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.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Taser's curious temporal asymmetry

There is a huge and 'unexplained' temporal asymmetry in the many taser-associated deaths such as Mr. Cardell's tragic end.

Such taser-associated deaths always seem to occur only if the taser is actually fired and the darts actually hit the victim.

Please note that when a taser is even drawn from its holster, many jurisdictions will require a written report; even in cases where the taser is not fired. And reportedly, the taser is drawn far more often (about 10 times) than it is actually used.

This time before the taser is fired provides a form of experimental control in the great debate over taser safety.

We would logically expect that there would be roughly as many taser-incident deaths to occur per taser incident and per unit time BEFORE the taser is fired as AFTER.

But that doesn't appear to be the case. We've got about 400 cases where people were tasered and then died, and we'd thus expect that there should be many many hundreds, or possibly even thousands, of police taser reports where the taser was pulled out, but the subject dropped dead BEFORE it was actually fired.

I don't believe that there are very many such reports. I'll bet that they're few and far between.

Which leaves this perplexing asymmetry in the temporal distribution of all these many taser-associated deaths.

There's only one rational conclusion:

The claim that the usage of tasers bears zero causal relationship to the many taser-associated deaths does not appear to hold up to this sort of logical scrutiny.

Note that this simple observation trumps the lack of evidence about the cause of death in any particular case. Since it is a given that there is not yet any reliable and well known postmortem test for any of the plausible taser death mechanisms, such a lack of direct evidence at postmortem is a given and doesn't actually prove anything.


Previous related post [LINK]

(The following graphic is for illustrative purposes only and is not based on anything more than my recollection of the many news reports of taser-associated deaths, and the fact that Taser International isn't proudly showing off a thick stack of reports of the hundreds [now THOUSANDS] of people that died just BEFORE being tasered. Actual data may vary. The ball is in Taser International's court to explain-away this very simple observation.)

PS: I can anticipate that another one of the pathetic attempts at a rebuttal will be as follows:

"But we only actually fire the taser in the very worst cases of excited delirium. This is a form of self-selection that will tend to bias the distribution."

But those "worst cases" are (according to your worldview) the ones most likely to die sooner than later, and thus those are the class of victims that would show the strongest early-biased distribution. They should be dropping like flies more BEFORE than AFTER.

Also, the apparent real-world asymmetry isn't some little tiny bias that you can try to explain away. It's an overwhelming and seemingly obvious temporal discontinuity.

Got any more?


Steve said...

I'll review more of this next week. Too much to do between now an then. Steve Lombardi

Excited-Delirium.com said...

Okay. We'll be here when you have time.