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, June 24, 2008

Tasers and drugs

When one reads in the news that a particular taser victim was a drug user, the natural instinct is to think that the victim might have somehow contributed to his own fate.

In other words: many people naturally think, 'drugs + tasers = increased risk of death'.

Police and other pro-taser fan-boys will take advantage of this natural reaction and will always highlight that the victim had drugs '...in their system', or '...in their car' [LINK], or '...in their socks' [LINK]. I suppose if the victim had drugs in their cottage, two-hundred miles away, they would mention that as well.

Although this drugs+tasers... argument seems logical on its surface, there are major problems with it:

Taser (the manufacturer) doesn't allow that there is any such increased risk.

In fact, they (and their minions and spokespuppets) barely acknowledge that there are any risks at all [LINK].

The only risks that I've seen them ever acknowledge explicitly are external risks such as 'falling down and banging the head', and 'falling into water and drowning' (while the police taser continuously for several minutes while the victim drowns? Huh?).

So far as I am aware, they have never admitted any specific internal risk mechanisms (direct or indirect) for causing, or contributing, or hastening death. But, unfortunately for them, they have recently been found liable ($6.2M) for failure to warn regarding repeated taserings leading to changed blood pH levels leading to fatal cardiac arrest [LINK]. But Taser still pooh-poohs the concept and will appeal.

And if there is any increased risk arising from the combination of drugs+tasers, then the product might quite reasonably be considered to be unfit for it's intended market (street level police work). That's a monstrous liability issue for Taser and that's why you won't see them ever admit this increased risk. But they might crack a small smile when some 'unconnected to Taser' pro-taser fan-boy makes this claim (review the comments section of any taser news story and you'll see many such mindless claims from taser fan-boys).

So if your natural reaction to the news reports is as described at the top, then please think the argument through to its natural outcome. You will soon see that the argument is untenable - from Taser's point of view. After all, just a 15% apportioning of blame costs them $6.2M (and about $40M+ in lost market cap.) last time [LINK]. Imagine if they were found to be 50% (!) liable (for the taser-half of drugs+tasers...) for dozens and dozens of drugs+tasers associated deaths...

I'm not saying that the argument 'drugs+tasers...' is wrong... I'm just saying that it's not fair to assume or consider or allow such an 'escape clause' for Taser if they (themselves) are not willing to publicly acknowledge that such internal risks exist, and that drugs increase those risks.

And they can't afford to make any such admission.

It's a '50%-off sale' that they simply cannot afford.

So they're left trying to pin the blame exclusively on the drugs, or something (anything) else.

Blaming the drugs is difficult in those incidents where the dose '...in their system' was not lethal.

And especially in those incidents where the drugs were "...in their car" or "...in their socks" (as opposed to being in the victim).

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