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 10, 2008

Monday should be interesting...

I've added some {commentary} and links to applicable posts.

(CP) VANCOUVER – The company that sells more conducted energy weapons to law enforcement than any other rushed to market with faulty safety and medical research, claims the head of a company that plans to market a device to compete with the Taser. Ken Stethem, founder and chairman of Ageis Industries, told the public inquiry into Taser use that Taser International's methodology was flawed in designing, developing and deploying the conducted energy weapons (CEWs).

Normally a company would develop medical and safety data, then test the product on animals and humans, Stethem told the inquiry. "In my humble opinion that's not how the current CEWs were developed and deployed. And that's why we're having problems today."

Stethem disputed several claims made by Taser on medical evidence and safety connected to the device.
He pointed to Taser's patent information that says the device puts out between 100 and 500 milliamps of electricity. Medical experts say it only takes about 100 milliamps to cause the heart to go into a fatal rhythm, Strethem told the inquiry.

{Actually - perhaps as low as 30mA for the continuous 100% duty cycle for 5-seconds, very low frequency 19Hz waveform emitted by the X26 taser [LINK]. Also there is the ole' RMS versus "Average" tricky-doodle. [LINK] [LINK] and [LINK]. Spin spin spin...}

He said medical studies say low voltage electrocutions can happen without any visible evidence of injury. "Now the burden of proof has been shifted to the public that these aren't safe, instead of law enforcement and manufacturers that they are," Strethem told the inquiry.

{What would you be looking for? [LINK]}

Stethem's company designs what he called intermediate force options similar to a conducted energy weapon in a baton that incapacitates muscles with electrical output. "I'm not here to bang Taser International or anybody else," he told commissioner Thomas Braidwood. "I'm here to report what we've learned through our research."

The chairman of Taser International, Tom Smith, will have a chance to respond to the accusations when he speaks to the inquiry on Monday.

A heart-rhythm expert also told the inquiry there are
real risks to Taser use, despite the company's safety claims.

"Just because somebody collapses of sudden death minutes later after a Taser application doesn't mean that the two are not connected," said Dr. Zian Tseng, a San Francisco cardiologist and electrophysiologist.

Tseng said any normal, healthy person could die from a jolt of the conducted energy weapon if the shock was given in the right area of the chest and during the vulnerable point in the beating of the heart. He stressed the risk of death is far greater if there is adrenaline or illicit drugs coursing through the body or if the person has a history of heart or other medical issues.

Tseng fell into studying conducted energy weapons about three years ago when he created a media storm by telling a San Francisco newspaper the device could induce cardiac arrhythmia. "Shortly thereafter I was contacted by Taser directly to reconsider my statements to the media. They even offered to support (my) research, to give me grant funding," Tseng said, adding he declined the offer in order to remain independent.

Tseng said there needs to be much more real-world studies on the use of the weapon, instead of using police officers – often large, healthy males – to test the device.

He also said medical examiners should be given more freedom to investigate such deaths, even seizing the weapon for investigation if necessary. "If there's a person that dropped dead suddenly after Taser application and you can find nothing else on the autopsy, I would venture to say that's due to arrhythmic death."

{What else? What are the odds of it being anything else? [LINK]}

The risk to suspects being shocked could almost be zero to the heart if police avoided using the weapon in the chest area, and Tsang suggested that be one of Braidwood's recommendations.

Tsang also said police should avoid repeated shocks to lessen the chance they'll set the heart into an abnormal rhythm.

He said the risks are very low of a person dying while being arrested by police. "What we don't know is has the Taser increased that risk from that very low rate to a slightly higher rate."

The inquest was launched after the very public video of the minutes before Robert Dziekanski's death was aired world wide. The Polish immigrant created a disturbance last October at the arrivals area of the Vancouver International Airport and was twice shocked by an RCMP Taser.


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