Saturday, July 26, 2008

Other than the fact that people are dying, Taser might of been a good company for me to invest in.

I thought I would electronically visit Taser International this weekend.

Their site here is like a visit to the set of RoboCop.

The site is filled with lots of well produced videos and presentations that are virtually designed to scare the bejesus out of you, or at least they do me.

The company had a great year in 2007 with a sales hitting $100 million, an increase of $33 million over 2006. Profits dramatically increased to over $20 million from a previous year’s loss (some kind of write off occurred that year).

Although sales are slightly higher for the first six months of this year, they had to take a $5.2 million litigation charge which has moved them to a negative on the profit line.
TASER recorded a $5.2 million charge in the second quarter of 2008 for an adverse jury verdict received...
The Company is pursuing all appropriate legal channels including filing an appeal in this matter at the appropriate time once a judgment is entered.
However the company seems to opening new markets, expanding their marketing focus beyond the basic Law Enforcement that we are used to.

They have increased their consumer distribution channels pushing the new citizen Taser® C2 that they announced at their last annual shareholders meeting.

The purse sized Taser® 2 comes in designer colors and starts at $299 up to $379 for the Leopard skin model. You can buy the C2 on line or through national retail outlets, such as the just announced Sport Authority chain.
The main marketing message here seems to be fear. Society is now more dangerous and you have protect yourself. The main target market is women.

For law enforcement they are marketing the “protection of truth”, which is basically improving video recording capabilities and adding it to the laser device, so you can both discharge the weapon and record the full incident.

It’s seems like a necessary function with the increasing number of fatalities and I assume increasing number of possible law suits.

So far in Canada, alone twenty-two people have died, after being hit by a Taser, which can shoot 50,000 volts into a person with such force and heat that it can blister skin.

The most recent case, this week, being the 17 year old in Manitoba

Yesterday, Saskatchewan’s Police Commission announced that the provinces regular municipal police forces will not be issued Tasers, because of safety concerns.
"We will await the findings and recommendations of the various inquiries and studies taking place now before moving further on the issue."
A spokesman for Amnesty International, called the Saskatchewan Police Commission decision a positive step forward.
"It's a small victory in the sense that it doesn't go as far as we would like to see a complete moratorium on the use of Tasers until all the facts are on the table," he said.
"Having said that, a small victory is better than no victory whatsoever. The less proliferation of these Tasers, the better," Buxton said from Toronto.
Loosing an order in Saskatchewan will not affect Taser.

Their PR department will continue to be busy posting positive stories about the deterrent use of Tasers on their web site and their marketing department will continue expanding the consumer market.

Hey fear sells.

Meanwhile visit their site. It seems like a trip to a scary future.

And as it says on their web store “Tell a friend about this product” and that is what I am trying to do.


References: CNEWS here, Macleans here, Taser 2007 Annual Report here.



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