In the year 2010, still clinging to the belief that tasers can do no harm is roughly equivalent to believing that the Earth is flat. In this case, it's a belief system that originated from the deceptive marketing practices of Taser International.
The RCMP has acknowledged that use of tasers involves risks, and those risks include risk of death. They have twice tightened-up the allowed use of tasers to match this reality. Please note that this is the RCMP. It's not some random band of bloggers - it's the fricken RCMP.
Logically, this discussion should end right there and then.
What more would any rational person ask for?
The journal of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) took a very clear position. They do not accept the assurances of safety from Taser International. Refer to [LINK] for details.
The American Medical Association (AMA) determined that tasers can cause or contribute to death, directly or indirectly. Read that again - "directly or indirectly." See [LINK].
The Maryland Attorney General has formally determined that Taser International has "significantly" understated the risks associated with taser use. [LINK]
"They have to be trained and told that this device can and does, in certain circumstances, cause death or serious injury," said Cary J. Hansel, III, report panel member. What do you think those words mean? [LINK]
The Braidwood Inquiry...
The former RCMP watchdog Kennedy...
Do I really have to bother providing quotes and links? Seriously?
Even the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) noted a strange and disturbing correlation between more-numerous taser hits and death. Their purported finding that tasers are safe, when you actually read the report, actually raises serious questions about those over-ambitious claims of safety. See [LINK].
Prof Savard studied the data and found that the chances of someone dying is linearly proportional to their exposure to the taser. [LINK] Geesh. This one graph alone nukes the safety claims. Alternate explanations are simply far-fetched nonsense.
What about the taser's "Curious Temporal Asymmetry"? [LINK]
The United Nations concluded that tasers are a form of torture that can kill.
Amnesty International made a huge effort to track down about 150 autopsy reports of those that died in a taser incident. Of the randomly-obtained 150 autopsy reports involving tasers, the taser was reportedly mentioned as a cause or contributing factor in 50 of those 150. Sometimes you'll see this number reported as "50". I prefer to report it as "about one-third", because I see no reason why this wouldn't be applicable to all 470+ taser-associated deaths. You do the math.
By the way, this ratio is just what has slipped through the net. Taser International has manufactured much of the so-called science, and then used (US) Daubert motions to quash any alternate testimony. This legal trick has run its course. Given the larger picture, this one-third ratio can only be a low ball value.
We've found that Taser International is too-closely connected to those that promote "excited delirium" as a handy-dandy inherently un-refutable explanation for In-Custody Deaths. Taser International's own lawyer has his filthy hands in the websites that promote the pseudo-science that is "excited delirium" as an excuse for taser-associated deaths.
Let's cut to the chase:
The most dangerous taser in the entire world is the one that's in the hands of someone that has been told "Don't worry, it's perfectly safe."
Personally I don't care of the police are issued with fricken flame-throwers. But if the creepy fork-tongued flame-thrower salesmen start to claim that flame-throwers are perfectly safe, and the crispy-fried humans must be as a result of Spontaneous Human Combustion ("...a well-known condition that has been reported in the literature since 1889..." ...Oh puhleeze...), then it's time to take action and refute the lies.
Taser are perfectly capable of contributing to or causing death.
They're hardly "safe".
The where & when, and the how & why, of taser-associated death are less well defined.
But to deny the risks only increases those risks. EVERYONE that is both honest and informed already accepts this obvious fact.
And if anyone thinks that these concerns are simply the irrational protestations of crazy bloggers and lunatic activists, then they're denying all the above.
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