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 3, 2009

"Failing safe" could be deadly

Seven of the eight tasers that failed in the British Columbia round of testing "failed to produce a pulse rate high enough to meet manufacturer's specifications." Taser would probably claim that these tasers failed safe since the output was apparently lower than specified.

But is it safe to have a weapon that is experiencing a ten percent failure rate, even if many of those failures are on the low side?

What happens when your taser doesn't do what it is supposed to do?

Sometimes in a stand-off, the police might have the option of simply waiting, negotiating, or using normal calming and de-escalation techniques.

But the police have now all been brainwashed that the taser can solve all manner of situations quickly and easily (sic!). So they decide to use the taser. And then it doesn't work. Now what? You can't really go back to de-escalation at this point. "Oh, sorry about that attempted tasering. Did it hurt? Sorry. How about we try talking again?"

So, given unlucky circumstances, the subject ends up being shot dead.

Here is just one example of how an ineffective taser was involved in a fatal shooting [LINK].

(Note - the only evidence that this particular incident was a case of a failed taser is that it was ineffective - perhaps there were other factors...)

In at least some of these sorts of cases, de-escalation techniques might have been the better option.

Failing safe could be deadly.

Would you accept bullets where every tenth bullet was a dud? Would you accept pepper spray where every tenth can was filled with root beer? Would you accept a baton where every tenth baton was made of balsa wood?

It's a crap shoot. For all concerned. Things might not work out as you expect. An example of a so-called high-tech tools that apparently are not quite ready for prime time.

Even if we grant Taser International every possible consideration, a ten percent failure rate is pretty high. And this is over and above the rate of darts missing target.

Tasers: Unreliable. Untrustworthy. Potentially ineffective in some unspecified percentage of deployments.

And why the hell does it take CBC to break this story?

Where were all the highly-qualified Master Instructors? Didn't anyone notice that 10% of all tasers were not firing at 19 Hz? 15 Hz rate (for example) can be compared to 19 Hz rate by ear. Anyone paying attention? Duh!

Where was Taser International? Helloooo?

Where was the Canadian Police Research Center?

Where was the US NIJ?

Where are the Federally-approved standards?

Where are the equipment qualifications?

Where is the calibration cycle?

Where is the test equipment?

Geesus H. What a bunch of nitwits...

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