Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...

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The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Halifax newspaper editorial

This one is worth quoting in its entirety.

The Chronicle Herald: Sun. Mar 9 - 4:46 AM

POLICE in Nova Scotia should keep Tasers holstered until a provincial review of the potent weapons is completed and any recommendations acted upon.

That’s been our stance on Tasers since the review was announced last fall, when a number of Taser-related deaths in Canada, including in Nova Scotia, garnered headlines from coast to coast. We see no reason to change that position now that the initial findings of that review have been made public. Simply put, more studies are needed on how Tasers can impact the human body, and more consistency – and restraint – is necessary in police training and rules of engagement using the stun guns.

The findings of the provincial review, released last week, only reinforce our belief that government should implement a temporary moratorium on police use of Tasers. The Justice Department study found widely inconsistent rules for their use, along with uneven training programs. (The weapons can deliver thousands of volts of electricity, incapacitating a subject.)

The review found that police officers in various parts of the province are following different guidelines on the number of times a Taser should be used against an individual, whether firing a Taser at a subject requires prior approval from a supervisor and even about the types of warnings to be issued to someone who may be about to be Tasered.

In the wake of a disturbing number of deaths in Canada in recent years – as well as in other countries – after individuals were Tasered by police, a number of troubling questions remain unanswered. Despite claims by Taser proponents the weapons are safe, scientists and doctors have raised concerns about possible links between Tasers and potential heart and respiration problems, mental health and an individual’s state of exhaustion or agitation in confrontations with authorities. Certainly, too many people have ended up dying after incidents in which they were Tasered.

The public has also been concerned about what seems to be inappropriate use of Tasers in certain situations, such as when a Dartmouth teenage girl was Tasered by police officers in her own bedroom in February, 2007. In that regard, the provincial review’s finding that rules for deploying Tasers in Nova Scotia are all over the map is not reassuring. Critics are also worried Tasers are being used in Halifax at a rate far greater than in Toronto.

Public confidence in police use of Tasers has been shaken by deaths that have occurred, as well as when and how the weapons are used. Tasers should not be used until that confidence is restored.


Link= Chronicle Herald - More doubts on Taser use

I would add one more thing. Such reviews are often derailed by too much Taser influence. Taser would probably want to provide input. They'll thump down huge volumes of propaganda and few people would have time to do anything but weigh it. The police, often brainwashed by Taser training, will obviously be there. These groups all have vested interest in the outcome. Many of the so-called "experts" will have been bought and paid-for by Taser.

This presents a very difficult dilemma. How do you reach a reasonable conclusion in the face of such relationships between the players in the entire industry?
  1. Make sure that equal time is given to the critics.
  2. Discount all testimony given by those with a vested interest. Many of the proponents of tasers have vested interests. Most of the critics have no such interests.
  3. Pay special attention to those studies that HAVE found problems.
  4. Use basic logic: If there are a dozen studies that FAILED to find a problem and one study that DID find a problem, then there's probably a problem. That's basic logic: You can't prove a negative.
  5. Ask difficult questions. With respect, the Commons Committee tossed a lot of softball questions at Taser chief Smith.

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