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.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Banging one's head against a very thick Wall...

"Tasers are not the problem" (sic) [LINK] [LINK]

By Allison Wall, the Lloydminster Meridian Booster (Alberta, Canada)

Okay - stand back just a bit.

OK I’ve watched these stories bounce around in the headlines and stir up controversy and debate – even a column in the Booster – for almost two years. Everyone has an opinion on Tasers, and so do I.

But is your opinion an informed opinion?

Let's see...

Obviously, I’m a journalist – not a cop – and have never seen, touched, used or been stunned with a Taser (nor do I ever want to be), but I believe this controversial weapon is 100 per cent acceptable. If I was doing something warranting police intervention, I’m pretty certain I would rather be stunned with a Taser than shot with a gun.

This is completely stupid. Police intervention equals only gun or taser? No other option?

You are so ill-informed that you believe that every taser incident is an averted police shooting? Didn't notice that the taser incidents outnumber the historical and accepted rate of police gun fire by about ONE HUNDRED to ONE? Don't follow the news, much, eh?

And you also missed the whole Dziekanski controversy? Still have some thoughts that perhaps Mr. Dziekanski presented such a threat that it justified an RCMP bullet?

Please - get a brain and have it installed.

This guns-vs.-tasers argument has been shredded over and over again. It is not consistent with even the most basic facts. It reveals only that you are a taser-issue newbie. And certainly not qualified to spout-off in a newspaper.

It's such a pathetic argument that we don't normally even bother to address it beyond offering up your badge [LINK].

It's not normally worth the effort, but we've made a special exception for this rebuttal.

Perhaps underlying health conditions or an agitated state from drugs and alcohol could increase my chances of death from a Taser (or perhaps not), but a bullet in the chest will lead to an almost certain demise. I’m not good at math, but I think my odds of surviving a Taser stun far outweigh the other grisly option.

"The other grisly option." Oh, please try to keep up.

And there have been more and more cases where young and otherwise perfectly-healthy young men are tasered and drop dead. Taser International and their scum-sucking minions try to muddle the issues with red-herring distractions of "individual susceptibilities" and drug use.

Are tasers only to be used on people in perfect health? Not on the real-world subjects including drug users and drunks?

And even when they are used on people in perfect health, people still 'mysteriously' die.

Especially when used repeatedly. Strange correlation if there's no correlation.

Yes, we hear always hear about people who die after being Tasered, but we don’t hear of the many, many cases of people who are subdued by the Taser and live a long and healthy life (although) perhaps in jail).

Taser saves? Sure we do. Taser International loves to issue press releases about such saves. Such press releases aren't as common as you might expect.

[There will be one issued shortly, guaranteed.]

But Taser International has never, as far as I can see, issued as much as a memo about even the most obvious cases of taser abuse, misuse, and overuse. If such a guidance document exists, then they've hidden it very well.

And you may wish to consider the moral and karma issue surrounding the institution of a street-level death lottery. [LINK]

Unfortunately, Robert Dziekanski was Tasered and died at the Vancouver International Airport on Oct. 14, 2007, and now four Mounties are under fire for allegations they acted improperly and tried to cover up their actions. Says who?

Mr. Dziekanski didn't "die". He was killed; cause and effect. The only argument left is about exactly what killed him. Most reasonable people know exactly what killed him.

Many of you may have seen the video, but a simple viewing doesn’t mean we were there and doesn’t mean we have first-hand knowledge of what these officers were thinking and feeling and how they were reacting.

We know quite a bit about what they were thinking and feeling and reacting. And it does not reflect well upon them as RCMP officers, or even as humans.

And it is an indictment of the clearly-defective taser training. The four officers couldn't even comprehend that Mr. Dziekanski was in serious medical distress because they had been so badly brainwashed by the propaganda from Taser International. They didn't believe their own eyes.

The allegations against one officer include improperly assessing the situation and failing to react appropriately when confronting Dziekanski, misrepresenting Dziekanski’s behaviour in the notes and statements given to homicide investigators, continuing to misrepresent the events while testifying during the inquiry and offering a misleading and self-serving interpretation of his notes during the inquiry.

Yes, this is the first paragraph you've written that is reasonably accurate...

Let me reiterate. I am not a cop and most likely, neither are you. These brave men and women put themselves in danger every single day to keep us safe. They are on the streets fighting – sometimes very violent – crime and need to be able guard themselves. Why should the alleged criminal have the upper hand? Until we are in the situation and can understand the peril, I don’t think any of us can judge the actions of those who use Tasers.

Police work isn't even in the Top 10 list of the most dangerous jobs in Canada. More police are killed in automobile and other accidents than through violence. The number killed in airplane crashes defies explanation.

Police have guns. If they are in serious danger, they have my full permission (as if that were even required) to plug the assailant with a .45 slug. Most of the time it won't really get to that point (just drawing a gun is a good deterrent). Of course, they'll have to be able to fully justify their actions. And if they've over-reacted, they may face manslaughter or murder charges - not to mention living with themselves.

Police gun-fire in Canada has never really presented itself as a major issue. I'm prepared to trust the police and I've never felt nervous around police with guns because they've consistently proven themselves to be perfectly (99.999+%) responsible. The root-cause of this inherent responsibility is that the effects from gun-fire are so clear-cut and easy to predict. There's no shirking of responsibility.

Tasers are not so clear. Because they're trained that tasers-R-safe and they're unfortunately not as safe as is claimed. That discrepancy is THE issue. And they're about one hundred times as likely to shoot a taser as shoot a gun (taser trigger-happy). And that combination makes me nervous.

Sure, police should be held accountable for their actions when necessary, but we’ve got to realize – as in any other situation – there will always be that select group of people who abuse the use of Tasers, which should be the real crux of the controversy.

No - that is just ONE of the two primary taser issues. The other side of the issue is actually more important because it is a partial cause of the abuse issue.

The fundamental issue is that Taser International and their minions claim that tasers are essentially inherently safe with respect to internal risk factors (such as cardiac effects of any sort). "Safer than Tylenol" is one variation of their safety claim.

Some of us taser critics 'smell a rat', regarding these claims. We've detected manipulative and clearly unethical behaviour by some pro-taser forces. The numbers don't add-up. There are clear logical errors in the arguments. There are signs of technical errors in the design of their products.

The simplest explanation is that tasers are not as inherently safe as is claimed by Taser International and their minions.

And the safety gap is many orders of magnitude.

The second part of the taser issue is the abuse, misuse, and over-use of tasers. This evil springs, in part, from the faith-like belief that tasers-R-safe. If we can get it through the thick heads of the police policy writers that tasers can occasionally kill, then perhaps the abuse issue will sort itself out at least partially.

As evidence of this, I present the fact that taser use is down in Canada by about half since Mr. Dziekanski was killed (along with four or five others in the same late-2007 period). By HALF! But we're not done. The vast majority of the other half is not acceptable either.

Also, Line-Of-Duty death of police officers in Canada has flat-lined to zero since that same point in time (late-2007). Deescalation techniques are the opposite of violence. Well worth putting away the tasers and using the safer-for-all old-school techniques.

I know there is a lot about Tasers I don’t understand,...

Yes, we're in perfect agreement on that point...

...but I believe police have my best interest at heart.

In general that is true. Believe it or not, I do not 'hate' police.

I hate that they've been played like a trumpet by an unethical company. I dislike their naive approach to the stun-gun marketing.

I hate the real-world outcomes where tasers are used - plain and simple - to torture. And any police officer that uses his taser to repeatedly torture has some serious issues.

The police can do much better. But they won't unless they're forced. Their first reaction is to close ranks and protect the guilty-as-hell. And that first reaction of the Blue Code of Silence is pure evil (and should be explicitly listed as a criminal offense).

A politically-imposed taser moratorium appears to be required - if for no other reason than to capture their attention and break the spell cast by the stun-gun salesmen.

The rebuttal presented above is just the bare-bones. Please avail yourself of the information on this blog.

This blog has more than 1000 posts where all the pro-taser arguments have been carefully examined and systematically shredded. I'm not aware of a single solitary pro-taser argument left standing. Not one. If you know of one, send it in and we'll shred it for you.

Everything on this blog is referenced back to sources (sometimes via internal links to previous posts on the same subject), so you can fact-check to your heart's content.

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