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, October 28, 2010

The stench from some so-called studies

Taser International, at least up until 1 May 2010 when they went more-or-less silent, has loved to point to their steaming piles of studies that they state proves this or that claim about taser safety. They even drag them along to hearings as some sort of prop.

Some of the studies quoted (mentioned even post-2007) predate the 1999 introduction of the more-dangerous 'high power' tasers; and other studies predate even the 2003 introduction of the most-dangerous X26 taser (with its low frequency and continuous 100% duty cycle waveform components).

Many of the studies indicate that tasers are not highly dangerous, which really misses the entire point. See [LINK] and [LINK] about appropriate sample size to have any applicability to the actual issue. And since the folks at Taser International should know Statistics 101, I can fairly conclude that they present these non-applicable (and useless) studies for deceptive purposes.

Other studies [LINK] mix (probably intentionally) injuries and death as if they were the same - an utterly evil swindle. And some so-called studies even are so bold [LINK] as to explicitly exclude taser-related deaths (a move, that given the larger picture, is circular reasoning at the highest level) - see also [LINK].


And it was noted [LINK] that "Taser has repeatedly characterized research that its own employees or consultants helped conduct or write as independent."

Let's examine the real-world implications of industry connections...

Cigarettes and Alzheimer's [LINK]:
How much did it matter if the researchers worked for the tobacco companies? A lot: the risks of Alzheimer's associated with smoking reported by these papers were on average about a third lower than those conducted by others, and they produced many papers showing cigarettes were protective.

Here's the thing...

You can't tell by reading a bought-and-paid-for "study" why it is defective. The signs of corruption or influence are typically not explicitly visible. The report may appear to stand on its own as a reasonable report with rational conclusions that appear to be supported the data; but that's only because the author(s) sweated over it until it "looks good."

But you weren't there when the author was editing the data. You probably don't have access to the edit history metadata embedded in the original file. You don't have copies of the "expense claims", stock options and pay-stubs.

The cold hard fact is that reports written with any influence from Taser International tend to show data that indicates nothing but perfect safety.

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Of course there are exceptions: Cardiac Capture Demonstrated [LINK]

But even in this example, the author went running off to Mommy (*) to let them know that their new-fangled taser had actually induced cardiac capture. And the manufacture fiddled with the settings to restore (Bull-Sh_t!!!!!!) the OBVIOUSLY MYTHICAL 15-to-1 safety margin.

RESULTS: Initially, a 1st version NGCEW (NGCEWv1) that was in the final stages of manufacturer verification was used at the training courses. It had not been publicly released. During a NGCEWv1 exposure with 2 probes, there was an apparent brief episode of cardiac capture. Testing was halted and (*) the manufacturer was notified. The device was redesigned and the study continued when a redesigned, 2nd version (NGCEWv2) was used.

(The connections and influence from Taser International to the lead author are plain. Any independent group would have LOVED to make such an interesting finding, and they wouldn't have put the report on hold until the manufacturer pretended to restore the mythical safety margin.)

See also [LINK] for more on this same subject.

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Like an iceberg - 90% of the influence is hidden.

Especially when they not exactly forthcoming about disclosing their industry ties [LINK] or their predetermined mindset [LINK].

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