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.
The primary purpose of the Excited-Delirium.com blog (don't forget the dash!) is to carefully examine the various, ever-evolving, always subtly-wrong, pro-taser arguments and systematically shred them. So far, we've been very successful.
And, along the way, we've uncovered some 'very interesting' findings.
The blog now has more than 2000 posts covering almost every possible angle of the issue. Everything is eventually linked back to outside sources to permit fact-checking. I trust that you'll find the blog thoughtful, illuminating and useful.
Thanks for visiting.
The Excited-Delirium blog now has nearly 2000 posts.
An [Index] is now regularly-updated. The search function via the index works great.
This blog is broken up into many dozens of 40-post pages to reduce page load-times. Look for the 'Older Posts' link at bottom to navigate to the previous sections. If you're new to the subject, make yourself comfortable, there's lots of material.
Don't ignore this right hand column; there are some important disclaimers and legal notices there. As well as my opinions on lawful force and related issues.
If you're a reporter, then please fact-check everything for yourself. I've provided links, references and extracts to make that as easy as possible. Often the links will lead to previous related posts before finally pointing to outside sources. It's my way of building up the chain of evidence and argument. It's just another couple of clicks to reach outside sources. And you can always use Google to do your own fact-finding.
I strive to be accurate and fair, but some errors are inevitable. I will correct any errors if they're brought to my attention, but that doesn't mean that I accept Taser's view on controversial issues.
UPDATE (22 December 2009) - Supreme Court of Canada [LINK]
1. Obviously, this blog covers a matter of (huge) public interest. That is self-evident. 2. My diligence in uncovering true facts (more than a few that are, without a doubt, embarassing to Taser International), documenting their exact source via explicit Internet 'LINKS', quoting or linking to Taser International's own information, etc. All this is also obvious. Consider also the life-and-death seriousness of the taser "safety" issue, the obvious public importance, the relative urgency (not to be confused with the government action), the overall reliability of the sources (all linked for fact checking), opportunities provided for rebuttals or corrections by submitted comment or by email, even repeatedly imploring them to respond to several logical 'challenges', and that my (our) concerns about this issue are perfectly justifiable, not to mention perfectly true.
The long-standing policies of this blog are perfectly aligned with this ruling.
Just in case push comes to shove.
Ta-ser (ta zer) n. - An occasionally-lethal electro-torture device dressed up in deceptive high-tech window dressing. More portable than extension cords, rubber gloves, booster cables and damp sponges. It emits 50,000 volts (peak) and use can lead to lawsuits with five- or six-figure settlements.
Why "Excited-Delirium.com" ???
It's used in the sense of "excited delirium"my ass.
I don't believe it. My finely-honed 'BS Detector' pegs when I see that flimsy excuse being dragged out.
But my real intent in choosing this counter-intuitive name was to preempt Taser's use of the phrase.
Now, every time Taser uses the phrase excited delirium, they are essentially advertising this blog. This blog is now on the first page for any Google search [LINK] for the phrase excited delirium. I love it.
Taser et al hate it. They've been forced to switch to the new meaningless empty phrase Sudden Death Following Restraint (shouldn't that be '...During Restraint'?). If you look at that phrase closely, you can see that it is a placeholder for ignorance.
So by choosing the name Excited-Delirium.com, I have made a good attempt at preempting Taser's use of the phrase excited delirium.
And it is not as if they could actually trademark the phrase... (see the Trademark Notice section for the rest of the joke).
Do NOT overlook these older key posts as listed and linked below. Also, please take the time to review all the items in this sidebar as well.
269.1 (1) Every [Peace Officer] who inflicts [severe pain] on any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
I've [rolled up] some definitions for your convenience. Please refer to the complete section for details. Note that the only possible exception is as a 'lawful sanction' which appears to be intended to permit prisons and fines.
It really seems pretty clear...
There may be the occasional error or omission in this blog. I've tried to be as accurate as I can, but please check all information for yourself before using it for any significant purpose.
If you have any particular concerns about what you perceive is an inaccuracy or significant omission, please do not hesitate to contact the blog at the e-mail address given (in this right-hand column, in the cute little baby-blue box). I will be happy to make any required corrections provided that your request is self-evidently reasonable, or is backed-up with trust-worthy scientific evidence.
Any incoming legal documents will be immediately scanned-in and published. If you don't want this to happen, then don't bother sending them. If you send in such legal documents, that action on your part indicates your legal and binding agreement that such documents may be scanned in and published on this weblog and others (3rd party, such as Chilling Effect and EFF). You agree that this legal disclaimer takes precedence over any copyright notices that may be contained on, or with, or applicable to, your submissions. You agree that the copyright of all such legal documents is assigned to the party receiving same. This agreement will also apply in reverse (we must be fair).
For Taser's point of view on many of these issues, please head on over to their website. This intent of this blog is to provide the other side of the story; therefore their views on controversial issues will generally not be included here.
Every post is subject to being continuously updated without notice to correct typos, minor inaccuracies, improve wording, make more clear, or for any other purpose.
This blog, like most, is bottom-up in time. But you can start from the top if you want, but you might have to work bottom-up within any subject for it to make sense.
Since when did 'compliance' to police orders become mandatory on pain of death(*) or of immediate application of excruciating pain (torture)?
(* Except - obviously and reasonably - in the case of something like 'Drop that gun!" And apparently, in Canada, attempting to escape from prison.)
For example: if a police officer tells you to get into the back seat of his police car, and you don't (in a passive manner similar to Ghandi), is the police officer:
1) Allowed to kill you? 2) Allowed to induce unnecessary severe pain (torture)? 3) Allowed to pick-up your sorry ass and shove it, and you, into the back seat of his police car himself (or with others helping); and if you accidentally bonk your head on the way in, too bad?
I thought that the ONLY correct answer was #3, and I don't recall ever getting a memo that said that #1 or #2 were EVER considered to be legal.
I'll repeat that because it's REALLY important...
I don't think that options #1 nor #2 are EVER considered to be legal.
If there is a law about obeying a police officer's orders, and you don't, then it should result in just ONE MORE CHARGE and (maybe) ANOTHER 30 DAYS IN JAIL (or whatever). It certainly doesn't justify #1 nor #2.
Such a law, where such laws exist, is just another law. It is not a blank check for police to commit murder, nor to commit abuse.
Passive disobedience should never be considered to allow #1 (murder) or #2 (abuse) by the police under any circumstances (except, as mentioned above, in the case of "Drop the gun!")
Did I miss the memo? Or have we all forgotten our 'Civics' lessons from Grade 6?
A Point to Ponder - Part 2
Some of you might still be wondering why #2 isn't permissible.
Well, let's think about that for a second...
Imagine that instead of tasering YOU (the passive-resistive subject), the police officer grabs YOUR CHILD and starts to taser your child until you obey his verbal orders to get in the back of his car. I'm sure that this sort of emotional extortion would be highly effective in most cases, but would it be acceptable?
Well obviously not. Tasering a subject's child to coerce obedience from the subject is completely unacceptable and totally illegal in any civilized country.
So what's the difference between the passively-resisting subject and the subject's innocent child?
You might be thinking that the subject is breaking the law (or laws) and therefore deserves to be punished.
Yeah, maybe. But that's for the court to decide. Remember all that mumbo-jumbo about 'innocent until proven guilty'?
In the eyes of The Law, the subject is exactly as innocent as the child until he is convicted in a court of law.
This Philosophy-101 thought-experiment clearly demonstrates that a very common (the most common?) actual field application of the taser (i.e. pain compliance) is illegal in any civilized country.
I'm honestly surprised that this point hasn't been the subject of successful lawsuits ten-thousand times over by now.
And the Taser training material and methods should be closely reviewed to ensure that they haven't been promoting this sort of illegal pain-compliance abuse (such as 'Drive-mode'). If they've been the source of this confusion, then I hope that they're somehow sucked into the civil rights lawsuits.
A Point to Ponder - Part 3
Why has the legal system failed to pursue this point each and every time that someone's rights are so flagrantly violated?
I think that the authorities are getting confused between the two different words, both spelled 'force'. It's as simple as noun versus verb.
Legal or lawful force is physical force (noun) sufficient to accomplish the goal and no more. It means that if the police want someone to get into the back seat of the police car, then the police are entitled to physically place the subject into the back seat of the police car using reasonable amounts of physical force (noun).
For back-up of this statement, please refer to the following blog post regarding the Criminal Code of Canada - lawful force where the conclusion is that "...the Criminal Code of Canada ... the word 'force', when applied to the concept of lawful force, is ALWAYS a noun, NEVER a verb."
Another meaning of the word 'force' would be an extortion (or an intimidation, or a coercion). As in to 'force' (verb) someone to do something.
Examples of this meaning include:
"Get in the car or we'll taser your child."
"Get in the car or we'll taser you."
"Get in the car or we will beat your child with a club."
"Get in the car or we will beat you with a club."
"Get in the car or we'll shoot your dog."
"Get in the car or we'll torture you with a cattle-prod."
"Get in the police car or we'll kick-in the grill of your car."
All of these statements are clearly illegal. They're a form of extortion or coercion (which is illegal), and they're threats of police abuse (which are also illegal). And if the threat is actually carried out, those actions would also be illegal.
What would be legal or lawful approach is something like the following:
"Get in the police car. Or we will place you in the police car anyway, and then we will ALSO charge you with 'Failure to obey...' and perhaps 'Resisting Arrest', in accordance with (chapters and verses). It is your choice sir, and I'll give you another few seconds to consider your options."
Now, doesn't that sound more civilized? And it sounds strangely familiar too. Like from another era (1968?) when perhaps people understood the subtle meaning of words slightly better than it seems that they do now.
A Point to Ponder - Conclusion
The boundary between what constitutes lawful force (noun), and what constitutes illegal police abuse, is a very fine line.
But with the subtle distinction described above, it is also (thankfully) a very clear and distinct line, and one that can be easily tested in court.
It is an important distinction that is critical to forming the basis of the society.
If you live in a society that generally permits the police to force (verb) people to obey their orders, then (putting it simply) you live in what amounts to a police state. On that side of the very fine line is a very slippery slope.
But if you live in a society where the police powers are generally limited to issuing tickets and making arrests, where the determination of guilt and assignment of punishment of any form is the strict domain of the courts, where the police are never allowed to apply severe pain as a method to force (verb) compliance or as an on-the-spot punishment, then you live in a society that is under the Rule of Law.
We obviously need a clear boundary. This appears to be a very good one. It also seems that it is already written into the Criminal Code of Canada. But it really seems that we've forgotten.
What has been missing is a more aggressive approach on the part of lawyers representing victims of abuse, and perhaps less tolerance from the courts to fanciful tales of 'high risk' encounters with people that obviously pose very little risk on any sensible scale.
If the police officers involved in some of these incidents are so risk-adverse that they're willing to taser someone before trying other approaches, then perhaps those police should be reassigned to a nice (very safe) desk job for the next year or two, or perhaps they should even be forced to permanently change careers away from policing to something with less risk.
The take-away point is this:
Lawful 'force' is a noun, never a verb.
Nothing in this blog shall be construed as counseling the commission of any offense in any manner. This blog is simply a discussion about an important social issue. There are some examples mentioned herein that are clearly intended to clarify discussion points. For example, I do not recommend that anyone disobeys a police officer's lawful direction, especially where such disobedience would be an offense. I am not procuring, soliciting nor inciting anything illegal.
Criminal Code of Canada: R.S., c. C-34, s. 26.
"Every one who is authorized by law to use force [noun!] is criminally responsible for any excess thereof according to the nature and quality of the act that constitutes the excess."
Extreme-pain, extra-judicial punishment device
It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Using the taser as an extreme-pain extra-judicial punishment device is ALWAYS illegal.
In other words, once the police have the subject under control, then any further applications of the taser as 'punishment' constitute torture, unlawful abuse, and a clear violation of civil rights. Have a look at YouTube for far-too-many examples of this exact crime.
There are examples where, after the fact, the police force and prosecutor will strike a bargain with the victim along the lines of, "We'll ignore your heinous crime if you ignore ours."
What SHOULD happen is that the local prosecuting attorney should go after BOTH parties. The subject should be prosecuted for whatever misdemeanor he committed, and the police officer(s) for all the applicable serious crimes that they may have committed.
The local prosecuting attorney should not be in the business of trading-off one crime against another. In fact, negotiating such a trade (often on behalf of the police, for the purpose of 'making it go away') should itself be a crime. There have even been horror stories where the prosecutor reportedly threatened to pile-on more charges to intimidate the victim into not suing everyone involved.
Here's an idea that might explain the 'unexpected' lethality of the tasers:
Maybe some victims really believed in their bones that they were in a free and democratic 'Rule of Law' society - as opposed to a police state where they could be tortured in public. So, while they are contemplating the meaning and purpose of life during the longest five seconds of their life, they decide that they are now so disappointed at what has happened to their country, that they basically just lose the will to live.
Look at the common sense: If we have 3000 people standing around one afternoon drinking Tim Hortons coffee and tasering each other for laughs, will 20 of them topple over dead if there wasn't some sort of connection? Even if some of them were snorting cocaine and fighting, 20/3000 is still one heck of a death rate. The fact that these incidents are spread out in time, doesn't change the absurd ratio.
And if the country-wide total denominator is actually much higher than 3000 (thereby helping to reduce this apparent taser-related death ratio) because of other organizations (other than the RCMP) also being taser trigger-happy, then this recalculation simply adds fuel to the fire about how often the tasers are being misused in Canada (as evidenced by the even larger excessive deployment rate)!
TASER, X26, and M26 are registered trademarks owned by TASER International, Inc.
In this blog, the word 'Taser' is generally used to refer to TASER International, Inc. The exceptions are primarily in quotations from others. This usage is nominative, fair and reasonable because that's the company to which I'm referring.
In this blog, the word 'taser' is generally used to refer to the X26 or M26 Conducted Energy Weapons. And 'X26' and 'M26' are used to refer to those specific Taser products. Again, this usage is nominative, fair and reasonable because those are the products to which I'm referring.
'Excited Delirium' is apparently not a registered trademark of Taser, although sometimes it seems that way.
This blog will contain occasional small extracts from documents and related material that may be copyrighted by TASER International, Inc., or by other companies or organizations.
FAIR USE (FAIR DEALING) is claimed for purposes including but not limited to education, criticism, reporting and informed discussion of an important public policy issue.
All copyrighted material used in this blog (webpage) is property of the respective owners and is being used without explicit permission. The publication of the extracts has not been authorized by, associated with or sponsored by the copyright owner.
It is obvious that one of the purposes of this blog is to expose the seemingly-sleazy connections between Taser International, their fan-boys and those that promote 'excited delirum'. Therefore, if you're suspected of being any of those, then the details of your visits to this blog may be made public.
Dedicated to Robert Dziekanski and all the others...
Everything in this blog shall be construed as being nothing more than my personal opinions. There may be minor, trivial inaccuracies in some of the details. However, the main point remains valid and that is that there exists, in some cases, a connection between being Tasered and being dead (this connection has been, according to some authorities, legally established). And there are plenty more legal disclaimers and notices to be found in the right hand column.