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How did the TASER get its name?

What does a TASER have to do with early 20th century juvenile fiction? The name itself, for a start.

Inventor and erstwhile arms dealer Jack Cover came up with a new, more humane way for police and others to subdue assailants and offenders. The TASER was meant to be a kinder, gentler weapon, capable of incapacitating without doing any permanent damage. Much like Joseph-Ignace Guillotin before him, the invention caught on, often to ill effect.

While searching for a name for his device, he knew he wanted something futuristic sounding, with hard, sharp sounds. No soft H’s or C’s here, no he wanted R’s and sharp S’s and the sharpest letter of them all: T.

Enter a childhood favorite of Cover’s: the Tom Swift series of juvenile adventure novels.

In volume 10, “Daring Adventures in Elephant Land,” Tom and friends venture to darkest Africa in search of big game. As in most Tom Swift adventures, the hero is resourceful and often invents things. On this particular trip, he invented an airship and a weapon. The weapon was a rifle that shoot bolts of electricity powerful enough to kill an elephant, not to mention scores of native Africans, but I digress…

Cover remembered this remarkable weapon. Thomas Swift’s Electric Rifle, an alternate title for the book, forms the acronym TASER, with a middle initial added for aesthetic considerations.

Thus was born Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle, The TASER for short.

The name isn’t cute and cuddly, and neither is the experience of being shot by one. If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a TASER, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. In all likelihood, if the police Taser you, they are also going to be charging you with some sort of crime. It is better to get out ahead of any charges rather than waiting until you get some papers in the mail with a prompt court date. Defense attorney Justin P. Miller can help you understand your rights and defend you against your charges.

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