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, December 5, 2009

Bringing a taser-injury study to debate about torture and death

Tasers have multiple problems.

For example, although they talk about neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI), the method of getting there is on an axis of electrocution that necessarily has to include excruciating pain to reach NMI. Also, use of this sort of 19th-century electroshock "technology" includes a not-insignificant risk of death.

The excruciating pain is, unfortunately, a perversely-attractive feature for some (not all!) law enforcement officers (obviously depending on people and circumstances). This is one of the unspoken selling features of the taser - the ability to inflict excruciating pain for various purposes (including many that would legally constitute 'torture', meeting the legal definition in every respect). And - here's the bonus feature - get away with it. If they used the glowing end of a lit cigarette, they'd get in trouble. But replace the torture-by-glowing-cigarette with torture-by-taser and those involved are somehow given a pass. [LINK]

In my opinion, the primary issue with tasers is that the manufacturer claims that they are essentially perfectly safe with respect to inherent internal risk factors (risk of DEATH) such as cardiac effects, while the reality is obvious different.

If the risk of death (apparently highest with one specific model, the X26 [LINK][LINK]) would be acknowledged, then perhaps it would help to reduce the rate of overuse, misuse and abuse (even torture).

Now there's news of yet another tasers-and-injuries study. [LINK]

Typically, these sorts of studies look at the effects of a baton strike (brusing, broken bones) and classify those effects as injuries. And then they look at the inherent effects of a taser deployment (puncture wounds, burns) and inexplicably classify those as "non-injuries" [LINK] (contrasted to [LINK]).

And they typically swallow the whole "excited delirium" explanation for any taser associated deaths without any gag reflex. Here are some previous examples of studies of 'tasers-and-injuries' with obvious flaws. [LINK][LINK]

Studying rates of INJURY with tasers, while the issues of TORTURE and DEATH are still unresolved is a despicable ploy or a moral error.

As is mixing injuries_and_death. [LINK][LINK]

For example, allow to quote John MacDonald, a criminologist at the University of Pennsylvania who led the present study. [ibid] He said that physical force "is much more likely to cause injury_and_death." (underscores added to emphasize the huge logical and moral error.

These are the propaganda tricks used by scoundrels. Or the unwitting.

"Injuries"? Geesh - it's not even on the same page as the present debate.

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