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.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Decision makers lack basic knowledge

Calgary Police Service (CPS) Supt. Trevor Daroux doesn't see any reason for concern about the fact that 31 out of 190 CPS-owned tasers tested failed to meet the specifications (that's a 16.3% failure rate, a new record). Solicitor General Fred Lindsay said, "...out of specification ... create a safety hazard ... I have not seen any evidence to support that..." [LINK]

Gentlemen, please meet the Bell Curve (a.k.a. Normal Distribution): Because of the shape of the Bell Curve, even relatively small changes in the independent variable (the taser output) can lead to surprisingly large changes in the dependent variable (the risks).

For example, if you had been paying even the slightest attention to the larger taser safety debate, then you might have noticed Prof Savard's report (hint: CBC) [LINK] where he conducted exactly this sort of analysis on the X26 failures. He found that if the taser output was just 50% higher than specified, the risk of death went up by a ten-to-one ratio. The Bell Curve leverage in his analysis is a 20:1 ratio (+50% in, x10 out).

And given the increasing evidence that tasers are perhaps not really as perfectly safe as claimed by Taser International (have you noticed?), even to the point that the safety of even those tasers that are within specification is being questioned, there is ZERO ROOM for acceptance of any that are found to be above the pass line.

And the fact that Taser International apparently failed to provide even the most fundamental logistical support system such as field test equipment, recommended calibration cycles, test and maintenance plans, etc. - reveals them to be working to a much lower standard than is even applied to radar or laser speed guns.

Which is insane. Think about it. Radar guns are calibrated. But nobody bothered to check the tasers. Crazy. It's evidence that you've swallowed Taser International's world-view - hook, line and sinker.

The whole package adds up to a crock of sh_t.

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