Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...


The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

34 and Ho prove almost nothing

A recent Taser press release trumpets another pro-taser paper authored by Jeffrey Ho et al.

Someone should correlate the various studies' findings with the lists of authors. For some strange reason, there appears to be a correlation going on in that regard.

In addition to the known issues with Dr. Ho's intimate and loving relationship with Taser [LINK], there is also the minor issue that the study was not double-blind, not even single-blind.

And I wonder if they bothered to monitor the waveform current in their experiment to ensure it was in the same range as the field deployments. If they don't have records of the waveform current, then the results may be meaningless.

And what about the other details? Do people in the street get to lay-down on a conductive metal (?) table before being tasered?

But more importantly, even in the best case (assuming we trust this study with the basics, which we don't), the relatively low number of subjects (stated as just 34) merely sets an upper bound on the risk which may not be incompatible with a low to moderate risk.

In other words, if you're trying to prove that something is safe to the tune of 1-in-10 million, or "safer than Tylenol", you're going to have to taser a larger number of folks than just 34.

Oh - wait - that experiment has already been done on the street. And we do have clear-cut cases of 'taser shocks causing cardiac arrest' (and death). And examples of healthy and drug-free young men dying of cardiac arrest just after being shocked. And other legal cases where the taser affected blood pH and lead to death.

So, an experiment led by a Taser-insider, using just 34 subject, doesn't really prove anything except that which we mostly all agree on. Taser shocks are not very high risk. But they might still be low to moderate risk.

Exactly as evidenced by the field results.

34 subject cannot disprove a 5% risk (for example) to any degree of statistical certainty.

I wonder why they chose a sample size of just 34 ??? LOL. Maybe they actually know the final answer and they wanted to avoid stumbling across it.

(Disclaimer - I've only read the abstract.)

No comments: