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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Many good reasons for a moratorium

In a previous post [LINK], I'd mentioned that there seemed to be plenty of good reasons for a moratorium on tasers.

If the Braidwood Inquiry finds any credible evidence that tasers are possibly dangerous in ways other than those specifically mentioned by the manufacturer (falling down), or even if the claimed level of safety is unproven, then the training to-date can be considered to be defective. All existing officer taser training certificates would be declared invalid. All trainers would be similarly sent back to school. All the training courses would need to be redesigned, and then all the officers would have to be re-educated. This might easily take a year.

If a moratorium has a secondary effect of drawing world-wide attention to the taser safety issue, then that is a very good thing. It is very likely that anything less would be widely ignored. But a moratorium anywhere in Canada would cut-through the propaganda like a knife. The attention-getting moratorium would also capture the attention of police officers within Canada. It seems that the taser-safety question hasn't fully percolated into their conciousness quite yet (Kamloops, 82-year old).

And if the tertiary effect of such a decision is to give Taser a good hard smack up-side the head, that's just yet another benefit. Maybe such a serious cracking of the whip would reduce the tom-foolery and clever word-smithing.

The moratorium might also force the police to revisit their other incident deescalation skills.

It would also remind the police that if tools are abused, tools can be taken away. The Ottawa Citizen said as much, "If officers want to retain the option of using Tasers when they're necessary, they should stop pulling them out when they're not necessary." [LINK]

It would also remind the police officials to not be so readily accepting of a manufacturer's one-sided propaganda.

It would also remind them to keep the relationships with such suppliers to arm's length (not so damn cozy next time). The level of support FROM THE POLICE towards Taser is very unsettling.

Also, a moratorium might inspire the coroners and medical examiners to look at the lack of physical evidence in another way. The influence of Taser on our coroners and medical examiners needs to be examined. Those strings must be cut.

A moratorium would allow time for the independent experts to further review the studies to date to expose additional flaws (such as uselessly small sample size, tasering into the back).

Also, the issue of pain compliance using a device that is about 2000-times more painful than 'intolerably painful' hasn't been discussed yet. Why would the police think that it is reasonable to use a device that is designed to work at electrical-shock levels far beyond pain, for pain compliance? Isn't this a clear violation of CC 269.1?

A moratorium would allow time for the Taser Use Policies, which are presently all over the map, and some are apparently illegal, to be revisited and brought into some sort of alignment with each other, and with the standards of the law. It makes no sense to allow those policies to vary even within one province. Law enforcement becomes random. Even defining active and passive resistance is all over the map.

There are probably many more good reasons for a taser time-out.

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