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.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Misled and apparently unaware

(CP) VANCOUVER - Mixed messages are being received by a Commons committee looking into use of Tasers by Canadian police. While some groups are urging a moratorium on Taser use, the Schizophrenia Society says the shock weapons are far preferred to a gun. The society's John Gray says has seen people volunteer to be jolted with a Taser, but hasn't heard of anyone volunteering to be shot by a gun. ... [LINK]

John Gray is a past president of the society at the national level, and reportedly a board member with the B.C. Schizophrenia Society. "...we would like to choose the Taser over a gun," Gray said. [LINK]

Let's straighten out a few facts:

1) The taser might well be preferable to a gun if it was actually used as a replacement for a gun.

In fact, its rate of usage is roughly two orders of magnitude (one hundred times) higher than the historically and accepted rate of police shootings (this varies widely by jurisdiction and agency).

The taser is a replacement for talking, for negotiation, and even for the very simplest of martial arts. It is only very rarely used as a clear replacement for the gun. If the police had been shooting people with guns at the rate that they're using the taser, there would have been a revolution.

2) The taser might well be preferable to a gun if the current (X26 is 151 mA RMS) was reduced to provide a level of safety that isn't quite so self-evidently risky.

Reportedly Stinger Systems makes a similar product using 75% less current. I'm not a huge fan of Stinger Systems, but at least they appear to be aware of the issue of current versus safety.

3) One of the chief proponents of taser safety is Dr. Mark Kroll, an "independent" (not really) Director of Taser. Reportedly, he has NEVER been tasered (scared of something). So far as I am aware, he has not accepted my challenge to be repeatedly tasered across the chest by a genuine X26 taser. My other conditions to ensure a fair test have been stated previously.

4) Virtually all of the so-called demos and training episodes using the taser do not place the barbs across the chest where they would sometimes land during street (or airport) deployments.

These so-called demos might as well be labeled as "FAKE" for all the applicability they have to real life deployments where the officer AIMS AT THE CHEST (and occasionally even hits it). Luck of the draw - quite literally.

Mr. Gray's opinion (quite fairly summarized as: 'Better than a gun, eh?') appears to be based on a knowledge gap. That gap could be filled by reviewing the contents of this blog as well as other sources.

If the overall taser issue was as simple as his statement indicates, then there wouldn't be a Common Committee studying the issue in such depth. And I wouldn't have had to create such a monstrously huge blog to address the many subtle and complex angles to this issue.

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