End of Killing

The End of Killing

How Our Newest Technologies Can Solve Humanity’s Oldest Problem

Rick Smith

Technology will make killing a thing of the past.

The gun is antiquated technology, and it is responsible for tens of thousands of senseless killings every year. Humanity has accepted that killing is an unavoidable fact of life―but Rick Smith argues that it doesn’t need to be this way and that we have the means to make the bullet obsolete in our lifetime.

Smith is the founder of TASER (now Axon), and in this book, he demonstrates that we are on the cusp of a world in which killing is neither required nor acceptable. That change won’t come by way of stricter gun control laws. No, what holds us back from making an overdue and necessary shift in how we think about weapons is our skepticism about new technologies and their potential.

Smith has devoted his career to understanding why and how we kill each other. In The End of Killing, he reviews the history of weaponry and warfare as well as the latest technologies in crowd control, surveillance, and artificial intelligence. He delves into the big, thorny questions about how technology is creating more tools for police, homeland security, and military, and offering more options for our personal safety and our justice system. With clarity and conviction, he challenges the conventional wisdom on these subjects, showing how technologies that appear strange and scary at first can be the key to making the bullet a relic of the past.

In our current impasse of dead-end debates about gun violence and police brutality, Smith offers us a clear roadmap into a safer future. Thought-provoking, insightful, and controversial, The End of Killing will make you reconsider the violent world you inhabit―and imagine the safer world on the horizon.


“If you can only kill, unless you’re willing to kill everyone, then our power is defined by our foes’ willingness to back down. Smith challenges the notion that the only thing we ought to do is kill our opponents—and that idea has the potential to reshape how we think about violence, and ultimately, how we think about power itself. This is an important and thought-provoking book.”

“Rick Smith is known as the ‘Steve Jobs of policing technology’—and this book reflects his well-deserved reputation. Rick envisions a world free of gun violence. This is a must-read for those who share his bold vision to enhance safety in our communities!”

“This is a brilliant, insightful, and provocative book. An absolutely essential argument for applying technology toward ‘less lethal’ solutions.”


“The future belongs to those who build it. Rick Smith has spent his entire life building the future—it’s because of him that police officers carry non-lethal weapons and it’s because of those weapons that thousands of lives are saved each year. Now, Smith lets us into his mind and world, and he outlines a vision of the future that is safer, more just, and more peaceful. A stunning achievement!”

“This book is a triumph. Rick Smith challenges what we think we know about everything: how we police our streets, how we protect our schools, how we fight our wars. And what he proves is that, in all of these fields, technology can help build a safer world with far less violence. For anyone in the business of trying to build a future that looks better than our present, this book contains ideas worth reading and absorbing.”

“I’ve served in combat and lost friends overseas. In The End of Killing, Rick Smith asks the questions that hang in the minds of every war veteran: isn’t there a better way? Do countless lives have to be lost in order to keep the peace? Couldn’t we change how we fight wars using technology? This is a provocative book—but it provokes exactly the questions we must be asking if we want to build a more peaceful world.”

“As a former surgeon general, US Army Special Forces soldier, police officer, and trauma surgeon/EMS director, the consequences of bullets and lethal force have always weighed heavily on me and my colleagues. We have all aspired to see a non-lethal force option that could safely stop a threat and put an end to killing. Through persistence, passion, and the innovative use of technology, Rick Smith has accelerated and envisioned the future. Now he’s given us a window, through his book, The End of Killing, to see a future we can create—and one that speaks to our highest aspirations.”

The End of Killing should be required reading for everybody, but especially police practitioners, civil rights advocates, local policymakers, state legislators, and members of Congress. Rick Smith makes a powerful, aspirational argument for the use of exponentially advancing technology to dramatically reduce violence in our homes, schools, and communities. We now stand at a crossroads. Use technology to greatly reduce these tragic occurrences or continue to experience an absurd level of preventable violence. Smith lays out a logical path forward to reducing violence and many of its antecedents. It is up to the rest of us to take this disruptive idea—the end of killing—and make it a reality.”


RICK SMITH founded Axon Enterprise (formerly TASER International) in 1993. As the TASER device became ubiquitous in law enforcement, Smith pushed the company beyond weapons technology and toward a broader purpose of using hardware, software, and artificial intelligence to make the world a safer place. Under his leadership, the company has grown from a garage in Tucson to a NASDAQ-listed global market leader in conducted electric weapons, body-worn cameras, and software. Smith graduated from Harvard University with a BA in biology and later earned a master’s in international finance from the University of Leuven in Belgium and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Learn more at www.EndOfKilling.com.

ISBN 978-1989025536
$30.00 CAD $25.00 USD
Published May 21, 2019
6 × 9 272 Pages
Hardcover, ebook