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.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why?

Fair Use / Fair Dealing claimed

Why did Taser International issue new taser targeting guidelines?


My Analysis:

They claim it is "more to do" with "avoiding controversy" than anything to do with their view of safety concerns.

First, note the equivocation in their carefully-nuanced language: "...more to do..." They're carefully avoiding language that explicitly excludes consideration of safety concerns. In other words, they're leaving themselves an 'out'. But even the residual claim makes little sense when viewed from a cost-benefit angle.

They're taking all this heat 'mostly' to help their customers "avoid controversy"?

That purported 'pure-as-the-driven-snow' motivation really seems to be out of balance with the steep price that they're paying. Alarm bells are going off. Their claim appears to be ever-so-subtly wrong.

Let's do the analysis.

COST:

The blowback that Taser International is getting on their new taser targeting guidelines is costing them a fortune in terms of PR image, legal exposure, providing ammunition to critics, serious potential for increased insurance costs, setting the stage for providing even more hard statistical evidence, lost trust with police, products that are obviously much less useful, etc.

In the mid-term, it all adds up to a massive cost in real dollars. In the long run, we're potentially talking eight or nine-figures (neglecting the counter-balancing considerations that I'll address in a moment.)

NOT REALLY A SURPRISE:

No way that Taser International didn't see this coming. They're not that stupid.

Look at their incredible legal record - a product that can cause death, they deny it, people die, and they still win cases. They even somehow managed to turn plain $ettlement$ into "di$mi$$al$".

Aside from a few intellectual blind spots and some startling examples of clumsiness with IT work, they do show some evidence of being crafty. They're certainly not incapable of predicting and calculating the future.

So if they start turning on the 'wide-eyed innocent' act and begin pretending that they're surprised by the blowback, then that'd be fake.

MAKE SENSE?:

So it seems pretty far fetched to claim that they started this massive conflagration simply to help their customers "avoid controversy."

That purported explanation is, by my judgment, about three orders of magnitude (1000-to-1) insufficient in value to them to balance the decision logic.

ALTERNATE EXPLANATION:

The only counter-balancing consideration that I can imagine that would drive them to this extremely costly course of action is their realization that there actually is a real world problem with taser safety (I suspect that they've known for several years...), AND their realization that this conclusion was becoming more and more obvious to everyone, AND that it was getting to the point where they realize that everyone knows that they know that everyone knows that they know about the real world safety facts.

That last multi-level point on 'who knows who knows what' is intentional. It really is a multilayer puzzle like the plot line from a Chinese drama.

They projected the past and present into the future and the area under the curve (future liability for false claims of safety) probably scared the hell out of them.

They were left with no choice. They had to take a baby-step in the opposite direction. This was the smallest baby-step that they could find. But the reversal is obvious. They knew that any reversal on taser safety would be obvious, even if buried on page 2 of the document.

NEXT STEP:

To mask their real motivation for issuing the new targeting guidelines (because it could be used against them), they need to claim that they "never saw it coming" ("it" being the magnitude of the blowback). In other words, they'll be tempted to play dumb.

So sit back and wait for their next move.

Watch for the wide-eyed protestations of surprise and "hurt feelings". And to make it even more believable, they'll wheel out their least clever looking spokespuppet to play this role.


[updated repeatedly]

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