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 25, 2009

Time to revisit some 'cause of death' findings

When people disagree, it's often because there is an unspoken assumption that is obvious to one side of the debate, but the other side of the debate simply haven't gotten around to thinking it through yet. Once the assumption is pointed out to them, then they are forced to recalculate their position. Then they either admit that the argument is over, or they retreat into an emotional response.

Applicable Braidwood conclusions:

1) Braidwood concluded that tasers "can cause death".

2) Braidwood also concluded that when there is a lack of autopsy evidence in a taser-associated death, then it is probably a case of death by [likely taser-induced] arrhythmia.

3) Braidwood also concluded that 'excited delirium' is not a cause of death, and it is "unhelpful" as it is used as a convenient excuse, thereby allowing the true cause of death to remain undetermined.

Now stop and think.

How do these newly-formalize conclusions relate to the 434+ people that have died in taser-associated death incidents?

Many of those deaths were attributed to 'excited delirium', or pre-existing medical conditions, or anything EXCEPT the taser. Some of the coroners' reports went so far as to totally disregard the taser use, even in cases where the taser use was flagrantly excessive.

Such findings were OBVIOUSLY influenced by Taser International's long campaign that has promoted 'excited delirium' as a convenient excuse for death, and their long campaign that tasers-R-safe. Not to mention that they sued one coroner on the basis that tasers-R-safe.

Thankfully, in spite of their campaign, reportedly about one-third of the taser-associated cause of death reports DID list the taser as a cause of contributing factor.

So now what?

It follows that many of those cause of death findings, the ones that ignored the taser usage and pinned the blame on "causes" that Braidwood has rejected (especially 'excited delirium') - many of those findings were probably wrong.

And that's the now-explicit assumption that many taser critics share: That the list of 434+ taser-associated deaths is a list of people that were, for the most part, either plain-and-simple outright KILLED by the taser, or had their death 'contributed to' by the taser.

It's just an opinion held by many members of the public, but it is not an unreasonable position considering the twists and turns of the taser safety debate.

Taser International has not accepted that the taser is in any way responsible for any taser-associated death (by way of inherent internal risk factors). Of the 434+ incidents, they admit zero. In fact, they will continue to proclaim those now-obviously flawed statistics as evidence of product safety.

Their position has been fatally undermined by Braidwood's findings. It is now not a reasonable position. It's irrational.

What may happen over the next few years is a remarkable downturn in the number of deaths by 'excited delirium'. Now that it has been official judged to be an "unhelpful" smokescreen.

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