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, July 31, 2009

"deathsandinjuries" - from Feb. 2009

With nearly 1200 posts, and new visitors arriving every day, it might be useful to pull-up some previous posts that already touched on a particular line of thought.

"deathsandinjuries" - all one word... [LINK] (26 Jul. 2009)

It's basically a lack of distinction that is evil.


Spot the critical difference... [LINK] (28 Feb. 2009)

...

Charles Momy, Canadian Police Ass. said: It is important for the public to understand that there is a risk associated with any 'use of force' by a police officer. A baton for example can cause bruising, contusions, and - in fact - even fractures. Pepper spray will cause irritation to the eyes and throat. These are both considered Intermediate Weapons - as is the, ah, Conducted Energy Weapon, also referred to, ah, as the taser. [transcribed from video of recent press conference / pro-taser propaganda session]



Charles Momy, with Tom Kaye standing at far left.


RCMP Commissioner said: "The RCMP's revised [Taser] policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for acutely agitated individuals." [LINK]


Summary of Intermediate Weapons - and their risks:
(Everything here is based on the exact quotes - copied above - from those police or policing organizations.)
  • Baton - bruising, contusions, fractures
  • Pepper spray - throat and eye irritation
  • Taser - skin puncturing wounds, burns, and, ah, oh yeah... ...death

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things doesn't belong...


Risk of relatively minor injuries or irritation are not even on the same page as the risk of death. It's totally disgusting that some brainwashed idiots would lump them together in the same class of weapon.

There are three distinct classes of bad outcomes.
  • Injuries
  • Permanent Injuries
  • Death
If your loved-one is injured, that's bad. But hey - they'll heal.
If your loved-one is permanently injured, that's extremely bad.
If your loved-one is killed, that's infinitely worse than bad.


There's clearly enough evidence documented in these various police statements to move tasers out of the Intermediate Weapon class immediately and permanently.

This is a logical immediate first step.

And it follows directly from the exact statements quoted above.


['Thinking' - it has some advantages. Certain people should try it sometime.]

'Tip-toeing around the obvious' (17 June 2009)

With nearly 1200 posts, and new visitors arriving every day, it might be useful to simply pull-up some previous posts [LINK] that already nail down a particular line of thought.


The death of 16-year-old Robert Mitchell is being attributed to an underlying genetic heart condition - arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), a genetic disorder that causes an arrhythmia - exacerbated by the taser.

The autopsy said that Mr. Mitchell suffered two taser probe-related injuries -- above and below the nipple -- on the left side of his chest. [Coincidence my ass.]

The taser is basically listed as a contributory factor.

The autopsy didn't reveal any other signs of injury to Mitchell's body. "There was no additional trauma to his body. There was no type of physical compression on his body or on his chest. He was never in a choke hold, never hog-tied and basically the only thing we saw were the application of the taser marks." [LINK]

Given that this purported ARVD is a genetic condition, then Robert Mitchell would have had this condition from birth. And yet his death is very closely time-aligned (and in the right order) with the taser hit to his chest.

So, in my opinion, the taser deployment is THE CAUSE and the ARVD can be listed as a CONTRIBUTORY FACTOR.

It's a semantic hijack and an affront to self-evident logic to reverse the two. What exactly does the word "cause" mean?


And here's evidence of another logical error that may have affected the clear-thinking of those involved with the autopsy.

Forensic pathologist Cheryl L. Loewe basically quotes the world-view of Taser International and, by context, applies the 'logic' (sic) to this case: "In a healthy adult, it's unlikely an arrhythmia may have been precipitated by a taser." [ibid]

Think! Does 'unlikely' count for anything in these circumstances? They don't deliver the taser survivors for autopsy! The paramedics select those 'unlikely' few that happened to be the ones that died, and deliver only those to the morgue.

So an 'unlikely' death-by-taser is exactly as certain to show up in the morgue as a more-common death. It's a basic error of logic to use the likelihood of a death mechanism to exclude it from further consideration, or move it down the causal factors list.

And the fact that she actually opened her mouth and made this statement, given the context, is not an insignificant observation. Why is she quoting Taser International's world-view?


[Here is a hypothetical javelin accident with the same exact 'logic' applied.]

Yes, I realize that it looks suspiciously like a death caused by the javelin to the head, but you have to admit that that's a pretty unlikely death mechanism. How many people die of javelins to the head during a normal week? Not many! And yes, we've noticed the 8-foot javelin sticking out of the victims' skull. But it's still a pretty darn unlikely death just the same. So we suspect it was a genetic condition that was the actual cause of death. Perhaps the javelin to the head was a contributing factor...


Clear enough?

Taser demos, eye protection, and facing the wrong way...

As has been pointed out (and explicitly noted by the Braidwood Inquiry), virtually all taser demonstrations and training sessions involve the taser darts being fired into the idiot volunteers' backs, and rarely their chests.

As an indicator of taser safety, they're FAKE. It's plainly obvious that the purpose of this backs-only policy is to boost up the number of non-lethal deployments. Keep the taser current well away from any cardiac paths.


A related detail that I recently noticed is that the eye protection worn by the idiot volunteers is obviously designed to provide better protection from the front, than from the rear.

The convex shape of the lenses on the safety goggles would effectively deflect incoming taser darts arriving from the front.

But that same shape provides less protection if the taser dart is fired from the back, just happens to whistle past the idiot volunteer's ear, then is captured by inside concave surface of the goggles, and thus deflected straight into the idiot volunteer's eyeball.


Obviously the idiot volunteers should turn around and face the taser darts head-on.

It's all fun and games until someone looses an eye.

'A tool unlike any other' (repost 26 Aug. 2008)

With nearly 1200 posts, and new visitors arriving every day, it might be useful to simply pull-up some previous posts that already nail down a particular line of thought.


Ontario's provincial police commissioner Julian Fantino [LINK] says "the taser is a tool like any other." [LINK]

Wrong. Dead wrong.

The difference between the taser and other policing tools is that the taser is surrounded by claims of essentially perfect safety with respect to internal risk factors (cardiac effects or similar). And the field results do not support these claims (too many mysterious deaths, some backed-up with legal findings).

I can think of no other police tool where the claims are so at odds with the reality (when viewed from the point of view of claimed perfection - see this [LINK] or you may not understand).

Guns, batons, fists, pepper-spray - all of these have a very obvious and predictable worst-case outcome. The risks are well understood. The taser is thought to be safe, but has proven to be what some have termed a street level death lottery.

The training and policies, both under Taser International's influence, reflect this level of claimed safety (except that the trainees are never shot in the chest, because Taser International wants them in the denominator rather than the numerator of the gross, washed-out, risk ratio).

This propaganda-based training leaves police officers with an incorrect view of the risk.

And this leads directly to abuse, misuse and overuse.

And that's the problem.

And that's the difference.

RCMP face $2.5M Tasering lawsuit

Adam Dormer, 26, was acquitted of obstructing a peace officer [typical 'cover charge'] by provincial court Judge John Reilly in January. In his decision, Reilly said his finding was based on the fact the officers had no right to arrest Dormer and that he was subjected to excessive force when tasered while in handcuffs. That decision was subsequently upheld by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Marsha Erb in June. [LINK]

Society would be best served by Dormer being awarded the full amount and not accepting any settlement offers with attached non-disclosure agreements.

That's the only way that The Message will emerge.


My recommendation to Dormer would be that the minimum settlement for damages be the $2.5M, but the added feature of a non-disclosure agreement will cost an extra $10M. That sort of counter-offer will make the political masters stop and think.

Editorial in Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail, for those that might not know, is Canada's leading National Newspaper.

Globe editorial - Braidwood means a whole new start [LINK]

Please read the entire editorial at the link provided above.

What follows are some extracts that will hopefully encourage you to do so.


If the taser can kill in B.C., it can kill in New Brunswick or Ontario. Its use should be drastically curtailed, everywhere...

Everything known about tasers – everything the provinces and police forces think they know – should now be treated as junk.

Among the most egregious and most influential pieces of junk is the “research” report of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police on the supposed safety of the taser, notwithstanding the 25 people who have died in this country, and 300 in the United States, after being tasered. That report can now be tossed in the garbage bin where it belongs.

RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, unlike the police chiefs, had already publicly conceded that tasers can kill, but Mr. Braidwood said his policy revisions did not go far enough.


I note with some satisfaction that the Globe and Mail is using the word "tasers" with the lowercase 't'. This is in keeping with the nominative use of the word, referring specifically to the torture device made by Taser International, the one that can cause death, and avoiding use of the trademarked version of the word in all uppercase. This approach is perfectly in keeping with trademark rules, and it also annoys the folks at Taser International.


This crux of the matter, for those that are having difficulty keeping up, is the following 'sound bite' sized summary.

Denying the risk of death, as per the perverted worldview of Taser International, increases the risk for everyone (because of overuse, misuse, and abuse). And that's evil (unnecessary deaths, inexcusable torture).

Inevitable video blowback

July 30 (Excited-Delirium.com blog) -- Taser International Inc., the world's largest serial denier that taser stun guns really can occasionally (almost randomly) cause death, may cut its litigation win rate in half with a new video-recording system it plans to start selling by early 2010, Chairman Tom Smith didn't actually say.

When the jury is able to see a Point-of-View video of yet another taser-"associated" death, then I'm sure it will only serve to visually clarify that the future victims were simply standing there arguing, apparently in good health, were tasered because the LEO reacted badly to the perceived lack of "respect", and the victim then immediately fell down unconcious, to be later pronounced dead.

$600 million will be barely enough to cover the judgements.


Let's watch for changes to the taser waveform (X26 to X3) to see if they've removed the DC pulse after the arc phase. If anyone can find the X3 spec sheet, please email it to the blog e-mail address found near the top of the right hand column.

And let's also monitor the monthly taser-associated death rate to see if the recent reductions from about 7 per month to about 4 per month (running average) continue. We will be revisiting this very interesting and highly indicative topic in the coming weeks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"If you just obey, then you won't be tasered." (sic)

The officer used pepper spray and tasered Love while removing him from a Dollar General store bathroom where employees said he had been for more than an hour. They then discovered Love was hearing impaired and was unable to communicate with officers while in the bathroom. [LINK]

This is yet another example of those vunerable being tasered. The stupid advice of "Just obey..." is wrong on so many levels that it's beyond unhelpful. It's based on bad thinking and is actually a bit dangerous in that it encourages such taser abuse.

They attempted to have him booked on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a police officer, but a magistrate refused.

Typical attempted "cover charge".

The magistrate must have been pretty quick thinking. Bless his heart.

Radian6 is on the Taser PR disaster case... (?)

Radian6 is focused on building the complete monitoring and analysis solution for PR and advertising professionals so they can be the experts in social media. [LINK]

Radian6 Technologies Inc.
285 Canada St.
Fredericton, NB
Canada E3A 4A3


Blog hits tonight:

Mercer Island, Washington arrived from conversation.radian6.com on "www.Excited-Delirium.com: Taser fan-boys retreat to upper branches, start flinging poo".
20:11:33 -- 1 hour 52 mins ago

Fredericton, New Brunswick arrived from conversation.radian6.com on "www.Excited-Delirium.com: Taser fan-boys retreat to upper branches, start flinging poo".
20:14:24 -- 1 hour 49 mins ago

Fredericton, New Brunswick arrived from conversation.radian6.com on "www.Excited-Delirium.com: Taser fan-boys retreat to upper branches, start flinging poo".
20:28:44 -- 1 hour 35 mins ago

Scottsdale, Arizona arrived from login.radian6.com on "www.Excited-Delirium.com: Taser fan-boys retreat to upper branches, start flinging poo".
21:23:27 -- 41 minutes ago


You want some PR help?

It's evil to increase the risk of death by denying the risk of death.

Stop playing word games. Stop mixing injuries with death. They're different.

Drop the minions from the payroll. They've become ineffective and counter-productive.

People get tasered. People die. Is there a connection?

The purpose of the blog is The Main Question.

People get tasered.
People die.
Is there a connection?


This question has been written at the top of the blog almost since the very beginning.

How are we doing?

(Updates in bold)

American Medical Association (AMA) - check.
Amnesty International - check.
Wake Forest's Dr. Bozeman - check.
United Nations - check.
RCMP - check.
Braidwood Inquiry - check.
Government of B.C. (formerly a taser hot spot) - check.
SG of Alberta now willing to risk "thousands" - check.
Numerous distinguished scientists - check.
Numerous distinguished (medical) doctors - check.
Taser's bought-and-paid-for minions - ah, no.
The taser's 'Curious Temporal Asymmetry' - check.
Taser International taser demonstrations avoid chest - check.
Risk of death linearly proportional to exposure time - check.
Monthly taser-associated death rate tracks X26 usage - check.
Deaths by "Excited Delirium" going out of fashion - check.
Multiple taser-death mechanisms on offer - check.
Explanation for lack of 'direct' postmortem evidence - check.

I wonder how the bought-and-paid-for minions feel about the argument going against them big-time? It must be professionally embarrassing. Terrible...

Taser fan-boys retreat to upper branches, start flinging poo

It's official. They're all out of ideas. They're starting to get emotional and can do nothing but hurl insults.

I've made several challenges to pro-taser fan-boys: Explain this... Justify that...

The blog does have visits from people picking up their e-mail from the Radian6 or SecureServer.net e-mail servers, and then directly landing on a particular post on the blog. Based on the patterns, it seems obvious that the pro-taser folks are regular visitors to this blog.

And I've invited them to respond with their best logic. Simple debate on the ideas.

There has been no response worth mentioning for a very long time.


Please do not miss the taser's 'Curious Temporal Asymmetry' [LINK] & [LINKs].

Taser restrictions welcome

Aldergrove Star [LINK]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taser Int'l admits X26 is more dangerous...

Taser International argues its new model is safer than the... [marketing glop referring to the X26]. [LINK]

That's equivalent to admitting that the older model (the X26) is more dangerous.


If they've changed the waveform on the new X3, then it will provide useful ammo to many victims' lawyers.

I wonder if the steep price is required to pay for liability insurance?

I guess the B.C. market (probably most of Canada too) is closed to them until they get the new model "approved" by the taser safety regulators [?].

The taser's C.A.T. - purrs like a kitten, bites like a lion

The taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK], Curieux Asymétrie Temporelle (C.A.T.) en français, is based on the many news reports, the ideas of calculus (changes in the observed variable over small units of time), and simple inductive logic.

The news reports have told us that some 434+ people have been 'tasered' and then died.

The news reports have also told us that tasers are often drawn, and then put away without being fired. This sequence should be happening all the time due to people dying of "excited delirium" (sic) while the taser is still getting unloaded and spark tested and reloaded. And there are many cases where the taser was fired, but both darts missed. And there's always some period of time after the taser is drawn, and before it is fired, which provides plenty of time for the near-death folks to die all by themselves before the taser is fired.

All of these provide a form of experimental control assumed to be lacking in The Great X26 Taser Experiment that's been running since 2003.

The death rate per unit time during ALL taser incidents can be divided into those time slices BEFORE the taser darts hit the subject, and those time slices AFTER the taser darts started doing their thing.

According to Taser International, the death rate per unit time should be either unchanged on either side of the taser hit, or should actually be lower post taser hit since they promise that it helps.

My guess, and it's just a gut feeling at this point, is that there are MANY MORE deaths per unit time AFTER the taser hits than BEFORE the taser hits.

I asked this same basic question many months ago when I asked about the death rate for the "Taser! Taser! Taser!" warning often yelled just before firing the taser. I would have expected [not really...] to see many hundreds of reports of people dropping dead at the warning.

There are some potential rebuttals already addressed on the linked special-purpose one-post blog. So if you feel a rebuttal coming on, then please avail yourself of the whole pre-packaged debate before wasting your time.

Taser International is left in the difficult position of finding many hundreds or even thousands of taser incident reports where people died at the mere sight of a taser. I wish them the best of luck in their quest.

The taser critics already have our list of 434+ names and dates. It's Taser International's turn to dig.

The taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry may be the end of the line for the debate, at least the rational debate, about the taser's purported inherent safety.

Comments welcome.

Reasonable Force vs. Torture - how to distinguish?

Using common sense, as would be defined by The Man on the Clapham Omnibus (an average Joe), it is really quite simple to distinguish the two.

'Reasonable force' can be recognized by the subject responding by saying something like, "Ouch, hey that lawful force that you're applying is extremely uncomfortable to the point of being downright painful."

'Torture' can be recognized by the subject falling down, involuntarily writhing on the floor in sheer agony, and screaming like an animal being slaughtered.

Any questions?

Taser used on disabled man

To a man with a taser, everyone looks like a suitable taser subject.

Read the story here: [LINK].

This sort of behavior indicates that the overall training (judging by results) was designed by people with a very warped view of basic morals and ethics. Basics such as the golden rule.

Taser's position is simply 'hysterical'

The Queensland Police Union praised the report as "putting into context the hysterical claims of Amnesty International." [LINK]

And the hysterical U.N. They also noted that tasers were instruments of torture that can kill.

And the hysterical RCMP. They agree that use of tasers includes risk of death.

And many hysterical, yet highly respected, scientists and doctors that disagree with the Tasers-R-Safe purported worldview of Taser International and their bought-and-paid-for minions.

And those hysterical and annoying observations made by dedicated bloggers that point out the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry, and the FAKE demo policy that always aims for the back, never the chest.

Australia - just like Canada except with poisonous spiders

Queensland, Australia police will closely examine a Canadian report which found Tasers can kill before finalising a review of the stun guns. The 546-page report by retired judge Thomas Braidwood found Tasers have the capacity to cause serious injury or death and that risk increases significantly when the weapons are applied to the chest or when they are used repeatedly. [LINK]

Strange that the risk is proportional to the amount of use - if there's no cause and effect relationship, eh?

"200 reports"

"It's not really a scientific and medical view because if it was (Mr Braidwood) would have taken into account the 200 reports that say they're safe," said George Hateley from Breon Enterprises, which supplies Tasers to the QPS. [LINK]

Squawk squawk squawk.

'We have 200 studies that prove that there is no number between six and eight. How can you possibly respond to such an overwhelming onslaught of expensive studies that prove there's no number between six and eight?'

Seven.

Time to review s.269.1

CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA ON TORTURE

269.1 (1) Every [Peace Officer] who inflicts [severe pain] on any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

I've [rolled up] some definitions for your convenience. Please refer to the complete section for details. Note that the only possible exception is as a 'lawful sanction' which appears to be intended to permit prisons and fines.

It really seems pretty clear...

For those that might require further guidance:

First please note that although this section is found in the 'Criminal' Code of Canada, it is specifically written to address actions of the police and other people in positions of authority. Think about that. Police are subject to the Criminal Code too.

'Reasonable force' can be recognized by the subject responding by saying something like, "Ouch, hey that lawful force that you're applying is extremely uncomfortable to the point of being downright painful."

'Torture' can be recognized by the subject falling down, writhing on the floor in sheer agony, and screaming like an animal being slaughtered.

There's enough of a gap between the two, especially with tasers, that there's not really any excuse for being confused by the distinction between 'lawful force' (the noun) and trying to force (the verb) the subject to obey your commands by way of applying extremely painful electric shocks in a vain attempt to coerce by pain.

Especially when dealing people in distress where attempting to coerce by pain may be ineffective, leading to moth+light endlessly repeated applications (Robert Dziekanski was tasered FIVE times, and died).

Even the NIJ 'Braintrust' was forced to note that repeated taserings are strangely correlated with death.

You guys keeping up?

Canadian taser restrictions moving east...

Tight restrictions on the use of tasers was in place in British Columbia within hours of the Braidwood Inquiry phase 1 report being released. Bless their hearts.

A couple of working days later, and Alberta is following suit (more or less, details still questionable).

Saskatchewan is now making the right sort of noises.

Anyone see a trend?

Domino theory. West to east.

They wouldn't be making these changes, tentative though they are, if they still had any faith in the promises made by the stun gun salesmen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taser isn't 'Reasonable Force' - it's Torture

The Edmonton police force Taser instructor Const. Joe Tassone said he teaches recruits to deploy the device only when it can be justified under Section 25 of the Criminal code, which allows police officers to employ reasonable force.
[LINK]

Taser used to force (note, that's a verb) someone to let go (passive resistance) clearly does not meet the definition of 'reasonable force'. It also clearly meets the definition of torture (applying severe pain to coerce a certain behaviour). Reasonable force is a fricken noun.

For those that still don't get it, you are assigned a homework problem. If you can use a taser in Touch Torture mode, then why not just use the glowing end of a hot cigarette? What's the difference?

Hint: no difference except cigarette might actually be safer.

Drawing parallels

It's become perfectly clear to any rational thinker that tasers can cause death.

If you're not convinced, then please Google the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK]


Certainly tasers don't cause death all the time, but that's not an excuse. Drunk drivers often make it home without killing anyone; in fact many of them probably do so "most" of the time. But the ugly tragedies that do occasionally occur are more than sufficient justification for all the measures taken to prevent same.

Tasers that "think they're safe" are very similar to drunk drivers. They're potentially dangerous and should be taken off the streets, at least until they sober up.


Another ugly parallel is the serial denier nature of Taser International's continuing protestations of innocence no matter what evidence is laid before them: United Nations, Amnesty International, RCMP, Braidwood Inquiry, many (independent) researchers, common sense, simple logic, devastating argument. Their habit of cross-arguing is suspiciously self-serving.


Thankfully (mostly because it's so annoying), they're starting to run about of wiggle room. Their response to Braidwood's conclusions was the equivalent of a baby tossing the toys out of the playpen. And that was at least slightly entertaining.

Taser International claims that Braidwood chose "politics over science", when (if they'd read the report) they'd see that Braidwood followed the more-trustworthy science. And he also severely upbraided the political masters for their complete abdication of their supervisory role.

Taser International also failed to show any of the respect to Judge Braidwood that he had so graciously displayed to them, even while he politely rejected their farsical arguments.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The new Taser X3

Taser International (TASR) is introducing the Taser X3.

I wonder if it has basically the same waveform as the X26?

If the taser X3 waveform is the same as the X26, then Taser International is playing a stupid double-or-nothing game. Especially when the Braidwood Inquiry concluded that tasers can cause death. And the RCMP admitted that use of taser carries risks, and those risks include risk of death.

If it is different, then Taser International is providing ammunition to the plaintiff's lawyers. If they've eliminated the DC pulse after the arc phase, then that would be very interesting.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ugly facts crash Taser X3's birthday bash

Tomorrow, 27 July 2009, Taser International plans to formally unveil their new "X3" taser.

This blog has already observed that the published demonstration video revealed that they still prefer to avoid shooting their "perfectly safe" (sic) devices into the CHESTS of their idiot volunteers. They're sticking to the Scared Sh_tless of Cardiac Death Demo-only-in-the-BACKS policy.

And we noted what appeared to be a lack of NMI with the first idiot volunteer on the left.

But the Taser X3 birthday bash has been overshadowed by the Braidwood Inquiry report that concluded that tasers are capable of causing death, even in healthy adults, by any of several death mechanisms.

Sucks to be Taser International these days.

And then there's the newly published details of the anal-fetish incident in Boise. Hey - way 'Too Much Info' there folks.

So the well-dressed Taser folks must be wondering if they're going to be getting any strange questions tomorrow.

I'm interested in the X3 waveform. Has it changed yet again, perhaps eliminating the possibly-deadly DC pulse seen only on the X26?

If they removed the DC pulse from the X3 waveform then it smells like an admission with respect to the safety of the X26.

If they didn't change the waveform, then they're playing the ultimate double-or-nothing bet on a hand of cards that is already shown to be a loser.

"Tasers pose new problems for doctors"

From twisted testicles to babies electrocuted in the womb, Tasers are presenting emergency departments with unprecedented injuries, a paper by a New Zealand doctor shows. [LINK]

This story ends with a bit of happy news for Taser:

"Our Australian comrades tell us that, nine times out of 10, just the threat [of a Taser] is enough to calm people down."

But the police gun has been used in that role quite successfully for many decades. The threat of what should be overwelming force doesn't require a taser. If that was the only role, then they could use guns, flame throwers, swords, anything...

It's certainly not a taser-specific advantage.

Taser 'anal-probing' victim plans to sue

The story at the following link includes some details of what is alledged to have happened, and it includes the more interesting parts of the transcript, and even a link to an MP3 of the actual (potentially disturbing) audio recording. [LINK]

Historically, this part of the world does have a slightly higher than normal rate of reported anal-probings, but(t) they're usually associated with UFO abductions.

Instant Cure for 'Tasers-R-Safe' Brainwashing

Instant Cure for Tasers-R-Safe Brainwashing:

See the Taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK]

[Explained yet again below with alternate wording in case it helps...]

If taser use has zero cause-and-effect relationship to the many hundreds of taser-associated deaths, then one would expect to see a constant rate of death-per-unit time by "excited delirium", or via the subject's "pre-existing medical conditions", or by whatever pathetic excuse they dream up, during the entire temporal sequence of all taser-associated death incidents.

I mean both before and after the actual taser hit. The period BEFORE the taser hit provides a built-in experimental control. And there seems to be at least as much BEFORE time as AFTER, possibly much more.

There should be many hundreds, or even thousands, of police reports where the taser was drawn from the holster (thereby triggering a written taser incident report in many jurisdictions), but the subject fell over stone cold dead in the time just BEFORE the taser was fired.

Or the police incident reports (if not 'taser-incident' reports) specifically mentioning the inexplicable sudden death ~and~ the ALMOST-fired taser.

Or the inexplicable sudden death incidents where the taser completely missed the subject, but the subject fell over dead right anyway - at that time - in spite of the taser MISS.


If you share the worldview of Taser International, then you should believe that there are vast numbers of such almost-tasered but died anyway incidents.

Where are they?


Furthermore, if you believe the worldview of Taser International, then the death rate per unit time should plunge after application of the taser. After all, it stops the 'badness' and is 'perfectly safe', thus there should be a sharp downward step-function in the death rate per unit time comparing the minutes AFTER to the minutes BEFORE the taser hits.

Do you think that is true? Show me.

By any accounting, there should be many hundreds, probably thousands with complete accounting, of such incidents where the subject died during a 'taser-drawn-from-holster' incident, but BEFORE the taser hit the subject.

I believe that this is the end of the line for Taser International's claims of zero cause and effect.

Plaintiffs' lawyers paying attention?

Hurry up. We have a company to bankrupt.



Basically Taser International is technical "correct" in their claims.

Given the inherent lack of physical evidence that could be found postmortem when dealing with a device that might be capable of triggering death via arrhythmia, then it may be impossible to use deductive reasoning to prove that any particular taser-associated death was "directly caused" by the taser.

But it ignores the larger picture. If you take a big step back, and look at the endlessly-repeated sequence of tasered-then-dead that occurs over and over and over again, then one can observe the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry. This observation, based just on the news reports and the lack of rebuttal from Taser International, appears to be completely inexplicable given their worldview.

But if one applies inductive reasoning, given the many hundreds of news reports of tasered-then-dead incidents, combined with the apparent lack of people falling over dead at the mere sight of a drawn taser, then the conclusion that tasers can "cause death", "even in healthy adults", and "through a variety of mechanisms" is well supported by simple inductive logic.


It'll be pretty tough to maintain that tasers-R-safe given the simple observation of the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry.


Braidwood, p. 322: "I am satisfied that these weapons [tasers] have the capacity to cause death to a human subject, through a variety of mechanisms."

Braidwood, p. 229: "...to cause heart arrhythmia even in healthy adults..." [Left untreated, as is often the case, arrhythmia typically leads to death.]


PS: If Taser International has a rebuttal, they have my e-mail address (right-hand column). Or they can post a comment to the blog. If their rebuttal makes sense then I'll be happy to broadcast it and I will explicitly acknowledge their point. But their rebuttal will be examined closely and if it contains logical errors, then I'll tear it to shreds publicly.

I'll take their continuing silence as a passive admission that the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry is a completely devastating observation.

"deathsandinjuries" - all one word

Taser International spokespuppet Steve Tuttle, "Overly restrictive policies on taser device usage will force police officers to migrate to other, more dangerous force options, such as batons, physical force and even firearms, resulting in more, not fewer, deaths and injuries in police confrontations." [LINK]

The above statement is typical Taser-speak. It is as misleading as it can possibly be. And yet, if you parse the words just-so, then it could be defended as being technically not-completely false. But if you read it the way they intend it to be taken, then you'll be left with false impressions that will muddle your thoughts and lead you to false conclusions.


The most despicable trick that the scoundrels at Taser International are using is to lump deaths in with injuries.

"...deaths and injuries..."

Think about that. It's basically a lack of distinction that is evil.

Any thinking human, one with even the smallest shred of moral fiber in their soul, would instinctively realize that injuries are not even in the same chapter as death, let alone on the same page.

In my ethical book, there is first death, then (after a gap) there is permanent injuries, and then (after another gap) there is non-permanent injuries. Taser International has lumped all these together as "deaths and injuries". If it was going to be an e-mail address, then it would be deathsandinjuries [all one word] @taser.com.

Taser International is very intentionally muddling the taser-death issue by mixing in injuries. It's yet another form of denominator washing where they fiddle with the categories to suit their purposes.


NOT TO MENTION that I've seen at least one so-called 'study' where the injuries inherent with use of a taser (dart penetration injuries, electrical burns) were taken as givens and not counted as injuries. Watch out for that trick.


Let's go through the rest of the Taser-spew phrase-by-phrase:

"...more dangerous force options..."

Note "...more dangerous..." versus "...potentially more lethal...".

Braidwood page 218: ...the incidence of deaths proximate to their use suggests that they [tasers] are potentially more lethal than more traditional intermediate weapons, such as batons, oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray, or rubber bullets.

Note that Judge Braidwood has not allowed himself to be muddled into considering injuries as being an equivalent consideration as deaths. The debate is about potential lethality, not the "danger" of a twisted finger.


"...and even firearms..."

There is nothing to prevent any officer from choosing to use a taser in cases where they would be legally authorized to use a gun. Obviously, if a police officer is legally justified in using a firearm, then he or she may use a taser if the opportunity presents itself. I don't believe that there is anything in the Braidwood recommendations that would force an officer to migrate to use of firearms.

In fact, I doubt that anyone could even find a hypothetical circumstance where the new "...overly restrictive policies on taser device usage will force police officers to migrate to ... firearms."

The above perfectly-reasonable and ultra-clarifying parsing of the statement from Taser International reveals their statement to contain a deceptive, fear-mongering, damn lie.


This level of despicable deception should be kept in mind when dealing with these scoundrels.

Taser International fails reading comprehension test

Taser spokespuppet Steve Tuttle said, "Medical pathologists in the Robert Dziekanski case found no evidence that the Taser device was related to the death, which was caused by underlying medical factors." [LINK]

This is clear-cut evidence that Mr. Tuttle et al have failed to read and comprehend the Braidwood report.

Apparently they didn't even get as far as Page 14:

Braidwood, page 14:

Although there is often a lack of physical evidence on autopsy to determine whether arrhythmia was the cause of death, if a person dies suddenly and from no obvious cause after being subjected to a [taser], death is almost certainly due to an arrhythmia. [LINK]

Tasered-and-died, no other evidence at autopsy?

Conclude: Death by [taser-induced] arrhythmia.


What do you think Judge Braidwood will have to say, specifically, about the death of Mr. Dziekanski? Do you think that he will conclude that Mr. Dziekanski's death had no cause-effect relationship to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 taser hits totaling 31 seconds that immediately preceded the death?

(Hey Taser International! I've got an idea. Maybe you could launch legal action against Judge Braidwood to prevent him for carrying on his work. LOL.)


This blog has mentioned The Taser Proof Issue many times [LINK]. The basic problem is that when you have a weapon that "CAN CAUSE DEATH", and can do so while leaving "no obvious cause" [postmortem evidence], then you set yourself up for a situation where people might be getting away with murder (so to speak).

Do you think that Judge Braidwood might even have something to say about the other cases in Canada, and (by implication) similar cases elsewhere in the world?

Therefore: Time to revisit some 'cause of death' findings [LINK]


Instant Cure for Tasers-R-Safe Brainwashing:
See the Taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Our society is better off..."

Justice Thomas Braidwood told reporters at a press conference Thursday: "Our society is better off with [tasers]."

Not up to now.

Unwarranted death of victims traded-off for what is often just a tool of police convenience is a horrifying trade-off. The risk of death shouldn't be crossing that boundary from the side of seriously threatening the police with credible and grievous bodily harm. That's why Canadian society has been in such an uproar over the real-world results with tasers.

Perhaps in the future the promises would be achieved without stepping all over people's basic rights. But this will happen only if each and every one of the Braidwood recommendations is fully embraced and implemented. And that result can only be judged by watching for an approximately 95% reduction in taser usage.


But look at the track record...

House of Commons SECU committee recommendations: ignored, then partial adopted.

RCMP Watchdog recommendations: partially and begrudgingly adopted.


We are moving slowly in the correct direction.

But it would have been a lot faster to slap on a taser moratorium to capture certain folks attention, and then perhaps allow taser use under the severely-restricted rules that almost everyone would agree to (per Braidwood's recommendations).

As it is, it is probably going to be a long slow drift to a new set-point about half-way along the evil-to-good spectrum.


It may require another future taser death of someone (in Canada), someone not meeting Braidwood's criteria, to generate another storm of outrage.


But the foundation for future improvements has been laid.

Tasers "...can cause death...".

Once that conceptual change is fully embraced, then everything else will - eventually - follow.

Time to revisit some 'cause of death' findings

When people disagree, it's often because there is an unspoken assumption that is obvious to one side of the debate, but the other side of the debate simply haven't gotten around to thinking it through yet. Once the assumption is pointed out to them, then they are forced to recalculate their position. Then they either admit that the argument is over, or they retreat into an emotional response.


Applicable Braidwood conclusions:

1) Braidwood concluded that tasers "can cause death".

2) Braidwood also concluded that when there is a lack of autopsy evidence in a taser-associated death, then it is probably a case of death by [likely taser-induced] arrhythmia.

3) Braidwood also concluded that 'excited delirium' is not a cause of death, and it is "unhelpful" as it is used as a convenient excuse, thereby allowing the true cause of death to remain undetermined.


Now stop and think.

How do these newly-formalize conclusions relate to the 434+ people that have died in taser-associated death incidents?


Many of those deaths were attributed to 'excited delirium', or pre-existing medical conditions, or anything EXCEPT the taser. Some of the coroners' reports went so far as to totally disregard the taser use, even in cases where the taser use was flagrantly excessive.


Such findings were OBVIOUSLY influenced by Taser International's long campaign that has promoted 'excited delirium' as a convenient excuse for death, and their long campaign that tasers-R-safe. Not to mention that they sued one coroner on the basis that tasers-R-safe.

Thankfully, in spite of their campaign, reportedly about one-third of the taser-associated cause of death reports DID list the taser as a cause of contributing factor.

So now what?


It follows that many of those cause of death findings, the ones that ignored the taser usage and pinned the blame on "causes" that Braidwood has rejected (especially 'excited delirium') - many of those findings were probably wrong.


And that's the now-explicit assumption that many taser critics share: That the list of 434+ taser-associated deaths is a list of people that were, for the most part, either plain-and-simple outright KILLED by the taser, or had their death 'contributed to' by the taser.

It's just an opinion held by many members of the public, but it is not an unreasonable position considering the twists and turns of the taser safety debate.


Taser International has not accepted that the taser is in any way responsible for any taser-associated death (by way of inherent internal risk factors). Of the 434+ incidents, they admit zero. In fact, they will continue to proclaim those now-obviously flawed statistics as evidence of product safety.

Their position has been fatally undermined by Braidwood's findings. It is now not a reasonable position. It's irrational.


What may happen over the next few years is a remarkable downturn in the number of deaths by 'excited delirium'. Now that it has been official judged to be an "unhelpful" smokescreen.

Typical unthinking commenter

Halifax, NS - B.C. stun gun report applies here, too [LINK]


The on-line version of the story at the Chronicle Herald website included a comment from 'yorkke' that demanded a response.


'yorkke' commented: I've created a fail-safe, two step plan to remain taser free. 1- Do not commit crimes. 2- If step 1 is violated, do not fight police upon their arrival. I haven't been tasered yet.


When I read that comment, it struck me as odd that someone would think that offering such behaviour-based advice when the subject of the article (Mr. Hyde) was someone that was having a mental health crisis.

It's obvious that 'yorkke' was ignoring the facts, and missing the entire point.

At best, his advice is completely unhelpful. At worst, it is counterproductive and might lead to continued muddled thinking, and thus a vastly increased risk of death for people that are inherently unable to exploit yorkke's useless 'advice'.

And that's typical of ALL pro-taser arguments. They sometimes offer what appears to be a thin layer of common sense, but they do not withstand even a modicum of skeptical scrutiny.

Here's my submitted response:


Excited-Delirium.com responded: yorkke's "plan to remain taser free" shares a characteristic of ALL pro-taser arguments. It only makes sense if you don't think about it too much.

In the Hyde incident, the police were dealing with a man having a mental health crisis. Providing advice to not fight the police is not really a useful suggestion. Mr. Hyde was tasered by police, instantly was in cardiac arrest, but was revived.

In the Dziekanski incident, it is fairly clear that Mr. Dziekanski did not really fight with the police. At most, he was holding a stapler. And yet he was tasered, and tasered, and tasered, and tasered, and tasered, and immediately died of cardiac arrest.

The crux of the taser issue is that tasers are perfectly capable of causing death. But the manufacturer, for obvious reasons, cannot admit this obvious fact. And the manufacturer has had almost complete control of the training.

So the police carry a deadly weapon that they naively believe is 'safe'. Thus they use the taser approximately one-hundred times more often than they've typically used their guns. So it ends up being used on people, such as Mr. Dziekanski, that did not do anything that called for a lethal response.

And that's evil.

Taser-anus fetish (a bit weird...)

"Police in Boise sodomize a man using a taser." [LINK]

That's a rather strange approach to law enforcement.

But hey, whatever turns you on... eh?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Howard Hyde Inquiry in Halifax

Very familiar territory... [LINK]


It's probably worth clarifying one detail not revealed in some of the related headlines published over the past few months.

Such as: 'Howard Hyde died 30 hours after being tasered'

In fact, the more detailed version of the events reveal that he was apparently tasered and immediately went into cardiac arrest (reportedly 'no pulse'). But the police heroically performed CPR and Mr. Hyde was revived.

This detail takes some of the mystery out of the 30-hour gap with respect to the debate about the purported versus actual safety of tasers.

Tasered for 'not obeying...'

Harrodsburg, KY - Whitney Kareken is suing Mercer County deputies, claiming they used a stun gun on her while she was suffering from a seizure. ...the incident occurred after the seizure caused Kareken to lose control of her SUV and crash into a ditch. The lawsuit goes on to say a nurse who happened upon the scene informed deputies that she was having a seizure, but they ignored her. Sheriff Kerht claims that the claims are 'inaccurate'. [LINK]

I'm guessing that the nurse's testimony might settle the argument.

Does a high-end of six-figures settlement sound reasonable?

ABC - Top 7 'Shocking' Taser Incidents

Grandma, Pregnant Woman, University Student All Felled by Taser-Wielding Cops [LINK]

The writer of this story didn't try very hard.

Just seven?

File under: 'No Sh_t, Einstein'

Headline: Tasers 'less dangerous than guns' [LINK]

Wow. Really? Are you sure that you're keeping up there, Gomer?


Seriously, talk about missing the point...

The above-quoted statement is technically true in the duh!-obvious sense, but the argument it supports is the refuge of taser-debate newbies and plain fools. (Anyone need a badge? [LINK])


Even Taser International has been forced by circumstances, and by their goal of increased sales, to walk away from this original taser lie - that tasers have anything to do with replacing guns. They want tasers to replace pepper spray, the baton, hands-on, talking, waiting, and burning hot cigarettes pressed into flesh...


Tasers are used far, far, far and away more often than the police have historically and generally-acceptably used their guns. The ratio of overuse varies with both jurisdiction and almost certainly over time as well.

It would be ridiculous to try to put too accurate a number on it. But it's generally much more than ten, and generally much less than a thousand. I've decided to call it approximately one-hundred (as a rough order of magnitude estimated average). You can argue about the ratio here or there, or then and now, but 100x is a fair and reasonable number.

Given this ratio of overuse, it can be seen that any claim that tasers replace police gun fire is approximately 99% Bull Sh_t. Essentially, it's a damn lie.


The facts are that tasers are used to replace other (apparently safer, with respect to risk of death [LINK]) weapons, basic de-escalation techniques, and perhaps even simply waiting the subject out.


So, right off the bat, the taser would have to be at least 100 times safer than the gun, SIMPLY TO BREAK EVEN in a simple (amoral) body count.

(And when I use the word 'safe', I'm most concerned about DEATH. Injuries are obviously important, but they're not even on the same page as death. Let's sort out the taser-death issue before moving on to discuss injuries.)

The researchers compared the results with firearms, which had a mortality rate of about 50 per cent. [ibid]

Guns are 50% deadly. Perhaps not as high a mortality rate as some people might think.


Therefore, given the overuse ratio of 100x, just for a basic (amoral) body count break-even, the taser needs to be at or below a 0.5% risk of death.

And it meets that goal.

435+ taser-associated death out of some 700,000 (?) deployments is 0.06% risk of death.

That's about ten times better than required for (amoral) body-count break even.

You may be surprised by this relatively low ratio (just 8.3x) of first-order improvement. You might have assumed that it's many thousands of times safer. But not when normalized to make the comparison fair.


But wait... ...there's more to consider.


The mortality rate for firearms (guns) almost certainly only includes cases where the bullets actually hit the subject. I'll bet that (for example) a shot fired that does not contact the subject does not enter into the calculation of firearm mortality.

But Taser International are professional denominator washers [LINK]. They include almost everything in the denominator. They absolutely, positively include the incidents where the taser is applied in the Touch Torture mode. The certainly include the essentially-FAKE training and demonstration hits into the BACK. I'm not sure if they include 'display'.

A few of these inflationary denominator-washing factors, each of which is individually in a several-to-one ratio, brings the actual oranges-to-oranges comparison much closer to unity once adjusted for the overuse ratio.


And we've not even touched on the Karma issue [LINK] of moving from a scheme where those that attack police are subjected to a significant risk of death, to a scheme where anyone might eventually be subjected to a low to moderate risk of death. Bad karma. Very bad. Evil. Which is why I kept mentioning "amoral" above with respect to the raw body count.


Taser International's rebuttal would be that tasers cannot possibly be responsible for any of these 434+ [LINK] taser-associated deaths. Unfortunately for Taser International, that argument has now been officially rejected. [LINK]


So what are we left with?

Can we make the taser safer? Perhaps the new X3 has a waveform that eliminates the apparently-dangerous DC pulse after the arc phase? That would be interesting...

But it's not our job to design tasers.


So the only handle we have is to vastly cut back on the insane 100x ratio of overuse as compared to guns. This needs to be cut back by about 95% to 99%. And the 95% is being generous by potentially allowing about five times more taser incidents than the usual rate of police gun fire. Generous and trusting is what that is.

This sort of massive cut-back imposed by new sweeping restriction on the use of tasers is exactly what Judge Braidwood has recommended. Given that he couldn't bring himself to recommend a moritorium (at this time), then it was the only reasonable way forward.

He's a very smart man.

Bless his heart.

Headline of the Year

A crystal clear headline from an English language paper.

The normal sequence, never the opposite

Mindless taser fan-boy website: [Mr. Cardell] "...was [1] hit with a taser, [2] lost consciousness, and [3] died almost immediately."

There are many examples of such a sequence. Hundreds.


Now taser fan-boys, show me the following sequence:

"...was ALMOST hit with a taser, lost consciousness, and died immediately."

If there is nothing to the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK], then there should be MORE such non-taser-hit but taser-drawn and reported incidents since they outnumber the taser-hit incidents by about ten-to-one.

So, show us the THOUSANDS of such reports. Not just two or three, but THOUSANDS.


I agree - 'A' occurring proximal to 'B' proves nothing about causality.

But when the sequence is ALWAYS 'A' first, then followed by 'B', and it happens hundreds of times, then it actually is clear-cut proof of causality via simple inductive reasoning.

If there was no 'A'->'B' causality, then you'd expect to see similar rates of death per unit time in the interval after a taser incident begins (taser drawn, MARK!) and up to when (or if) the taser darts actually hit the subject. That period provides the built-in experimental control for the great taser experiment being conducted on the people of North America.

See the linked page for more details that extinguish your anticipated rebuttals.

Leaving nothing but the 'completely inexplicable' Curious Temporal Asymmetry.


Of course, there is a very simple proposed explanation available for your consideration.

That taser can (and do) sometimes CAUSE DEATH. Via any of several perfectly reasonable taser-death mechanisms.

And this is infinitely more often than is admitted by the manufacturer (they admit nothing except external risk factors and ill-defined 'individual susceptibilities'). They do not accept any inherent internal risk factors that could lead to death.


Many people feel that Taser International is wrong about these risks. And in Canada (at least in B.C., the taser hot-spot in Canada no less), it's now official.

"Tasers can cause death, says Braidwood"

A probe into Taser use and the weapon's role in the death of a Polish immigrant at Vancouver's airport two years ago has found that the stun guns do have the capacity to cause serious injury or death. Justice Thomas Braidwood's inquiry has also found that the risk of death increases significantly when the energy-conducted weapons are administered to the chest, or in cases when suspects are shocked multiple times. ... [LINK]

"Chest"? Have I ever mentioned the word 'chest' on this blog before? [LINK]

Or long duration taserings?

RCMP - sorry, you have no choice

"As a precondition to the [province] entering into new policing arrangements with the RCMP in 2012," B.C. will contractually require the Mounties to comply with its own polices, rules and procedures regarding the use of CEWs [tasers]. The Mounties could refuse to comply, but this seems unlikely; after all, B.C. is their biggest customer. They will have to follow new rules regarding Taser use and training, or leave. [LINK]

And once they accept these rules in BC, then they'll have little justification for not implementing them across Canada. Assuming they're even offered the choice by the provincial ministers.

And thus follows all of Canada. Domino theory.

Tasers often the "...worst possible response"

"Deploying a conducted energy weapon [taser] against an emotionally disturbed person is, in most cases, the worst possible response," Braidwood said. [LINK]

BC S.G. Kash Heed issues edict

Effective immediately:

All police, sheriffs and corrections officers in B.C. have been directed to severely restrict the use of conducted energy weapons, in accordance with recommendations from the inquiry, Solicitor General Kash Heed said.
[LINK]

Well, bless his heart.

RCMP "...have no choice..."

...the RCMP is a federal force and not subject to B.C. statutes. It is answerable to Ottawa only, even though B.C. residents pay the Mounties salaries here. In other words, the force doesn't have to listen to a thing Mr. Braidwood has to say if it doesn't want to.

But Mr. Braidwood, brilliant man that he is, has given the B.C. government a way around the problem. That is, if the RCMP doesn't voluntarily agree to implement the recommendations.

You see, the RCMP's contract with the province is up in 2012. Mr. Braidwood has suggested the government insist the Mounties agree to implement all of commission's recommendations regarding tasers as a condition of renewing its policing agreements with the province.

B.C. Solicitor-General Kash Heed said Thursday he has sent an order to the RCMP that it comply with the recommendations. Certainly a rare display of nerve by this government in its dealings with the force. ... [LINK]

Off to a good start...


The RCMP is still considering their response. [LINK] Slow readers... (LOL)

It's their call, but they may wish to consider what may happen in 2012: [LINK]

Taser drags out "excited delirium" - LOL

Taser, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, says there is no scientific evidence the guns have been directly responsible for any deaths, which it asserts were likely caused by other issues, including what the company and police say is "excited delirium." [LINK]

See the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry: [LINK]

World is starting to take notice...

Taiwan - A Canadian [think about that word...] judge conducting a public inquiry into stun gun use says the electronic weapons can kill or seriously injure victims, and police officers must change how they use them. Justice Thomas Braidwood has criticized police for not properly studying the potential dangers of stun guns and not training officers adequately in their use. Braidwood stopped short of recommending banning stun guns and instead said police should severely limit their use. [LINK]

Braidwood Inquiry Report - Taser's reaction

The weapon's maker, Taser International Inc., is not happy with the report and said the restrictions will force police to use more dangerous alternatives. [LINK]

Ahhh... Boo hoo.


And you spelled "less dangerous" wrong.

...the incidence of deaths proximate to their use suggests that they [tasers] are potentially more lethal than more traditional intermediate weapons, such as batons, oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray, or rubber bullets. [Page 218]

That conclusion matches my impression of the news reports.

Just because the stun-gun salesman makes a claim, it doesn't mean it's true.

Braidwood Inquiry Report - my initial reaction

Anyone that has a simplified view of the taser issue should review Judge Braidwood's 550-page report. [LINK]

I think that his report might even be longer than this blog! Yikes.

I've just spent the past few hours skimming through the report (at approximately 500 words per minute, ahem...). I'll obviously be reading it more closely over the coming days and weeks.

The report covers a lot of territory.

Braidwood's recommendations are extensive, sweeping, uniformly practical, highly moral and ethical, and (if fully implemented) potentially quite useful.


I'm a bit worried about the "if fully implemented" part. To be honest, that seems unlikely.


Overall the report is good; possibly very good.

But not quite perfect.

I strongly disagree with the report's off-hand dismissal of the street-level punishment and intimidation aspects of day-to-day taser use in the 'Touch Torture' (drive stun) mode. If he (or anyone, anywhere) disagrees, then they need to answer The 'glowing cigarette' taser challenge [LINK]. If you can't answer this challenge, then you have to admit that the taser is (sometimes? quite often?) nothing more than torture, plain and simple.

The report didn't really delve into the technical aspects of the various tasers. Not even to the point of reviewing the X26 spec sheet to see where the waveform actually trails off as compared to the oft-quoted 100 microseconds and 100 micro-coulombs. Let alone considering the implications of the little DC pulse on the X26 and the 2003-coincidence-my-ass step function increase in the monthly taser death rate.


But these relatively minor points are overshadowed by the formal conclusion, directly contradicting the dismissed-with-prejudice (LOL) "expert" testimony of Taser International's many bought-and-paid-for experts witnesses, that the taser can CAUSE DEATH.

That is a huge and critical slap in the face to Taser International.

TASERS CAN CAUSE DEATH.

Taser International claims it isn't so.

Judge Braidwood didn't buy their story.

Which was the correct judgement.

Bless his heart.

Braidwood, page 322:

Add tasers to the ...federal Hazardous Products Act... [LINK]

Hmmm.

Safe? Not so much.

More like Hazardous.

Braidwood, page 322:

I am satisfied that these weapons have the capacity to cause death to a human subject, through a variety of mechanisms. [LINK]

A variety of [taser-death] mechanisms.

It's nice to have some variety in life (and death).

Braidwood, page 320:

...I am concerned about the mentality or attitude that officers have about these weapons. If they are trained that conducted energy weapons are just another non-lethal weapon, they will fail to appreciate the serious medical risks inherent in their use. However, if officers are trained that these weapons are capable of causing death or other specified medical conditions, then they will be more likely to treat any negative post-discharge outcome as a medical emergency and take appropriate resuscitative measures, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, automatic external defibrillator, or call for paramedic assistance. [LINK]

Defective taser training.

Braidwood, page 295:

I am satisfied from the evidence before me that conducted energy weapons [tasers] cause intense pain, incapacitate the subject, and have the capacity to cause the subject’s death. [LINK]

Taser Can Cause Death.


Those that follow this blog should be aware that this is THE taser issue.

Tasers can (and therefore have, and will again) cause death, COMBINED WITH the on-going denials from Taser International, COMBINED WITH their influence over the defective training and thus the actual overuse, abuse and misuse of tasers - this is the deadly mess that results.

Once we acknowledge that tasers can kill, then there is a very simple, clear and ethically-obvious path to change that will tend to eliminate most of the evil.

But only if... [more later]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Braidwood, page 16:

Conducted energy weapons [tasers] do have the capacity (even in healthy adult subjects) to cause heart arrhythmia, which can lead to ventricular tachycardia and/or fibrillation, which if not treated immediately, can cause death... [LINK]

TASERS CAN CAUSE DEATH.

The stungun salesmen at Taser International will probably seize upon the multistep death-by-taser death mechanism, so carefully-explained, as constituting a lack of directness.

That's playing semantic word games.

TASER CAN KILL (directly).

Even healthy adults.


We've used the phrase "a street-level death lottery" before on this blog.

Braidwood, page 15:

It is not helpful to blame resulting deaths on “excited delirium,” since this conveniently avoids having to examine the underlying medical condition or conditions that actually caused death, let alone examining whether use of the conducted energy weapon and/or subsequent measures to physically restrain the subject contributed to those causes of death. [LINK]

Dr. 'Excited Delirium' Mash - go away now, please.


The unanimous view of mental health presenters was that the best practice is to de-escalate the agitation, which can best be achieved through the application of recognized crisis intervention techniques. Conversely, the worst possible response is to aggravate or escalate the crisis, such as by deploying a conducted energy weapon and/or using force to physically restrain the subject. [ibid]

De-escalation - a word that I've used many times on this blog.

Braidwood, page 14:

Although there is often a lack of physical evidence on autopsy to determine whether arrhythmia was the cause of death, if a person dies suddenly and from no obvious cause after being subjected to a conducted energy weapon, death is almost certainly due to an arrhythmia. [LINK]

Tasered-and-died, no other evidence at autopsy?

Conclude: Death by taser-induced arrhythmia.


Taser minion 'Dr.' Mark W. Kroll. The "W" is for WRONG.

Tasers can kill via several mechanisms

The Braidwood report is out.

One of the highlights for me is his crystal clear acknowledgment that tasers can kill even normal healthy humans.

And this means DIRECTLY kill.

Via any of the taser-death mechanisms that have been discussed.

Which will help to make Taser International liable for at least some the many deaths that their device CAUSED.

And he is proposing that their use be tightened up dramatically. I've not done the math yet, but if implemented it would be within sight of the sort of reduction that I've been calling for.

See [LINK].

More later.

The End Game for Taser International in Canada

I think it's the begining of the end for Taser International in Canada.

We'll see... But I'll put a fiver on them getting smacked hard later today.

2009 - an 'interesting' year for Taser International.

Tasers "...sweeping restrictions..." likely

If this news report is true, then my work may be nearing an end. Sweet.

From [LINK]


CTN News has learned that the head of a public inquiry is poised to recommend sweeping restrictions on the use of Taser guns

Former justice Thomas Braidwood has spent months studying the controversial police weapon

On Thursday afternoon, he is expected to announce his long-awaited recommendations.

CTV News has learned that those recommendations will include severe restrictions on the use of Tasers by police.

What this means will become clearer on Thursday, but this will undoubtedly change the way police use the weapon and could result in fewer Tasers on the street.

All of this comes almost two years after the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died of cardiac arrest after being shocked five times by the RCMP at Vancouver International Airport.

The RCMP have said they would respect Braidwood's recommendations and adopt them nation-wide.

B.C.'s new Solicitor General Kash Heed will hold a news conference right after Braidwood's announcement on Thursday afternoon.

These developments indicate that the stage is set for sweeping changes in the use of Tasers in B.C. and most likely right across the country.

Braidwood Inquiry phase 1 report out tomorrow, maybe

B.C. Taser inquiry report to be released Thursday [LINK]

Obviously I have no idea what Judge Braidwood's findings will be.

But I'm allowed to guess...

My predicted phrase-of-the-day is "scathing indictment".

But that's just a guess.

And I suspect that some of the sh_t that is about to hit the fan is going to fly all the way to Arizona.

Taser International markets products via Twitter

But this new media is just as open to those that are critical of tasers, and wish to debate the many issues that swirl around them.

Taser International's stupid little Twitter marketing campaign [LINK] is providing an opportunity, and the imperative, for the taser-critical activists to follow them into this new media. It's called 'providing balance' on a highly controversial issue.

And the timing is good, due to the recent crystal-clear emergence of taser's 'Curious Temporal Asymmetry'. [LINK]


PS: This blogger is open to logical rebuttals to any of the arguments presented in this blog. Feel free to contact the blog at the e-mail address provided. But any such rebuttals are subject to close scrutiny and public shredding. I welcome the opportunity to debate the issues. But I get the impression that pro-taser folks are pretty much out of ammo, in terms of logically-consistent arguments to support their contentions (especially with respect to the primary issue of taser-associated deaths and the causality of same).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tasers now "...safe near water...", Huh?

Las Vegas Sun "When the X3 says it’s going for a swim, Tuttle says, it’s really to emphasize the device is safe near water."

REALLY??

So is Taser International abandoning the long standing warning about the risk of death by drowning if the taser actually happens to be effective (hey, it happens...) and causes NMI while the victim drowns in even a puddle of water?

Steve, Steve, Steve. I think I know what you're trying to say, but that's not what you reportedly actually said.

Research into Taser deaths 'conflicting'

"The jury is still out on whether being shot with a Taser stun gun can result in heart problems and possible sudden death, according to Australian research." [LINK]

And this finding is in spite of Taser's best efforts at plugging up the pipes with their studies.

Sometimes the simplest observation, such as the Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK], is the sort of thing that reveals the causality relationship versus illogical protestations of innocence.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Torts, Tasers and Causation

'Torts, Tasers and Causation', by Greg Hagen [LINK]

...For example, even if one could attribute 99% degree of causation to a non-tortious, pre-existing condition (say “excited delirium”) and 1% degree of causation to a tortious use of the taser by the police officer, 100% of the liability will be apportioned to the police officer’s tortious use of the taser.

...
It follows that a police officer whose negligence proximately and unreasonably exposes someone to a risk of death who subsequently dies because of a pre-existing condition is not excused because the vast majority would not have suffered death or even severe injury.

Do not miss taser's C.T.A.

Do not miss the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK].


The hissing sound you hear is the air being deflated out of ALL of Taser's arguments regarding the real-world safety of the X26 taser.

So far as I can see (...excluding the rather remote possibility that Taser International will publish a list of all the many, many hundreds - or even thousands - of people that have fallen over stone cold dead in the period of time starting when the taser is drawn and ending if and when it is fired into the subject. So, excluding that possibility...) the argument about causality is over.


It's difficult to prove that 'A' causes 'B'.

Except when 'A' and 'B' occur together, *AND* in many hundreds of cases 'B' has (almost?) never been recorded as preceding 'A'. Then the 'A -> B' causality becomes PERFECTLY obvious.

Read the linked-post above if you're not keeping up...