Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

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


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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Looking for 'proof' in all the wrong places

Some taser fanboys on the web are demanding proof. They won't accept even the possibility that there might be any sort of connection without some sort of "proof".

We've already discussed The Proof Issue [LINK] in that the X26 taser current (for example), whether 2mA "average" or 151mA RMS, is way too low to leave any physical signs. Even a coroner has admitted that there would be nothing to see. No sign. No evidence. No proof.

If there wasn't this proof issue, then there wouldn't be a controversy. It's a bit thick-headed not to understand this point and constantly demand proof of a connection.

If we ask a pro-taser fanboy about exactly what they would accept as proof, I can predict exactly how it'll go:

"We's demand scientiphic papers."
Okay - A, B, and C.
"No, not those ones! They're flawed."
Okay - X, Y, and Z.
"No, not those ones either! They're flawed in a different way. We demand a coroner's report."
Okay - D, E, F, G, and H for example.
"No, not them. They're wrong and they're being sued. Try again."

[Note - I've already had these sorts of exchanges. Waste of time.]

So - how about we turn it around?

Where is the 'scientific paper' where Taser explains why the previously-specified RMS current of 151mA (X26) or 162 mA (M26) are not a safety considerations? And how about they compare the specified currents against a COMPLETE risk model of the IEC 479-1, including a Bell Curve analysis (not just 5% population cut-off) to define EXACTLY (numerically) what has been calculated for the respiration and cardiac risk (including both temporary rhythm capture and ventricle fibrillation) based on a complete analysis of the entire weighted population (weighted by likelihood of being involved in a taser incident) including drug users and drunks, those with pacemaker wiring, and those susceptible to "Excited Delirium" [rolls-eyes]. Repeat for both the M26 and X26. Justify the differences between these two models. Assume worst case barb placement in all cases, and then show barb placement safety factor curve as a separate line item. Show your work.

Hint: The answer is not "zero". The answer is not "it's safe".

We'll know that they've provided a reasonable answer when we see something like: x.xx% risk of XXXX and z.zz% risk of ZZZZ (etc.). This value should be written on the specification sheet and explicitly addressed during training.

Actually, if they were a regulated industry (as they should be, since they're claiming "safety" for a weapon - which leads to Use Policy decisions), they'd have been forced to provide such information to the regulating agency before getting their products licensed for sale.

If they'd prefer not to calculate the exact numerical risks, then they should not be permitted to claim any level of safety. The government should impose a put up or shut up policy on Taser.

Again - the answers are numerical and will not be zero.

Their answers can be checked against what we're seeing with actual usage stats. A trained statistician can tell you if their numbers are believable as compared to the reasonably-adjusted stats. In other words, if they claim 1.1 parts per million risk (for example), then your statitican can look it over and report back: 'That's highly improbable based on what we're seeing on the street' or whatever.

All of this is common practice in industries where safety is critical.

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