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.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another possible death mechanism (?)

Out of the mouths of...

...What killed Dziekanski... "This is not due to a Taser," says Deborah Mash, a neurology professor at the University of Miami who has been studying excited delirium for 20 years. "This is in the brain and they die because the mechanisms that control the heart and the lungs fail." [LINK]

Has anyone looked into the possibility that the taser shock is capable of affecting the nervous system (duh!) mechanisms such that these systems sometimes fail due to a long duration taser shock?

Perhaps, with bad luck and thus occuring in just a fraction of incidents, the central nervous system pathways that control the heart and the lungs just happen to carry enough of the randomly-placed taser current to have their stock of neurochemical transmitters depleted by long duration electric current from the taser.

In the same way that bright lights can temporarily blind you. In the same way that loud sounds can temporarily deafen you. In the same way that repeated impacts can eventually lead to numbness. In the same way that a constant smell eventually becomes imperceptible. Nervous systems eventually shut-down if they're been triggered too much.

Perhaps the taser current sometimes (randomly) rides the pathways that control the heart and lungs. Perhaps those pathways become depleted and thus incapable of functioning for a critical period.

This proposed explanation makes as much, or possibly more, sense than 'excited delirium' in many cases where the late victim obviously wasn't even as excited as the police, and certainly wasn't even the slightest bit delirious.

Something to keep in mind is that the taser is really the first device that often applies the current directly across the chest. Most of the safety standards are not written to assume that the electrician falls chest-first into box of high voltage circuitry. Those standards often assume that the current arrives on one hand, and exits down one leg. This may be an important element in solving the taser-associated death mystery.

Also, I'm very suspicious of those 'expert' calculations of smooth distributions of current through the human body (as if it made of large homogeneous chunks of material). I suspect that the current prefers to travel on small structures that are good conductors and cover larger areas (nerves?).

This post is just a suggestion for further consideration.

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