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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You're either critical of tasers, or you're ill-informed

A newspaper in Halifax, the Chronicle Herald, published an editorial entitled:

Other police should follow RCMP taser policy [LINK]

As is normal, there were some comments from readers posted to the on-line edition. Some of these comments were the usual, knee-jerk 'law-and-order über alles', ill-informed, pro-taser nonsense. I was forced to respond with facts and figures.

#1 - "I would rather a taser be used on me than a .45 or whatever!"

This sort of statement is an indicator that you've simply not been paying attention.

Fact - tasers are used (roughly) one-hundred times as often as guns ever were. For example, Winnipeg police taser about 75 people per year. RCMP have tasered thousands over recent years. These sorts of usage rates are about two orders of magnitude (~100x) higher than the historical rate of police gunfire. Not to mention all the taser news about children and old men in their hospital beds.

Now, do you still think that tasers have ANYTHING to do with replacing guns?

It's nothing but a stale lie that tasers have anything to do with replacing guns.

And CBC noted that police gun fire statistics were unchanged with the introduction of tasers anyway.


#2 - "...tasers....they leave their wives and children home with the worry that they may come home injured, or not at all..."

The most common taser, the X26, was introduced to the market in 2003. This roughly marks the point where tasers started to become fairly common.

According to the data I've seen, in the five years preceding this point, there were four (4) officers killed in the line of duty (excluding accidents) in Canada. In the five years after this point, there have been seventeen (17)! [LINK]

So if tasers make police officers safer, then they're hiding this purported benefit extremely well.

Also, during the ten years of data that I looked at, 70% (49/70) of all officer deaths were related to accidents (not violence).

Inexplicably, there were 8 officers killed in aircraft accidents during those ten years - obviously that's a topic worthy of further investigation.

So - is this what's left of the public support for taser. Just those taser-newbies that wander into the taser issue all innocent, fresh-faced and completely ill-informed?

And for bonus point: [LINK]

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