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, November 13, 2009

Coincidental Pulmonary Resuscitation

Same old same old...

Police use Taser on man, then give CPR - Chief says man is surviving the incident, but doesn't know his condition - The officer then used a Taser. He said he didn’t know where the Taser struck the man, who police believe to be in his 50s. Officers cuffed the man and realized he wasn’t responsive and began CPR and called an ambulance... [LINK]

"Just a coincidence. Nothing to see here. Move along now."


Update: The 58-year-old man, reportedly from South Carolina, was removed from life support and died on Friday. [LINK]

According to the reports:

Corpus Christi, TX - Officers Ross Murray and Daryl Anderson arrived on the scene and Murray used a Taser, hitting the man in the lower back. The man appeared unaffected by the 50,000-volt stun gun, Green said, adding that police aren’t sure if the probe even penetrated the several layers of clothes the man was wearing. Murray then placed the Taser on the man’s shoulder blade and shocked him... The man continued to be combative, Green said.

First, the taser uses 50,000 volts and long pointy darts in order to be able to establish a conductive ionized path even through clothing. If the taser is not reliable in Texas in November, then what chance would it have in (for example) Michigan in February? It really seems that they're dealing cards from both sides of the deck. They claim that the taser is a useful and effective tool, and then when someone dies they claim '...it probably didn't even make contact this time.'

For the time being, let's assume it made contact into the subject's lower back. Was this with the darts? Was the next taser hit into the shoulder creating a three point contact (darts still wired in, then add a direct connection)? If so, then the taser current may have flowed from the area around the shoulders down to the lower back. It's not clear that this sort of deployment is necessarily inherently safe simply because it was directed into the back. Further details might provide more indication.

And note that the delay in the man's death has almost zero logical implications as to the cause. Yes, it may provide a clue as to the mechanism of death, but the death started at the point of arrest and is therefore connected to what happened at that time. In that sense, the delay provides no evidence of non-causality.

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