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 11, 2009

You have to look at the big picture...

Although a postmortem test for VF is now available [LINK], and one would think that Blood pH [LINK] could be measured even postmortem [?], there is still a knowledge gap to being able to prove that any given taser-associated death was caused by the taser. I've mentioned before that it seems clear that the taser, even if it did directly cause a death via any of the possible mechanisms [LINK], would still leave little clues.

And Taser International has been busy working with Dr. Mash [LINK] to prove Excited Delirium. They've got little motivation to work on any possible death mechanisms [LINK] that might result in them being found to be at the legal liability conclusion.

So what are we left with? We need to look at the big picture.

What about the Built-in Experimental Control? [LINK]

How often have people died just BEFORE they were about to be tasered?

Has there EVER been any reports of people falling over dead after the taser had been drawn and displayed, but BEFORE it had actually been fired? Many jurisdictions actually do require written reports when the taser is even pulled from the holster. So logically, there should be plenty (hundreds) of reports where the taser was drawn and displayed, and the subject fell over dead BEFORE the taser was fired.

If the taser hits have no causal relationship to the subsequent death, then basic logic would dictate that you would expect to see roughly as many people falling over dead just BEFORE being tasered, as just AFTER being tasered. Feel free to normalize each incident on a 'per unit time' basis (it won't make any difference). But you should include the total duration of the incident timeline.

Virtually every 'taser incident' that results in a death (either BEFORE or AFTER the taser is actually fired) has its very own, built-in experimental control. The experimental control is the time BEFORE the taser hit. An asymmetrical distribution would seem to provide clear-cut evidence of causality. If the asymmetry is extreme, then the argument is over.

The many clear-cut taser misses would provide similar data. How many subjects have had a taser fired towards them, had both darts miss (completely), and then fallen over dead anyway? [Note - both darts must miss since the taser circuit can be completed via a ground path.]

There should be roughly an equal number of such reports to balance out the 400+ that have died AFTER being struck with a taser. Taser International should be bringing the thick stack of such "BEFORE" reports to the many inquiries that they attend. The fact that they don't have any such reports, certainly not hundreds, is a form of real-world evidence that trumps all their clumsy attempts at manufacturing "scientific studies".


(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 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.)

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