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.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taser's latest argument... ...shredded

Taser's latest argument is something along the lines of "less injuries" (than other weapons).

It is also about their only argument left standing. Time to knock it over. This won't take but a couple of minutes.


First - note the inconvenient CBC finding that at least one-third (~33%) of subjects (or victims) shot by a taser require medical attention to treat their injuries. [LINK]

Actually, that one-third includes just those judged by the police to require medical attention. The percentage that actually DO require medical attention is likely a moderately higher number.

But, to be as fair as we can, we will use 33% for this discussion.


The fundamental problem with this latest Taser argument is that it may be completely swamped out by the very strange tendency of the taser to be overused, misused and abused. If tasers are being used when they should not have been used, then this overuse ratio should be used to discount the injury rate per incident.

By way of an analogy, if you drive a vehicle with a good crash-performance rating (4 or 5 'stars'), but the vehicle is so poorly designed in terms of active safety (bad brakes, poor handling, tends to tip over, etc.) so that it is known to be involved in many more than its fair share of accidents, then you might actually be safer in a different vehicle with slightly lower crash-performance rating, but a much lower real-world accident rate.

Same thing with tasers. If tasers are commonly being overused, then the total number of injuries may rise even if the injury rate per (often unnecessary) incident is lower on its face.

We already know that the injury rate on a per-incident basis is about 33% (see above). So if the overuse ratio is even as low as just 3-to-1 (puh!), then the effective injury rate becomes 100%.

That's almost certainly a given.

I believe that tasers are actually being used somewhere up to one-hundred times as often as they should be used (this figure varies widely with jurisdiction). See [LINK] for back-up. Let's adjust that overuse ratio down to 30-to-1 to be safe (we must be seen to be reasonable).

The known 33% injury rate multiplied by a conservative 30-to-1 overuse ratio makes the effective taser injury rate about 1000%.

If you disagree with my numbers feel free to use your own. But it will be very difficult to have a result less than 100% if you're being honest with yourself.

It is very clearly obvious that it doesn't take very much of an overuse ratio to swamp out the entire 'per-incident' basis of their argument.

Taser may present some so-called statistics to try to prove their point.

But the above analysis clearly indicates that it might be well worth looking past their report to find the real-world facts.

1 comment:

sal said...

I thought this taser stuff was bad enough. Check out what I found while surfing: http://www.rcmpwatchwatch.org/