Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...


The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Judge Brimmer marks Taser International's Philosophy-101 term paper


Quoting from:

Document 284
Filed 03/29/10 USDC Colorado
Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Civil Case No. 07-cv-01844-PAB-KLM

Moreover, Taser’s argument that temporal proximity may not be considered as evidence of causation is unavailing. As the Court has already stated in resolving Taser’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Rosenbaum, to so find would mean that Taser would be entitled to a special causation rule by which the default assumption is that TASERs cannot cause cardiac arrest, not only as a matter of science, as it would argue to a trier of fact, but as a matter of law, somehow barring consideration of otherwise reliable evidence supporting causation.

In an effort to achieve the adoption of such a rule, Taser applies an overly broad and logically flawed interpretation of post hoc ergo propter hoc, the logical fallacy that because an event follows another, it was necessarily caused by the earlier event. Taser is correct that application of such false reasoning can blind one to alternative possibilities, many of which will be as or more plausible. In this case, for instance, such a fallacy would be at work if plaintiffs’ theory of causation was that, because Officer Harris opened his patrol car door not long before Mr. Wilson’s death, the opening of the door must have caused his death.

Taser, however, is seeking to have this Court apply a rule of logic that may also yield inaccurate results, i.e., that sequence is not relevant to causation. That is not necessarily true. This is not a case of mere temporal proximity, but rather of near temporal synchrony: Mr. Wilson collapsed at the same time he was struck by at least one TASER probe. To the extent certain events occur nearly simultaneously – for instance, a baseball bat making contact with a person who immediately falls over – the causal connection between them becomes quite strong.

The Judge is applying the simplest, and yet most devastating, counter-argument, a form of Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd").

 For those keeping score, this isn't going well for Taser International.

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