UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

3-4-24 PDF
March 4, 2024
2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Massachusetts Banning of Self-defense Tasers Us Unreasonable


Thor, Pikachu, and a woman with a taser for self-defense walk into a bar in Massachusetts. The punchline is that the woman trying so hard not to be the victim ends up being just that. Superheroes and cute, fictitious animals harness the power of electricity to fight their foes, overcome evil, and save their friends. For a woman that wants to protect herself in Massachusetts using this power in the form of tasers or stun guns is unfortunately unavailable.

Massachusetts is one of four states in the entire country that has made it illegal to possess tasers, even though police forces are allowed to still carry in those states, except for New Jersey. These are undeniably weapons that should be monitored just like any other. However, it is certainly preferable to guns. Why remove a non-lethal option to force society’s hand to use a more lethal one?

This movement in Massachusetts seems to counter the nearly fictitious notion of gun control. Despite the numerous shootings that populate the media, there seems to be no progress in controlling guns in this society if there isn’t even encouragement to not use guns for self-defense.

On more than just a social scale, no individual should be forced to use a gun if they have other options available. How is it that tasers are outlawed before automatic guns? It seems possible that it could be a diversionary tactic to prove that there is at least some attempt to facilitate the safety of the people in Massachusetts by addressing some entity, in this case, tasers. If it isn’t tasers, it’s video games that are attacked and blamed because it is a far more simple fix than actually addressing gun control.

In many cases a taser doesn’t even need to be used, merely presented in order to diffuse a potentially fatal situation. The best kind of weapon is one that doesn’t have to be fired at all.

The taser is a weapon that is sought by people who want to protect themselves from robbery and unwanted sexual encounters, but don’t necessarily want to become killers. This time last year there was a woman on trial in Massachusetts who was found to be in possession of a taser which she had for the purpose of defending herself from her stalker. Her situation involved her exercising her right to bear arms and defend herself– the very principles that make gun control so difficult and why tasers become a diversion.

A taser might cause a temporary amount of pain that might cause some to question whether it should be used. The consequences might not be certain with a taser, however, with a gun the results are far more certain. If it subsequently becomes a question of whether to use mace as opposed to tasers as being more humane, we already have an answer. During a poll of approximately 100 UMass Boston students, 95% determined that they would rather get tasered than pepper sprayed. One student whom had experienced both sensations opined educatedly that being tasered would be preferred. Some students expressed the concern that pepper spray would just not be as effective as a taser.

If nothing else these items of self-defense should provide peace of mind and it seems that the available options are not even capable of that. If the authorities truly desired to create a safe society they would address the real issues: guns.

In order to feel safe it seems imperative to offer non-lethal options– people should be able to not only feel safe from outside threats, but safe from themselves and their means of defending themselves as well.