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 12, 2009

RCMP taser inventory 2003-2005?

I've received an e-mail that suggests that the RCMP didn't actually have any X26 tasers in their inventory until 2005. This possibility raises doubts about the taser model data (M26 vs. X26) for the taser-associated deaths in Canada during the years 2003-2005.

So, if the data is wrong, perhaps there is no X26 bias in the taser-associated deaths in Canada.

Or perhaps there were just a few X26 tasers in Canada during this period undergoing evaluation and these very few X26 tasers were involved in all the taser-associated deaths.

The main point remains valid. The M26 provides an ideal experiemental 'control' for the questions about the safety of the X26.

1 comment:

Critical Mass said...

For 20 years, Taser International has been totally aware of the fact that their devices can result in death. Dr. Terrence Allen ruled several times in early 1990 that the Taser caused death on official Los Angeles Death Certificates, issued by the Los Angeles Medical Examiner's Office, where he was employed.

Dr. Allen was persecuted and hounded by LA Police, for his official ruling on several Taser deaths. His house was shot at in "drive-by shootings" by rogue LA cops. He eventually left LA, in fear of his safety and that of his family.

You might contact Dr. Terrence Allen for details. His father was a Coroner in San Francisco. Here's a little documented stuff on Dr. Allen and his "prophetic warnings" about future stun gun homicides and murders:

"[Dr.]Terence Allen, a specialist in forensic pathology who served as deputy medical examiner for both Los Angeles and San Francisco coroner's offices, in 1991 linked the taser to fatalities. With electrical current, Allen says, the chance of death increases with each use. Allen warns, "I think what you are going to see is more deaths from stun weapons."

But Terence Allen, a specialist in forensic pathology who served as deputy medical examiner for both the Los Angeles and San Francisco coroners' offices, has a more grim view of the "non-lethal" weapon. "The problem is when it starts getting used in less than critical situations," said Allen. "In L.A. they'll shoot you for reaching for your wallet. People need to realize that this isn't 100 per cent safe, and it doesn't have a very good track record. As pathologists, we should warn law-enforcement agencies that the TASER can cause death."


According to a report on the effects of the TASER in The Journal of Forensic Sciences by Dr. Sara Reddy and Dr. Ronald Kornblum, chief medical examiner in Los Angeles, the TASER has been used several thousand times by the Los Angeles police department in attempts to control violent suspects. During that time the TASER has been an effective immobilizer 80 per cent of the time. There have been 16 deaths associated with its use in L.A. County.

The report, which Laur read when he researched the TASER's potential for use in Victoria, explains that the TASER doesn't rely on damage or destruction of tissues or organs to be effective; instead, it knocks the target to the ground after causing a generalized muscle contraction. Under ordinary circumstances, these effects are temporary and completely reversible. But used on an older individual, somebody with heart trouble, or somebody weakened by excessive drug use, the weapon can be fatal. Included in the report were accounts of volunteer targets that described the experience as painful and who required several minutes to recover from the experience. The electrical current generated by the TASER is not lethal when the weapon is used as directed on an average healthy adult.

But Allen suggested the report may be misleading. In a 1991 letter to the journal he noted that he was one of only two medical examiners in the L.A. office to list the TASER on a death certificate.

"This was because pathologists in L.A. were under pressure from law enforcement agencies to exclude the TASER as a cause of death," wrote Allen. He suggested that the L.A. coroner's office has a strong bias and exonerates the law enforcement agencies of that city. "The L.A. coroner's office is the handmaiden of law enforcement [in that city,]" he said.

Allen says that the TASER could cause heart defibrillation depending on where the two probes strike the targeted subject. He suggests that the use of this weapon could have dire effects on the hearts of weaker or older individuals or those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

UVic criminologist Daniel Koenig suggests that the introduction of this weapon will be a positive influence on Victoria policing but adds there are some drawbacks to be considered.

"Police are operating on the same plane of existence as the rest of us," suggests Koenig. "So there's always the danger that [the TASER] will be used inappropriately. We're talking about humans here."

The U.S. exportation of stun guns was listed as one of the top 10 censored articles of 1997 by Project Censored, an annual nationwide media research project that casts a revealing spotlight on relevant issues that don't make the news.

The article, titled "Shock Value: U.S. Stun Devices Pose Human-Rights Risk" by Anne-Marie Cusac, suggests that the potential misuse of these weapons in countries with poor human rights records means the U.S. ranks as the leading producer and seller of instruments of torture.


Good luck and great work!

Critical Mass