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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'Plain Clothes' RCMP vs. off-duty HRM-PD

METRO HALIFAX (July 30, 2008) - William Drummond was allegedly hit with a Taser several more times by a plain-clothes police officer after being tasered once by an RCMP officer Jun. 22. [LINK] [LINK]

This extract refers to the ugly taser incident in Digby, Nova Scotia. [LINK] [LINK]

For those that don't know, Digby is a (very) small town in Nova Scotia. The population is only about 2,300 people [LINK]. I'm actually surprised that even one uniformed RCMP officer was on duty that evening.

The chances that another "plain clothes" (RCMP??) police officer was also on duty in Digby that night is approximately zero. Makes no sense. A tiny Nova Scotia town with one uniformed RCMP officer on duty in the evening? Sure (but that about maxes out the probabilities). But this tiny town also having another RCMP officer on-duty in 'plain clothes'? Not much chance of that.

In other words, this so-called 'plain clothes' officer (alledgedly with the 2nd taser) was more than likely one of those very same off-duty, assless chaps (not that there's anything wrong with that) "charity" bikers from the Halifax Regional Municipality Police Department - the ones that appear to be on the wrong side of this ugly incident.

If a 2nd taser really was involved, then it seems clear that it does not belong to the local police (the RCMP) - they've denied having a 2nd taser. So who had the alleged second taser? Who is this so-called 'plain clothes' police officer? The only answer that seems to make any sense is that the so-called "plain clothes" officer was not a (the?) local RCMP officer. So perhaps he was one of those off-duty bikers from Halifax?

If this conclusion is true, then this ugly taser incident in Digby may not just be a case of simple assault and stupid racism. There may also be assault with a deadly weapon, misuse of a firearm, and many more criminal charges that perhaps should be filed against the so-called "plain clothes" officer reportedly weilding the 2nd taser.

HRM police officials need to answer a few questions:

1) Are off-duty police officer permitted to carry tasers to Digby on "charity" biker events?
2) Have HRM checked their tasers for any unauthorized taser deployments on that date?
3) Are any tasers missing? Or does any Halifax-employed officer have his own personal (highly illegal) taser?
4) Does HRM-PD track and account for their tasers as firearms (as they are legally defined in Canada [LINK])?

Note that one of the HRM police officers involved in the Digby incident has been suspended for "another matter". [LINK]

Nothing to do with 'unauthorized this-or-that of a taser', eh? (Just asking!)

This ugly taser incident in Digby is huge even on its face.

But there seems to be more angles to this story than may first meet the eye. And some of those angles may be much more serious (with respect to the seriousness of the associated criminal charges) than the seemingly-obvious facts about the assault and racism (but they're all interconnected too).

This reported 2nd taser needs to be followed-up. I suspect it will lead somewhere very interesting (large fan + lots of sh1t).

[Note - This is just a suggestion for further follow-up. But what else explains the mysterious 'plain-clothes' officer in Digby that night?]

"...was communicating loudly..."

Oh, for God's sake.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - An Iredell County sheriff's deputy says a Statesville man who died after he was shocked with a taser was in handcuffs at the time. Anthony Davidson died in a hospital Sunday after being hit with a taser. ...Davidson became "physically aggressive and was communicating loudly" and officers used one or more tasers to control him. ... [LINK]

Yeah, but was anybody listening?

Is anyone listening even now?

You want to give tasers to these folks?

See the It all goes here blog [LINK]

Police & tasers - what could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Angry e-mob at Digg reacts to idiot police

Remember the 16-year old lad that fell from (or whatever...) a 30-foot high overpass and broke his back and more. So the idiot police came along and tasered him 19 times. And then the police Captain tried to justify this incident!! Capt Thomas Rousset is an idiot-squared that should also be fired for 'dereliction of duty' (duties that specifically include protecting the citizenry, as opposed to covering for his idiotic 'police brothers'). [LINK]

Well, over at Digg [LINK], there is an angry e-mob that are extremely upset with the idiot police. There are more than 300 comments and I don't see any police/Taser apologists making an appearance.

This incident is exactly why tasers should be banned.

This is the dirty filthy stinking reality of tasers. And no, this is not a single rare exception; it just happens to be the clearest recent example. This sort of taser crap is going on every single day. Far more often than any rare beneficial examples where Taser issues a proud press release.

If Taser had an ethical bone in their corporate body, they would issue a press release condemning this (or perhaps more generally, this type of) incident.

Taser's silence speaks volumes.

'But it's better than a gun' - another angle

It's well past time to address the other aspect of this 'better than a gun' argument. (As opposed to my first reaction that tasers are used about 100 times as often - roughly - as guns ever were.)

Sometimes this 'better than a gun' argument is used by reasonable but ill-informed people in response to a taser-associated death. Their point is something like: 'Although the taser might have caused this death, it's still better (safer) than a gun.' It's a nice argument and it's also correct (in a trivial manner).

But it misses the point, and it'll also bankrupt Taser if they ever admit to it.

The reason is that Taser has never clearly admitted ('warned') to any internal risk mechanism (such as lethal cardiac effects). They've made claims of safety that preclude any such internal mechanism of death.

In fact, this detail is the entire freaking point of the entire overall debate.

If Taser admits to, or is found liable for, any particular taser death due to an internal mechanism (such as direct or indirect cardiac effects), then they're screwed. They'll be successfully sued into the next galaxy multiple times. It'll be a feeding frenzy as the plaitiff lawyers race to beat the other to the meat before there's nothing left but bleached bones.

So if you're one of those people that simply feel that the taser is 'safer than a gun' (as opposed to Taser's position that the taser is "safer than Tylenol"), then please realize that it's not the point of the argument.

The Proof Issue again

"We don't have any particular cases where it's clearly evident the Taser was the cause of death," said Dr. William Bozeman. [LINK]

The fact that the taser is incapable of leaving any internal postmortem evidence creates a 'proof issue'; especially when combined with coroners that have been subjected to Taser-instigated brainwashing about 'excited delirium' and threats of (and actual) lawsuits.

But we do have more and more cases where someone was tasered and then died. It certainly seems that the tide has turned against Taser in recent weeks. When Taser reacts with silence, you know that they're scared sh1tless of a particular incident.

I've always felt that Taser would be nothing but an interesting topic for a Micheal Moore film by about late-2008, or perhaps well into 2009 with their skillful delaying tactics (and their base of particularly stupid, slow reacting investors).

As TNT has pointed out, the clock is ticking. [LINK]


Taser death case heads to grand jury

CNN - A Louisiana grand jury will decide whether a fired police officer should face criminal charges in the January death of a man who was Tasered nine times while handcuffed, the parish's district attorney announced Monday. ...a coroner's report found Pikes had been handcuffed and on the ground when first hit with the Taser and might have been dead [just after a shock to the chest] before the last two shocks from the 50,000-volt device were delivered. [LINK]

According to Taser's worldview, this can't be happening.

But it is.

That's why it's not their decision

REGINA — Saskatchewan police chiefs say they don't fully agree with a decision by the provincial police commission to hold off on expanding the use of tasers. ...The Saskatchewan Association of Chief of Police....worries about the safety of officers and citizens if tasers aren't allowed. ... [LINK]

Stop right there. There is essentially ZERO issue with the safety of police officers. If an officer's life is on the line, then they've been issued with a sidearm (a gun). All they have to do is be aware of the (lethal and legal) consequences when they pull the trigger. And if the situation is truly dangerous and there is time, then stand back and call in the tactical team.

With respect to the safety of citizens, personally (speaking as a citizen) I would HONESTLY rather take my chances with old-school police armed with guns and not with tasers. The reasons have been described endlessly on this blog (overuse, abuse, misuse, torture, risk of death, etc.).

The trade-off is between a non-problem (police guns) and a real problem (tasers).

The decision by the Saskatchewan Police Commission is perfectly rational.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"...dispel and address various myths..."

Chadron, Nebraska is getting tasers. [LINK]

Sgt. Jarvis Wallage and Officer Brad Hisel, who are both certified Taser instructors...

[That just means that they've been certifiably brain-washed by Taser.]

...will be holding a short information session about Tasers... Wallage noted, “In the near future our agency will likely be employing the less lethal device known as the Taser. We hope to dispel and address various myths regarding it."

What myths? Like some Taser spokes-puppets and minions claiming that tasers are essentially perfectly safe with respect to internal risk issues such as cardiac effects? Myths like that?

Read this blog - 500+ posts. Follow the links.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mr. Cormier lays it out...

Taser Deaths Are Rising... [LINK] or [LINK]

More FAKE taser demos

"...She and the other volunteers took their shocks on padded mats. A nitrogen cartridge propelled the metal probes of the taser and they hooked into the [subject]'s back, trailing thin, curling wires. Each [subject] stiffened. Two spotters caught their flattened bodies, then lowered them gently to the floor. ..." [LINK - if you stand the smell]



If tasers are so safe, cardiac-wise, then all such demos should be aimed directly at the subject's chest (as they are typically used on the street) instead of into the back.

Have you noticed that many of the mysterious taser-associated deaths (in those perfectly clear cases where no other rational causes of death can be found), seem to have a statistical-surplus of taser hits to the chest?

The fact that at virtually ALL training sessions and demos, the taser darts are ALWAYS aimed into the subject's back (or similar cardiac-safe areas) is clear evidence that even the people that design these events (almost certainly Taser) are not really so confident as they claim to be about the devices' actual level of safety.

If they actually were perfectly confident, then they wouldn't have taken such blatantly obvious precautions.

FAKE. Utterly FAKE.

Taser uses these sort of FAKE demos to wash-out the denominator of their field statistics.


I guess it is true that only a coward would shoot someone in the back. In this case the coward is Taser. Frightened to death they are.

Guns vice tasers

Another difference between the gun and the taser is that the police officer's gun is obviously a weapon of last resort (used for self-defence, not very often as an offensive weapon).

It seems like the taser has been sold as the go-to, do-all device that can be freely used to try to defuse a situation. In other words, something that can be used offensively, in attack-mode.

In other words, the gun is a defensive weapon, and the taser is an offensive weapon.

And you can read the word offensive with either meaning.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mom knows best

RCMP said they are investigating a complaint into excessive use of force but wouldn't provide details. The teen's mother, however, said she has received a letter saying an investigation found the officers did not commit a crime, and had now moved into a different phase. She said nothing could have justified the use of force on her daughter. "I was so upset when I said OK they were going to keep her, I thought she's OK, she's in their care and control. I didn't ask them to torture her in a jail cell," she said. [LINK]

If you read section 269.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it seems perfectly clear that the act as described fits the legal definition of 'torture' perfectly.

You can search this blog for 269.1 [LINK] for more details and back-up to my opinions.

How about this: If we are going to continue to allow the RCMP to investigate themselves, then we need an appeal process with teeth. If an appeal (perhaps to a court) finds that the internal RCMP investigation was flawed, then serious sanctions should be also applied to those that conducted the flawed 'investigation'. It would be a sort-of double-or-nothing approach. If you whitewash the actions of your police brothers, then you lose your job and pay a $100k fine.

If the RCMP is confident of the fairness of their internal investigative process, then they should have zero objections to such an oversight process.

Canadian lawyers see The Big Picture

Frank Addario, president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association, said, "This is not about whether one supports the police or whether one empathizes with their abilities in managing unruly suspects. This is about whether the weapon, as designed, is delivering what it promised [safety], and if it is not, police forces in Canada ought to stop using it until better training can occur or the weapon can be modified." [LINK]

Exactly my point: [LINK]

Taser loses Saskatchewan

Regular municipal police in Saskatchewan will no longer be using tasers in the wake of several high profile deaths in other parts of the country, the province's police commission announced Friday. "After questions about the safety of the equipment arose, accompanied by the public inquiry in British Columbia ... the commission believed it was not prudent to move forward with the authorization of conducted energy weapons for general use," Michael Tochor, chairman of the Saskatchewan Police Commission, said.

Canadian Press [LINK]

Of all the Canadian provinces, none are more shaped like a domino than Saskatchewan.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Big Picture (hint: it's not the knife)

I left this comment [LINK] on the It all goes here blog [LINK]. The comment addresses the red herring about the knife in the recent tragic apparently-tasered-to-death incident involving a 17-year old, 5-foot-6-inch, 145 lb youth in Winnipeg that was reportedly wielding a knife.

The issue is NOT the knife.

The issue is that Taser claims that the taser (x26) is safe ("safer than Tylenol"), and quotes studies that claim that the risk of death (cardiac-wise) from a taser hit is in the low end of the parts-per-million range.

Those figures are obviously off by MANY orders of magnitude.

Officers have been brainwashed by Taser's propaganda and they use the tasers as if they are perfectly safe.

Obviously they're not. I think that even many law-and-order nut cases understand that tasers are not 'perfectly safe'; but they haven't followed the larger debate. This level of ignorance is often displayed by the inane 'safer than a gun' argument.

If Taser would just admit that they were wrong and there is actually a modest risk of death from being hit in the chest with an X26 taser, then we could all come to a happy agreement.

Well, except that Taser would then be sued into the next galaxy, and the senior staff and advisers would be personally bankrupted, and some of them might even see the inside of a jail cell.

And so we sit waiting for the most-obvious conclusion to become so un-ignorable that action will have to be taken.

Meanwhile the death count grows.

That's the big picture.

The It all goes here blog wrote an excellent post here: [LINK]

The answer is 'yes'

Yes, tasers are used in Canadian jails as a form of punishment. Punishment in the form of 'Torture' (a legal term defined under the Canadian Criminal Code s. 269.1). The facts as reported are not inconsistent with a criminal violation of CC s. 269.1 by those involved.

Mounties pinned me down in cell and tasered me, Manitoba girl says

The girl, who was 16 at the time of the incident, said she was held down by four officers, one for each limb, while a taser was used on her legs and groin area. She said the third shock lasted between five and eight seconds and left her screaming in pain.

Read it here: Globe and Mail [LINK]

Inexplicable and despicable

A 16-year old lad falls (?) from a 30-foot high overpass. While laying on ground with major injuries (such as a broken back), Ozark police taser him up to 19 times... ...because he's muttering threats and refusing to comply {ROLLS-EYES}. [LINK]

UPDATE: See also [LINK]

He is so tasered that his necessary surgical operations are delayed due to the apparent after-effects of the multiple taserings.

I'm trying as much as I can to try to imagine what sort of missing details would make this apparently-insane incident somehow seem faintly justifiable. I can't think of any.

Lawsuit time.

This isn't the first time that people in medical distress have been tasered repeatedly. Seriously, it is well past time to sue the officers and forces involved in such stupidly-incompetent incidents into massive and permanent bankruptcy.

PS: Thanks Taser - another good example of the way your products and training are making the world a much better place [sic].

What are the odds? (Winnipeg data)

From the news: "In 2007, city police used their Tasers 173 times, with just under half the total being incidents where the weapon was not fired or used to shock a person. From Jan. 1 to Jun. 25 of this year, the total is 63. Again, just under half the times Tasers were used, they were used only to coerce suspects, and not deployed." [via LINK]

So, about half of 173 + about half of 63 = about 120 actual taser deployments over 18 months in Winnipeg. The remaining incidents were simply displays of the weapon.

[By the way - This data clearly indicates that the taser is not simply a replacement for the gun. It is perhaps a bit under the 100-to-1 overuse ratio that we see in some jurisdictions, but it is also obviously evidence that the old argument that the taser is better than a gun is nothing but a damn lie.]

Roughly half of the taser deployments in this data would have been in the assumed-to-be-safer Push-Pain (Touch-Torture) mode as opposed to Dart Deployment mode where the darts might happen to hit the chest. So we almost certainly have some fraction of 120-ish being the full on dart deployments (ball park guess about 60-ish). And in many of these the darts would have landed on the subject in an area of the body that everyone might agree is relatively safe (with respect to internal cardiac effects). So the X26 hits to the chest in Winnipeg over 18 months are maybe about 30-ish in 18 months.

And we have a death.

So, again, the actual field risk (of death) from full on X26 hits to the chest is turning out to be something in the middle of the single digit range (roughly 3%). Might be more, might be less.

If you think that this is okay, then you haven't been paying attention.

Police have been brainwashed that the taser is essentially perfectly safe. Taser admits no internal (for example - cardiac) risk. Taser quotes 'studies' that put the risk in the parts-per-million range.

Does this outcome appear to be expected if the risk was really in the parts-per-million? Does that make any sense on its face? Do you trust people that would make claims that are so at odds with reality?

If the police were not brainwashed by Taser's propaganda about the level of safety, would they use the taser so freely? Do we want a street-level death lottery?

It all goes back to the fundamental question: People get tasered. People die. Is there a connection?

Taser makes loss, stock plummets, blames oil

Taser's 2nd quarter results released today: "...a $5.2 million charge in the second quarter for an adverse litigation judgment, the net operating loss for the second quarter was $4.3 million..."

If I'm reading this correctly, their recent $6.2M ($1M covered by insurance) legal loss means that instead of making an infinitesimal profit of about $900k (pass the tweezers, LOL), they instead ran a loss-making operation to the tune of -$4.3M.

Taser is attributing their loss-making to "...lower municipal spending in the U.S. as agencies reassigned budget dollars due to economic constraints, including significantly higher fuel costs than agencies had budgeted previously."

So, the slow sales are nothing to do with the many mysterious taser-associated deaths then, eh?

Not anything to do with various jurisdictions changing their minds? For example: [LINK]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Compare and contrast

Winnipeg - a 17 year old brandishes a knife - is tasered - and dies.

Saskatchewan - the very next day...

A 50-something year old brandishes a knife - is shot (with a gun) three times by police - and he is in stable condition and is recovering in hospital. [LINK]

If you find these outcomes surprising, then you haven't been paying attention.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More details emerging about Winnipeg taser death

The victim was just 17 years old.

Many commenters are missing the point: The police were told that the taser is safe. Not that it was safer than a gun (an easy comparison), but 'safer than Tylenol'.

If the police had realized that a deployment of a taser might lead to a death, then they might have considered other options. It is not reasonable to assume that they would have immediately used a gun.

In this case, even if lethal force could be justified, the main issue is that we have a death that appears to be (according to the limited reports) very closely associated with the taser deployment. And Taser will claim that there is no connection.

I think that Taser's position is self-serving and self-evidently perposterous. But that's just my opinion.

Winnipeg - more details

Read this:

"When the man was Tasered, he dropped to the ground and was clearly in distress, sources said. The man was not moving or responding to the officers, who called for an ambulance and attempted to revive him, sources said. The man was taken to HSC, where he was pronounced dead a short time later." [LINK]

Draw your own conclusions.

Next - review Taser's claims of safety.

Then draw your own further conclusions.

Explain: Nearly instant cessation of neuromuscular response

"After he was given that drive stun to the chest, he was pulled out of the car onto the concrete, " Williams told CNN. "He was electroshocked two more times, which two officers noted that he had no neuromuscular response to those last two 50,000-volt electroshocks." [LINK]

This is interesting.

Why would the neuromuscular response cease suddenly (seemingly less than a minute)?

I don't believe that Kroll's theories can explain this observation.

A question...

Why do so many of the taser-associated deaths involve victims that have been tasered in the chest?

Officer may face criminal charges in Tasered-to-death case

In a development that should give many pro-taser fan boys a reason to pause and think (and about fricken' time if it does), a fired police officer may face criminal charges related to the tasered-to-death case of Baron "Scooter" Pikes.

This case appears to be a clear example of bad info from Taser. And thus they also may be liable.

WINNFIELD, Louisiana (CNN) [LINK] -- A police officer shocked a handcuffed Baron "Scooter" Pikes nine times with a Taser after arresting him on a cocaine charge.

Baron Pikes, 21, was Tasered nine times by a police officer in January in Winnfield, Louisiana. He stopped twitching after seven, according to a coroner's report. Soon afterward, Pikes was dead.

Now the officer, since fired, could end up facing criminal charges in Pikes' January death after medical examiners ruled it a homicide. Dr. Randolph Williams, the Winn Parish coroner, told CNN the 21-year-old sawmill worker was jolted so many times by the 50,000-volt Taser that he might have been dead before the last two shocks were delivered. Williams ruled Pikes' death a homicide in June after extensive study. Winn Parish District Attorney Christopher Nevils said he will decide on any charges against the ex-officer, Scott Nugent, once a Louisiana State Police report on the case is complete.

...Williams said Pikes was already handcuffed and on the ground when first hit with the Taser, after the 247-pound suspect was slow to follow police orders to get up.

...Williams, who ruled Pikes' death a homicide in June after extensive study, said Nugent fired his Taser at Pikes six times in less than three minutes -- shots recorded by a computer chip in the weapon's handle. Then officers put Pikes in the back of a cruiser and drove him to their police station -- where Nugent fired a seventh shot, directly against Pikes' chest.

"After he was given that drive stun to the chest, he was pulled out of the car onto the concrete, " Williams told CNN. "He was electroshocked two more times, which two officers noted that he had no neuromuscular response to those last two 50,000-volt electroshocks."

Williams said he had two nationally known forensic pathologists, including former New York city medical examiner Michael Baden, review the case before issuing his conclusions. He said it's possible Nugent was shocking a dead man the last two times he pulled the trigger.

"This fellow was talking in the back seat of the car prior to shot number seven," he said. "From that point on, it becomes questionable [if Pikes was still alive]."

Curry said Pikes told officers he suffered from asthma and had been using PCP and crack cocaine. But Williams said he found no sign of drug use in the autopsy, and no record of asthma in Pikes' medical history.

In the year since Winnfield police received Tasers, officers have used them 14 times, according to police records -- with 12 of the instances involving black suspects. Ten of the 14 incidents involved Nugent, who has no public disciplinary record.

Nugent was suspended after Pikes' death, and Winnfield's City Council voted 3-2 to fire him in May. He is appealing his dismissal, and his lawyer says he followed proper procedures in Pikes' case. He was trained in the use of the Taser by a senior police officer who was present during the incident that led to Pikes' death, Terrell said.

Curry said Taser International, the device's manufacturer, indicates that "multiple Tasings do not affect a person." But he said he could not explain why Pikes was shocked so many times, and said whether Nugent followed proper procedure was "yet to be determined."

But a copy of the Winnfield Police Department's Taser training manual, obtained by CNN, says the device "shall only be deployed in circumstances where it is deemed reasonably necessary to control a dangerous or violent subject." And Williams said regulations regarding the use of Tasers were not followed. "It violated every aspect -- every single aspect -- of the department's policy about its use," the coroner said. ...

Taser-proximal death in Winnipeg

Details are still lacking. It is not clear if there were any other explicit contributors to the death. But one report seems to be slightly indicative: "A witness told reporters he could see police trying to revive the man before paramedics arrived."

Keyword: "...revive..."

Possibly an indicator of cardiac issues? (Just a hunch at this point.) The news makes no mention of the victim fatally 'banging his head' or anything similar after being tasered.

Winnipeg Free Press [LINK]
The Canadian Press [LINK]


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Out of control taser torture

"A man who says he was pummeled by four RCMP officers and hit with a taser more than a dozen times..." [LINK]

"...a police officer in Mississippi used a taser in push-stun mode on a woman 18 times, but only reported using the device twice." [LINK]

Yee haw - aren't tasers fun?
What a fun toy.
Oh my, what fun.
Buzzt Buzzt Buzzt
Tee hee hee.
Buzzt Buzzt Buzzt
Buzzt Buzzt Buzzt
Buzzt Buzzt Buzzt
Buzzt Buzzt Buzzt
Giggle giggle...

Oh this is so much better than any alternative I can think of...

Oh well, at least they didn't shoot them with a (machine-)gun that many times...


The Dangers of Repeated Taser Hits

Taser claims that tasers are essentially perfectly safe (with respect to internal issues such as cardiac arrest or similar). They claim that the taser shock doesn't linger in the body like a poison. Their position on the risks of multiple and/or long duration taserings is (at best) mixed; and I only recall them addressing respiration and breathing in this regard.

But it has become very clear that the more taser hits and/or longer duration taser hits are strangely associated with an increased (coincidental my ass) death rate. A death rate often involving cardiac issues in people without cardiac issues.

Taser cannot explain this. Their theories do not explain any increased risk. They've assumed that the risk is zero, and zero times nine is still zero. Idiots.

Once you see that Taser is (obviously) wrong on this safety issue, then it will slowly dawn on you just how incredibly wrong they have been all along (and continue to be).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Brotherhood of Silence

Of course, not all police are bad. The vast majority are just great.

But sometimes some officers make mistakes, or they misbehave, and the police 'brotherhood of silence' approach means that such blatant wrong-doing is often covered up instead of being addressed.

And this brothers above all else approach seems to be extremely common. There appears to be a nearly unlimited number of incidents where we hear no first-hand reports from other officers about the obvious misbehavior of the involved officer(s). There appears to be close to zero incidents where one of the officers stands-up to report on his brothers.

Failing to report (truthfully and completely) such events should be considered to be an extreme case of dereliction of duty. Police chiefs must instigate policies that support the breakdown of this code of silence; to fail to do so is inexcusable. Prosecutors need to call those other officers as witnesses under oath.

This traditional Brotherhood of Silence amongst the police is a huge threat to society and should be treated as such. It is perfectly evil and deserves our contempt.

Tasered-to-death while black, plus the lies

This story has so many angles that all I can do is recommend that you read it carefully, top to bottom.

Chicago Tribune - Taser death ignites racial tensions [LINK]
[UPDATE] LA Times- Taser death in troubled town [LINK]

[Interesting how editors won't hesitate to use the phrase Taser death these days...]

Aside from the racial issue, and aside from the so obvious as to be stupid lies, another important point is the tasered-to-death issue itself:

"...the cause of death as 'cardiac arrest following nine 50,000-volt electroshock applications from a conductive electrical weapon.' ..."

"God did not just call this young man home," said Williams, who has served as parish coroner for the past 33 years. "If somebody can tell me anything else that killed this otherwise perfectly healthy young man ... I'd like to know it."

Williams is no stranger to controversy in Winnfield. Back in 2004, his garage was firebombed, and he says he's been shot at 19 times by people upset with the independence of his investigations. He wears a gun holstered at his waist.

"This case may be the most unnecessary death I have ever had to investigate," Williams said. "[Pikes] put up no fuss, no fighting, no physical aggression. ... He just didn't respond quickly enough to the officer's commands."

The blatantly-obvious fact is that we are seeing more-and-more deaths in drug-free, healthy, young, non-violent, (often black) men is clear real-world evidence of the true story about tasers.

The good news is that this is becoming so blatantly-obvious that it is getting to the point where the continued denials are starting to look pretty stupid. Even perennial blabbermouth Taser spokespuppets are strangely quiet.

Politicians and senior decision makers will be forced to act.

In the long run, Taser is screwed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Non-Lethal" still kicking around

Still kicking around: "...Non-Lethal...", as opposed to 'Less-Lethal'.

http://www.taser.org/taserc2-2.html (an Internet distributor)

Taser C2 review

And for those consumers actually thinking about the Taser C2 - here is my review of the concept:

Q1: What if there are two or more assailants? Did you think about that Mr. Only One-Standoff-Shot?

Q2: What if someone gains control of your cute little taser? How will your day go after that?

Q3: How far can you run in 30-seconds? Be honest. 300 feet? And what is the assailant going to do to you when he catches up with you? (And remember, you left your sparking taser on the ground next to him.)

My suggestion:

Take half the $400 cost of a taser, and keep it with you (in twenty $10 bills).

Smaller, lighter, generally more useful. Legal in all states and cities. Cheaper by half. Usable in many more situations.

If you're approached by a mugger, toss the cash at the mugger. It'll take him much longer than 30 seconds to pick-up all the bills. And near-zero chance that he'll run you down and kill you after.

Sound silly to leave the mugger with $200? Well the brain trust at Taser suggests leaving your $400 sparking taser on the ground next to the quivering assailant. May I point out that $200 is approximately $200 less than $400?

Think it through folks.

The Taser C2 - it's just a stupid concept.

Consumer tasers and criminals with murderous intent

Taser is really pushing for consumers to have tasers. See TNT [LINK]. Short-term gain, long-term disaster for everyone (even Taser).

The consumer model offers a 30-second mode where the unit will pulse for 30 continuous seconds (ostensibly to allow the owner time to get a head-start, before the pissed-off assailant is able to get up, run them down and beat them to death - instead of just robbing them as they had intended). Now, if a police officer shocks someone for 30-seconds, they might even get suspended for five days.

And everyone is now becoming worried about the absolute safety of multiple and/or long duration shocks.

If you're awake - you can probably see exactly where this is headed...

Guaranteed that these consumer tasers will fall into criminal hands in large numbers. The hackers will almost certainly bypass the criminal checks and/or activation procedures. There is zero probability that a thick-headed schmuck of a company such as Taser can design an activation feature that hackers would not be able to bypass. Microsoft, Apple, DirecTV, Dish Network, and many more - they've all been hacked six ways from Sunday). Taser's scheme, whatever the details, hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell in the long term. (Just my informed opinion from having monitored the technology news for the past decade or more.)

The interesting thing will be when a criminal (or even a average citizen having a bad day) uses a taser as a murder weapon, and then Taser is then forced to defend the smirking murderer because as we all know [sic], tasers are safer than Tylenol [sic] and couldn't possibly be causally linked to a death in any manner [sic].

See also Gendanken [LINK] (theory).

And (Non-)Armed Robbery [LINK] (reality).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cause and (sometimes delayed) effect

The officer that tasered 17-year-old Darryl Turner has been suspended for five days. The issue (according to police officials) was that the officer did not follow standing orders and held the trigger down for 37 seconds for the first tasering. Thus, the suspension.

Charlotte Observer [LINK] [Video available at a link from that site]

Now - this is predictable - pro-taser minions will point to the fact that Turner did not fall down stone cold dead during or after this first excessively long tasering. They will hold this up as evidence that there is no causal relationship between the taser and the death.

They're truth-denying idiots.

Let's look at the relationship between cause and (sometimes delayed) effect.

Example 1 - [General example] No denying that thunder often follows lightning. But at 5 seconds per mile there is sometimes a long delay between the flash and the rumble.

Example 2 - [Recent tragic news] While putting up backyard antennas on the afternoon of Sunday, 13 July 2008, Edward Thomas, of Kansas City, Kansas, and his son were electrocuted. The elder Thomas, 65, was pronounced dead at the scene. His son, 27, was rushed to the hospital but died later that day.

Example 3 - [Officialdom] On March 30, 2008, an officer held down the trigger on his taser for 37 seconds in violation of standing orders. A 17-year old later died. The officer is suspended for five days THREE AND A HALF MONTH later. There's no denying the cause-and-effect relationship here, but the delay is over three months (in spite of the data being available that same day).

Question - Why not include simple timer chip? First asked in December 2007 [LINK]

And now that everyone is slowly coming to the realization that long duration and/or multiple taser shocks might be dangerous (possibly even lethal), what does that do to all the assurances from Taser and Kroll that tasers are essentially perfectly safe "under all circumstances"?

So Charlotte is sitting back waiting for the legal papers. [LINK]

Taser should be shivering in their boots too. This one (being such a cut-and-dry example) might result in a judgment in the 8-figure range.

How tasers are actually used...

The Chronicle Herald (editorial), Halifax, NS - Thursday 10 July 2008 [LINK]

Rev. Michael Alden Fells, a Digby clergyman whose son Nathaniel is one of two men allegedly harassed by a group of off-duty Halifax police officers, wants the public to see the Town of Digby videotape which recorded the incident and the tasering of one of the young black men, William Drummond, by Digby RCMP.

Rev. Fells is right. Nova Scotians should see this tape because there is an immediate public issue here: Can we have confidence in the professionalism and integrity of our police?

To answer that important question, we need to see with our own eyes whether a group of off-duty Halifax officers piled out of a police training van and started an unprovoked fight with two black men, and whether RCMP who broke up the altercation tasered Mr. Drummond without cause while going easy on the attackers.

Rev. Fells has reviewed the June 22 tape, with the commander of Digby RCMP. The clergyman says the tape, which has no audio component, shows the following sequence: His son and Mr. Drummond walk past a parked van; they suddenly turn in apparent reaction to comments from the van; they say something in response; five or six men leave the van and approach the young men; one man swings at Mr. Drummond, misses and is knocked out by Mr. Drummond.

Rev. Fells says the tape then records the arrival of RCMP officers who separate the parties but focus their attention on Mr. Drummond. He says Mr. Drummond is tasered in spite of showing no aggressive behaviour and three officers stand over his unconscious figure while ignoring further harassment of Nathaniel Fells.

Rev. Fells’ description accords with Mr. Drummond’s account that he responded to a racial slur from a group of men who appeared drunk and knocked out one who swung at him. Halifax Police confirm a group of officers took a police van to Digby for a charitable event and that one spent a night in hospital after an altercation.

The Halifax force is now investigating the conduct of its members; and the Digby RCMP commander, while defending his officers, has asked for a full investigation by the New Minas major crime unit.

We won’t prejudge the outcome of these proceedings. But in the meantime, the public has a right to judge whether this tape shows police officers taunting blacks, starting fights or using tasers too freely – attitudes and behaviour that cannot be tolerated in our police officers.

Let’s see the tape.

One thing I don't see is any reason not to believe Rev. Fells' description of the video. Of course the video should be released and seen by everyone, but it seems unlikely in the extreme that his description is so inaccurate as to be misleading. Possible, but don't bet on it. Any conceivable alternate explanation fails to make any sense. It is most likely exactly correct.

The incident is outrageous and it reveals so much hidden truth about some police officers and the all-too-typical misuse of tasers. If it doesn't lead directly to suspensions, criminal charges, convictions, and firings, then it will be an apparent miscarriage of justice.

Also, this incident is also clear evidence of the fundamental reason why (*) giving all police officers tasers is perhaps not such a good idea as it might seem on the surface.

(* They're not all angels, in case you thought that they were. Some are, but some clearly are not.)

PS (a minor point): And why are a bunch of weekend-bikers (not that there's anything wrong with that...) off-duty city police officers borrowing a municipal-owned police van for their fun-run all the way from Halifax to Digby? Probably about 600 km round trip. What the hell is with that? Who paid for the gasoline (hey - just asking!)? 'Charitable event' my ass.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So who is pushing 'Excited Delirium'?

We had already noted [LINK] that Taser lawyer Michael Brave [LINK] was (and is) the registered owner of the domain name www.ExcitedDelirium.com (no dash).

Well, it turns out that this [blankity-blank] Taser lawyer Mr. Brave is also the proud registered owner of the domain name www.Excited-Delirium.net [LINK]. This domain name is a redirect to the organization IPICD (suspected by some to be a front for Taser, indisputably preoccupied with excited delirium - which may effectively be the same thing). This domain was registered on 30-Apr-2008 (one can only assume in response to this blog of the same base name, ha ha ha).

I present this information just in case you were in any doubt about the relationship between Taser and the promotion of this ancient and mysterious non-evidence-leaving, convenient excuse-for-death, called 'excited delirium'.

If IPICD had registered these various 'excited delirium' domain names themselves, and Taser/Brave had sponsored the trivial cost of those registrations, then it would have been much more clever on their part. It would have been a case of nothing to see here - move along.

But as it is, they've left their Taser-to-'excited delirium' connections clearly documented for all to see.

Not exactly a bright move on their part.

Half-way through July 2008...

The blog Truth...Not Tasers [LINK] has tracked SIX taser-associated deaths so far in July 2008. It's just mid-July for gosh sake.

#355: July 2, 2008: Isaac Bass, 34, Louisville, Kentucky
#356: July 4, 2008: Othello Pierre, 23, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
#357: July 8, 2008: Samuel DeBoise, 29, St. Louis, Missouri
#358: July 8, 2008: Carlos Vargas, 42, San Bernardino, California
#359: July 14, 2008: Marion Wilson Jr., 52, Houston, Texas
#360: July 14, 2008: Deshoun Keyon Torrence, 18, Long Beach, California

The running average for North American taser-associated deaths is normally about seven per month. [LINK] This month is running at about twice that rate.

Average age (above list for July 2008) is just 33 years old.

If you think that 'heart problems' are a possible explanation, then you haven't been paying attention: [LINK][LINK][LINK][LINK][LINK] and many more... [LINK]

'Maybe drugs?' [LINK][LINK][LINK]

This blog has almost 500 posts and many such taser-excusing arguments as 'heart problems' and 'maybe drugs?' have been shredded months ago. Not to mention that Taser cannot and will not avail themselves of such liability-on-them inducing excuses [LINK]. Use the search box at the top left (in the header) to search this blog for any other pathetic explanation keywords that you may be considering on Taser's behalf.

It is worth noting that these taser-associated deaths are just the ones that are known. There is a high probability that there are other taser-associated deaths that are not reported as such, or the reports are not published in the on-line media where taser-critics can find the information.

Houston - we have a problem.

See Truth...Not Tasers blog [LINK]

#102: February 18, 2005: Joel Dawn Casey, 52, Houston, Texas
#171: January 13, 2006: Daryl Dwayne Kelley, 29, Houston, Texas
#226: October 6, 2006: Herman Carroll, 31, Houston, Texas
#261: April 23, 2007: Unidentified male, Houston, Texas
#359: July 14, 2008: Marion Wilson Jr., 52, Houston, Texas [LINK][LINK][LINK]

Yep. Tasers are perfectly safe. Yep.

Sure... Wanna buy a bridge?

The news reports linked above indicate that tasers have been deployed by Houston police about 1600 times. And we have five deaths (those that we know about) that, on their face, appear to be 'taser-associated'.

Taser and their spokes-puppets will claim that these deaths have nothing to do with the taser.

So, logically, you'd expect to see the same 5/1600 (one in 320) coincidental death rate for other 'perfectly safe' law enforcement activities - like handing out speeding tickets (sans taser deployment). Do the math and you'd see that every police officer on traffic enforcement duties would have several people dying on them (when asked to produce their driver's license at a traffic stop) every month.

Five doesn't seem like a large number, but the ratio 5/1600 is insane for something that is supposedly 'safer than Tylenol'.

But it actually gets worse if you think it through a bit more.

When you consider that drive-stun mode (call it what it is: Push-Pain mode, or perhaps Touch-Torture mode) deployments, normally considered to be safer, vastly outnumber barb- or dart-mode deployments, and that even in dart-deployment mode many times the darts would land in a location on the subject's body that everyone would agree is not as dangerous, then you can see that this 5/1600 ratio is just the tip of the iceberg.

This raw number of 0.3% (=5/1600) might suddenly become something like about 3% or 6% when the denominator washing (10:1, 20:1?) is adjusted out to reveal the true risk of full-on taser hits.

Get it?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nova Scotia newspaper calls for moratorium

The Chronicle Herald - editorial [LINK]

"...We still favour a moratorium on police use of Tasers until the devices can be more extensively studied and all officers properly trained. If not holstered, the public at the very least expects police to sharply curtail, if not eliminate, all incidents of inappropriate Taser use."

Note the word 'properly' - as opposed to brainwashed by Taser-originated propaganda about how perfectly safe tasers are, and would you like to take a training hit (In the back please, never the chest).

UPDATE - More reasons (yes, plural) for a taser moratorium in Nova Scotia [LINK] Authorities should also take this opportunity to suspend a few police officers just to prove that such disciplinary action can actually happen in such obviously egregious cases. If not this time, then exactly when? Lest you think I'm unfairly prejudging the results of the inquiries, puhleeze...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"...the low power taser..."

I've noticed this phrase "...the low power taser..." being used by many of the pro-taser minions and spokespuppets. The words 'low power' always struck me as odd. Why do these people quote supposed evidence to support their argument and then slip-in the extra words 'low power' ?

Apparently, the 'low power' tasers are the older models that predate the M26 (introduced in 1999) and the X26 (introduced in 2003). The M26 and X26 are the "high power" tasers. I don't speak for other taser critics, but the only tasers that I'm concerned with are the M26 and especially the X26.

So if you are reading an argument from a pro-taser spokespuppet, and they slip the words 'low power' into their argument, then you know that their evidence is hopelessly obsolete and has nothing to do with the debate about the high power M26 and X26 tasers.

I suspect that this is not an innocent mistake on their part...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tasered 9 times and died (ruled a homocide)

See It all goes here blog [LINK] which leads to Tasered while black blog [LINK]

What is the simplest possible explanation for these sorts of tragic taser-associated deaths?

The pro-taser camp insists that such taser-associated deaths are always the result of some variable and complicated series of coincidences and the taser has nothing to do with any death. On the other hand, taser critics simply think that the taser might be lethal for some people, under some conditions, and perhaps involving bad luck (such as dart placement).

The pro-taser camp is fixated on the center of the bell curve. They've shown that the taser is probably safe for those normal and healthy people and average circumstances in the middle of the bell curve. Fine. But they've done next-to-nothing to investigate the edge of the bell curve. They'd like to deny the existence of any risk-of-death in the outlying populations and circumstances.

Some of their claimed safety factor is based on dart placement (Webster), but they also claim that the taser is perfectly incapable of stimulating the heart under any circumstances (Kroll). Notice how these basis of claims of safety have been distributed to various in-house and external 'experts' in accordance with their legal defense plan. You'll never see Taser and Kroll depending on dart placement for their claims of safety. Interesting.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Unspecified 'Natural Causes'

See It all goes here blog: [LINK]

Nova Scotia moves to restrict tasers

Nova Scotia Justice Minister Cecil Clarke is mandating that police in NS must only use their tasers when they are threatened with violence or when the public is in danger. Although this appears to be common sense, it means that the tasers are no longer to be used as a pain compliance tool.

Considering that tasers are legally defined as 'firearms' in Canada, this direction is (technically speaking) redundant. But the fact that he has to provide this explicit direction is an indication of the occasional misuse that has occurred in NS.

All in all - given the level of propaganda from Taser - this is a very good first step. But although it addresses most of the misuse and abuse, it leaves open plenty of room for continued over-use. And it fails to acknowledge the issue of the exact level of risk for various population groups, including the ill-defined group of 'those at risk'.

Chronicle Herald [LINK]
Canadian Press [LINK]
Canada.com [LINK]

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dying from 'excited delirium'

When you scratch the surface of 'excited delirium', it is quickly admitted by the experts that it is nothing more than a name given to a collection of symptoms (that is pre-death behavioral symptoms, since nothing shows up at autopsy).

They might as well have called it 'Barney'.

Therefore, it appears to be bordering on indefensible to assign an empty name like 'excited delirium', or 'Barney', as a cause of death without a clear description of what this means.

It would be better if the autopsy report contained something like the following wording:

Cause of death: Unknown.

Additional Notes: Police reports indicate the subject displayed behavior consistent with an unknown and unexplained condition that has been named 'excited delirium', but the relationship between this condition and the exact mechanism of death is unknown. Oh, and by the way, the subject was tasered six times too.

So, based on the present state of medical knowledge, when you see 'excited delirium' assigned as a cause of death, just remember 'Barney'. It's obviously all Barney's fault.

It has been noted that a child can get to the limits of human knowledge with no more than about five innocent 'Why?' questions.

"Daddy, why is the sky blue?"
"Because the blue light is scattered by particles and molecules in the atmosphere."
"Daddy, why 'blue'?"
"Because the blue light is scattered more than the red light."
"Daddy, why is blue scattered more than red?"
"Because the red light has a longer wavelength than blue."
"Daddy, why do shorter wavelengths of light scatter more than longer?"
"Because, light scatters in accordance with the rules of quantum mechanics."
"Daddy, why 'quantum mechanics'?"
"Ah, go ask your mother."

With 'excited delirium', it needs only a couple of questions to reach the limit of human knowledge:

"Doctor, what caused, or contributed to, this person's death"
"He died because of 'excited delirium'."
"Doctor, what is excited delirium and how exactly does it lead to death?"
"Ah, to be honest we're not too sure about that. But Taser sent me a nice brochure on the subject."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Podcast regarding Taser's legal butt-kicking

Interview with lawyer John Burton on his $6.2M legal victory over Taser International [LINK]

The above link leads to page where a download-able podcast can be found.

Note: file is .mp3 format and is fairly big: 27.2 MB.

For related background info: Search for 'Burton' on this blog [LINK]

Darryl Turner - two misleading stories...

Two stories ([LINK] and [LINK]) neglect to mention a few facts:

“This lethal disturbance in the heart rhythm was precipitated by the agitated state and associated stress
as well as the use of the conducted energy weapon (Taser) ...” Dr. Thomas Owens wrote...

...found no pre-existing heart problems.

Also, the police account is reportedly refuted by a witness.

Considering that the most news-worthy part of the story is the specific and explicit mention of the role of the taser, I find these two stories to be very suspicious.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It only takes one...

It's going to be interesting to watch Taser's reaction (and the market's) on Monday to the Turner autopsy results. [LINK]

Taser must be getting low on ideas. Excited delirium, whispered rumours about drugs, heart conditions, and all the rest. I wonder what's left in their bag of tricks? It'll probably be something either completely farfetched ('agitation can be fatal'), or silence.

It wouldn't surprise me if the market takes a few hours or a day to react rationally to this Very Bad News for Taser. Sometimes it seems like TASR investors don't always keep up with the news.

But I expect that TASR will be down significantly over the next day or two. Even the most pro-taser fan-boy must be left scratching their head at this one.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sucks to be Taser

Autopsy: Teen hit by Taser died of cardiac arrest

The Charlotte Observer (5 July 2008) [LINK]

Doctor finds no pre-existing heart problems in youth who was shocked by police officer at grocery store. A 17-year-old shocked with a Taser by police after an altercation at a northern Charlotte grocery store died from cardiac arrest, according to an autopsy released Friday.

Darryl Wayne Turner's heart was pumping so fast and chaotically from the Taser shot and stress of the confrontation that it stopped pumping blood properly. He died of acute ventricular dysrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation, according to the Mecklenburg medical examiner's office.

Turner was the first Taser-related fatality in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's history and the youngest in the Carolinas this decade.

Police confronted an “agitated” Turner on March 20 during an argument with his manager of a Prosperity Church Road grocery store. Police said Turner threw something at a manager, ignored commands and advanced toward Officer Jerry Dawson Jr., who deployed a Taser. The energy weapon struck Turner in the chest, and he fell to the carpeted floor.

“This lethal disturbance in the heart rhythm was precipitated by the agitated state and associated stress as well as the use of the conducted energy weapon (Taser) designed for incapacitation through electro-muscular disruption,” Dr. Thomas Owens wrote in the autopsy. Owens found no pre-existing heart problems.

Turner worked at the Food Lion store, where he was a cashier and bagged groceries. Documents state he was asked by a manager to leave the store but refused. Police said Officer Jerry Dawson Jr., a 15-year veteran, fired his Taser to get Turner under control after the teen advanced toward him. An attorney representing the family says he talked to a witness who refutes the account.

An April study by the Taser Safety Project [LINK] found that the improper use of Tasers has contributed to the deaths of at least 11 people in North Carolina over the past four years. The autopsy cites a National Institute of Justice study that concludes that while Tasers devices are not risk-free, there is “no conclusive medical evidence” indicating a high risk of serious injury.

I believe that most taser critics are not claiming that there is a high risk of significant injury (or death). We're concerned that there may be a moderate or low risk (depending on how you structure the question). And as has been admitted even by taser fan-boys, dart placement (i.e. pure luck) may be a significant part of the overall safety margin.

Note that Turner was hit in the chest (as opposed to in the back like all those FAKE training and demonstration deployments that Taser claims to support their theories of safety).

The incident is also a clear example where it is unlikely in the extreme that the police officer would have had any legal justification to use lethal force. So the argument that 'a taser is better than a gun' does not apply here (in common with the vast majority of taser deployments).

Friday, July 4, 2008

'Use of tasers should be more restricted'

An audit of the San Antonio Police Department resulted in 141 recommendations... The major areas of change for the department include .... the use of taser stun guns, which should be more restricted...

Dallas Morning News [LINK]
Houston Chronicle [LINK]

Demand for tasers will probably drop off once the police realize that they're not really allowed to freely employ them at even the slightest provocation.

Once the misuse, abuse and overuse are brought under control, tasers are about as useful as a flame-thrower.

"Acute ventricular dysrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation"

Charlotte, NC - Autopsy results released this week reveal why a 17-year-old who police shot with a taser died in March. Darryl Turner was in an altercation with his boss at the Food Lion on Prosperity Church Road in north Charlotte when someone called police. Police said he was highly agitated when an officer shot him with a taser. Turner was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. Turner's autopsy says the stress of the situation and the shock from the taser was too much for his body to handle. It says he died of acute ventricular dysrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation. In other words, his heart was pumping so fast and irregularly that he died. The report states Turner did not have heart problems and he didn't have drugs in his system except for the medicines emergency workers used trying to save his life. ... [LINK]

Young. Healthy. Free of drugs. Very angry. Tasered. Died.

Unless you're going to claimed that young and healthy people die from being angry, there's only one other apparent explanation. The victim's state of anger may certainly be a contributing factor, so perhaps tasers are only 'safe' when used on calm people (??!!??).

Brainwashed and self-deluding taser fan-boys may be left in a state of mental shock as their world falls apart, but taser critics are not surprised by this finding.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

The pro-Taser machine has barfed-out [LINK] four more 'studies' that purport to demonstrate taser safety. All four studies have Dr. Jeffrey Ho listed as an author.

Who is Ho? [LINK]

There seems to be enough Ho-Taser connection that taser-critics will dismiss anything he is involved with out-of-hand. Some of the other author(s) are connected with Santa Barbara Police Department.

See also: [LINK]

Also, review what Dr. Chambers said on studies with inadequate sample size [LINK].

If an experiment is structured from the outset with an inadequate sample size (by people with letters after their name that should know better), then you need to ask: 'What is the true purpose of this study? The sample size is obviously too low to prove anything about the risk, so why was this study undertaken and what is the true motivation?'

Answer: Nifty press release, ever-growing pile (*) of flawed studies.

(* In science, unlike Stalin's Red Army, quantity does NOT have a quality all it's own.)

Karma revisited

For those that are new to the taser issue, or haven't been following along this blog long enough to have read all 460+ posts, here is one topic that you might wish to catch-up on:

Karma: "...it is not fair to trade-off the lives of [the many] innocents against the lives of [a few] violent criminals that may be attacking the police." Remember that tasers are used about 100 times more often than guns ever were.

Search 'Karma' on this blog: [LINK]

The It all goes here blog [LINK] used the words: "...Are people really ready for police with unbridled authority employing devices that implement a death lottery for anyone getting out of line? ..." [LINK]

Another American dies after being tasered

Update: Isaac Bass, 34, Louisville, Kentucky.

Courier-Journal [LINK]
Herald-Leader [LINK]

A comment which reflects the uneducated and unthinking mindset of some: "Moral of the story--don't be a drunk redneck and fight in your front yard and you won't get killed."

People that make idiot comments like that deserve to live in the sort of society they're proposing, but it doesn't mean that they should be able to force everyone else to live in that sort of nightmare society.

This isn't the first such taser-associated death in Louisville: #217. September 5, 2006: Larry Noles, 52, Louisville, Kentucky [LINK]

$145M lawsuit bumped to $155M

Gazette.net (MD) - Claims of cover-ups... [LINK]

The part about the extremely small amount of drugs found is interesting. Talk about 'digging for dirt' !!! The police searched the car to a degree that they claim to have found "...a small quantity of leafy substance still attached to the stem....not even enough to weigh...". The fact that they went looking for this and found it is indicative of the sort of investigation that was undertaken.

Previous posts on this blog about Corporal Rudy 'Call Me Sparky' Torres [LINK]

Frederick County, MD, USA: One officer, Corporal Rudy Torres, has deployed his taser seven times [another report says NINE] in the past two years.

OPP ignores taser-inquiries' recommendations

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), having very recently been involved in the taser-associated death (#21 in Canada, June 23, 2008) of Jeffrey Marreel, age 36, at Norfolk, Ontario, are still tasering away at rowdies and drunks as if nothing has changed.

"Huronia West OPP [just one division] said they were forced to use tasers at least twice over the weekend in the cottage country town, as revellers got an early start on Canada Day celebrations." [LINK]

These sorts of taser deployments make a mockery of the multiple taser inquiries in Canada. And they provide strong justification for a moratorium. Obviously the police in Canada are totally ignoring many of the most-important recommendations arising from the various inquires. It's time to get their attention.

Perhaps it is past time for Canadian litigation lawyers to get in there and sue. Perhaps it can be based on the recently-noted 1998 rule that classifies the tasers as 'firearms' in Canada. [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] Another apparent opening might be centered around CC 269.1. [LINK]

And the words 'at least' indicate the poor record-keeping and/or timely reporting associated with deployment of the tasers. And given that tasers are firearms in Canada, that self-confessed lack of record-keeping and/or timely reporting is probably a violation of many firearms regulations.

What an out-of-control mess.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Law professor fails to see 30 seconds into future

The New York Times has an opinion piece written by a law professor, Paul H. Robinson.

"... If, on your way to confront an intruder, you choose your gun rather than your more effective but less lethal weapon, you can hardly complain later about your limited options. ..." [LINK]

I guess what he's saying makes a bit of sense from the narrow view of explaining the peculiar details of the law, but his passing and unsubstantiated statement that a taser is somehow 'more effective' than a gun (and all the logic that flows from this doubtful assumption) leaves me wondering how he supports that particular aspect of his argument.

The example he uses is an intruder, presumably in your house. And so you rush downstairs at 3am and taser the perpetrator.

What if there isn't just one intruder, but two or three? Did anyone think about that little detail? A taser seems to be more-or-less useless once the number of intruders or attackers exceeds unity. Therefore, right off the bat, most of his argument falls apart.

The judge might ask, 'Why the heck did you choose to arm yourself with your gun instead of your taser?' You'd reply, "Well your hounor, it really sounded like there might have been two of them downstairs." The judge would ponder your reply for a second and then ask, "Could you have brought both your taser and your gun?" You'd reply, "Seems inadvisable to bring two weapons in case one of them gets out of my control. That's not a reasonable requirement." The judge would likely reply, "Yep, you're right. Let's move on to see if the plaintiffs have any better points... I have to be outta here by 11:00."

But let's assume that there is only one intuder and everything goes perfectly.

Now, what exactly do you plan to do after the (home version) 30-second taser cycle ends?

Unless you have handcuffs and leg irons and perhaps a restraint chair standing by, what do you plan to do after the first taser cycle times-out? Often, even the police are all out of ideas at this point. It is not unusual that they will repeat the cycle again.

Taser claims that the effects of a taser do not linger. So, by their logic, to allow 15-minutes (for example) for the police to arrive, you'd have to pull-up a chair and sit there incapacitating the perpetrator thirty times in a row. That's equivalent to 180 of the shorter 5-second cycles with the police version. The batteries might be flat by then, or the electrical components may have overheated.

Combine this world-record-setting duration of tasering with the very-likely drug addiction of the intruder (some claim that drug problems = bad heart), not to mention the apparently proven-in-court blood pH issue, then the 'less' part of less-lethal is fading away.

Has anyone thought this through?

'More effective' than a gun my ass.

Note - Being Canadian, I'm not particularly pro-gun nor anti-gun in relation to the USA legal system. I'm just here to shred pro-taser arguments and statements.

PS: See also It all goes here blog regarding the same NYT Op-Ed [LINK]

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

2008 June = holding steady at 7/month

Taser-associated deaths in North America [LINK] plotted month-by-month up to end-June 2008.

Discrepancy of the Day

Many taser fan-boys claim that the taser is safe under all circumstances. Or if they allow some risks, they're generally external (a.k.a. 'secondary') risks, such as falling down. I think that we're all familiar with these arguments and the 'science' upon which they are based.

Here's a discrepancy that they cannot explain: Even the NIJ (and even with taser fan-boys sitting on the panel [LINK]) has been forced to note that repeated taserings seem to be related to increased risk of death. [LINK]

But the pro-taser 'science' (one example [LINK]) cannot explain this real-world fact. Their 'science' indicates that tasers are essentially perfectly safe from an internal risk point of view. There is nothing in their 'science' that can explain this apparently increased risk of death associated with multiple taserings.

'Science' that fails to make accurate predictions is obviously not complete and not correct.

And those that hold such obviously incomplete and incorrect 'science' in high regard are simply revealing their own biases and/or purposes.

'Police One' exposes bias

Apparently, at one point, the NIJ's website had an error in their summary of the interim NIJ taser report. The website summary had apparently accidentally included the 'condition' "Excited Delirium" in the list of populations where tasering was thought to be more dangerous than normal.

The website PoliceOne has a column [LINK] where the author, Capt. Greg Meyer (ret.), describes his efforts to get the NIJ webpage corrected. And he laments that the incorrect information is now being widely reported though-out the media.

But the erroneous NIJ webpage summary had also accidentally excluded those "at risk".

Mr. Meyer didn't mention that little detail. In fact he stepped around it very carefully.

Considering that this 'at risk' population is of unknown size, and is ill-defined, makes it a major issue.

In fact, this 'at risk' might be the entire point of the taser-safety issue.

Perhaps we can issue a joint statement where everyone on both sides of the taser safety issue can agree that:

Taser are 'safe', excluding several defined populations and provided that the subject is not 'at risk'. The 'at risk' status is ill-defined and may only be revealed at autopsy.

See [LINK]

UPDATE - Agitated Individuals are now widely accepted as being at risk. Via [LINK].