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.

Friday, May 21, 2010

TrueSlant - Steve Weinberg: Police on the streets with Tasers: Protecting citizens, or endangering them?

TrueSlant (20 May 2010) - Two uniformed officers in Columbia, Missouri, spent two hours last night educating [?] the Citizens Police Review Board about Taser use. ...   [author Steve Weinberg is] ...one of nine volunteers from Columbia appointed to the Review Board by the City Council. We began operating Jan. 1, 2010. ...  [LINK]

When I read the first sentence, the word "educating" jumped out at me. Police providing unbiased "education" about tasers? Puhleeze...

My immediate reaction is that the word "educating" in this context is a misspelling of the phrase "...passing along propaganda originating from Taser International to..."

Seriously, of all the information they presented, what percentage do you think was provided by Taser International (answer: probably 100%), and what percentage of counter-balancing information was provided (answer: probably 0%).

Let's do a little test (a spot-check):

These are critically important facts that would be mentioned by any reasonable educator:

Did these two officers happen to mention that Canada's national police force, the RCMP, has acknowledged that use of tasers involves risks, and those risks include risk of death? Was that mentioned?

Did these two officers happen to mention that the American Medical Association (AMA) have determined that tasers can cause or contribute to death, directly or indirectly? [LINK] Did that get mentioned?

How about the fact that the Maryland Attorney General has formally concluded that Taser International has "significantly" understated the risks associated with taser use? [LINK] Forgot to mention that? ...

... "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. [LINK]

[How is the pass/fail mark for those two officers holding up?]

See also this post for more examples of formal conclusions from formal inquiries and similar: [LINK] The point here is that it is a bald-faced lie that the only folks concerned about taser safety are crazy bloggers and lunatic activists.

See also the subtle admission by Taser International that tasers can, in fact, affect the heart. [LINK].

See also the statement by Taser International's very own "medical director" (sic) that directly supports the conclusion that tasers can provide the final and fatal contribution to death by acidosis in highly agitated subjects. [LINK]

[Slip-ups like this happen given the circumstances - ahem - they find themselves in...]

I can't include everything in this one post...

This blog has nearly 2000 posts covering this issue since late-2007. Essentially everything is linked back to sources (often via previous posts on the same subject) so you can fact-check to your heart's content. The arguments are often very straightforward and the conclusions are typically crystal clear.

And to be clear, I'm not holding myself out as an authority. The more-technical points that I've explained in this blog should be vetted by a highly qualify person (i.e. - someone with the first name "Prof.") if you're bringing them to trial. But even a first-year EE knows that there's no such thing as a short pulse (100 microsecond) of low frequency (19Hz and harmonics). See [LINK] and more detail below.

jcalton commented [ibid]:  Virtually all information on Tasers circulated for public consumption by cities and police departments is provided by Taser International. The blog Excited Delirium serves as a clearinghouse for Taser studies, articles, and news stories not condoned by Taser. You can ignore his commentary [WTF? LOL...] and just follow the information back to its original sources, although sometimes his explanations of the science involved can be helpful to refute claims made by Taser (because no one else is).

Ignore my commentary? Humph...

Seriously... That's okay...

I was once called "righteously indignant" [LINK], and that's pretty accurate.

But you have to understand the exact nature of the safety claims made by Taser International and their minions. They leave the clear impression that tasers-R-safe. They make these claims to increase sales. But these demonstrably-false safety claims lead directly to the overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers. And nothing but pure evil and suffering comes from the overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers.

(I think that I'm entitled to provide some 'righteously indignant' commentary given the situation...)

Of course there may be the occasional opportunity where the taser is the ideal weapon. No argument. And there may be opportunities where a fricken' flame-thrower might be the ideal tool for the job.

The San Fransisco Police Department actually reviewed their records and found that tasers might be perfectly justifiable (actually replacing lethal force, as advertised) perhaps once a year. [LINK] The disturbing fact is that tasers are typically used about one-hundred times (roughly) as often as that.

"Excited Delirium" is used to explain away many taser deaths in the same way that "Spontaneous Human Combustion" could be used to explain away crispy-fried humans "coincidentally associated with" flame-thrower deployments.

Important point: The self-contradictions emerging from the pro-taser propaganda are often only evident at the highest level. They'll say X one year, and not-X another year.

For example, the older M26 taser from 1999 is "safe" BECAUSE the waveform is very short pulses of high frequency. Very short pulses makes it safer. High frequency makes it safer. But the newer X26 taser from 2003 added a significant DC pulse after the AC arc-phase. Those that remember their Fourier-101 will instantly realize that that innocent-looking DC pulse added to the X26 taser waveform changes everything. It's a DC pulse that repeats at 19 Hz. 19 Hz is the more-dangerous low frequency. And low frequency is inherently continuous 100% duty cycle (no such thing as a short, 100us, pulse of low frequency, 19Hz). Thus the X26 has walked away from both safety factors. This is a self-contradiction that (I believe) Taser International did not appreciate. Their in-house expert still spoke of "Chronaxie" (the safety of short pulses) even in his 2007 IEEE article. That's demonstrably an error. A fatal error.

Another example. Taser International first stated that the taser is a constant current source and the human body impedance was therefore not critical. No matter if the human is higher or lower impedance, the taser waveform current will be the same. But later, when experts tried to test tasers and found that the current was out-of-spec, all of a sudden the precise value of the test resistor become oh-so-critical. That's a discrepancy that spans several years. (Apparently) Nobody notices these things except me.


Feel free to skip over any "commentary" that you don't appreciate.

By the way, the index and searching functions (top right) are now working extremely well. They can help you to find related posts on any subject.

The blog e-mail address is also in the right hand column. I'm happy to provide pointers into the blog if you're looking for anything in particular.


JC said...

I don't skip the commentary. I've contributed before and I link people to the site whenever I can, so obviously I must like it.

But you have to understand that Steve is a journalist and journalism professor at one of the top journalism schools in the country. It is the oldest in the world and was basically founded by Joseph Pulitzer.
The point being that Steve Weinberg is old-school and is never going to directly cite or credit an obviously biased (correctly biased, IMO) website such as the Excited Delirium blog.

But, he could still use the links and evidence (sans commentary) on the blog as a resource to find out the truth from sources he might be able to cite.

Don't take it personally. Steve needs our help and he is in a position to make a difference. I'd like to see him succeed in that role, and maybe use his influence to change some minds.

Excited-Delirium.com said...

It was definately "an LOL moment".


And we're in agreement on your other point. As I already mentioned, I'm not hanging my points on the suggestion that this blog is a direct authoritative reference. I have absolutely zero respect for "Appeal to Authority" type of arguments, and I'd never intentionally use my own qualifications to justify a conclusion.

When you see "experts" (with half the alphabet after their name) forgetting something as elementary as Fourier theory, then it's a clear example of why ideas and arguments should stand on their own.

I appreciate your involvement.