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.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Taser had "no effect" - or did it?

The officer tried first to subdue the man with a taser stun gun but it had no effect.

See two reports at [LINK] and [LINK]. What follows is based on those two reports.

You need to reorder the story back into a logical chronological order to make more obvious the actual, and very interesting, sequence of events.
  1. ...first officer found the man in the backyard, holding the two-by-four piece of wood and screaming at the officer...
  2. ...officer repeatedly commanded the man to drop the wood...
  3. ...failed to comply...
  4. ...he was tasered.
  5. ...didn't have any effect on him.
  6. ...the guy raised the piece of lumber up over his head and advanced on the officer...
  7. ...the officer shot him.
What I'm seeing here is that the taser was being used as a compliance tool (review steps 2, 3 & 4 above).

The taser didn't have the desired effect (step 5).

But note that step 6 follows steps 4 & 5.

I wonder - did the subject advance on the officer BECAUSE he was tasered? Pissed off at the painful shock? Annoyed at the violent approach? Having a really bad day?

There's an argument here that perhaps if the police officer had been trained in de-escalation techniques instead of taser techniques, then maybe (perhaps, possibly) the man would have continued to stand there (not advancing), and the entire situation might have eventually be wound down to a peaceful conclusion through patient negotiation.

If this connect-the-dots argument is true (and there's not enough information to be certain - but if it IS true), then an argument can be made that the approach of escalation-with-a-taser for compliance led directly to the fatal outcome.

Yes, I know, obviously the subject was the author of his own misfortune, but the approach of using the taser to escalate (forcing [verb] compliance) may well have continued the situation forward instead of de-escalating in back to a peaceful conclusion. Perhaps a different approach might have had a different outcome.

It's just something to think about.

And to be perfectly clear, I don't see any moral issues with steps 6 to 7. The police are ALWAYS allowed to defend themselves.

I'm just wondering what factors might have escalated the situation to that point.

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