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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The significant difference...

Every now and then I mention something in passing, and it later occurs to me that it's an important enough point that it's worth posting again, on its own, to make sure that the point doesn't get missed.

This is one of those times:


From the post Blood pH - which direction would be good? [LINK]

...And significantly, the taser totally bypasses any built-in survival mechanisms that might naturally keep the subject from actually (i.e. in the real world) killing themselves through over-exertion.

That's a key difference - between what the subject might be ALMOST doing to themselves (naturally limited by built-in survival mechanisms), and what boundary the taser can push them right through and beyond.

The taser lacks any such natural limiting feed-back signals. It just stupidly and blindly locks-up the muscles (a massive form of over-exertion).

The taser could probably lock-up the muscles on a fresh corpse.


The point here is that humans have who-knows-how-many? built-in feedback loops. These 'negative feedback' (self-limiting) mechanisms would include: conscious awareness, discomfort, fatigue, pain, and so on - right down to utter collapse (loss of consciousness).

These feedback signals, which exist in multiple layers at every possible level of the human-machine, almost always prevent people from killing themselves through over-exertion.

Where a person is operating under their own command (even if acting 'insane'), they will eventually reach their limits. If they exceed those limits, there's a very good chance that they'll become unconscious and thereby avoid death by some margin.


My assumption here is that there exists a margin (possibly a small margin) between the point where a person would become unconscious (thereby providing life-saving rest), and the point where they're destined to die. I believe that this is a reasonable assumption. If you disagree with this argument, then you need to disprove this assumption, because everything else flows logically from it.


The taser simply bypasses many of these natural self-preservation limits. Even if the person has a Blood pH level (for example) which has rendered them unconscious, the taser keeps going and going and going. It will not stop.

The taser respects no ultimate limits within the subject.

There's no feedback loop (except the operator, possible defectively-trained).

And there's not necessarily any safety in being unconscious, especially if the taser makes the victim's muscles continue to twitch in a "fighting" and "threatening" manner.


This lack of feedback and lack of respect for the subject's ultimate limits perfectly explains the significant difference in the real-world outcomes between the subject just over-exerting themselves, versus them also being given a good solid tasering.


This simple hypothesis bridges the 'taser-science' (sic) knowledge gap surrounding "excited delirium" (the arguably-mythical condition), and trying to explain all those many "excited delirium deaths" (the all-too-convenient excuse for a 'taser-associated' death).


If 'excited delirium' is a problem, then the taser is not the right solution. In fact, it seems to be the worst possible approach.

It's as if the subject is walking along the edge of a cliff, and the suggested solution is to push them over the edge.


Even the RCMP acknowledged this plain fact: "The RCMP's revised [Taser] policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for acutely agitated individuals." [LINK]


Behavior that some people call "Excited Delirium" is a clear-cut indicator to put away the taser.


PS: Scientific American reference: [LINK] (Thanks Critical Mass)

1 comment:

Critical Mass said...

Take a look at the role of lactic acid buildup in muscles and the phenomenon called "over training":

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-does-lactic-acid-buil

It is a well-known phenomenon in strength training and among distance runners, that you can exceed the limits of lactic acid buildup in muscles, resulting in a period of weakness and lethargy while the muscles slowly dispose of the excess lactic acid. This period of weakness can last days or even weeks. There is literally a point at which the absorption and disposal of lactic acid ceases to be rapid and becomes a long, drawn-out process, during which exercise is painful, if not impossible. It's commonly called "over training".

It has always been my contention that electro-muscular devices, such as tasers, simply "over train" muscles almost instantly, driving blood acidosis or blood PH factors to a very dangerous, and often lethal level.

If the heart tissue of "Taser Victims" were tested for either lactic acid or the by-products of high PH factors, it would reveal and confirm the process whereby stun guns can induce arrhythmia and heart failure.

In real-world "over training", natural limits are reached, saving the runner or weight-lifter from inducing his/her own heart failure.


Multiple and prolonged taser shocks can exceed those "natural limits" quite easily, especially if the victim has already taken himself to the edge of "over training", through any combination of legal or illegal drug use and physical resistance/exercise, before the good policeman starts tasering him.

PS: I think Mark Kroll and the entire Management/Board at Taser International is aware of this medical mechanism, which explains why their product is manifestly unsafe and sometimes lethal. I am almost certain that an FDA or UL examination of their product would also come to this conclusion.