Before you read the article, keep in mind the following facts:
Mark W. Kroll is a Director of Taser. He just (10/26/07) sold 25,000 shares and raked in $413,500. He still retains another 20,833 shares. So he has sold off more than half of his holdings of Taser stock. Keep this in mind so you understand where he is coming from.
If what he is saying were perfectly true, then nobody would EVER die from being tasered - no matter what. His arguments PROVE (sic) that death by tasering is well nigh impossible. But the facts are that people have died from tasering under some circumstances. Even ONE example proves the point, and arguably there have been many more than one. So, unfortunately that leaves a rather large smoking hole in the 'air-tight' (sic) logic presented by Mr. Kroll.
That's the really nice things about facts. It only takes one single solitary counter-example to leave the expert standing in a bucket of turds.
The other fallacy overlooked are the numbers. These guys do a few experiments on a few pigs (exact number NOT mentioned) and they try to extrapolate this to "...according to Taser, its guns are now fired more than 620 times a day and have been used a total of more than 680,000 times worldwide."
Well, other people have tested a few pigs and ended up with two loads of fried pork. Refer to posting below titled "Acute Effects of TASER X26 Discharges in a Swine Model" to see another rigorous experiment.
Taser has (more-so in the past) claimed that the taser is perfectly safe. Once this lie became obviously incorrect, they've retreated from this position a bit. But along comes Kroll again making the same old (wrong) argument that it is by-design perfectly safe. Which it ISN'T.
If they were to claim that the taser is mostly safe and that it would probably kill only a few (few hundred?) people a year, then that would be more honest.
Here's the article (3-pages), come back here after you're done.
Link= IEEE Spectrum
Note the section:
"Even so, we were comforted to learn that stun guns do not normally pose any cardiac risk. The full length of the Taser dart tip would have to embed itself into the skin and chest-wall muscle of a relatively small, thin person to get within the range of distances where we found the heart to be most vulnerable. Furthermore, the most sensitive region for the induction of fibrillation covers just a small area. And it is unlikely that two darts would land there."
Update - I just noticed this: "...unlikely that two darts would land there..." Really? "two". All it takes is one dart to land in the critical area and Gustav Robert Kirchhoff's law will ensure that what goes in one dart will come out the other dart. (Pssst! That's why it's called a 'circuit'.)
The 3rd page is a very cautious criticism of Taser. I suspect that there's more than one off-design mode, but let's pretend for the time being that this is the only issue.
Did they mention that "unlikely" multiplied by 226300 usages per year ("620" x 365) equals certain death at least several times per year?
That's the thing with statistics:
'unlikely' times big numbers becomes CERTAINTY.
So they have unintentionally made my point. Tasers are mostly safe, but will (as a statistical certainty) kill several (several hundred?) people per year.
Now that we've established a common understanding, then the lawsuits should start going the other way more often.
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