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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stanley Harlan, Moberly, MO

#370 - August 29, 2008: Stanley James Harlan, 23, Moberly, Missouri.

Right around midnight on the night of August 28, 2008, Mr. Harlan was tasered, become unresponsive, and died. All in a row. And in the correct order too.

Police say when Harlan resisted, the officer deployed his Taser twice to subdue him. The first Taser shock lasted five seconds and the subsequent shock was only one second. Harlan became unresponsive soon thereafter. [LINK]


Oh sorry - CORRECTION - THREE TIMES. [See videos below.]

For 21 seconds. For 7 seconds. And then for 3 seconds.

That adds up to 31 seconds. 31 seconds? That sounds like a very familiar number...

KOMU TV reports (including video on demand):
Published Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 6:48 PM [LINK]
Published Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 10:10 PM [LINK]


The parallels with the Dziekanski case are amazing. About the only thing different is that the airport terminal building is missing.

Yet another example of "failing safe"

Jacksonville, FL - A police officer says his attempt to arrest a shoplifter had a deadly ending when his X26 taser, made by defendants Taser International and DGG Taser, failed him. Jared Reston says when the stun gun failed the shoplifter pulled out a gun and shot him in the chin, and didn't stop shooting until Reston pulled his own gun and killed the man. [LINK]


Previous posts on "failing safe" [LINK]

Previous post on "high failure (mostly out-of-spec) rate" [LINK]


It's intriguing to try to imagine Taser International's awkward legal and moral position with the above lawsuit. What possible defense would they have? How aggressively can they legally fight-back against this injured police officer?

Sucks to be Taser these days.

Maywood, CA

Taser abuse, and much more, and the "code of silence". See [LINK].

Everyone knows about the Blue Brotherhood of Silence. It's obviously perfectly evil. It's highly destructive to society. And it's almost certainly criminal.

So when is someone going to do something about it?

Presentation by Dorin Panescu

Estimation of TASER Current Flow and Effects on Human Body

Available here [LINK] (833KB .pdf)

This report is an example of why many well-run high-tech companies avoid hiring too many PhDs.


The modeling of the human body presented in this report is primitive to the extreme. The ratio of the complexity of a real human body to this model must be at least 100,000-to-1. Medical school would last an hour if the human body was as trivially simple as this crude model.

At best, this sort of crude model might be good for some rough order of magnitude approximations. Providing two-digit results implies approximately 1% accuracy ('significant figures') which is completely laughable.

And where the hell is the tolerance analysis? You know? ...where you use actual population Bell Curves to calculate the actual population risk ratios? Remember your first year statistics? Monte Carlo analysis? Oh Hellllloooo?


Even given all of the above, on Slide 23, it appears to indicate that the safety margin for 'capture' can be as low as 1.7 times. I assume that 'capture' means roughly the same thing as 'affecting the heart'.

And this is with a very crude model that is really only good for rough estimating. When I see a safety margin for affecting the heart of just 1.7x, given the utter crudeness of the modeling effort, then this causes alarms bells to go off. I'll bet that the tolerance of the accuracy of this crude model firmly overlaps with the real-world population Bell Curve. Quote me: "Low end single digits."

In my opinion, this counts as a huge I Told You So.


PS: Slide 23: "**TASER CEW M26 margins are wider..." I Told You So on that as well.


Dziekanski's death cardiac-related & linked to taser

Dr. John Butt, an eminent forensic pathologist with almost 40 years’ experience and who was awarded the Order of Canada in 2000 for his work, told the Braidwood inquiry that Robert Dziekanski’s death — after five Taser jolts and restraint by the RCMP — was likely a “cardiac-related” death linked to the Tasering. ... [LINK].  See also [LINK].

Dr. Butt also took exception to the taser-minimizing, and pre-existing condition highlighting, aspects of the autopsy report prepared by pathologist Dr. Charles Lee.

"experts"

Even the mainstream media are putting Taser International's "experts" in quotes.

CANWEST NEWS SERVICE (APRIL 28, 2009) - VANCOUVER — Two experts who both admit to being paid by Taser International said that they don’t believe the five Taser jolts inflicted on Robert Dziekanski contributed to his death. ... [LINK]

We may have to start using the term: "experts" (LOL)


Perhaps it's time to review that darn timeline again...




US Federal Agents swoop down on civil rights violator

Sleepy Hollow Detective Jose Quinoy was arrested and was to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in White Plains on charges that he violated the victims' civil rights. ...

He was not charged in connection with another incident that federal agents had reportedly been investigating. In that August 2007 incident, a 17-year-old village boy, Duanny Lara Mota, was stunned with a taser during an encounter with Quinoy after riding his bicycle on a village sidewalk. Mota has since filed a civil lawsuit against the village and the detective.
[LINK]


So US Federal Agents are now investigating allegations of taser abuse.

Nice. Very nice.


Now in Canada, what agency would investigate in cases where RCMP members were accused of abusing their tasers?

Aren't we supposed to have a separation of The Church of Taser and The State of Denial?

Towns considering taser should consider this...

Spokane County will spend $120,000 to settle a lawsuit by a man who was jolted by a sheriff deputy’s taser during a traffic stop in 2005. ... [LINK]

Ka-ching.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

(possible) homicide by 'stun-gun' - more...

Further update to a previous post [LINK]

Colorado Springs police officers are investigating the death of a man who may have been killed by a stun gun Monday morning. ... When they arrived, they found one man not breathing and another having a seizure. Officers and emergency crews gave CPR to the man who wasn't breathing, but he died at the scene. The man who had a seizure was taken to Memorial Hospital. ... Officers are still trying to figure out how the first man died... [they] heard that a stun gun was used in the fight, but that hasn't been confirmed. [LINK] [LINK]


It would be - ah - interesting if the stun-gun in question was a certain well-known market-leading brand, and if both subjects had somehow tasered each other with the device in question, and if certain 'experts' then try to maintain a straight face while attempting to explain-away TWO coincidental serious health reactions of the TWO subjects during ONE 'stun-gun' incident.


I hope we (North American society) aren't so thick-headed that we will need to wait for a three-way tasering (with serious outcomes) before we finally accept that it's not happenstance, not coincidence, but actually is 'enemy action'.


Because the Universe is stranger than we can imagine, I half-expect that this incident is only going to get stranger and stranger as the complete details are slowly drip-fed to the public.


Again, I pretty-much predicted that something like this would happen. [Gedanken]

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bad policy ~AND~ Defective Training

Liberal MP Mark Holland: "I don't see why we can't have policies that say if someone is down on the ground writhing in pain, they shouldn't be hit again with a taser." [LINK]

"Hit him again," is the now world-famous quote from one of the officers. These highly-trained officers apparently cannot distinguish 'writing in pain' from 'fighting'.

It's perfectly self-evident that the taser training is so incredibly bad that it is perfectly reasonable to characterize it as DEFECTIVE. This defective training is Top-Down. All the self-proclaimed 'taser experts' carry the virus. The higher they are up in the Taser fool-chain, the worse their infection.


There's only one cure that will actually work: Moratorium.

It'll capture their attention.
It'll allow time to fix the issue.
It'll put the people back in charge.

I can't see any other course of action that would have the desired effect.

Of course, the main risk of a taser moratorium is that the RCMP (for example) might have to shoot dead "600" people in Canada if they don't have tasers at their disposal. LOL! [LINK]

BC SG John 'The Leadfoot' van Dongan resigns

We've met British Columbia Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety John van Dongen twice before on this blog:

The first time was when he refused to say if he supported a policy that allows Vancouver Transit Police to taser 'non-compliant' passengers. He said, "I'm not the expert on that." Not an expert? A provincial Solicitor General that is apparently unfamiliar with the Criminal Code of Canada s. 269.1? WTF? [LINK]

The second time was when he said that putting civilians into investigative roles would be impracticable. "We have to have people who are skilled at investigations and who can conduct them properly." In other words, only the police should investigate the police. Yeah dude, how's that been working out, eh? [LINK]


Well - in today's news - he has resigned his cabinet post after losing his driver's license. He said the decision to resign was triggered by two 'excessive speeding' citations (40+ kph over the limit). And in the four years before he became SG he had received another seven 'regular speeding' tickets. That makes nine. [LINK]


He's lucky he wasn't tasered during one or more of these many speeding incidents...

(possible) homicide by "an over-the-counter brand electroshock device" which may or may not have been a taser...

Almost exactly one year ago (3 May 2008), I predicted that something like this would happen. [Gedanken]


Colorado Springs Police are investigating what could possibly be the city's next homicide after an incident overnight. The incident involved a "taser"... [LINK]


UPDATE 1: Story and headline have been edited. The word 'taser' has been removed. And the story now includes the following legal nause:

CSPD officials continue to investigate the death and say the man was allegedly struck with an over-the-counter brand electroshock device which was found and recovered at the scene. It is not known what, if any, contribution this device may have had in the death, nor has it been fully determined if the device was even used and/or is functional.

Taser International lawyers been busy?


First comment by a W. Sharp nails the issue:

How can the taser be at fault when a civilian uses a taser but not at fault when a police uses a taser?

Every taser death caused by the police are ruled to have been caused by "excited delirium" and not the brutal electroshock from the taser.

Taser International goes to great lengths to intimidate medical examiners and prosecutors if they attempt to link the use of a taser to the sudden cardiac arrest (death) of a person who was shocked by the police (their customers). It will be interesting to see how Taser International deals with cardiac arrest caused by a taser in the hands of a civilian.



Pull up a chair - this should be interesting...

UPDATE 2: KKTV [LINK] includes link to newscast video entitled "Taser Attack" and they mention the word 'taser' several times. Let's see how long the video link stays on-line...

Tasers used to mete out punishment

According to this account, the tasers (and a beating) were basically used for some road-side punishment.

"It is interesting that the two agencies involved are trying to put responsibility for this attack on each other. DPS claims that their officers never use Taser guns, while border patrol is saying that it was only the DPS officer(s) who were using Taser guns. ...

Please, no stupid comments about obeying "the powers that be". The highest authority in our country is the Constitution. Idiots who blindly follow their wicked government also made Hitler's Third Reich happen.
" [LINK]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How appropriate...

A recent post at the Truth ... Not Tasers blog here [LINK] included images of the logos for the USA "Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths" and the "Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths". The two logos are very nearly identical.

[Fair Use / Fair Dealing for logo extract is righteously claimed.]



Both of these logos include features from the symbol for medicine, the Caduceus [WIKI].



Wiki: "The caduceus is typically depicted as a short herald's staff entwined by two serpents in the form of a double helix, and sometimes is surmounted by wings."

Neither of these two so-called 'organizations' are really morally entitled to use key style elements from a symbol of medicine. The US outfit is basically Dr. John G. Peters, but he is not a medical doctor. His PhD was in 'Applied Management and Decision Sciences'. His C.V. indicates that he started out as a patrol officer (a key indicator of pro-Taser views). And the 'Canadian' (?) outfit is basically a Guelph Police Constable named Gary Mulder doing some after-hours freelancing. I'll go out on a limb here and assume that he also lacks a medical degree (corrections welcomed, LOL).

In both of these logos (one is basically a direct copy of the other), the herald's staff has been replaced with what appears to be a law enforcement officer, taking the position of Jesus on The Cross (oh, puhleeze...), holding the Scales of Justice (which is just plain wrong), and the officer is entwined by two serpents. The serpents are depicted in black, which I assume represents the nifty black turtleneck shirts often worn by the Taser Smith-for-brains brothers.

So there you have it. Lady Justice [WIKI] has been kicked aside. The Scales of Justice are now held by an ugly and balding, yet strangely beef-cake law enforcement officer. And the officer is completely entwined by a pair of Satan's own black serpents; does this representing control by something evil and sinister?

You certainly can't accuse these folks of false advertising. Their logos are exactly correct.

"Conflict of Interest" (ref. TNT)

The Truth ... Not Tasers blog has posted an open letter to the Chair and Members of the Guelph Police Services Board. [LINK]

Selected related posts found on this blog:
  1. So who is pushing 'Excited Delirium'? [LINK]
  2. So, 'Whois' pushing "Excited Delirium" ?? [LINK]
  3. Be Brave and Mash yer brain [LINK]
  4. Taser International admits they sponsored IPICD [LINK]

I believe that item 4 happened because we uncovered the links (Taser - their lawyer Micheal Brave - IPICD - 'excited delirium') and reported them here. I've not found any evidence that they had previously been open about their back-room links (but I'm willing to be proven incorrect). Even now, Taser International is still not listed as a (founding?) sponsor on the IPICD sponsors' page.

This blog has more than 900 posts. You can search the blog (top left) for related keywords such as IPICD and 'Micheal Brave'. Almost every post is linked, either directly or indirectly via previous related posts, to external sources.

You might also want to browse. There's more than enough material here to make a Micheal Moore movie about these clowns.

Another possible death mechanism (?)

Out of the mouths of...

...What killed Dziekanski... "This is not due to a Taser," says Deborah Mash, a neurology professor at the University of Miami who has been studying excited delirium for 20 years. "This is in the brain and they die because the mechanisms that control the heart and the lungs fail." [LINK]


Has anyone looked into the possibility that the taser shock is capable of affecting the nervous system (duh!) mechanisms such that these systems sometimes fail due to a long duration taser shock?

Perhaps, with bad luck and thus occuring in just a fraction of incidents, the central nervous system pathways that control the heart and the lungs just happen to carry enough of the randomly-placed taser current to have their stock of neurochemical transmitters depleted by long duration electric current from the taser.

In the same way that bright lights can temporarily blind you. In the same way that loud sounds can temporarily deafen you. In the same way that repeated impacts can eventually lead to numbness. In the same way that a constant smell eventually becomes imperceptible. Nervous systems eventually shut-down if they're been triggered too much.

Perhaps the taser current sometimes (randomly) rides the pathways that control the heart and lungs. Perhaps those pathways become depleted and thus incapable of functioning for a critical period.


This proposed explanation makes as much, or possibly more, sense than 'excited delirium' in many cases where the late victim obviously wasn't even as excited as the police, and certainly wasn't even the slightest bit delirious.


Something to keep in mind is that the taser is really the first device that often applies the current directly across the chest. Most of the safety standards are not written to assume that the electrician falls chest-first into box of high voltage circuitry. Those standards often assume that the current arrives on one hand, and exits down one leg. This may be an important element in solving the taser-associated death mystery.

Also, I'm very suspicious of those 'expert' calculations of smooth distributions of current through the human body (as if it made of large homogeneous chunks of material). I suspect that the current prefers to travel on small structures that are good conductors and cover larger areas (nerves?).

This post is just a suggestion for further consideration.

Howard Hyde's sister: "It was horrifying."

She heard an audio recording of her brother being tasered: [LINK]

How to design a reliable spark-gap

There has been a lot of talk lately about the spark-gaps in tasers being a bit 'fussy'.


Disclaimer: I've not examined an X26 taser. What follows is based on speculation about what they might not have done. If an internal spark-gap is required in the design of the taser, then it needs to be done correctly if it is to be reliable. These are just my opinions, and I'm not an expert in this field.



A reliable spark-gap should be enclosed within a sealed tube, and protected from atmospheric contaminants. A spark-gap that is exposed to the atmosphere will obviously deteriorate over time (this should be considered to be basic and common knowledge for designers of such high voltage systems).

The spark-gap tube obviously needs to be manufactured from ceramic (or perhaps glass) in order to be highly insulating.

The electrodes within the spark-gap assembly need to be sharp, and the exact shape and spacing of the tips can be tuned to achieve the effect desired. The material coating the metal electrodes can be critical - often exotic and expensive metals are used.

The tube needs to be filled with an inert gas (not damp air).

The gas in the tube can also contain traces of a slightly radioactive material to help ionize the gas (very small amounts like those used in smoke detectors). Trace amounts of tritium is commonly used for this sort of purpose. If so, then it might have a half-life such that the device would require periodic maintenance to replace the life-timed spark-gap. This would be addressed in the logistics planning.


If the spark-gap is designed properly and is used within its design limits, then it should be reliable. That's what the words 'designed properly' mean.

The reported unreliability of the spark-gap within tasers (this information straight from Taser International) indicates that there might be a design-oversight with that component.

Perhaps they just used an air-gap. Maybe that's where the characteristic clacking noise originates. {rolls-eyes}


In the industry, electronics that is unreliable is given a highly-technical name: 'Crap'

Requirement for 'Spark Test' laughable...

A woman began fighting with the trooper. When the trooper tried to use his Taser, it didn't fire, so he discarded it. The woman picked it up and used it to zap the trooper. [LINK]


With all the taser failures being found in Canada (consistently ~10%), Taser International has been recommending that all police should 'spark test' their taser before trying to use it.

The defect (strictly my opinion) reportedly has something to do with a poorly-designed internal spark gap that doesn't work properly unless you provide it with some sort of loving electrical foreplay first.


This implies that the police, in an emergency, would possibly have to first remove the dart cartridge from the front of the taser, then 'spark test' the taser, then reinsert the cartridge, and then it would finally be ready for use.

If you forget to remove the cartridge, then when you pull the trigger to conduct the so-called 'spark test', then it will obviously fire off the darts in whatever direction the taser happens to be pointing.

Oh! You think that won't happen?

Students began asking (Lexington County, SC) School Resource Officer Michelle McLaurin about her taser. The officer pulled out the taser to do a “spark test” when it fired and stuck a student’s metal zipper on a jacket. [LINK]

Tasers in schools. Crazy. Absolutely crazy.


In the US market, Taser International should beware of possible competition from the various 'Dollar Stores'. It seems like the 'Dollar Stores' might be able to beat them not just on price, but also on design and build quality.

Tasered six times, died 'partly as the result'

#204 - July 9, 2006: Nickolos Cyrus, 29, Mukwonago, Wisconsin

24 April 2009 - A federal judge has thrown out a civil rights suit filed by the family of a 29-year-old man who died after police officers in Waukesha County repeatedly fired a Taser at him. ... Cyrus died in July 2006 after the police officers fired a Taser at him six times while placing him under arrest. The Waukesha County medical examiner later ruled that he died from cardiorespiratory failure, partly as the result of the multiple electronic shocks. ... [LINK]


I'm guessing that you won't see any proud press releases about this judgment. Taser International wouldn't want to draw attention to the medical examiner's reported finding that the taser shocks were PARTLY TO BLAME for the death

Taser International admits they sponsored IPICD

Surprise surprise. Why - you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw this:

"...spokesperson Steve Tuttle confirmed that Taser International gave 'setup grants' to John Peters' firm [IPICD]..."  [LINK]


The Institute for Prevention of In-Custody Death (Lawsuits) website proudly mentions two sponsors: US Armor and LAAW (Mr. Brave's company). But Taser International is not mentioned on the sponsor's page (even now).


Now - this is where they start to pretend that they weren't intentionally trying to obscure the indirect links from Taser International to those that promote 'excited delirium' as a convenient excuse for mysterious in-custody deaths often associated with taser use.

Let's Google:

http://www.google.com/search?q=IPICD+"Taser+International"

They mentioned each other in passing. But the first Google hit that connects the dots is this blog.


So guys. Does it feel better to finally be out of the closet? Hey! ...not that there's anything wrong with that!

Interesting hit from Michigan

Lambertville, Michigan arrived from google.com on "www.Excited-Delirium.com" by searching for: where to send brain to deborah mash for excited delirium analysis.

Someone in Michigan is looking for some "expert help"?

Yeah, good luck with that...

Ref: 25 April 2009, Buckeye Cablevision Inc., Mac, Safari, 1920x1200.

UPDATE: 9:17am 26 April 2009. Someone living near Mound, Minnesota (Kroll?) received an e-mail from web e-mail account on secureserver.net and then lands directly on this blog post: "www.Excited-Delirium.com: Interesting hit from Michigan".

Why would someone be getting e-mails about someone in Michigan (the very same state where there have been two recent deaths of kids that were tasered) looking for help with "where to send brain to deborah mash for excited delirium analysis". Strange.

The next court case, there should be some interesting subpoenas flying around to gather-up evidence of the connections amongst all these pro-taser 'excited delirium' folks. I'll bet that they wouldn't want half of their communications to be brought into court.

Attention pro-taser folks - you can use this blog as a reference if you wish. But it comes with a cost.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Standing Up Against the Police Pre-Trial Electrocution

Day of Blogging for Justice: [LINK]


Tasers are, very often, used to apply torture. The word torture is very clearly defined in the applicable UN convention (Google the word and you'll find the definition).

The taser's output is so far and away above 'severe' pain that there's no room for arguing about that.

Even the courts are not permitted to use Taser Torture as a punishment. It amounts to barbaric and unethical medieval-style torture. An electrical bull-whip. Good for keeping the people in line, frightened and obedient...


Lawyers should track taser usage statistics in various cities and if the numbers indicate prejudicial (in both meanings of the word) Taser Torture, then don't bother asking questions.

Just sue.

Decision makers lack basic knowledge

Calgary Police Service (CPS) Supt. Trevor Daroux doesn't see any reason for concern about the fact that 31 out of 190 CPS-owned tasers tested failed to meet the specifications (that's a 16.3% failure rate, a new record). Solicitor General Fred Lindsay said, "...out of specification ... create a safety hazard ... I have not seen any evidence to support that..." [LINK]

Gentlemen, please meet the Bell Curve (a.k.a. Normal Distribution): Because of the shape of the Bell Curve, even relatively small changes in the independent variable (the taser output) can lead to surprisingly large changes in the dependent variable (the risks).

For example, if you had been paying even the slightest attention to the larger taser safety debate, then you might have noticed Prof Savard's report (hint: CBC) [LINK] where he conducted exactly this sort of analysis on the X26 failures. He found that if the taser output was just 50% higher than specified, the risk of death went up by a ten-to-one ratio. The Bell Curve leverage in his analysis is a 20:1 ratio (+50% in, x10 out).

And given the increasing evidence that tasers are perhaps not really as perfectly safe as claimed by Taser International (have you noticed?), even to the point that the safety of even those tasers that are within specification is being questioned, there is ZERO ROOM for acceptance of any that are found to be above the pass line.

And the fact that Taser International apparently failed to provide even the most fundamental logistical support system such as field test equipment, recommended calibration cycles, test and maintenance plans, etc. - reveals them to be working to a much lower standard than is even applied to radar or laser speed guns.

Which is insane. Think about it. Radar guns are calibrated. But nobody bothered to check the tasers. Crazy. It's evidence that you've swallowed Taser International's world-view - hook, line and sinker.

The whole package adds up to a crock of sh_t.

"Fired for refusing taser test"

This blog is still getting an unexpectedly high number of hits on the same 'deputy refuses taser hit - fired - sues' subject. And these are, for the most part, direct landings from Google searches on these sorts of keywords.

See [LINK] regarding [LINK].

Dozens and dozens of hits over just a few days.

It is, by far, the most popular post-specific landing page on this blog.


I personally believe that all fully-brainwashed Taser Master Trainers should taser themselves directly in the chest, right across the heart.

Five times. 25+ seconds of shock within half a minute. Repeat twice weekly.

Use clip leads so you don't accidentally fire one or more taser darts up your nostrils into your brain (which, by the way, wouldn't count as an 'injury' according to the 'experts').

According to the official world-view of Taser International, it's perfectly safe to taser away on yourself (so long as you don't fall down). Maybe lie down first.

Please YouTube the results.


Such a concentrated campaign might do much to reassure the lower ranks in the Church of Taser.

Maybe.



Or maybe not.

New Book from Pro-Taser Insiders & Fan-boy Hangers-On

The pro-taser twits have gotten together and slapped together an amusing book of pro-taser propaganda.

In the very first section they as much as claim that tasers don't cause injuries.

"Zero for 88" is the injury statistic that they mention.

They don't count the, ah, injuries from the darts as 'injuries'. No darts in skulls mentioned. No incidents mentioned with darts in eyeballs. Basically the taser darts don't count. Guns wouldn't cause injuries if you don't count the bullets.

No incidents where people have been injured. Not one. Not this one [LINK]. Obviously they're also skipping over the cases where police trainees have been injured. And sued. And had their cases "DI$MI$$ED with prepayment".

They've also carefully chosen a tiny data set that obviously doesn't include any burns. Some taser incidents reportedly include burn marks and even scarring.

No deaths either. Not one.

They do include a checklist for 'excited delirium'. Especially the sort of excited delirium that lies dormant for ten hours and then suddenly leaps up and kills the subject just as he is being tasered.

Not a word of doubt in the Church of Taser.


One question, maybe two:  Why did Prof Savard find that risk of death was linearly-proportional to the number of taser cycles? And why did even the NIJ panel point out the same strange correlation? Strange fact eh?

"Slower pulse rate" ??

So far, 175 Edmonton police Tasers were tested, 15 of which didn’t make the grade. Most of them delivered a slower “pulse rate” than they were supposed to. [LINK]

The X26 taser is supposedly digitally-controlled. The pulse rate shouldn't vary. It should be based on a crystal oscillator that clocks the CPU. Crystal oscillators shouldn't change more than a tiny fraction of 1% *.

(* Like any cheap digital wrist watch, even a 1% error would be an error of 14 minutes per day for a wrist watch.)

If the pulse rate of an X26 taser isn't almost exactly bang-on the specified value, then something is very fishy.


Are the Edmonton Police still using the older "Advanced" (sic) M26 taser? It has a sloppy and obviously-primitive design and its specified pulse rate tolerance is an amazing "+/- 25%".

What's going on?

Tolerances and analysis

Tasers are failing, in significant numbers, to pass newly-instituted test procedures.

There's some talk that some of the failures are not significant because they're just outside the specified limits.

Obviously, the next step is to revised the specifications and widen the specified tolerance band. If +/-20% isn't wide enough, then maybe +/-25% would allow more tasers to pass the relaxed tests. Maybe +/-30% would be even 'better'? +/-50%?

[Excuse me. The 'We is High Tech' sign on your building has fallen down and is sticking out of a pile of cow dung.]

But here's the catch.

You have to re-do all the studies, including performing again what is called a 'Monte Carlo' type analysis to matrix all the variations of taser output against all the variations in human conditions to calculate a predicted risk of death rate for X26 taser darts on chest.

('...again...' ?)

Then, after this inherent risk has been calculated, peer-reviewed by skeptical critics (not fan-boys), published... ...then they can subsequently and explicitly adjust for the reduction in risk arising from somewhat random dart placement.

A correct answer can be identified when it matches the real-world results. If they come up with the nonsensical one-in-millions risk of death, then you know they are still playing games.

Looking to justify a moratorium?

Mounties trained to believe Tasers aren't fatal [LINK]


But the RCMP has recently admitted that "use of tasers ...  includes risk of death..."


So, has the training actually changed?

If it has, I'd be surprised.

If it hasn't, time to 'hang' (legally, not literally) some senior staff for failing to be consistent.


And it's about time for some SECU members to audit a typical taser training course. Without warning. Just show-up and seize copies of all the material.

Dziekanski Timeline

Mr. Dziekanski wandered the Vancouver airport for about ten hours... Police arrived, he was tasered-and-died.

Now I'm not an expert in excited delirium like some people, but you simply have to look at the timeline (drawn approximately to scale below) to see what's really going on.

Unless you choose to believe the 'experts' that claim that Mr. Dziekanski's death had nothing to do with what happened in his last minutes... {Rolls-eyes}

'Shooting blanks' could be deadly

I've made this point before [LINK][LINK], but it is worth repeating. The issue is that when tasers fail on the low side and are therefore 'ineffective', it doesn't necessarily follow that they have 'failed safe'.

Here is why:

People have been killed by police gun-fire when the taser application was "ineffective". One is left to wonder if the subject might have survived if the police had used de-escalation techniques instead of relying on the taser. [LINK]

An argument can be made, quite reasonably, that ineffective tasers are extremely dangerous because of the potential for escalation and subsequent death by police gun fire.

The context of this is with respect to the near-constant 10% (+/-) failure rate of tasers when tested by CBC, British Columbia, Quebec, and now Alberta.


But it is critical to keep your eye on the main points:

Even when tasers are within specification, there is not universal agreement that they are essentially perfectly safe (cardiac effects). There are some studies that indicate that the risk is nowhere as low as Taser claims. The linear relationship found by Prof Savard between number of taser cycles and RISK OF DEATH is actually pretty strong evidence of a cause-and-effect link (unless people that plan to die somehow self-select themselves for additional taser cycles, and in a linear fashion - such an excuse is stretching the bounds of "logic" well beyond the breaking point).

And the issue of torture-by-taser. Overuse, abuse and misuse.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Taser "experts" parroting propaganda

Cpl. Gregg Gillis, the RCMP's use-of-force expert in B.C., says Taser trainees are told there is no medical evidence the stun gun interferes with breathing or the heart. [LINK]

No medical evidence?

No 'dissenting' opinions against Taser's view?

None? Anywhere?


Bull feathers.

There have been quite a few such highly-qualified and well-documented opinions documented on this blog. Not to mention the real world results.

Attention: ~10% of tasers fail tests

Every time they test a batch of tasers, about 10% fail.

Here's the latest taser testing news from from Alberta: [LINK]

12% failure rate this time...


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Victoria (Aus.) rules out tasers for all

Victoria Police will be given only limited use of the controversial taser guns under procedures outlined by the state's new police commissioner Simon Overland. Despite earlier indications that he was keener on the idea of universal issue of the device than his predecessor who resisted their use, Mr Overland will keep the status quo. The announcement comes after a court case in Western Australia last month in which a police officer was attacked and partially paralysed after using a taser on a suspect who suffered a heart attack. Mr Overland told the Melbourne Press Club on Tuesday he would not be giving tasers to every member of Victoria Police.

"You can rule that out now."
[LINK]

"controversial" Yikes. Tasers are controversial? Who'd have guessed that?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Training so bad that it's actually evil...

...a police Taser expert testified that multiple taser shocks could cause the person's arms and legs to lock up. ... The taser was deployed another four times because police believed Dziekanski was resisting having his hands handcuffed behind his back.  [LINK]

Maybe what you call 'resisting' was because HIS ARMS WERE LOCKED UP by the f-ing taser!!

Yeah, taser the poor man until he voluntarily moves his arms behind his back (while being tasered virtually continuously, and he can't move anything, let alone his arms).


Idiots.


Do I need to spell it out?

M-O-R-A-T-O-R-I-U-M


The training is clearly defective.

Therefore, the Trainers' training is defective.

Thus, the Master Trainers' training is defective.


And it all originates from Starfleet headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ.

Former RCMP officers disappointed with force

I've seen a few isolated signs of this sort of informed-opinion over the past year or so. But it has grown and grown. Recently I'm seeing it more and more on the on-line comment boards. And I've recently heard some third-hand word-of-mouth information in the same spirit.

On Monday evening (20 April 2009), the CBC National news program had yet another news item about the whole sordid Dziekanski / taser / RCMP fiasco. Two retired RCMP officers gave their opinion about the situation. In short, they're massively embarrassed and disappointed with the present RCMP leadership and the systematic failures.

"They got caught in their own lie."

You can watch the 12m25s video here: [LINK]


From my point of view, views like those expressed by these retired RCMP officers gives me some faith in the future. And I'm glad that they have the moral fortitude to sit down on national TV and say it straight out. There's no Blue Brotherhood of Silence crap from those two fine gentlemen.

Bless their hearts.

Yeah baby - Google: "Fired for refusing taser test"

Something is brewing...

This afternoon, over a period of just a few hours, we had a couple of dozen visitors from cities all across the USA arrive on this blog after searching Google for the keywords: deputy fired refusing taser.


They all landed on the post linked below:


Speculation: Perhaps there is a move afoot to stop taser-torturing the poor police students. Or maybe they've been asked to turn around and take it in the chest as I have 'suggested'. 

Whatever is going on, I can't imagine how it would be a good thing for Taser International. At the very least, it'll keep their propaganda machine working ovetime.


Anyway - welcome to www.Excited-Delirium.com (do not forget the dash)


William Ellitott faces SECU

Mr. Elliott said that if someone is in a life-or-death situation, he would not want a rule that would prevent an officer from defending him or herself.  [LINK]

Oh shut-up! If an officer is really in a life-or-death situation, as opposed to facing down a confused traveller holding a stapler, then shoot the subject with a gun. Seriously!

Just not 600 times a year - please and thank you. [LINK]


This excuse is just the latest taser lie...

That 'tasers are essential to protecting the lives of officers.'

It's not even a good lie.  See [LINK] [LINK]


Officers in Canada have real guns. They're rarely abused. They're rarely overused. And they're rarely misused. Nobody is talking about taking away the police guns. Police can keep their guns. They can use these guns to protect themselves, and the public, in life-and-death situations. Never really been a problem (except in rare instances).

But we are talking about a taser moratorium. It's because tasers are far too often abused, overused and misused.

They're too unreliable to depend upon in real life-or-death situations. And they're too dangerous to use them when the situation doesn't call for lethal force.


One state - Michigan - two teens 'died' after being tasered in recent weeks. Neither was a life-and-death situation - until the taser was fired. So you're gonna stand there and flap your gums about the benefit of tasers? Shut up!


Even now, I'm still surprised at how much like this debate is like living in The Twilight Zone. Bizarre and strange arguments being presented by people that should know better.

William Elliott, RCMP Commissioner, to face SECU

RCMP Commissioner to face SECU later this morning to explain why what he promised to do wasn't what he actually did. [LINK]

Should be interesting on CBC News this evening...

Robert Mitchell, 16 years old, tasered

Warren, MI - The family of Robert Mitchell, the 16-year-old Detroit resident who died on April 10 2009 after he was tasered, have filed a federal lawsuit today against the city of Warren. Lawyer Paul Broschay said, "More and more people are going to die. They use Tasers without justification and for convenience.[LINK]

$175,000 settlement for taser incident

Chicago Sun Times - A 14-year-old boy who suffered brain damage after being tasered by Chicago Police would receive $175,000, under a settlement advanced Monday by a City Council committee. ... The February 2005 incident ... a police sergeant tasered the boy for 17 seconds. ... According to paramedics at the scene, the taser left the boy unconscious, suffering ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest. [LINK]

$175,000 ? They got off cheap.


Monday, April 20, 2009

I can see... ~ T h e F u t u r e ~

Think.
  1. Even cheap cell phones (mobiles) now record video.
  2. Mobile high speed (3G+) is becoming ubiquitous and cheap.
  3. Google already covers the news, and provides News Alerts.
  4. Google already owns YouTube.
  5. Google already owns Blogger.
  6. Google is poised to buy Twitter.
  7. Google even provides a mobile OS (Android).
  8. Google's policies are basically information for all and do no evil.

So what does it all mean?

Live streaming video from the street to the blog-o-sphere.

Virtually instantaneous. Pre-categorized. 'Pushed' to those interested.

And major media will come to rely on it due to its blanket coverage.


Example: You see some questionable behavior by some police officers. Maybe a good solid tasering of a person already restrained is just getting started. So you whip out your phone, press the Live Video to Blog app, select the 'police abuse' tag from your list of presets, and then aim. Elapsed time: about 3 seconds.

After it's all over and the victim has finally stop screaming (for one reason or another), you're approached by an aggressive police officer who demands 'the video'.

You just laugh.

You explain to the soon-to-be-former police officer that, "It's already been seen live by several thousands. Who? Well anyone that's interested in the Live Video keywords 'police abuse': media, civil rights lawyers, elected officials. Oh look, CNN just picked it up. They're playing MY video! Here look officer, you can see yourself on CNN on my phone. Isn't that cool? Can I have your autograph? Hey, come back!"


The punch line to all this is that the police (in general), even if they read and understand this post tonight, are almost certainly incapable of changing their attitudes and approaches quickly enough to avoid this inevitable technology convergence landing on their head like a ton of bricks.

They've got about two, maybe three, years. And that's simply not enough time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

RCMP could learn from 'Social Critic'

Read the comment from 'Social Critic' here [LINK].

A small extract:

...In a tiresomely predictable way the tautology repeats like this:

1. No one may ever question police behaviour because whatever the officer perceived is what the officer perceived.

2. Therefore whatever the officer did in response to the perception is reasonable.

3. Therefore the officer is always right.

4. Therefore anyone who disputes the officer must by definition be wrong. ...

Torture in America - Buckley v. Haddock




On March 17, 2004, Mr. Buckley was arrested after refusing to sign a traffic citation during a routine traffic stop. He was handcuffed and voluntarily exited his vehicle, obviously in emotional distress, then fell to the ground. The arresting officer was under no apparent threat, as documented by the police car-mounted camera, yet “tased” Mr. Buckley three separate times. Each tase lasted five seconds, leaving 16 burn marks on his skin, some severe enough to produce keloid scars. Although Mr. Buckley never once actively resisted arrest nor attempted to flee, the officer continued to tase him solely to cause pain. [LINK]


So - as I have already asked [LINK] - what's the flipping difference (ethical? moral? legal?) between using a taser, and using the glowing end of a lit cigarette, for pain compliance?

No replies to date - because there's no difference.

If one is unethical, then so is the other.
If one is immoral, then so is the other.
If one is illegal, then so is the other.
If one is evil, then so is the other.


And if the lower courts allow tasers to be used in this manner, then logically they're effectively permitting officers to also use the exactly-equivalent glowing end of a lit cigarette for the same purpose.


And could these flesh burns (!!!!!) have anything to do with the fact that the taser was designed to incapacitate, and the single-setting output has been designed for that purpose.

Which makes it some 2000 times stronger than required to cause intense pain. [LINK]

Note - the output is not changed from one mode to the other (incapacitation mode vs. Touch Torture mode). If anything, skipping the long wires is likely to make the net output higher (but perhaps less lethal if and only if the electrical discharge is not directed into the victim's chest).

Personally, I would say that the 2000x over-strength output for the Touch Torture mode (when compared to what might actually be required for pain compliance) is a huge design flaw.
Especially when Satan's little toy starts to burn flesh.

Who authorized this insanity?


Evil!


The USA is better than this. Citizens deserve better. Hopefully the SCOTUS will sort it all out with a good ruling.

Fort Worth taser-associated death

24-year-old Michael Jacobs Jr. died on Saturday after being subdued by Fort Worth police with a taser... Charlotte Jacobs, Michael’s mother, says that her son was writhing on the ground and foaming at the mouth while he was being stunned... [about 10:30am] He was handcuffed but began to have difficulty breathing, police said. He was taken to JPS, where he was pronounced dead about noon. [LINK] [LINK]

A very familiar pattern: Tasered. Major reaction. Dead.

Taser International claims and maintains that there is no connection from the taser deployment to the subsequent death. These claims are, in the view of many, hanging by a thread...

There are other theories perhaps useful to plaintiffs:
Risk of VF with defective and non-defective X26 tasers [LINK]
Postmortem detection of VF [LINK]


Taser International has been sued at least three times in Tarrant County for wrongful deaths. In two of those deaths, Medical Examiner Dr. Nizam Peerwani has said he could not rule out the weapon as a contributing factor. ... [LINK]

Three times in one county? Aren't there about 3000 counties in the USA? Geesh.

A strange case of CSDFR

Yes... Canine Sudden Death Following Restraint [LINK]


Feynman on the difference between naming and knowing: [LINK] (YouTube)

Applies to Excited Delirium and especially Sudden Death Following Restraint [LINK].


If a philosophy professor were chained down and forced to listen to the 'logic' from the spokespuppet, it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment...

'Look. In 200 tests, there was no harm,' said the spokespuppet.

'But one died last night, and two more the week before,' retorts the observer.

'Well then, that makes 203 cases where there was no PROVEN harm. See?'

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The University of Miami connection to Taser International

On Tuesday, April 7, 2009, I posted Be Brave and Mash yer brain [LINK] about the strange connection from the offending webpage at Excited-Delirium.org (registered by sometimes-Taser lawyer Mr. Brave *), to the University of Miami's Brain Contract Services and Dr. Deborah Mash - who specialize in postmortem detection of 'excited delirium' (especially 'in-custody deaths' - I'm quoting the above website).

[* Mr. Brave has, at various times, purported to have been National Litigation Counsel, Legal Executive, and/or National Litigation Specialist, all for Taser International, Inc.]

This link clearly demonstrated the connections from Taser International to those that are involved with 'Excited Delirium' as an excuse for "in-custody" deaths.


Well, it appears that someone got their pee-pee slapped.

The Excited-Delirium.org URL now points (back... [ahem]) to the Institute for Prevention of In-Custody Death [Lawsuits?] (or something like that...) instead of UM Brain Contract Services as it did on 7 April 2009.


UPDATE2: They've cleaned-up the mess. At this point, everything is squeaky-clean.


So, there are no back-room connections from Taser International to the UM Brain Contracting Services - none at all. They're totally independent. No connections. Any former weblinks were just an out-of-control webpage administrator making unauthorized links to random webpages. Now move along, there's nothing to see here.



See also 'Whois' pushing "Excited Delirium" ?? [LINK]


UPDATE1:

CBC: And while the B.C. coroner’s service has not yet determined what killed Dziekanski — an autopsy failed to reveal a clear cause — RCMP have speculated the 40-year-old was also suffering from excited delirium.  "This is not due to a Taser,says Deborah Mash, a neurology professor at the University of Miami who has been studying excited delirium for 20 years. "This is in the brain and they die because the mechanisms that control the heart and the lungs fail." [LINK]


"What matters is the officers' perception."

I wonder if Judge Braidwood keeps his bench top clear of heavy items, such as staplers, that he might otherwise be tempted to throw at some witnesses...


Sgt. Brad Fawcett, a Vancouver police expert on the Use of Force (noun), came to the conclusion that the four RCMP officers involved had used "appropriate force" while killing Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport on 14th October 2007.

Sgt Fawcett came to this conclusion while:
  • not interviewing any of the officers involved
  • not interviewing any of the airport staff
  • not interviewing any of the bystanders who witnessed the incident
  • relying on written statements provided by the four officers
  • ignoring that they changed their accounts
  • ignoring the contradictory video evidence
  • characterizing bald false statements as "minor discrepancies"

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"
What really matters is the officers' perception." - Sgt. Brad Fawcett [LINK]


Here is the complete list, in order, of what matters:
1. The officers' perception
2. The Blue Brotherhood
3. Sheer Laziness
4. The Facts (a.k.a. "minor discrepancies")


My perception is that Sgt. Fawcett is, perhaps unintentionally, a key part of the Brotherhood of Blue whitewashing process that is perfectly inherent when one police officer reviews the actions of their fraternal brothers.


Keep in mind that the RCMP tried to withhold the all-important video and Mr. Pritchard actually had to hire a lawyer to get his video back. Keep in mind that the RCMP spokesman made several statements later shown to be false. Keep in mind that all four police officers' reports contained the same factual errors about Mr. Dziekanski's actions. [LINK] Etc.

Innocent here, innocent there - but it makes a large steaming pile when viewed together.


There are two possible solutions to this mess:

1) Separate the police review and oversight function from the police
...OR...
2) Mandatory 5-year sentence for any unintentional involvement in whitewashing police actions. And make it 20-years if the whitewashing can be proven to be intentional.

Option 2 would certainly force such reviews to be taken more seriously. Right now there are, apparently, zero penalties and much benefit for being involved in the Blue Brotherhood.

Here is another recent example from Orange County, CA, USA: [LINK] [LINK]


By the way, I've heard a story about one case where the investigating officer would like to 'hang' (criminally charge) the offending police officers involved in the incident-in-question, but is prevented from doing so by circumstances and/or his chain of command.


The whole system needs an major overhaul.

And some of those involved need a keelhaul.

Australian Taser-associated death

Police said the 39-year-old stopped breathing shortly after police stunned him and sprayed him with capsicum spray in Alice Springs... [LINK]

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another example of 'failing-safe'...

Folsom, California - Reports of a man locked who was hallucinating and had locked himself in a bedroom. When officers arrived they found the man holding a knife. He was ordered to drop the knife. The man then reportedly approached officers in a threatening manner. Police shocked the man with a Taser stun gun twice, with no effect. Officers then fatally shot the man. [LINK]

Considering that there might be other old-school approaches that would perhaps have had a better outcome, one must ask if it is really wise to rush in with a taser.

Escalation explicitly chosen over de-escalation; based on promises made, but not kept.

There are perfectly reasonable arguments that would assign at least partial blame for this death on the failure of the taser (whether it was yet-another equipment failure, or its inherent operational limitations).

CACP's "Ethical Framework"

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is composed of police chiefs and senior police executives from across Canada and represents most of the country's 220-plus forces.

Payments ("Sponsorships") from Taser International to CACP "Doesn't pass the smell test". The CACP have received $75,000 over the past three years from Taser International. See Globe and Mail: [LINK]

John Jones has spent his professional life lecturing on the ethical conduct of police. Last week, the retired professor, resigned as technical adviser for the ethics committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police over corporate sponsorship practices at the association's annual conference. See Truth ... Not Tasers [LINK] [LINK]


CACP's Ethical Framework - [LINK], then click on 'Ethical Framework'
Considerations for Ethical Decision-Making
...6. Potential for a conflict of interest or the perception of personal gain...


CACP Ethics Committee [LINK]
Major Initiatives and Activities 2008/2009:
Work on the issue of sponsorship in policing can maintain an image of objective professionalism and does not suffer allegations of preferential access or treatment because of sponsorship support; (*)

[* Sounds like a twisted goal - i.e. How can we continue to get away with it?]


...a joint Bell Mobility-CGI-Group Techna donation of $115,000, which went toward the purchase of 1,000 tickets at $215 each to a on Aug. 25. Each registered CACP delegate received one Celine Dion concert ticket as part of his $595 registration package; if his spouse was also registered for the spouses' program, she or he received another. Virtually all meals were also sponsored. [LINK]


Okay, the party is over. Now get back to work. Start here: [LINK]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

RCMP taser inventory 2003-2005?

I've received an e-mail that suggests that the RCMP didn't actually have any X26 tasers in their inventory until 2005. This possibility raises doubts about the taser model data (M26 vs. X26) for the taser-associated deaths in Canada during the years 2003-2005.

So, if the data is wrong, perhaps there is no X26 bias in the taser-associated deaths in Canada.

Or perhaps there were just a few X26 tasers in Canada during this period undergoing evaluation and these very few X26 tasers were involved in all the taser-associated deaths.

The main point remains valid. The M26 provides an ideal experiemental 'control' for the questions about the safety of the X26.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Test tasers before updating software

Taser Model X26 Test Concepts [LINK]

MPB Technologies Inc., Issue Date: January 22, 2009, Revision: 4

Page 10: "Check for latest software update; if necessary, update by inserting a fresh battery pack with the latest revision software."


If you're auditing a taser to see if it does, or does not, meet the published specifications, then it should obviously be tested 'as is'. You should not allow the taser software to be updated until after the taser has been tested with the software that was already installed.

Updating the taser-under-test software before testing it is basically leaving the barn door wide open for the escape of any possible defective software loads (either defective in design, or corrupted during previous software loads). Now, I'm not aware of any evidence that there are any actual problems with the X26 taser software, but with the test process described in the Test Concepts document you'd would never find them even if they did exist.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another 15-year old kid...

Teen dies after Warren police use Taser

"He was Tasered once by one of our officers. After that, he became unresponsive." said Deputy Commissioner Gere Green. Officers administered CPR and the teen was rushed to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital's Warren campus, where he died at 10:17 a.m. [LINK]

The usual sequence: Tasered, unresponsive, CPR, dead. I'll bet that he was tasered in the chest by an X26 taser.


Family members told police that the teen had some medical issues. [ibid]

I wonder how long he might have had these pre-existing 'medical issues'?

...
Monday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Tuesday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Wednesday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Thursday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Friday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Saturday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Sunday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Monday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Tuesday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Wednesday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Thursday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Friday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Saturday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Sunday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Monday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Tuesday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Wednesday: Walking around with 'medical issues'

Thursday: Walking around with 'medical issues'
Friday: Tasered, unresponsive, then dies.


Well obviously it was the 'medical issues' that were the primary cause of death. Right? The taser obviously had nothing to do with it. (sic) {Rolls-eyes...}


Update: Police "...believe the boy was asthmatic and on anti-depressant drugs." [LINK]


PS: For those (so-called) law-and-order (sic) frothing-at-the-mouth right-wingers that are having trouble keeping up, the issue here is the purported safety of the X26 taser versus the real-world outcomes. There may be other issues that relate to this incident, but my issue is with the claims of safety and what follows from that.

[URGENT] M26 as X26 experimental 'Control'

This post is ex26tremely important.

I'd like to ensure that all taser-safety researchers and investigators (and perhaps plaintiffs' expert witnesses) take full advantage of the M26 vs. X26 data, and the amazing opportunity that may be found buried deep in the various taser-deployment and taser-associated death databases.


The M26-associated death rate per actual deployment provides a perfect experimental 'control' for the X26-associated death rate per actual deployment.


The older M26 taser was introduced in 1999. The newer X26 taser was introduced in 2003. The two devices have waveforms that are significantly different. For various reason, recent suspicions about safety are settling on the X26.

The real-world applications of the two models must be very nearly identical. There are periods of many years when both models were in common use. Therefore, the M26 is the ideal experimental 'control' for questions about the real-world safety of the X26.

And separating all of the real-world results into two model categories (M26 vs. X26) will help to unmuddle the X26 results (presently diluted by the M26 data, another form of denominator washing not yet properly and fully accounted-for).


There are several lines of evidence that appear to be indicating that there is a peculiar X26-bias in the real-world (all raw data, no excuses) taser-associated deaths:
  1. My review of the X26 waveform starting at the beginning of 2008 found some indication that the X26 could only be more dangerous than the older M26 taser. See [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] and many many more.
  2. The recent December 2008 RC/CBC-sponsored Taser Analysis study focused on the same X26-unique monophasic pulse that I've been worried about for more than a year. See these posts for links to the CBC report [LINK] [LINK].
  3. The monthly taser-associated death rate shows an upward step-function in 2003 (the same year that the X26 taser was introduced). [LINK]
  4. The Canadian taser deployment statistics seem to indicate an X26-bias in the taser-associated deaths. See [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]

Many of the blame-the-victim excuses being applied to the taser-associated deaths would be revealed for what I feel they are if the taser-associated deaths show any statistically significant bias towards the X26 taser.


My view of this line of argument is that we might be onto something very significant.


I strongly urge all taser-safety researchers to make efforts to gather and analyze the M26 versus X26 taser-associated death rates per actual deployment.


If the initial and seemingly-indicative data continues to demonstrate the same X26-bias, then there will be no escape route for Taser International.


And keep mind that Taser International only ever claimed a puny +5% increase in their made-up Muscular Disruption Units. So even a slight increase in real-world risk with the X26 would fully justify that there be an immediate X26 moratorium. Let them use their older M26 tasers if they're shown to be much safer.


I smell something much larger than just a slight bias...

I smell blood.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

X26-bias in taser-associated deaths?

The CBC Taser Deployment database [LINK] doesn't seem to provide enough details to be able to link the known taser-associated deaths (about 26 in Canada) to the model of taser used.


What we have so far is that the older (safer?) M26 taser was actually used about three times more often than the newer (more dangerous?) X26 taser during the years 2002-2007 (in Canada). [LINK]


For the years where we have taser model data (M26 vice X26) that are linked to taser-associated deaths in Canada the reported results are as follows:

2002: zero known taser-associated deaths in Canada
2003: 3 taser-associated deaths (M26 = 0%, X26 = 100%)
2004: 6 taser-associated deaths (M26 = 0%, X26 = 100%)

For some strange reason, the data pretty-much runs dry starting in 2005. The few scattered data points (three or four of them, we're still gathering data) are (M26 = 0%, X26 = 100%).

[Update: Available information indicates that Terry Hanna's death on 19 April 2003 as being associated with an X26, but it occurred more than one month before the X26 was officially unveiled on 30 May 2003. We are seeking clarification, sources and more data.]

Perhaps there's a reason why complete data set isn't readily available... (ahem)


Remember, the CPC report states that the M26 taser was actually used THREE TIMES MORE OFTEN than the X26 taser during the period 2002-2007. [LINK] These are actual deployments (not just inventory quantity), negating many possible logical escape routes.


Perhaps it is only the X26 taser that carries the monophasic 'virus' that causes Excited Delirium deaths.


See Smoking Gun Number Three [LINK]
See Call for data (M26 vs. X26) [LINK]


Now obviously, if the 'missing' data for 2005-2007 is more rationally-distributed in accordance with the ratio of taser model usage during this period, then I'm sure that the pro-taser police leadership will rush to obtain and publish that data. They'd want to do so to support the purported lack of causal connection from the weapon to the deaths.

On the other hand, if this partial but intriguing observation is met with official silence, then you're left to draw your own conclusions about the apparent X26-bias as relates to taser-associated deaths.

Such an X26-bias (if supported with more data points) would be very bad news for Taser International and a massive embarrassment for all the pro-taser forces.

Already, it appears to be statistically significant (based on the sniff test). It's almost enough to call for an immediate moratorium on ALL X26 tasers, unless they can find a logical explanation for this peculiar data.

Well? More data available? We're waiting...

[Update: There's an assumption here that the RCMP's use of the two taser models (75%/25%) reflects the entire country's use of tasers, which is the list of all Canadian taser-associated deaths (not just RCMP). We've got two data sets that only partially overlap.]