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.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Half of Canadians want taser moratorium

...The Angus Reid Strategies poll of 1,006 Canadians across the country found that 49% are in favour of a moratorium on police usage of the controversial stun guns. ...while 43% are opposed to a ban, and 8% were unsure. [LINK]

The justification for a moratorium might be something along the lines that the training that has been provided (directly or indirectly) by the manufacturer has been shown to be defective (trainees were educated that the tasers are essentially perfectly safe cardiac-wise).

Some may suggest that this training error could corrected by way of a simple memo. But it has already been shown that such one-page memos do not work: As the death toll mounted, B.C.'s Police Complaints Commissioner did a review of Taser use and recommended clear limits. People had to be "actively resisting" officers before they could be hit with the electric charge. The [B.C.] Solicitor General's Ministry claimed the new policy was in place. But all it did was send a one-page letter to police chiefs. As the transit police confirmed, the policy was widely and blatantly ignored. [LINK]

It is clear that memos are ineffective, and that the training needs to be completely re-done from scratch (at Taser's expense?), and a moratorium until this is accomplished is perfectly justifiable.

If such a decision has a secondary effect of drawing world-wide attention to the taser safety issue, then that is a very good thing. Since Canadians are generally considered to be nice, quiet and reasonable people, such a taser moratorium anywhere in Canada would certainly catch the attention of decision-makers around the world. Otherwise they may never notice.

And if the tertiary effect of such a decision is to give Taser a good hard smack up-side the head, that's just yet another benefit. It would let them know that we're serious.

The moratorium might also force the police to revisit their other incident deescalation skills. Remember those? Talking, calming, etc.

And it would also remind the police officials to not be so readily accepting of manufacturer's one-sided propaganda. And to keep the relationships with such suppliers to arm's length (not so damn cozy next time).

There are many good reasons for a moratorium. Nothing but good.

But you know that the police will object. They will claim they need the taser. But the police have operated for many decades just fine without tasers. Historically, Canadian police have not been trigger-happy with their guns (they've actually been pretty good). So if any senior police official claims that police will have to shoot hundreds, or even thousands, of people per year without the taser being available, then ask him or her if they're being serious. And if they are being serious, fire them on the spot.

No comments: