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.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is it a small problem, or a big problem?

Don't miss the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry. [LINK]


I've been witness to thousands of arguments over the years. One very common cause of disagreements is people having the same data point, but different unspoken reference points. Unless someone intervenes to make sure that they understand that they're arguing about the reference points, not the data point, then they will never be able to see each other's point of view.

For example (and "7%" is just an example) if something bad is happening at a rate of 7% then some people might think that 7% is a fairly low rate and it isn't too much to panic about. These people are using the unspoken reference point of 100%. To them, they look at 7% along the green line in the sketch below. In other words, 'We could be abusing everyone, so 7% isn't too bad.'

Other people might look at the same data point, 7%, and they may be very upset about such a high rate. They're using the unspoken reference point of 0%. They're looking at 7% along the red line in the sketch below. In other words, 'Any abuse is unacceptable.'


So, when it comes to such issues as the following:
  1. Taser abuse and misuse
  2. Risks not clearly identified and explicitly defined
  3. Abuse of human rights
  4. Unethical behaviour by officers
  5. Lack of clarity by weapons manufacturers
  6. Errors in training - facts or philosophy or approach
...Where do you set your reference point?

If someone is taking the opposite argument, then ask them point blank: Are you comparing this level of abuse to some imagined world where it might be 100% abuse? Or are you comparing this level of abuse to the standard which is ZERO TOLERANCE as you should be?

This is a very common axis of disagreement. And sneaky 'master-debaters' use this technique all the time to say one thing, and then claim the opposite point via subtly-faulty logic.

Now that it is explicit, be bamboozled no more!

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