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Tazer car security

By japhar81 in Op-Ed
Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:01:58 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

Well, a recent post of mine resulted in an interesting side-thread, that I think may be interesting to k5, so I thought I'd post it separately.

Basically, it involves the legality/practicality of a tazer security system.

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comments (24)
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I own a Jeep wrangler. To say it's easy to burglarize is an understatement. The back windows zip out from the outside on a soft top, does it get any easier? I have both a hard top and a soft top, but that doesnt matter.

Recently, I drove to Canada to get a new security system. Essentially, when it detects someone within 1 foot of the car, it sounds the 'step away' warning. If you dont, it electrifies the metal shell of the car, you touch it, you fall down, shaking. Its not fun, I accidentally did it to myself when the battery in the little remote died and it didnt disarm. I couldnt go to work the next day. It's not lethal though.

Now, its been brought up in the other post, that this could open me up to legal liability if someone bumps the car, a kid sits on the hood, etc.

Out of curiosity, I spoke to my lawyer a few moments ago. His gut reactions were this:
  • The 'step away' warning should suffice for fair-warning statutes if they exist in the state I'm in.
  • The $500k of legal insurance I carry is sufficient to cover any of my liabilities, although he doesnt see any.
  • The 'legality guarantee' blurb that I read him from the card that came with the system says to him that liability transfers to the company that made the system.
In short, I guess I'm covered, but what do you all think? Is this a good option to protect property? Going too far? This thing is legal to own and operate (just not install) in the US. Is that wrong? Lets have an intelligent discussion here. I see this as a just way to protect my property (like shooting some dumbass who trespasses to vandalize my home), and the non-lethality of it eradicates any feelings of guilt I may have had otherwise, but I'd be interested to hear other opinions.


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Tazer car security | 67 comments (56 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Screw Tazers... (4.00 / 1) (#1)
by Anonymous 6522 on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:30:29 PM EST

...I want a car with flamethrowers.

Same statues apply (4.50 / 2) (#4)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:41:40 PM EST

Believe it or not, I looked at these. Even I find them to be overkill. If you do want one though, same laws apply, if you can prove it wasnt installed in the US (and your insurance co. OKs it) you can own and operate one.

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Um... no. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by trhurler on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:18:10 PM EST

Seeing as it is illegal for private citizens to actually even possess flamethrowers of any kind in the US, much less to set lethal traps for other people using them, to mount weapons on vehicles intended for road use, or to carry a weapon in a ready to fire state while travelling on public roads, I am absolutely certain that it does not matter where you get it installed, and that no insurance company would even continue to speak to you if you started talking about flamethrowers. You are no longer talking civil liability here; you are talking commission of multiple state and federal felonies with sentences ranging up to 20 years per count, to say nothing of the various misdemeanors and add on charges(probably mostly felonies like armed criminal action) you would face, which could add years or even decades more. Even an FFL won't let you possess a flamethrower without special permits, and nobody who has any intent to do anything except supply the military with them gets such permits.

Were it not probably illegal to place a bet convincing someone to commit a crime, I'd gladly bet you $1000 that you are wrong and I am right on this one, but it doesn't mean much to say that, since nobody in his right mind would take such a bet against me. (The potential consequences obviously would be much worse for you than me, after all; all told, a zealous prosecutor could probably rack up 50-200 years worth of felony charges against you:)

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
hmmm (none / 0) (#47)
by japhar81 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 01:12:45 PM EST

Well, Ive never seen one of these, but my understanding is it's not actually a flamethrower, and, according to the scarce articles I found, it only temporarily blinds people, it's non-lethal (BS, I know fire kills, but thats the assumption I'm going on). The statute basically says, 'non-lethal physically disabling security systems are ok, just dont install them here'

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Tight Parking (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by PhillipW on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:35:13 PM EST

I don't see a problem with this sort of thing, unless you are ever in a parking lot with less than large spaces. The possibility exists that someone with no intent to damage your car could get shocked. This would be a problem since the "Please step away" alarm would likely not give enough warning if someone were to be walking between cars. Other than that, I don't see why there are any laws restricting these.

My thoughts (4.92 / 14) (#3)
by finkployd on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:40:18 PM EST

A little kid who gets too close to your car could very well die from this, as could someone with a pacemaker.

As for the audio warning, that will not work on very little kids, deaf people, or people who don't speak english. Combine that with a weak heart and you have all the makings for a very unfavorable trial complete with the scathing news coverage and negative public opinion. Not to mention the guilt I would personally feel if I installed something like that and it led to innocent death or injury.

Last, if you were to park somewhere illegally and perhaps were to get towed, I imagine the electric shock would ensure that your car be " accidently damaged" while being towed.

I've got nothing against using force to protect yourself or your property, but unless that force is under your control at all times and is only applied under your direct control, it is dangerous.

All it would take is one of the above situations to happen (loveable old deaf guy accidently leans up against your car or cute little baby plays too close to it) and you stand to lose everything.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
Not to mention... (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by trhurler on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:05:00 PM EST

Since the towing guys have every right to touch your car, when they get shocked, they're going to sue, and they're going to win, and you're also going to be prosecuted and put in prison. The more I think about this "security system," the stupider it sounds.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Heh (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by delmoi on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:47:22 PM EST

Intresting, I guess the world moves tward the robocop ideal every day.

Anyway, I personaly wouldn't enable this very often, the risk is to great, as others said, it could kill some classes of people.

"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Well, I'm no lawyer... (5.00 / 6) (#6)
by trhurler on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:48:10 PM EST

and laws vary widely from state to state. Where I live(Missouri) it is illegal to set traps for people, so your system would not only open you up to liability suits, but to criminal prosecution as well. However, that might be totally different fifteen miles to the east of me, to say nothing of anywhere else. I just don't know.

Don't arm that in Missouri. If the authorities find out, you will be arrested, and you will be prosecuted. I only know of two or three cases, and in all of them, judges have handed down the harshest sentence possible. You could always hope the jury was sympathetic, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

The only other problem I can see is this: make damned sure this thing can't kill people with pacemakers or whatever just because they walk past it. You can pretty much rest assured that even if you were cleared of all liability, the costs you incurred in being cleared would be greater than the value of your vehicle. (Actually, you might want to make sure it can't arc to metallic objects too... that could be really bad. If someone doesn't actually touch the vehicle and gets shocked anyway, you're probably going to face assault and battery charges; you have no right to prevent people from walking past your car.)

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Battery (none / 0) (#45)
by b1t r0t on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:47:45 AM EST

If someone doesn't actually touch the vehicle and gets shocked anyway, you're probably going to face assault and battery charges

...so I guess that means he could get charged with battery if someone accidently gets charged by his car's battery?

Perhaps it would help if he put a light bar on the front of the car making a "woohwooh woohwooh" sound?

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.
[ Parent ]

Legality and Liability (5.00 / 3) (#7)
by MrAcheson on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:52:39 PM EST

As I said in your other thread it is legal to shoot someone you catch trespassing in your home or stealing your car in several states most notably Texas. This does not mean you will not be tried and convicted of murder for doing so even though you had these legal rights. This has occurred historically in Texas. You can't get away with shooting an unarmed man no matter what the law says.

Civil liability may transfer, but I wouldn't count on a card to mean much in a criminal court. Ignorance is not a valid legal defense and that is what you are basically pleading. Its not supposed to be lethal also means very little if it turns out to be lethal for some poor unsuspecting fool.

Also read your legal insurance carefully and make sure that they will cover this, because I would not be surprised if they did not. Keep in mind that you will be sued by the theif if you do actually shock one with it. This will take up your valuable time if nothing else.

Lastly, step away warnings mean little if you shock or kill some old granny for doing little more than crossing the street near your car. If I say "I'm going to hit you" and then I hit you, it doesn't decrease my legal liability. I still violated your rights and I will be tried accordingly. Depending upon how intelligible the warning is and the specific situation a "step away" warning may mean nothing. Especially if stepping away would make someone potentially step in front of a moving vehicle as would occur if they are crossing a street near your car.

This kind of thing opens yourself up to a world of civil and criminal liability that you don't need. Is it worth it to protect a car when your time along by the end of the court proceedings could cost enough to buy a new one? No and thats not even including criminal liability.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

Actually (none / 0) (#23)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:34:14 PM EST

This happened three or four years ago in Utah.

Two guys were driving their truck in the mountains and got lost. They went up to a house and knocked on a door to ask directions. The owner told them they were trespassing, and to get the hell off of his land. As they were walking back to their truck he opened fire. One of them was hit in the back, and died. What did the shooter get? "Not Guilty"

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

Texas (none / 0) (#46)
by MrAcheson on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 12:28:26 PM EST

A man was sitting in his living room and hears a loud noise coming from his driveway. He looks out his window to see a street gang stripping his car. He grabs his gun to run them off. A fight ensues where he shoots and kills at least one of the gang members. The rest realize this and run for it. No gun is found on the dead man/men. He is legally allowed to do all this under Texas law. He is still convicted of murder and sentenced to jail time for shooting an "innocent" man.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

[ Parent ]
I see nothing wrong with it (none / 0) (#8)
by quartz on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:53:18 PM EST

...although I wouldn't use one myself. Too annoying having to worry about babies, deaf guys & all that liability shit. If I cared enough about cars to have one that's not 10 years old and to actually have something of value in it, I'd go for one of these, which only stun someone if they actually try to break into the car and touch the club. Hell, I'd even jack it up to kill the motherfucker. Nobody has any business *inside* my vehicle when I'm not around, so if anyone is foolish enough to attempt to break in, they would only get what they deserve.

Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
One problem (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by trhurler on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:01:20 PM EST

While highly uncommon, police have been known to have reasons to break into and otherwise handle cars when owners were not present. If your gizmo(or this guy's gizmo) shocks the cop, do you think you're going to "get away with it?" Here's a hint: fat chance. You will go directly to jail. You will not pass go. You will not collect $200.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Fire (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by Robert S Gormley on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:15:50 AM EST

Another example, I live in a narrow street in bushfire area just east of Melbourne. Common problem leading up to summer is cars parked on the side of winding roads.

More than once, the fire brigade here have dropped leaflets saying to keep cars off the side of the road, particularly on Total Fire Ban days, as they will smash windows and push vehicles off roads to get firetrucks through, and if people don't like that idea, to make a choice - car, or home.

[ Parent ]

Where can I get one of these? (1.66 / 3) (#9)
by czth on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:53:37 PM EST

I'm buying a car soon; I'm already in Canada... where do they sell these systems?

It's been said, must say again: society today is drunk on litigation (especially in the US), and especially on protecting the rights of criminals. Someone trespasses in my back yard, falls in a pit, breaks his leg, he can sue? Whatever!

I think even deadly force should be applicable to those invading my property - be it a car or a house. Modulo the possibility of getting the wrong person as mentioned in other posts, of couse, and that applies less to a house, where anyone that shouldn't be there deserves all they get.

I also like the idea of planting a bomb in my car, which, if not disarmed via a hidden keypad, without warning, embeds the car and anybody in it into a crater in the road after five minutes of driving. Of course, then you lose your car, but most stolen cars never get recovered anyway. And insurance likely wouldn't take kindly to this scheme, but I wasn't planning on telling them anyway. There is the problem of innocent bystanders, true, so hopefully the thief's hightailing it down the open road without another car in sight.

Bomb (none / 0) (#11)
by MrAcheson on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:00:37 PM EST

Yeah that bomb would be a great idea, except for when you get rear-ended and it sympathetically detonates because of the shock. But seriously, you don't have the legal right to do this stuff and if something bad happens its your own damn fault civilly and legally.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

[ Parent ]
Sam's Stereos dude! (none / 0) (#16)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:08:07 PM EST

It's pricey, $1200 canadian, but it's worth it IMO. I love mine. Sam's Stereos in Kincardine, ON did it for me. Took them a month of planning/getting permits though. Call ahead.

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Another thought (none / 0) (#10)
by finkployd on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:54:40 PM EST

I see this as a just way to protect my property (like shooting some dumbass who trespasses to vandalize my home)

This is really a murky. There are some states where you would get life for doing so, some you stand to possibly get away with it.

In general, you can only use lethal force in response to a direct physical threat. In every state that lets you user firearms to protect yourself, you can shoot someone who has entered your house illegally (Maryland requires you retreat from threats, even in your own home and use lethal force only as a last resort).

However, shooting someone who is vandalizing your house from the outside (unless arson is involved) is NOT posing a direct threat to your life or anyone else's and legally you could very well be in serious trouble for opening fire on this person. Personally, I would find it morally wrong as well, but that is just one guy's opinion.

<disclaimer>I'm not a lawyer, law enforcement officer, or licensed dentist</disclaimer>

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
Well, i would think... (none / 0) (#12)
by stfrn on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:01:14 PM EST

That having it zap anyone who touches it is way too severe. maybe if it zaps reallly lightly for the first touch, and then icreased, or only zapped in certin areas, like the zipper, door handles... and of course, covering it with stickers saying "Warning!!! Electrified car!!! Do not touch" couldn't hurt.

"Man, I'm going to bed. I can't even insult people properly tonight." - Imperfect
What would you recomend to someone who doesn't like SPAM?
stickers. (5.00 / 2) (#14)
by Defect on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:26:42 PM EST

You ever use ladders? You know those stickers they have on the second highest step, the one's that say "Caution: Don't step on or above this level, instability may result." And you know wet paint signs on areas where you really need to go? You always briefly touch it to see if it's really wet, don't you?

Yeah, i never paid attention to those either, and if i ever saw a car that told me to not touch it because it was electrified, i'm sure you can guess the first thing i'd do.

I'd bet my friend 50$ he wouldn't touch it, of course.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Value System (5.00 / 6) (#13)
by maveness on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:22:11 PM EST

Well, I hate to be the token bleeding heart here but, if it incapacitated YOU enough for you to lose a day's wages...

I have to admit that it distresses me greatly that folks are dismissing potential pain, injury, and even death (to the most vulnerable) as an inconvenience, when all that's at stake here is a piece of transportation equipment (however tricked-out).

To me the fundamental issue is not the risk/reward equation associated with litigation liability but rather the sheer unneighborliness of turning your car into a weapon that could badly hurt the ignorant, clumsy, and -- yes -- even the low level vandal.

Just how much is a THING really worth, anyway?

Now I'll just take my soggy heart and tip-toe out.

Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.

Amen! (none / 0) (#19)
by Whyaduck on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:44:14 PM EST

This article reminded me of, well, basically the antithesis of this need so many people have to protect their property at the expense of the peace of their neighborhood. Namely, some towns in Italy started a slow cities movement that sounds quite nice. One of the requirements for towns to join? They have to ban car alarms. Yay! I hate the damn things. One reason: I used to live on a street lined with oak trees...in the autumn, when the wind gusted, acorns would fall from the trees and set off car alarms up and down the street. Where I live now, someone has a motorcycle with a proximity alarm that sounds (loudly and startingly, at least at first) whenever I walk by it to get my mail. Once every week or two I'm woken in the middle of the night by a car alarm. Last year a car parked outside my window had an alarm malfunction...it was sounding for hours before the car's battery died...then every few minutes it would make a horrible death rattle of a sound.

Sorry if this doesn't seem on topic...I guess I was just trying to second maveness' point about the costs of security like this. Even without the potential for injury I find the things incredibly intrusive and, in the case of proximity alarms, aggressive. Add in a tazer and you have one hell of an antisocial vehicle there.

Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
and a torso even more so.

[ Parent ]

What you do... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by DavidTC on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:50:09 PM EST

...is slash their tires when the alarm goes off, so whoever's trying to steal their car doesn't get away with it!

Or something like that. ;)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

So, how does this differ from... (none / 0) (#48)
by dasunt on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 01:53:36 PM EST

Say, a hidden switch that has to be pressed to start the car? Or how about a nice transmitter that's needed to be on the person to start the car? If the switch/transmitter actually provided data to some module under the hood, and the hood couldn't be opened except by the switch/transmitter being pressed, then it would be rather hard to start the car by simply hotwiring it.

Another question: Doesn't a good pair of thick gloves bypass your car security completely?

[ Parent ]

Ha! That's nothing. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by Kasreyn on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:55:43 PM EST

Here's a REAL car security device:


And I don't think they even use "step away" warnings in South Africa. ;-P

As to the Jeep: Why'd you waste your money? If you want a truck, get a truck. If you want an SUV, get an SUV.

As to the taser: Try not to park right next to someone else's driver side, or else they might not be able to get back into their car...


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Amazing (5.00 / 6) (#17)
by Phage on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:50:53 PM EST

I am utterly gob-smacked that you are willing to risk the death of someone over a car.

finkployd, quartz and trhurler have all posted excellent replies on why this is a bad idea of a magnitude that staggers me. To clarify how the rest of the world would react, I would like to draw your attention to something. Under Aust. and UK common law there is a principle known as the "Egg Shell Skull Rule". Leeds University sum it quite concisely,

As long as some injury is forseeable, then the defendant will be responsible for the more serious consequences caused as a result of the plaintiff's particular susceptibility.

Essentially, if you take an action that results in someone's death, even where it was not reasonable to foresee that the consequnce of your action would include death, you are liable.

Or course, YMMV in the US. But I really hope not.

I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.

Do you know difference between legal and immoral? (5.00 / 9) (#18)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:28:37 PM EST


Throw that thing away now.

It is just a fscking car....

Your subject text reminds me of a good quote... (4.75 / 4) (#25)
by TheCaptain on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:50:31 PM EST

"The importance of morality is that people behave themselves even if nobody's watching. There are not enough cops and laws to replace personal morality as a means to produce a civilized society. Indeed, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Unfortunately, too many of us see police, laws and the criminal justice system as society's first line of defense."

--Walter Williams

I definitely agree on this. Even if you can technically get away with it legally (which I think you could expect some trouble if things went wrong)...this is a pretty questionable thing. I am seriously very pro self-defense, and even very much for gun ownership, but with something like this I think you lose a degree of control. You can't control whether someone accidentally bumps into your vehicle while trying to get into their own car, or even just walk by. At least with a firearm (assuming you know how to handle and store one properly and safely - which I am also very much in favor of), YOU are in control. With something like this, your literally leaving a dangerous object in public places for any schmuck to hurt themself on.

This thing just isn't a good idea. That's the "nice" version of my opinion on it anyways. :)

[ Parent ]
Lawyers gut reactions (3.66 / 3) (#24)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:37:45 PM EST

Don't trust your lawyers gut reactions. Pay him $500, or whatever, to get his legal opinion in writing. That way, if the worst happens, you can show the legal opinion to the judge and jury and, if that doesn't work, you can sue the lawyer for malpractice.

$500k may be enough to cover damages, but what if a jury awards $1000k?

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.

Doesn't Target Criminals (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 08:06:22 PM EST

You mention:

I see this as a just way to protect my property (like shooting some dumbass who trespasses to vandalize my home)...

The problem with this system is that it is more akin to shooting anyone who trespasses on your property, even if their intention is not to vandalize your home, and even if their trespass is only brief. Now it's certainly not quite that severe, as you're not actually killing them, but you are assaulting someone who might very well be committing no crime at all. Unless you can guarantee that the system will only arm against criminals, I don't see how it could be defensible (for example, if it were to electrify the steering wheel or dashboard or front panel of the CD player or something else inside the car, I'd be more sympathetic).

This is seriously dumb (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by strlen on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 08:43:08 PM EST

Imagine this scenario.. you park your car in a

Ugh, has anyone ever though that if a theif really wants your stereo system, and really spots it out and is aware of the electro-shock setup you have (which if it's seriously powerfull enough to cause serious damage, knocking out someone for a day, will also damage your stereo system in any case) -- he can just wear rubber gloves?

Consider much safer, much more humane, and much cheaper alternatives:

1) Hard top! Many convertibles have that available as an option, and a car as popular as a Wrangler must have that available, or I'll be very surprised.. if it doesn't, I'm sure you'll be able to get a nice custom one for youself. And if that's not available and you need an offroad vehicle, get something that has a solid roof-- like a Ford Bronco, International Scout or one of the older generation Toyota Land Cruisers.

2) Identification key for your stereo system. Blaupunkt head units feature that requires a special key card (unique) to activate the head unit, making it useless when stolen.

3) Theft insurance?

4) Video camera? If you have to park at an unsecured location, you can simply put a cam corder in your window, or get a hidden camera installed inside your car.

5) Common sense? Have a $5,000 stereo system? Hint: tune down the sub woofer, roll up the windows, before you park, and pull your LCD screen inside, and park your car in an area whethe others will see you, and where you will see it as well. Have it parked at a secure parking lot. And if you live in inner-city, college campus, etc.. don't waste your money on a stereo system in the first place.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Fucking Idiot Award Nominee (4.12 / 8) (#28)
by sigwinch on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:32:12 PM EST

Booby traps are illegal in most jurisdictions. Moreover, since any injury that results is an obvious likelihood to a reasonable person, you will be charged with aggravated assault and battery with malice aforethought. If death results, you will be charged with murder. The charges will be almost indefensible, since they were planned out over a course of many days, since you were able to consider the possible consequences at your leisure, and since you could have remedied the danger at any time without legal risk and at trivial expense.

There's property damage too. It isn't advertised, and you'll hardly ever notice, but people routinely carry out $25k-$300k pieces of electronic equipment (scientific, medical, computer, engineering instruments, etc.) through parking lots. Anything that can hurt a person is likely to destroy such equipment, and you will have to pay not only the cost of the equipment but the incidental expenses as well. For a data center or refinery, the incidentals could easily be tens of millions of dollars a day. Not only will the civil settlement extract every penny of the losses, there are likely to be double or treble punitive damages. If it is medical equipment, you can also face murder and assault charges.

On a personal note, I would like to add that if I ever get zapped by a booby trap, I will personally wait for the owner to come out, I will ask them if it was intentional, and if they answer yes I will do my damndest to kill them right on the spot (it is a defense to first-degree murder that the victim unlawfully harmed the defendant), unless I decide to torch their vehicle before they arrive. If the vehicle is parked in front of a house, I will give serious thought to torching the house.

In short, both you and your lawyer are some of the biggest fucking idiots that I have ever had the displeasure of sharing a universe with.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.

what drugs are you on? (1.00 / 2) (#35)
by kgb on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:48:15 AM EST

How does this device differ from an electric fence? Are you seriously saying electrified perimeters are illegal? Do you have *any* idea what you are talking about, or are you just spouting out yer ass?

*That* is the stupidest thing I've heard all month.

Look, I'm relatively new here, and I gotta say, if this kind of thoughtless, clueless, miserable and insulting tone is going to get top ratings, I think I may have stumbled into the wrong place.

[ Parent ]
Electric Fences (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by Cloaked User on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:17:29 AM EST

It differs from an electric fence in a number of very, very important ways:

1) electric fences are generally, visibly marked as such; there is no chance of not hearing the warning, or being unable to stop in time (eg running too fast, having tripped and fallen against the vehicle, etc). You know it's an electric fence long before you're close enough for that to happen

2) electric fences, iirc, give an unpleaseant tingling sensation, not a loss of all motor control

3) electric fences are only found on the owner's property. If you're close enough to touch the fence, you're probably already on their land, and may in fact already be trespassing. This device is intended for use in public places.

4) electric fences, other than those at secure military intallations, are intended to control livestock, not humans

In short, this differs from an electric fence in intent and placement, and the magnitude of the effect it has.

You said that you accidently zapped yourself with this, and were unable to work the next day. How are you going to feel if some little kid gets zapped, and ends up in the hospital or worse? What about crowded car parks? Plenty of times I've had to brush past the car next to mine to leave or enter my car, and I would be really, *really* upset if that resulted in my being zapped by something like this.

I'm sorry, but I don't think that this is justified just to protect a vehicle.



"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]
Check the law, my friend (none / 0) (#56)
by weirdling on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:44:25 PM EST

You are only allowed to use lethal force even in the most liberal municipalities in the US in the case of 'imminent danger of life and limb', not after the fact. I'm pretty certain that should you kill the owner of the car, you will face second degree murder charges yourself. Damaging the piece of equipment will both destroy your chances in tort law and cause you to be liable both civilly and criminally. Your best option is to call police immediately and file a report, then sue. Otherwise, you are just as liable as he is...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Continuing danger (none / 0) (#59)
by sigwinch on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 01:55:44 AM EST

You are only allowed to use lethal force even in the most liberal municipalities in the US in the case of 'imminent danger of life and limb', not after the fact.
Unless the assailant remedies the situation before affirming the willfullness of the assault, it is a continuing danger to both me and the general public, and thus continues to constitute an assault. Remember that an assault is any illegal use of force that should reasonably be expected to cause fear in the average person (in most jurisdictions). Thus the decedant saying that "Yes, my car will shock you" is a legal defense against murder.

If the jeep imbecile continues to use the electrocution device, he should drill at least 5 minutes a day on the legally safe things to say when confronted with a shock. He should also carry a pistol, drill at least 15 minutes a day at the fast draw, and drill at least several hours a week on marksmanship. The minimum pistol should be a .50 caliber w/armor piercing ammo, or a pump-action sawed-off 10 gauge shotgun, as the jeep imbecile will certainly need to liquidate law enforcement officers if he continues to randomly assault innocent people.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Ah, anger... (none / 0) (#64)
by weirdling on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:24:16 PM EST

No jury in its right mind will ever consider the death of the owner of the car a stoppage of any 'continuing threat' the car itself poses. In other words, killing the owner does nothing to reduce the danger the car poses, so it *will* be considered second-degree murder at the very least, and first degree if you have to go buy a weapon to do it.

So, as before, the best advice is to simply call the police, and let them know about it. The police can disable the device if necessary. You *may* disable the device yourself if a reasonable man in his right mind would determine it to be sufficiently great of a threat to not wait for police action.

Anyway, any owner of such a device is a serious idiot. Tort law simply will destroy him the first time someone is injured...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
twit (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by tarsand on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:44:06 PM EST

If some moron's car electrocuted me in such a fashion, lets just say there wouldn't be much of a car left after I was through with it. Anyone stupid enough to arm a vehicle with such a thing deserves to have it destroyed.

Of course, one may recall the 'Blaster' out of South Africa, I don't have a link handy, but it's a car-jacking deterrant, nice bit of a flamethrower... that I can live with.

"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
some problems (none / 0) (#66)
by kellan on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:11:35 AM EST

There were some problems with the South African model. Had a tendency to go off semi-randomnly, or if the car got bumped too hard. Really raised fatality rates. South Africa was flamable enough before that thing was invented.

Now in Japan they sell one with spikes, not quite so bad in a car accident. (Which do happen significantly more often then car-jacking)


[ Parent ]

Your lawyer's a prick (5.00 / 4) (#37)
by streetlawyer on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:11:56 AM EST

Regarding his advice:

1. So he's a lawyer who's giving you "gut feeling" legal advice regarding states other than the one in which he practices law? Is his surname Hutz, by any chance?

2. Your insurance company insures your car, not your car plus any funky device you attach to it. You would certainly have to inform them that there has been a material change to their policy risk if you intend to randomly electrocute passers-by, and you may find that your premium goes up (more likely, that they refuse to ever sell you insurance again).

3. Call me "the sharpest investigative reporter on the Internet", but I'm guessing that this device is not manufactured by Microsoft, Citibank, General Electric or Boeing. The guarantee of being able to pass on your legal liability to a two-bit electronics shop is worth the paper it's printed on, maybe, depending on the cost of the paper. And if you think that the people who have won a multi-million dollar judgement against you will be particularly interested in who you thought was going to pay your bills, expect the unexpected.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Wow! (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by CaptainZapp on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:09:56 AM EST

Provided, such a system really exists, you are in for a surprise, bub. Your car smashed and torched might being the least of your worries and if you're only in for a set of new teeth, call it your second birthday.

Essentially, when it detects someone within 1 foot of the car, it sounds the 'step away' warning.

You see, this is the first problem, dies naemlich, weil ich ausschliesslich Deutsch spreche und ein sprechendes amerikanisches Auto; toll.... I don't believe that your system provides ample warning in 32 languages. Now, if I'm a person with hearing disabilities you're up shit creak, you miserable discriminator of elderly and handicaped citizens, you.

I accidentally did it to myself when the battery in the little remote died and it didnt disarm. I couldnt go to work the next day. It's not lethal though.

That's actually the fun part, good for you! Now, you don't have a pacemaker or a heart condition, right? Otherwise you wouldn't be asking questions in this fine family forum anymore. I also get it you don't suffer from mental problems or possibly epilepsy, right ?, touching your car might have put you into a closed mental institution for month or possibly forever.

Now, its been brought up in the other post, that this could open me up to legal liability if someone bumps the car, a kid sits on the hood, etc.

If that's my kid on the hood, or even me accidentally touching your yuppie-mobile; god help you - provided there is one - you need it. If I wouldn't smash your face to pulp right there and then in justifyable self defense, I would find the sleaziest lawyer on a 100% contingency basis. He can keep it all! Under the sole condition, that he makes your life a living hell, that he's obliged under our agreement to sue until you don't have any more cash left for the bus to the soup kitchen.

In short, I guess I'm covered, but what do you all think?

I think, as others pointed out, that you're an optimist. If somebody dies, your in for murder. At least I hope you are.

Is this a good option to protect property? Going too far?

Personally I think it's a horrid option. You are not protecting the crown jewel in a Mossler safe in your house (even then I think it's a bad option), you are essentially boobie trapping your expensive toy in a public place.

This thing is legal to own and operate (just not install) in the US.

Huh ? You can operate it, but you can't install it ? May I recommend that you put it around your neck and let the device nock some sense into you?

You sir, and the likes of you, who actually put personal property, before public safety, who are actually willing to kill or maim people, for the sake of keeping their toy finger print free, actually make me sick


Bad idea... (4.66 / 3) (#40)
by catseye on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:01:08 AM EST

It's just a bad idea from all angles. Many people have already brought up the fact that it could kill someone with a medical condition, and a non-English speaker, small child or deaf person would never understand/hear the warning. I'm not sure anyone's mentioned animals yet but your system would probably kill a bird or a cat.

I think the biggest reason it's a problem is because most people have no clue that something like that could be found in this country. They're not advertised and you can't buy them. People are not going to take extra care when they hear the warning, because they'll think all that will happen is the lights will start blinking and the alarm will go off. No one would EVER expect to actually be injured by it in this country. People have a reasonable expectation that they will not be injured simply for touching a vehicle in a public place.

In your post you use the argument of protecting your property "like shooting some dumbass who trespasses to vandalize my home". That's completely different. If there is an intruder in your home, you can use lethal force because you are concerned for your safety and that of your family. If a guy is running down the street carrying your TV, you cannot shoot him in the back. If you were in your car and someone tried to carjack it, you'd be perfectly justified in using lethal or non-lethal force to defend YOURSELF, not your car. Insurance covers the car and contents.

Also, I think you need to do some soul searching here... If a "kid sits on the hood" of the car and it kills or severely injures him (given what it did to a grown man), all you seem to be worried about is your legal liability. Doesn't this strike you as even a little bit wrong?

Letter vs spirit of the law (4.66 / 3) (#43)
by bil on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:12:46 AM EST

This thing is legal to own and operate (just not install) in the US. Is that wrong?

This looks very much like a loop hole in the law designed to allow people who have these things (e.g. Canadians) to visit the US without having to get a new car. The fact you crossed the border specifically to get this fitted means you exploited the letter of the law to abuse its spirit. While I have no idea about the details of the US legal system, I think courts here in the UK would regard that in a very dim light (you might still get away with it, but expect a change in the law very soon afterwards).

It seems to me you are saying that a few hours of your time it would take to fill in an insurance claim is worth more then a human life. I find this deeply disturbing to say the least.


Where you stand depends on where you sit...

Great Idea! (1.00 / 1) (#51)
by threaded on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:20:28 PM EST

Could you tell me where to buy such things?

I want to install them in old junkers that I can then abandon on red routes etc.


Unsuspecting traffic warden goes to ticket car.

Wanders round it, hears the "sod off you git" message and has a little smirk.

Goes to place ticket on window.


It'd be so worth it.

And there could be a nice sideline in videos of the action!

/*Good, Quick, Cheap: Choose two!*/
K5 has been trolled (3.83 / 6) (#52)
by princealbertguy on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:36:38 PM EST

What fucking bullshit.

Go ahead, try and find any info on this sort of system online. There is none that pertains to Canada. I am Canadian, so I phoned a bunch of shops (international stereo, a&b sound, visions, future shop) that sell/install vehicle security systems and they all told me the same thing: Not a chance.

What do you think this, Afghanistan?

Examples easily found on the net. (none / 0) (#63)
by DrReagan on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 03:30:47 PM EST

Here's a review of a steering wheel lock version of one of these. Wired also has an article on it. That was just with a couple of minutes on google. Didn't look to see if there were any particular to Canada, or any with the proximity-detection, but this seems enough to show that the concept has been implemented.. the rest is just detail.

[ Parent ]
The auto-taser (quoted in your post) (none / 0) (#67)
by princealbertguy on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:42:46 PM EST

is a completely different class of device. The article clearly states that the intruder must be inside the vehicle, and that the arcs of high voltage/low (but still relativley significant) amperage electricity of this device is designed NOT to strike the intruder.

[ Parent ]
On the tech side.... (4.25 / 4) (#54)
by princealbertguy on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:23:07 PM EST

How did you get the fabric roof of the vehicle to conduct? And I guess you have special paint that is conductive as well?

Bad troll!

Open ended liability (none / 0) (#57)
by weirdling on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:06:55 PM EST

Well, just for your edification, don't bring that thing to Colorado. Booby traps *are* legal here, unbelievably, but they must be monitored by a competent adult, not a minor, otherwise disabled. In other words, you could put a shotgun in your car and attatch a trigger, but you have to have a disabling advice in your hand and monitor the thing continually. Further, booby traps are only usable in a building in which you have the authority to use deadly force.

In Colorado, lethal force may only be used in three instances: first-degree arson, defence of life and limb, and on the order of an officer of the peace.

Defence of one's home is a part of the 'make my day' law, which also authorises booby traps, in which anyone entering a building you are authorised to use deadly force in is considered a de facto threat to life and limb. You are authorised to use deadly force in your personal domicile or personally owned place of work or building in which the owner has authorised you to use deadly force in his place.

Anyway, good luck with that. In the old days, they were called 'Ford coils', and there were quite a few lawsuits. I won't work too hard to inform you of your liability but I certainly would get a second opinion. I would also get that lawyer to indemnify his opinion by either posting a bond of forfeiture or by assuming your liability.

As to those who advocate destroying the vehicle, you do realise that you are not authorised to do so in any municipality that I am aware of. Most US municipalities state that deadly force or destruction of property is only allowed in the case of 'imminent danger of life and limb', and does not apply post facto. So, despite that it constitutes a danger to those who do not know, once you have touched it, you know, so you are not in any imminent danger anymore, so destruction of the property constitutes vandalism and you are liable for that property as well as criminally liable. Killing the owner is worse: you're now liable for 'wrongful death', liability in the millions, and also liable criminally for second degree murder. Your best idea is to call the police immediately and have them make out a report about any injuries you may have sustained, and to immediately seize the device as a danger to life and limb. Then, its particulars such as voltage and wattage and so on can be recorded for the court...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Er..any details? (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by driph on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:16:46 PM EST

I have doubts. I remember seeing/reading about something like this, but if I recall correctly, it was limited to the door handles, or similar.

Uhm, as for the way yours is set up...how exactly does this device work?

Now, most of my automotive mechanical knowledge is based on rebuilding older cars, but... The shell of your vehicle is a ground. You electrify that? How does this not fry the rest of your vehicle's systems?

I've dealt with shorts in my car's wiring that resulted in my shocking myself everytime I went to close the door, those alone are annoying. If I had one of these [imaginary?] systems, I'd be dead by now. And hope to hell when it shocks you, yer not sitting in a crowded parking lot without a bit of space to be knocked back.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

I'm not sure. (none / 0) (#60)
by Phillip Asheo on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 09:52:55 PM EST

Here's what I would do. (I am not from the USA) but where I live, Insurance contracts are entered into in 'utmost good faith'. What this means in practice, is that you are responsible for informing your insurance company of ANYTHING that might affect their liability.

From a simple thing like adding attractive alloy wheels to your car, right upto installing a potentially lethal security system.

So, you write to your Insurance company, tell them exactly what you have done, gone to canada, installed a potentially lethal security device, etc.

Then one of two things happens.

1) They tell you that you are not covered.

2) The tell you that you are covered.

The key point in all this is that it is YOU who are expected to read all the small print, and see if there is any way for your insurance company to wriggle out of its obligation.

Insurance companies employ people called loss adjusters. Their job is to look for any little detail that could get the company off the hook for its liability.

My feeling on this is that your car security system amounts to being what is known in my country as 'criminally negligent', and no insurance company in the world will cover someone who deliberately commits illegal acts.

I am interested to hear what your insurance company's take on this is.

If they know about it, and do not act to inform the local law enforcement, the victim of your alarm system could have a very good case that they had a duty of care to inform the authorities of your potentially lethal car security system.

"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long

not only do they know... (none / 0) (#65)
by japhar81 on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:54:28 AM EST

but my premium was reduced by about 15% as a result of having it.

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Looking to get a sledgehammer through your hood? (none / 0) (#61)
by jforan on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 11:30:53 AM EST

What about the sickly infant who reaches out from her mother's shopping cart. Is it lethal to them?

What about the guy you zap that gets pissed off and instead of stealing your stereo he waits by your car to get in and shoots you in the head cuz you pissed him off?

Just a few thoughts.

I hops to be barley workin'.
hell ya, i got 1 2.. 8^) (none / 0) (#62)
by ovrdos on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 12:37:04 PM EST

what a great system! i dunno if its kept me from bein robbed but it sure is a great source of entertainment. For bout $30 more u can get the a mod to create yer own warning messages. Made 1 message jus say "h-h-hellllp meeeeee!"... iv got some great footage from that..all day entertainment.. i dont think anybody has been seriously hurt either, i always make sure they r breathing b4 i drive away. got a dog peein on my rims too..lol I hear they r comin out with a fatal version soon too. cant wait..
It was a wise man that invented god.
Tazer car security | 67 comments (56 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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