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US town organizes $5 raffle to tase city officials in the name of 'public safety'

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The town of Van Meter, Iowa doesn't apparently do irony. Or, it does it so well that even Alanis Morissette would throw up her hands and say "Wow, no, that is super ironic. I mean, come on." The small municipality with a population of just under 1,100 is putting on a raffle for a public safety fundraiser, and, as the only prize, is offering citizens the chance to tase a public official. Because nothing says "public safety" like 50,000 volts of electricity in the gut.

The idea apparently came up during a meeting with the town's police force about how to raise some extra cash, reports The Des Moines Register. City Administrator Jake Anderson told the paper: "The joke was sort of, 'Yeah, let's tase the administrators. They make all the friends."

Tickets for the raffle are $5 apiece, and all the proceeds will go towards the purchase of a second squad car. The winner will be given the the choice of tasing either Anderson or fellow council member Bob Lacy ("I didn't want there to be a 100 percent chance I'd be tased," said Anderson), and a certified officer will be on hand to help with the proceedings.

Van Meter's police chief William Daggett assured the Register that Tasers are only dangerous when someone has a prior medical condition or the device's prongs go across the heart. "Most officers will tell you they'd much rather be tased than pepper sprayed," said Daggett. "The effects are so short, and it doesn't burn." That may be, but Tasers do still kill people. For example, at least 540 people were killed by police use of Tasers between 2001 and 2012. Let's just hope Van Meter's public safety fund raiser doesn't get any more ironic.

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