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.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What are the odds? (Winnipeg data)

From the news: "In 2007, city police used their Tasers 173 times, with just under half the total being incidents where the weapon was not fired or used to shock a person. From Jan. 1 to Jun. 25 of this year, the total is 63. Again, just under half the times Tasers were used, they were used only to coerce suspects, and not deployed." [via LINK]

So, about half of 173 + about half of 63 = about 120 actual taser deployments over 18 months in Winnipeg. The remaining incidents were simply displays of the weapon.

[By the way - This data clearly indicates that the taser is not simply a replacement for the gun. It is perhaps a bit under the 100-to-1 overuse ratio that we see in some jurisdictions, but it is also obviously evidence that the old argument that the taser is better than a gun is nothing but a damn lie.]

Roughly half of the taser deployments in this data would have been in the assumed-to-be-safer Push-Pain (Touch-Torture) mode as opposed to Dart Deployment mode where the darts might happen to hit the chest. So we almost certainly have some fraction of 120-ish being the full on dart deployments (ball park guess about 60-ish). And in many of these the darts would have landed on the subject in an area of the body that everyone might agree is relatively safe (with respect to internal cardiac effects). So the X26 hits to the chest in Winnipeg over 18 months are maybe about 30-ish in 18 months.

And we have a death.

So, again, the actual field risk (of death) from full on X26 hits to the chest is turning out to be something in the middle of the single digit range (roughly 3%). Might be more, might be less.

If you think that this is okay, then you haven't been paying attention.

Police have been brainwashed that the taser is essentially perfectly safe. Taser admits no internal (for example - cardiac) risk. Taser quotes 'studies' that put the risk in the parts-per-million range.

Does this outcome appear to be expected if the risk was really in the parts-per-million? Does that make any sense on its face? Do you trust people that would make claims that are so at odds with reality?

If the police were not brainwashed by Taser's propaganda about the level of safety, would they use the taser so freely? Do we want a street-level death lottery?

It all goes back to the fundamental question: People get tasered. People die. Is there a connection?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Comment from 'D' deleted. Not worth responding to.