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

What are the odds?

A tragic incident from August 2006, Red Deer, Alberta, in the news again.

CBC - ...RCMP said they hit Doan with a Taser three times after he struck an officer with a shovel handle. ... When Mounties rolled him over after the third shock, his face was blue. The strapping 28-year-old pipeline worker went into cardiac arrest. He then suffered seizures and plunged into a deep coma, dying in hospital three weeks later. He never regained consciousness. ... In Doan's case, the medical examiner listed three factors on the death certificate: excited delirium, heart failure and undetermined causes.


First - let's get this out of the way. If Doan had struck an officer with a shovel handle, then I don't believe that there is any issue with the decision to use the taser in this case. This does not appear to be a point of contention in this case.

Now, let's review the taser-safety question as relates to this incident.

Notice the quick timing. Shocked three times, rolled over, was already blue, cardiac arrest, later died. If you wish to believe that the tasering is unrelated to the death - feel free. But you're loco-loco if you insist on such denials in the face of such a tight sequence.

Let's use a stack of paper as an example. Imagine ten thousand sheets of paper... That stack of paper represents a week (7 days) of minutes. There are about 10,000 minutes in a week. Each sheet of paper is one minute; the whole stack is a week.

If a certain person has a heart condition, then they've probably had that heart condition for at least one week. If they're suffering from some undetermined condition, then that undetermined condition must have existed for some period, probably at least a week. 'Excited Delirium' ? - empty words. But then they are tasered and turn blue (within a minute or so) and eventually die. Very suspicious timing. What are the odds? One sheet of paper in a stack of ten thousand? Hey! I'm just asking.

But the phrase 'undetermined causes' is a very nice choice of words by the coroner. Perhaps it is a code-phrase for something that can't be mentioned by name at this point? Might this phrase be a wink and a nudge from the coroner?

"We want to know why he died. We want to know why a 28-year-old man, who is completely strong, ends up dying from being in a coma. If it wasn't the Taser, then what was it?" asked his sister...


This case is also interesting because it makes a lie of so many of the pro-taser arguments (the relationship to drugs and alcohol being just one example in this incident).

CBC - "A censored RCMP Taser report obtained by The Canadian Press and the CBC under the Access to Information Act says police believed or suspected that cocaine or alcohol 'had an impact on the suspect.' It is believed to be the report filed after the Doan confrontation, although the exact date and his name were stripped. Other details included in the form match what happened that day."

But unfortunately for this theory (if it is the same incident), "No drugs or alcohol were found in his system."

The family certainly deserves answers.

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