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 2, 2010

Taser International (TASR) et al - shades of deception

Examples of deception by Taser International et al. Potentially very useful for shredding their corporate or personal credibility in court. This is not a complete list by any means.

Example 1: Claiming that the tasers (M26 and X26) emit only 2mA "average" and implying that this is relevant. This claim is utter deception; it is obviously intended to confuse and mislead those that are not educated about technical topics. See [LINK] for detailed explanation. Further details available upon request - blog e-mail address is in the right hand column.

Example 2: Do you remember when Smith4Brains testified at SECU that the X26 taser is powered by a couple of wee-little harmless [-looking] batteries of the same sort (CR123A) used in digital cameras? He was trying to leave the deceptive impression that those batteries wouldn't hurt a flea. Those claims were intentionally deceptive. Those are powerful lithium cells and they drain them at a rate that is literally off-the-scale of the battery application notes. See [LINK] for an explanation using their own deceptive numbers.

Example 3: Claiming that their legal win/loss record was unblemished, when in fact they had quietly settled some lawsuits. They described these settlements as "dismissed" and (apparently intentionally) left a false impression with many. And they did nothing to correct the false impression when the misinformation was spread by ill-informed taser fan-boys.

Example 4: For years there existed a discrepancy in that all taser training and demonstration taser hits were only ever fired into the subjects' backs, or connected to the same area, or clipped to one leg. Trans-cardiac (chest) applications were intentionally avoided. (Now they advise "avoiding the chest" for all.) And yet they claimed that these "FAKE" taser deployments were evidence of safety. They counted them as safe deployments (my term is "denominator washing"). This was deception on a grand scale.

Example 5: Claiming that the X26 taser's waveform consists of just short pulses, and claiming some sort of magical "chronaxie" safety advantage of the "short pulses". In fact, the X26 taser has a waveform with significant low frequency spectral components, and those spectral components are continuous 100% duty cycle for as long as the trigger is held down. To be fair, this false claim by them probably started out as an elementary technical oversight; it was probably not deception at the outset. But their failure to correct this dumb-ass technical error is clearly pure deception.

Example 6: Taser International fights the various acidosis taser-death mechanisms. They cannot deny acidosis, but they gamely try to downplay the self-evident role that the taser deployment would play. The deception involves their struggling to maintain a straight face while trying to pass-off their position as reasonable. See [Kroll] and especially [Ho].

Example 7: Taser International and their minions have repeatedly claimed that tasers do not affect the heart. As late as May 2009, Taser International sent their unwashed hired help, on expenses I'll assume, to a meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) to try to defend this insane position (their mere attendance being an obvious 'red flag' if there ever was one...). See [LINK]. Meanwhile, buried in their legal paperwork is the admission that the taser "...can produce... changes in... heart rate and rhythm..." - see [LINK]. This is a huge discrepancy between their various statements (marketing lies, false claims, and legal warnings).

Example 8: Taser International and their minions and fan-boys have a nasty habit of failing to disclose that which should obviously be disclosed. I could find no mention of "Braidwood" (or anything similar) in their most recent Annual Report (15 March 2010) [LINK] - a matter clearly worthy of SEC investigation. Or Kroll's Mole-Role Trolls [LINK]. Or William Oliver (a.k.a. Billo the blogger) was discovered to be sitting on a NIJ panel "studying" (LOL) the safety of tasers, while actively promoting tasers in his spare time [LINK]. Or the seemingly-slimy connections, both direct and financial, between Taser International, the IPICD, and those promoting "excited delirium" [LINK][LINK][LINK] and more.

Example 9: Kroll's repeated and infamous reassurances of taser safety. His utterly-deceptive IEEE Spectrum article in which he repeats his many technical mistakes, including forgetting about Fourier (Hint: There's no such thing as 100 microseconds of 19 Hz). His claim of a reassuringly large "15-to-one" (sic) safety margin (self-evidently a vast overstatement). His claim that tasers are "safer than Tylenol". His evil comparison of being repeatedly being tasered to being repeatedly hit with "a ping ping ball" - at one time prominently published on Taser International's website under "Cardiac Safety" (sic), since then mysteriously pulled (?). All of these claims have misled people and organizations. The actual safety margin is much lower than they've claimed. And they've utterly failed to contemplate other Taser-death mechanisms.

Example 10: Taser International often makes claims and statements that appear to make sense in the limited context of the moment. But a wider view (and a better memory) reveals their statements to be at odds with their previous statements. (10a) They claimed at the time that the 1999-era M26 taser was "safe" BECAUSE the output waveform is high frequency and thus very low duty cycle. But the newer less-safe 2003-era X26 taser has a waveform that contains a DC pulse after the arc phase. When repeated at 19Hz this is low frequency and is thus continuous 100% duty cycle. In spite of the lower peak amplitude of the X26, there's no disagreement on either side that the X26 taser is the most dangerous of the two. But even well past 2003, they were still claiming the characteristics of the M26 waveform as safety factors. (10b) When asked about variations in taser current given inevitable variations in the resistance of humans, they immediately claimed that the taser is "a constant current source" and is thus insensitive to variations in the resistance of the target. Later, when investigators finally became curious about taser output, it was noted that a high percentage of units were out of spec, some were above spec. The response from Taser International was to start nitpicking the exact value of test resistor used. The contradiction is self-evident. Their habit of ever-changing stories aren't even good deceptions.

Example 11: The entire "excited delirium" (explain-away in-custody-death for hire) industry. Taser International and the IPICD (...Lawsuits) are connected right from the initial "start-up funding" for IPICD. These connections were not exactly highlighted (they were hidden, downplayed, and denied). The slimy connections were revealed by outside investigators one-by-one, including too-direct-to-be-ethical web-links to the University of Miami. Their insane claim that "excited delirium" (as might apply to a taser-death) has a history that goes back 150 years to a previously-described condition, Bell's Mania - where mental patients would starve themselves to death over a period of several weeks, is obviously utter nonsense. There are so many irrational aspects to their claims about "excited delirium" as a handy excuse for In-Custody Death (always in-custody) that the entire industry falls apart under its own illogic.

Example 12: A pair of cases where Taser International's outrageous behavior resulted in a couple of legal face-plants. These are deception (very poor attempts) because of what they were trying to accomplish. (12a) A B.C. Supreme Court judge has roundly rejected attempts by Taser International to discredit a lawyer and a medical expert who participated in the Braidwood inquiry... Justice Robert Sewell said allegations of bias and dishonesty against lawyer Art Vertlieb and Dr. Keith Chambers were "unnecessary, scandalous and vexatious," and ordered Taser International to pay their legal costs. [LINK] (12b) In denying Taser International's Motion for Summary Judgment... Judge Almquist also found that a portion of Taser International's motion was "substantially immaterial and irrelevant to the substance of the motion and created unnecessary time and expense for the parties and the court" and was filed in "bad-faith". He ordered the scoundrels to pay plaintiffs' counsel the sum of $15,000 in attorneys' fees to compensate them for the time spent responding to the motion. [LINK]

Example 13: Back in May 2009, 'someone' (LOL) in San Jose, California arrived from search.yahoo.com on "www.Excited-Delirium.com: Presentation by Dorin Panescu" by searching for first:"dorin" last:"panescu". Gee, I wonder who that was? Perhaps someone that had just returned (all expenses paid) from testifying at the Braidwood Inquiry, and was checking the news? Then, the same anonymous Internet user, accessing the Internet at an ISP-reported location just blocks from the listed address for Dorin Panescu, fraudulently stuffed the ballot box on a poll I was running. Simplest explanation is that 'someone' was caught red-handed engaging in deceptive behaviour. Fresh off the witness stand at Braidwood (?). [LINK]

Example 14: Taser International's bought and paid-for expert witness presented 'evidence' to 'prove' that the taser current has no effect on the heart. Unfortunately the same defective computer model also showed that the taser would have absolutely no effect beyond, perhaps, making one pectoral muscle slightly twitch. This is deception; but it's just not very good deception. It's laughable. [LINK]

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