familiar with law enforcement personnel’s use of the Taser, which works to short-circuit someone’s neurological function. Stun Gun technology works differently – the voltage causes muscles to twitch, or overwork, causing rapid lactic acid buildup in the muscles to the point that the muscles can’t function. Think of the runner coming around the final turn in the 400, who “ties up” and loses his stride.
A significant difference between the Taser and the Stun Gun is proximity for effectiveness. The Taser doesn’t have to make contact with the person; the stun gun must make contact. And the effectiveness will depend on a number of factors, such as whether it’s being deployed through clothing, the mental state (drug use) of the attacker and the size of the attacker.
As you shop, you’ll see various voltages listed. It takes four million volts to be able to get through clothing. Once the voltage reaches the person, he or she will experience muscle spasms within two seconds, and after three seconds of contact will lose balance and become disoriented. The more voltage, the shorter the time it will take to temporarily disable the person.
A key word is “temporarily.” The stun gun technology is designed to give the victim time to get away. The assailant may recover fairly rapidly. Here are some other factors:
1. Higher voltage will allow you to get through thicker clothing.
2. Choose an item that will be easy for you to find and use.
3. Consider the length of the item; for example, having the stun gun at the end of a long flashlight can help you keep your distance from the attacker.
4. Some devices also come with an alarm, which can be very important since the attacker will only be disabled temporarily.
5. Higher voltages are more powerful and work faster, but one of the most important things to consider is ease of use for you – such as one that is small enough to be on your key chain.