A Stun to Taser

Taser International, the maker of stun guns, has suffered a recent decline in revenue in the first quarter despite the higher predictions of Wall Street. The reduction in revenue is believed to be a direct result of negative press the company has received for the past several months. Although the company claims their electronic weapons are safe and effective, the media has reported many incidences where this was questioned. Taser's demand for their product has been adversely affected by this news, and as a result, their sales are dropping. This situation would be very tough for managers since it would be very difficult to regain the confidence of millions and increase sales once again.


scott said...

Police agencies are the biggest consumbers of Tasers, but with all of the bad press it has become more and more difficult for policemen to get them. There are a lot of politics in policing and a lot of red tape. Bad press can really change police demand for products.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on BOB's post for a poorly formatted link.

This is a tough one because you don't really know how to evaluate what the media is claiming. Clearly you want to be sympathetic to someone who was harmed by a Taser. But ...

Suppose we divided up the people who got shot with a Taser into a group who deserved it, and one who didn't (use whatever reasonable method you like). Then ask them if they would have rather been shot, or beaten with a billy club, or whatever.

Of course, everyone would say they don't want any of those - which I'm sure is true - but which is completely irrelevent to whether or not Taser's are a bad thing.

The relevent question is: are the responses to that question different between the two groups? If they aren't, then what you really have is a media criticism of the judgement of the cops at the scene about who to zap, rather than one about the choice of weapon. It seems to me that the media isn't very interested in finding out that answer.