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TASERS IN THE SKIES

taser_side_mirror_small.JPGBullets have a nasty habit of depressurizing an airplane's cabin. Firing bullets in an enclosed space is rarely a good idea. So I guess it was only a matter of time before someone decided to arm airline security guards with tasers instead.Tasers are the stun guns that incapacitate their targets with 50,000-volt shocks, turning muscles into jelly. They've been used 45,000 times by police in the last five years. And although the weapons have been fingered in dozens of deaths, there's been no conclusive proof that the tasers were to blame.In a press release Monday, stun gun maker Taser International announced that, for the first time, "the Transportation Security Administration of the United States Department of Homeland Security has approved a major international airline's application for the onboard use of TASER brand conducted energy weapons by specially trained personnel on flights to/from the United States."THERE'S MORE: Meanwhile, "Oakland police, facing lawsuits over tactics used last year against anti-war demonstrators, have agreed to stop using wooden or rubber bullets, Taser stun guns, pepper spray and motorcycles to break up crowds," says WTVU (via the Sunshine Project).AND MORE: Wrong, wrong, wrong. "Despite the widespread belief advanced by Hollywood movies [and certain websites] that gunfire erupting inside a plane could depressurize the cabin and doom all aboard," the Chicago Tribune reported in 2002, "officials said it's a myth and that the air marshals use standard law-enforcement ammunition. 'So long as you don't strike any hydraulic lines or hit the pilots, you're OK,' air marshal instructor Steven Mosley said."(Thanks to Defense Tech reader JF for the catch.)AND MORE: Over in the new Defense Tech forums, I've learned that I may be right, after all."You are correct about the 'Explosive Decompression' as a result of a round exiting an aircraft. The great show Myth Busters, on Discovery, actually did an experiment with a old fuselage," reader Mike B notes. "They over pressurized fuselage to create the pressure differential that an aircraft would experience at altitude. After remotly firing many rounds through the windows, no 'Explosive Decompression.'"

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