|Source: Wikimedia Commons|
I say that because once you get your brain into the habit of questioning the things you see, hear, and read you might view things in a very different light. In my daily perusing of the BBC website today I was drawn to the article Company in America Launches Taser 'Bear Stun Gun'. This is the kind of article you could very easily glance over, I mean what could be wrong with giving members of the National Parks Service Tasers to protect themselves? Obviously, park rangers getting mauled by bears is a bad thing.
BUT, my first thought when reading this article was that bears live in the woods, and I wouldn't like it if someone came into my house to take a tour, and then shocked me with a stun gun when I got upset about their presence. So why then is it OK to do it to bears? Tasers used by police have reportedly killed people, so does that make it more or less OK to use it on an animal? While the taser might not be humane due to the acute (sudden onset) pain that it causes, is it a better option than just shooting a bear with a regular gun and killing it? Or would you be doing the bear a favor by killing it (something along the lines of putting it out of its human-induced misery)?
This all then circles back to the question of whether or not people should be in the woods in the first place. Would it be more or less OK to use Tasers on bears if they were used by people who live in towns near forests, who need to occasionally protect their lives or property? In that instance the bear is then in the human habitat, not the other way around so would the violence be justified? Does the bear have an inane right not to be Tased, considering it can't choose to follow or not follow human rules and thus can't know that it has broken them? Should humans assume a guardian role over lesser animals and protect them from the kind of violence we use against each other?
|Human taser. Source: Wikimedia Commons.|
I would like to give the BBC article's writer Dan Cairns a positive review for explaining how the bear taser works in a clear and concise way. He writes, "Like other Tasers, it delivers an electric shock by shooting two electrode darts attached to conductive wires. The subjects motor nerves are immediately affected and the brain is unable to send signals to the muscles until the charge is turned off."
I wanted to draw attention to this description because this type of background knowledge about how the weapon works is really essential to helping readers determine how they feel about the use of the bear taser. You can't be for or against something you don't understand (well, if politics is any indication you can - but I don't recommend it). Even for a short little news article like this, you need to have background, and I like this article because I think it gives you the information you need to really think critically.