Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Tazing


We're going to Kosovo to help ensure a "Safe and Secure Environment" for that neck of the woods. This means that my Field Artillery unit is not taking any of its big guns (literally), so no "pull string, go boom" this time around.

Instead, the line units will pretty much be functioning as Military Police -- without being able to wear the MP brassard on their uniform (except for the MP Company that's coming from a territory off the continental United States). Therefore, instead of blowing things up, my Soldiers will be doing their best to keep things (and people!) quiet.

To that end, during this training, they're learning non-lethal crowd control methods.

One aspect of the training this week was learning how to deploy a Tazer. Since the Tazer is a weapon -- supposedly non-lethal, but a weapon none the less -- I'm not allowed (nor do I want) to carry one. I'll never be in a circumstance where I deploy one, as a consequence, but I went to the training anyway.

Part of the training involved the instructors tazing the students.

This did not fill me with the kind of anticipation a small child feels on Christmas morning as he or she sees the tree with the presents underneath for the first time.

About half the Headquarters Company -- including the Battalion Commander and Command Sergeant Major -- were tazed. Those two were in the first group of four to get hit with the current.

Did you know that the initial jolt from the tazer is 50,000 Volts?

That's right, 50,000.

There are 15 pulses of electricity per second for either three or five seconds. After the initial 50,000 V charge, the subsequent shocks are less than 10% of that, I think, but it hardly makes a difference, to my mind, anyway.

Four Soldiers with their ACU (uniform) shirt removed (just in their undershirts), and sans any electronic devices or metal objects were instructed to sit on the floor, on the wrestling mats which occupied about a third of the room. Legs were interlocked, and then arms were interlocked, and subjects were instructed to clasp their hands into a fist, and then to relax.

Yeah. Right. Relax.

The instructor would say, "Tazer, tazer, tazer" and then hit them with the juice.

All four fell back onto the mats, and writhed. Some shouted. It seemed to go on for a lot longer than three seconds. Many cameras recorded the experience for posterity. Or at least, YouTube.

The second group of four then readied themselves. Again the instructor said he'd say "Tazer, tazer, tazer" before shocking them. Of course, he'd barely gotten the first word out of his mouth when they were hit.

Again there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Finally, PFC M and I interlocked legs, then arms, and when the current started I thought my left leg (the one to which the electrode was attached) was going to be torn unceremoniously from my body.

I believe the video has been posted to YouTube.

One of my "friends" said to me afterward, "Sir. It was great! You screamed like a schoolgirl."

Sigh.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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1 comment:

MaryShields said...

The Man from Gallilee was a non-combatant, also, I've been told. Thank you for being willing to walk the walk with your soldiers.

 
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