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, June 25, 2008

Certainty du jour

Further to the previous post [LINK], the second e-mail was from 'K'. The e-mail addresses the relationship between the wisdom of the time versus the Canadian taser-associated deaths.

Here is the e-mail (lightly edited):

Canadian deaths related to the wisdom of the time:

2003 (3 deaths) - Tasers don't hurt anybody, use them lots. Shock the person until they produce their hands for cuffing (still being done says Victoria police report).

2004 (6 deaths) - ditto

2005 (4 deaths by summer) - That summer Taser yields to pressure from the Securities people and the Arizona Attorney General, and issues a warning about multiple shocks. This follows egregious use like the Heston death [19 Feb 2005] where the guy was shot 25 times, including 3 or more weapons, some simultaneously. The lack of warning was what cost Taser the punitive judgment. RCMP issue policy re multiple use. (1 death in December 2005 makes 5 for the year)

2006 (1 death)

2007 - During 2007 or late 2006, there is a big conference with speakers on excited delirium. From that, I think, comes the "new wisdom"- the best way to handle "excited delirium" is to hit hard and fast so the person can be subdued and delivered to medical care quickly. Also, the concept of "handcuffing under power"- keep the person shocked while your partner cuffs them.

September to November 2007 - 5 deaths.

Since then, none-- BUT: April 28, 2008 - Taser announces new wisdom: medical science has proven tasers are harmless, more or less. No harm will come from prolonged/multiple shocks, though they aren't nice. This follows selling the commercial version, which users are told to leave firing for a 30 second burst while they run away. User warnings are modified to eliminate reference to over-shocking.

This is why we need explicit policy- so our various police forces use what is decided by careful appraisal and not what the trainer or medical "expert" just got told at the convention. And why we need independent training. Otherwise by this fall, after the trainers promulgate the new "Safe Taser" propaganda, we might have another death cycle.

Excellent points. Thanks 'K'.

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