Q&A on the News

Q: In a recent report about an attack on a local trail, the attacker used a Taser. It mentioned something about wires being a part of this attack. Please shed some light on how this weapon works.

—Wayne Beck, Cedartown

A: A Taser is held like a handgun and fires two barbed electrodes that penetrate the clothing or skin of the person at which it’s aimed. The electrodes remain attached to the Taser by long thin wires that carry the electrical pulses from the unit to the target. The pulses “overwhelm the normal nerve traffic, causing involuntary muscle contractions and impairment of motor skills,” Taser.com states.

Some Tasers can have a range of up to 35 feet, according to the company, and differ from stun guns, which have to be in contact with a person or animal to administer an electrical pulse.

Q: The AJC recently reported that South Carolina was investigated for putting icing on cupcakes. Can you explain that?

—Skip French, Cleveland

A: The University of South Carolina Athletic Department reported 22 secondary violations to the NCAA, one of which that involved “impermissible iced decorations on a cookie cake(s) given to prospects.” The NCAA re-evaluated the infraction, discussed it with the SEC and the school, and earlier this month ruled that it wasn’t a violation.

South Carolina officials had thought they might have violated NCAA bylaw, which states that an “institution may not arrange miscellaneous, personalized recruiting aides,” including “decorative items.”

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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