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.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Australia (NSW): Rules draw new line on the use of Tasers

Australia catching-on to the evil side of tasers.
NSW Police will only be able to use Tasers as a last resort and in situations where negotiation and conflict resolution has failed, under new operating procedures. ... Mr Daley said all frontline officers trained in the use of Tasers were already told never to use the device to resolve a passive or non-threatening situation. ... [LINK]

I'm happy to read that Australia is taking steps to rein-in the use of tasers. Tasers have too freely been used as an instrument of "persuasion" (electrotorture), considering that they are perfectly capable of causing or contributing to death.

Police Minister Michael Daley said, "They present an option that is infinitely less lethal than a firearm."

"...infinitely less lethal than a firearm..." (ibid)

The above short statement contains two falsehoods.

The first is the comparison of tasers to firearms. In every jurisdiction I've studied, tasers are used approximately one hundred times as often as the police have historically used lethal force. It's an approximate ratio, but a good round number. (The second part of this first falsehood is that police use of firearms tends to increase when tasers are introduced, typically dropping back to the original level after a year or two. I've seen this same trend mentioned in two studies, one covering numerous cities in the US.)

Any comparison of tasers to firearms is approximately 99% pure pro-taser propaganda.

The second false aspect is the word "infinitely".

Taser safety margins are primarily external. The inherent (internal) safety margin is significantly lower than the "15-to-1" claimed. Once taser darts land on the chest with a transcardiac vector, the risk of death (real world on typical real world subjects) creeps up to surprisingly high levels.

And perhaps that explains why Taser International has apparently yanked down their "Cardiac Safety" webpage, and recommended not aiming at the subject's chest.

It's only by what I've termed 'denominator washing', where the taser usage figures are inflated with might-as-well-be FAKE training and demonstration hits into the back, and in some cases perhaps even display-only mode deployments, that they can manipulate the figures down to very low values.

If you estimate the actual darts-on-chest rate and compare that to the real world death rate (including so-called 'excited delirium' taser-deaths), then you see that the word infinitely is a hopeless exaggeration.

I'm not arguing that tasers are as lethal as firearms (don't be stupid). My position (shared with many) is that the claims of safety are vastly overstated, and the risks associated with taser use are significantly understated.

The new guidelines came in after the death of a Vietnamese man who was stunned by a police Taser in Sydney’s southwest last month.

Do your own math...

Compare the answer to "infinitely".

PS: police firearms appear to be about 50% lethal.

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