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 18, 2008

"Combative" - a likely loophole

Kennedy Recommendation #1 (previously #1):

"...allowed only in situations where an individual is 'combative' or ..." [LINK]

I hope that the word 'combative' is officially defined somewhere to mean the end of the definition spectrum towards violent. As opposed to the other end of the definition spectrum, as exemplified by these alternate definitions [LINK]:
  • inclined or showing an inclination to dispute or disagree...
  • ...even to engage in law suits
  • argumentative to the point of being cantankerous
  • striving to overcome in argument
It would be annoying if we have gone through all this, and we end up with the police tasering people because they're being argumentative and cantankerous.

There is also the issue of the very common taser-excuse that the victim "took a combative stance".

Although there are clear examples where such stances can actually represent a genuine threat, there is an overly-wide latitude for making this claim even when it is clearly not justified. In other words, 'combative stance' is a likely free-pass for any officer that really wants to taser someone (unless a video camera is rolling).

If anyone has any information regarding an official definition for 'combative' (hopefully tighter than the dictionary definitions), please leave a comment.

Update 20 June 2008: A newspaper, The Halifax Chronicle Herald, has made the same point about 'combative' being too open and allowing over-use to continue. Their editorial is here: [LINK]

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