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, July 8, 2010

An imaginary discourse about taser safety margins

Repost from February 2008 [LINK]

An imaginary discourse with someone we'll just call Mr. Smith.

Q: What is the inherent safety margin for 'the taser'?
A: 15 to 1. [LINK]

[The remainder of these answers are predicted - these are not actual answers. If only someone was able to follow this line of questioning...]

Q: Upon what is this 15 to 1 safety margin for 'the taser' based?
A: Many years of medical and scientific studies.

Q: Many years? Many many years? Going back how far?
A: Yes, many many years. Going back into the 1990s. Huge thick stack of reports.

Q: When you refer to 'the taser', or answer questions about 'the taser', to which model are you referring?
A: There are several models, including the M26 and the X26.

Q: Are they all the same?
A: No.

Q: So which friggen' taser model are you referring to?
A: Whichever one I want to at the time. If you're not asking specific-enough questions, then my answer will be based on the model providing the most favorable-sounding answers.

Q: When was the X26 introduced?
A: In 2003.

Q: Does it have the same electric discharge waveform as the M26?
A: No. It is slightly lower amplitude, much lower frequency, and 100% continuous duty cycle at 19Hz.

Q: So any safety studies applicable to the M26 would not apply to the X26, would they?
A: It would be reasonable to conclude that your statement is, at its fundamental core, essentially not incorrect.

Q: So, is the "15 to 1" safety margin (being based on many many years of studies) applicable to the M26 or the X26? Which of 'the taser' is this safety margin applicable to?
A: No comment.

Q: What safety advantage results from using the high frequency waveform, such as the 50,000 Hz in the case of the waveform used on the older M26 model?
A: According to our experts, high frequency provides a 100 to 1 safety improvement over power line frequencies. This is what makes 'the taser' safe.

Q: Does 'the taser' use such high frequencies?
A: Ah, yes.

Q: What is your most popular model.
A: The X26 introduced in 2003 is our best seller by far.

Q: Does the X26 taser use high frequency waveform?
A: Ah, no.

Q: I beg your pardon?
A: Ah, no.

Q: Explain yourself.
A: The X26 has a distracting burst of 100,000 Hz noise on the leading edge, but then there is a large DC pulse that repeats at 19 Hz.

Q: So the X26 taser is only 19 Hz?
A: Yes, we have called the X26 waveform "19 Hz" in various publications.

Q: Is 19 Hz considered to be a high frequency or a low frequency?
A: Oh hell no. 19 Hz is not considered to be a high frequency. It's low. Damn low.

Q: Power line?
A: Oh yeah. Definitely in that range. Power is 50 or 60 Hz. 19 Hz is just below.

Q: So what happened to your 100:1 safety advantage of high frequency?
A: Oh, in the case of the popular X26 model? Bye-bye!

Q: What compensating factors exist for the X26?
A: Well, we dropped the peak current from 15 amperes on the M26, to 3 amperes on the X26. And the 19 Hz component of the waveform on the X26 is not even 3 amperes, in fact not even one ampere.

Q: So help with the math here. Bye bye 100:1 for the frequency change. Hello maybe 50:1 for the reduced current. But duty cycle at 19 Hz on the X26 is 100%. But you started with 15:1 - on the M26? I'm confused...
A: Yeah, indecipherable isn't it.

Q: Is the safety margin for the X26 lower than for the M26?
A: Well, some critics might claim that.

Q: Did Taser ever advertise that the X26 provided more take-down power than the M26?
A: Ah, maybe. Well okay, yeah.

Q: So, what is the inherent safety margin of 'the taser'?
A: 15 to 1.

Q: Okay smarty-pants. What is the inherent safety margin of the X26 taser? With all these changes to the waveform since the M26, is it still coincidently 15 to 1?
A: Well, that's a damn fine question, and...

At this point, a 45kg pig that has escaped from a medical experiment burst into the conference room, makes very threatening 'Oinking' noises, and refuses to cooperate with verbal instructions from Security personal to put his front legs behind his head and lie down. The pig is tasered several times with an X26 directly across the chest and unfortunately dies of extreme Excited Delirium.

The hearing is adjourned.

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