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, June 28, 2009

U.L. lawyers work Sundays?

First the SEC [LINK] (maybe), and now the U.L. (maybe).

An interesting hit on the blog about two hours ago:

1) Seattle, Washington arrived directly on post titled "Taser Director Kroll invokes U.L." [LINK]

U.L.'s head office appears to be in Washington state.

"Someone" is going to have a very interesting Monday.

Free advice: When you're standing under 'a ton of bricks' that are 'hanging by a thread', don't poke at it.

Before and After - the built-in experimental control

How often have people died just BEFORE they were about to be tasered?

Has there EVER been any reports of people falling over dead after the taser had been drawn and displayed, but BEFORE it had actually been fired? Many jurisdictions actually do require written reports when the taser is even pulled from the holster. So logically, there should be plenty (hundreds) of reports where the taser was drawn and displayed, and the subject fell over dead BEFORE the taser was fired.

Did the four RCMP officiers arrive on the scene and find that Mr. Dziekanski had already died, just moments BEFORE they arrived? Did Mr. Dziekanski look like he was about to die, in that half-minute BEFORE he was tasered?

When did Brian Cardell die? Did the police arrive and find him already dead? Did he fall over in the (reported) minute or so after the police arrived, and just BEFORE he was tasered?

If the taser hits have no causal relationship to the subsequent death, then basic logic would dictate that you would expect to see roughly as many people falling over dead just BEFORE being tasered, as just AFTER being tasered.

Feel free to normalize each incident on a 'per unit time' basis (it won't make any difference). But you should include the total duration of the incident timeline.

Virtually every taser incident that results in a death has its very own, built-in experimental control. The experimental control is the time BEFORE the taser hit.

An asymmetrical distribution would seem to provide clear-cut evidence of causality.

If the asymmetry is extreme, then the argument is over.

(The following graphic is for illustrative purposes only and is not based on anything more than my recollection of the many news reports of taser-associated deaths, and the fact that Taser International isn't proudly showing off a thick stack of reports of the hundreds of people that died just BEFORE being tasered. Actual data may vary. The ball is in Taser International's court to explain-away this very simple observation.)

More on The Significant Difference...

Further to previous post The significant difference [LINK]...

Upon further reflection it seems obvious that it is not feasible to reproduce the characteristics of the 'acutely agitated individuals' in a controlled environment.

Having someone perform some voluntary exercise until they consciously report that they're feeling a bit tired, and then tasering them to see if they die - although it is perhaps moving along the same 'Blood pH' axis, the magnitude of the parameter probably isn't even close (*).

(* Remember that, for example, 70% is ten times further away from 100% than is 97%. You need to measure the gap from 'the far end' of the scale. It's a common and despicable debating trick to measure the factor from the uninteresting 'zero' end of the scale to make the difference look much smaller.)

I don't think that any "studies" along these lines carry any weight whatsoever. The real world results cannot be reproduced in a lab environment - at least not in any civilized county.

Taser Director Kroll invokes "U.L."

Dr. Mark W. Kroll, Member of the Board of Directors of Taser International:

"The X26 taser satisfies the Underwriters Laboratory electric fence standards..." [LINK]

According to reports, tasers have NEVER been certified by the Underwriters Laboratory [LINK] [LINK]. And if it hasn't been tested by an approved laboratory (certified by U.L.), then this claim is essentially false.

It seems apparent that tasers would not, and could not, actually pass U.L.'s scrutiny. If they could, they would have already - and Taser International would be proudly claiming the fact (instead of leaving the false impression).

Kroll has been informed that the electric fence standards DO NOT APPLY to tasers for several very good reasons. Differences include application, waveform, duty cycle, frequency spectrum, and probably even build quality. He knows all this, and yet he chooses to ignore it.

Furthermore, the specified output from the X26 taser is 100 microcoulombs (100 uC). And yet the published X26 waveform graph clearly shows that "100 uC" is a significant understatement [LINK]. So even playing Kroll's semantic games, it's still not clear that the basic facts are exactly as he claims.

Taser International has reportedly had their wrist slapped before for falsely invoking the U.L. trademarks [ibed]. And here they go again...

It's like cleaning up after a pigeon. It only takes him about five seconds to emit the crap,but it takes us twenty minutes to clean it up.

[HT: CM & TNT]

The SEC works Saturdays?

An interesting pair of hits on the blog within the past hour:

1) Washington, DC arrived directly on post titled "Dr. Mark Kroll's arguments torn to shreds (call the SEC)" [LINK].

2) Washington, DC left via sltrib.com [LINK].

So are NASDEQ-listed companies permitted to have their Directors go out and foist one-sided propaganda onto the unwitting public, while that Director is holding 36,000 TASR stock options, potentially worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars?

I'm not an expert in SEC rules, but I know that they have a lot of rules. I can't believe that a stock-option-laden Company Director would be allowed to issue Letters to the Editor without having them go through proper corporate channels to include the usual disclaimers.

It's not the first time he's done this sort of thing. I can provide pointers to previous examples; my blog e-mail address is near the top of the right hand column.

Maybe this sort of corporate / Director behavior is allowed. But if so, then it shouldn't be.

Disclaimer: Me? I hold no financial interest in the stun gun market, or even anything even remotely related. Zero. Not paid by Amnesty International either. Nothing similar either. This blog is simply intended to address my desire to provide my input into the very important public policy taser debate, on both sides of the 49th parallel.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The significant difference...

Every now and then I mention something in passing, and it later occurs to me that it's an important enough point that it's worth posting again, on its own, to make sure that the point doesn't get missed.

This is one of those times:

From the post Blood pH - which direction would be good? [LINK]

...And significantly, the taser totally bypasses any built-in survival mechanisms that might naturally keep the subject from actually (i.e. in the real world) killing themselves through over-exertion.

That's a key difference - between what the subject might be ALMOST doing to themselves (naturally limited by built-in survival mechanisms), and what boundary the taser can push them right through and beyond.

The taser lacks any such natural limiting feed-back signals. It just stupidly and blindly locks-up the muscles (a massive form of over-exertion).

The taser could probably lock-up the muscles on a fresh corpse.

The point here is that humans have who-knows-how-many? built-in feedback loops. These 'negative feedback' (self-limiting) mechanisms would include: conscious awareness, discomfort, fatigue, pain, and so on - right down to utter collapse (loss of consciousness).

These feedback signals, which exist in multiple layers at every possible level of the human-machine, almost always prevent people from killing themselves through over-exertion.

Where a person is operating under their own command (even if acting 'insane'), they will eventually reach their limits. If they exceed those limits, there's a very good chance that they'll become unconscious and thereby avoid death by some margin.

My assumption here is that there exists a margin (possibly a small margin) between the point where a person would become unconscious (thereby providing life-saving rest), and the point where they're destined to die. I believe that this is a reasonable assumption. If you disagree with this argument, then you need to disprove this assumption, because everything else flows logically from it.

The taser simply bypasses many of these natural self-preservation limits. Even if the person has a Blood pH level (for example) which has rendered them unconscious, the taser keeps going and going and going. It will not stop.

The taser respects no ultimate limits within the subject.

There's no feedback loop (except the operator, possible defectively-trained).

And there's not necessarily any safety in being unconscious, especially if the taser makes the victim's muscles continue to twitch in a "fighting" and "threatening" manner.

This lack of feedback and lack of respect for the subject's ultimate limits perfectly explains the significant difference in the real-world outcomes between the subject just over-exerting themselves, versus them also being given a good solid tasering.

This simple hypothesis bridges the 'taser-science' (sic) knowledge gap surrounding "excited delirium" (the arguably-mythical condition), and trying to explain all those many "excited delirium deaths" (the all-too-convenient excuse for a 'taser-associated' death).

If 'excited delirium' is a problem, then the taser is not the right solution. In fact, it seems to be the worst possible approach.

It's as if the subject is walking along the edge of a cliff, and the suggested solution is to push them over the edge.

Even the RCMP acknowledged this plain fact: "The RCMP's revised [Taser] policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for acutely agitated individuals." [LINK]

Behavior that some people call "Excited Delirium" is a clear-cut indicator to put away the taser.

PS: Scientific American reference: [LINK] (Thanks Critical Mass)

Two possible taser death mechanisms

The 'Blood pH' taser death mechanism was proven in court [LINK]. And it's based on basic medical facts that are almost beyond dispute [LINK]. This taser death mechanism is potentially applicable to cases where the victim was worked up and perhaps tasered for long durations. It's in the news again because of the death of Brian Cardell and Kroll's letter [LINK] where he explained (unintentionally) exactly how and why the taser could have tipped Mr. Cardell over the edge [LINK] (maybe).

Meanwhile, there's also the 'cardiac effects' taser death mechanism. This one is considered by some to still be in dispute. Taser (meaning Kroll et al) think it's impossible. But those holding this warped worldview are forced to ignore the cases where healthy young people were tasered across the heart and died either immediately, or after a few minutes. The non-VF explanation that bridges the 'taser-science' (sic) knowledge gap is covered here: [LINK][LINK]

Not included in the above list-of-two is the issue of defective tasers which can lead to an unnecessary escalation in the violence and spiral into a death-by-gunfire. [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]

UPDATE: Make it three...

Comment on [LINK] 'Critical Mass' wrote:

One factor often present during the restraining of a detainee is "positional asphyxia", at a time when the detainees need for oxygen is great.


The reason we need an aqualung with pressurized air, to be able to breathe in as little as a depth of 2 to 3 feet under water, is that the muscles which expand the chest to allow for the intake of air, are some of the weakest muscles in our body. You can't breathe while 2 feet underwater, through a garden hose, because the weight of the water can't be overcome by the chest cavity muscles.

Imagine a long distance runner crossing the finish line of a race, immediately being placed in any restraint where his/her ability to fully expand and contract their chest cavity was reduced by a factor of 50% or greater. The result might be fatal.

When I see videos of arrestees being restrained on the ground with several law enforcement officers on their neck or their back, I'm not surprised at the number who die during "restraint".

If stun guns affect those fairly weak chest muscles, by rapidly exercising them to the point of exhaustion, it may explain why their victims often complain of not being able to breathe after being tasered.

We focus on stun guns somehow affecting the heart, while it is possible that tasers may induce "positional asphyxia" symptoms, without putting any weight on the chest. The chest muscles are simply unable to do their job due to being depleted by the taser shocks.

If you agree, you may have to add a third death mechanism ~ "Induced Positional Asphyxia", besides blood Ph and cardiac effects.

Good luck.

July 1, 2009

An excellent point.

Excellent comment from 'Critical Mass'

I stole this comment from the Truth ... Not Tasers blog [LINK].

Critical Mass wrote:

The Truth is that in a typical career as a police officer, the lethal gun will never be used, and that correlates pretty well with the 100 [times ratio of] Taser uses, versus the use of a firearm by a law enforcement professional.

None of my friends in Law Enforcement (over 10 persons) have ever fired their service guns in a police confrontation.

I have often alluded to the fact that many well-meaning law enforcement professionals who relied on their Taser Training and actually believed their Tasers could not cause death, and then saw their suspect die on the ground, writhing in pain and screaming, are burdened with a lifetime of knowing and suspecting that they caused the death of a human being who had not been charged, convicted or sentenced for any crime. Many of these police officers suffer in silence, and they too are "Taser Victims".

The "Lies Promoted/Sanctioned by Taser International" have real victims on both ends of a Taser use ~ The Officer involved in a Homicide, as well as the guiltless dead soul on the receiving end of a fatal electric torture shock.

Victims at both ends of the taser wires: one dead, and the other feeling damaged and deceived.

It's a very good point.

I wonder if and when one of those '2nd victims' will get around to speaking out about their feelings? So far it's been silence.

And maybe it's a new class of lawsuit ("I thought you told me this thing was 'safe'?") against the supplier of the training?

Greg Meyer on Excited Delirium

Sigh... Hold your nose and see his letter [LINK].

Where do I start?

First of all - Meyer tries to justify tasers being used against people that are in a state of "excited delirium" (a.k.a. acutely agitated individuals). Given the medically and legally-established facts about the taser 'Blood pH' death mechanism [LINK], it is obvious that the taser is probably the worst possible choice for people that may have worked themselves into a state where their blood pH is getting close to dangerous levels. Using a taser in such cases might be exactly the same as having them participate in a rapid fire weight lifting contest. Every muscle in their body is straining or even 'locked-up' - thereby pushing them over the 'Blood pH' edge. See previous post [LINK]

Second - tasers are far more often used as a tool of convenience, excess authority and street-level punishment than against people having mental health crisis. Canadian stats showed that the majority of taser applications were against completely unarmed and mostly-harmless drunk young men. In fact I'll go so far as to point out that tasers are almost certainly abused (by any reasonable standard) far more often than used against people having mental health issues.

Third - Meyer claims we offer no alternative. Of course we do. Explicitly. Repeatedly. Put away the tasers (except as a replacement for lethal force, this would be a 95-99% reduction). Use de-escalation techniques. Re-learn legal standards about lawful force (being a noun, not a verb). Learn from those jurisdictions that have rejected tasers, and are not having any of the fear-mongering nightmares predicted by the stun gun salesmen. Look at how mental health institutions (most of which still do not use tasers, thank goodness), and see how they deal with people in crisis without killing them. Open your mind and learn.

Mr. Meyer - I'd take your opinions seriously if you could divorce yourself from The Church of Taser, stop apologizing for them, explicitly acknowledge those abuses of tasers which occur on a daily basis, and stop ignoring the medical debate that is only now just getting under way [LINK][LINK].

Blood pH - which direction would be good?

RCMP Commissioner said: "The RCMP's revised [Taser] policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for acutely agitated individuals." [LINK]

Now, I'm not a doctor. But there's nothing particularly complicated about the following.

In an 'acutely agitated individual', assuming that they've worked themselves into a state of over-exertion, and their blood pH is possibly at dangerous levels, then does it seem like a good idea to shoot them with a taser, that "can" (I guess, assuming it works at all) cause extreme levels of muscle lock-up - which is a form of massive physical exertion - which can only make things in the 'Blood pH' department much worse?

Which way do you want to go? One step closer to death?

And significantly, the taser totally bypasses any built-in survival mechanisms that might naturally keep the subject from actually (i.e. in the real world) killing themselves through over-exertion.

That's a key difference - between what the subject might be ALMOST doing to themselves (naturally limited by built-in survival mechanisms), and what boundary the taser can push them right through and beyond.

The taser lacks any such natural limiting feed-back signals. It just stupidly and blindly locks-up the muscles (a massive form of over-exertion).

The taser could probably lock-up the muscles on a fresh corpse.

The operator might have been "trained" (if you can call it that) to hold the trigger down until the victim stops "fighting" (i.e. stops moving).

The outcome, in the worst cases, is perfectly obvious.

Who is "Dr." Mark W. Kroll

First - Dr. Mark W. Kroll is NOT a real (medical) doctor.

"Kroll holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; and a MBA from the University of St. Thomas."

I don't see any medical qualifications listed there at all. None.

For a review of Kroll's ideas on medical matters (such as the relative risk of 'excited delirium' as compared to a good solid tasering), please review the multiple pages of comments starting here [LINK].

If you want to see the laughing face of The Man that forgot Fourier, then click here [LINK].

MORE: Kroll is also the author of Taser International's gold-plated liability bulls-eye article on "Cardiac Safety". I'm not positive, but it appears that this article has been yanked from their website.

Plaintiffs' lawyers need to get a copy of this article that compares repeated taser hits to being repeatedly hit with a ping pong ball.

Contact the blog if you require pointers.

Taser bad-news sh*t storm continues

KHOU (Friday, 26 June 2009): Montgomery County coroner makes ruling in taser death

MONTOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- A coroner has ruled that the death of a Montgomery County man who was tasered a homicide. Deputies tasered Robert Welch in February after responding to a call of an attempted suicide. The coroner says marks on Welch’s body indicated he’d been tasered at least nine times. The deputies involved are still on the job. The Montgomery County district attorney is referring the case to a grand jury. [LINK]

Another successful taser 'save'. An attempted suicide completely prevented. Yes sirree. Changed that potential suicide right into a homicide.

Suggestion to KHOU's editorial staff. When Taser International calls up to complain about the "taser death" in your headline, just tell them to F-off. You're backed up by the coroner's finding of homicide. If they want a fight, give it to them.

Kerik's friendly news spinners

Bernie Kerik is, among his many other accomplishments [smirk], a former member of the Board of Directors of Taser International.

I've been wondering where all the inexplicable and frankly-weird Kerik headlines were coming from over the past few months. I've seen them popping up on the headline banner at the top of this blog. Even I (only barely keeping an eye on the Kerik news of the day) had started to notice that some of the headlines were stretching the truth well past the breaking point.

Well, others have noticed and kept score. It turns out that there seems to be a campaign to "rehabilitate" [the slightly tarnished reputation of] Mr. Kerik.

Newsmax is putting a lot of effort into rebuilding the disgraced former New York police chief into a credible spokesman on terrorism issues and whitewashing the corruption charges he still faces. [LINK] [LINK]

Honestly - I don't understand. The right wing side of politics has many fine and upstanding people. People that can keep their pants on, and not engage in unethical behavior. And can choose their friends with care. I don't understand why The Right would try to salvage one particular individual that has so many 'issues'. It's not as if there's a worldwide shortage of right-leaning spokespuppets for hire.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kroll: "...very short pulses..."

Dr. Mark Kroll wrote: "The actual pulse voltage delivered by the TASER X26 is 600 volts and that is in very short pulses." [LINK]

As I suspected, Dr. Mark Kroll (in spite of his purported education) fails to understand Fourier Transforms. I've made this point before, and I assume Kroll has read this blog cover-to-cover, but he apparently still doesn't get it.

The 19 Hz and all associated spectral components (harmonics) emitted by the X26 taser are 100% continuous duty cycle. These low frequency energies begin when the 5-second cycle begins and are completely continuous for the entire deployment cycle.

There is NO SUCH THING as a "very short" (100+ microsecond) pulse of 19 Hz.

It's impossible.



Plaintiff lawyers may well wish to use this self-evident ignorance displayed by Dr. Kroll against him and against Taser International. I recommend bringing a Prof. of EE to explain to Dr. Kroll about the ins and outs of Fourier Transforms.

He's obviously failed to include such fundamental and elementary basics of waveform theory in his worldview of how tasers work.

Which is completely amazing to me.

PS: The "600 volts" is a new and lower-than-ever claimed value. I've been following the taser issue since late-2007 and I've never seen a claim that the applied voltage after the arc phase is as 'low' as 600 volts. The usual number is 1200 volts. I get the impression that these idiots just make this sh*t up as they go along.

Dr. Mark Kroll's arguments torn to shreds (call the SEC)

Dr. [not a real (medical) doctor] Mark Kroll, a bought and paid-for Taser International shrill (*), wrote a letter to The Salt Lake Tribune in a pathetic attempt to blame "excited delirium" (solely) for the death of Brian Cardell. [LINK]

Between the comments on the Salt Lake Tribune website [LINK] (and don't miss the several pages of comments...), and the Truth ... Not Tasers blog [LINK], and here [LINK], Dr. Kroll's pathetic arguments and purported facts have been systematically shredded by the members of the public.

All that's left is that he believes that over-exertion can kill, and tasers cannot. But he fails to acknowledge that tasers cause uncontrolled and extreme physical exertion. Ba da bing.

* Mark W. Kroll "...holds an option to acquire 36,000 shares of stock at an exercise price of $7.22 ... with an expiration date of January 7, 2014..." [SEC Form 4/A, filed 01/06/09].

If he, a Taser insider in all senses of the word, can issue such twisted propaganda with a view of defending the indefensible, and if he can get the TASR stock back up over $21, then he makes a cool half-million dollars.

Aren't there SEC rules about such stock market manipulation? Aren't such company-originating propaganda supposed to be subject to SEC rules? With disclaimers, disclosures and such-like? Are company insiders and major options holders allowed to manipulate the market like this?


Nearly-instant Internet video from mobile phones

A very, very long time ago (two months - April 2009), I made a prediction that mobile telephones would eventually be able to stream live video to the Internet. [LINK] So far as I know, we're not quite there yet (out-bound live video streaming).

But a similar, not quite real-time, function is available now.

Modern "3G" mobile phones can capture a good quality still image or an SD-quality video, and then post it to a blog (or anywhere else on the Internet) with the press of a button or two. One simple approach is the 'mail-to-blog' feature.

Still images can appear on the Internet within seconds. Maybe a grand total of 30 seconds from pressing the shutter button, to the image being available worldwide on the Internet. Seriously. Literally about thirty seconds. From Click to on the 'net. 30 seconds. Wow.

Videos take a bit longer. It seems that many websites need to 'process' the video before it appears on the website and is actually available for viewing. This delay ranges from maybe two minutes to perhaps ten. But the video file will have left the phone within seconds (depending on the size of the file).

And these can all be linked to social networking sites for instant notification. I've a friend that monitors Twitter Trends so that he knows the worldwide news virtually as soon as it happens.

Sarcasm: Police agencies should save their money. No need to purchase expensive video devices and vastly overpriced storage 'service' recurring fees. For any disturbance in a public location, members of the public will provide more-than-adequate video coverage. Free.

Dr. Mark Kroll supports 'Blood pH' taser-death mechanism

Kroll has graciously provided direct support for the 'Blood pH' taser death mechanism. [LINK]

Dr. Mark Kroll: "The fundamentals of an excited delirium [+ taser] death are not that difficult to understand. Our bodies have limits to exertion. ... would eventually tire and slow down or stop because our brain recognizes signals of overexertion such as acid in our blood. If we were to continue -- because our brain ignored such signals [or because you're being tasered] -- we would exert ourselves until we died. The body has limits for a reason. If these limits are sufficiently exceeded we will die." [LINK]

What does the taser do even when it is working exactly as planned?

It locks-up muscles, perhaps many muscles. Perhaps similar to weight lifters when they strain every muscle in their bodies.

To quote the obviously-incomplete and liability-inducing taser warning sheet:

"The TASER device can cause strong muscle contractions that may result in physical exertion or athletic/sports-type injuries."

Now think!

What would be the exactly worst device to use on someone that might already be worked up in the manner described by Kroll? The subject is already teetering on the edge of their limits of exertion. And the officer comes along, and (in accordance with his training and product promises) gives them a good solid tasering (more physical exertion), and thereby pushes them right over the edge, and the victim ends up dead.

It all makes sense.

Dangerously exerted. Add lots more involuntary physical exertion. Surprise, surprise.

This alternate (non-cardiac) explanation for taser-CAUSED deaths suggested by Dr. Mark Kroll is exactly in alignment with the 'Blood pH' taser death mechanism which won the "$6.2M" FAILURE TO WARN lawsuit against Taser International. [LINK]

Given that Dr. Mark Kroll sits on (...a thick stack of TASR stocks and options, and on...) the scientific and medical advisory board for TASER International, his opinion regarding this self-evident taser-induced death mechanism might be quite useful for the next flood of 'Blood pH' (or anything similar) taser death lawsuits.

The original story is here [LINK]. Plaintiff lawyers may wish to grab a copy and compare this admission to the obviously-incomplete official Taser product warning sheet.

Dr. Mark Kroll's statement may be directly applicable to the likely-inevitable lawsuit regarding the death of Brian Cardall. He's just tossed Taser International into the mix.

Note also - all of this also fits into the RCMP warning that tasers are especially dangerous (including risk of death) when used on people in an agitated state.

See also the comments associated with Kroll's letter [LINK].

"So, Excited delirium is a term invented when COWBOYS roamed the wild wild west huh? Makes sense. It uses about the same amount of medical mentality and knowledge as they had 200 years ago when everyone carried a gun, rode a horse, and dodged sagebrush on their way to work shoeing horses."

"Mark Kroll is about as deceptive a shill as they come. If a search is done from the AMA website using their search function not a single document comes up that is available to be accessed by the public that even mentions "excited delirium". The true fact is that the AMA DOES NOT recognize 'excited delirium' as a valid medical or psychiatric condition. That fact is easily confirmed by performing a simple Google search. It is also not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a valid medical or psychiatric condition..."

PS: I wonder if Taser International is on the line to Kroll telling him to Shut up!, or if this is part of an elaborate scheme to (somehow?) reduce liability in the long run.

Manitoban dies from...

Headline: Third Manitoban dies from swine flu

A third person in Manitoba has died from swine flu, the Manitoba government announced Thursday. Few details were provided about the death, other than the person had "underlying medical conditions." [LINK]

My condolences to the family, and I hope they'll forgive me for using this as an example.

Why is this 'swine flu death' news story on the Excited-Delirium blog?

It's because of the relationship between the stated cause of death ("swine flu") and the "underlying medical conditions." Even given the contributing factor of the underlying medical conditions, it's still called a 'swine flu' death.

The underlying conditions certainly deserve a mention, but there's no twisted logic regarding the actual and obvious-to-all cause of death.

As opposed to...

SWINEVILLE, Ariz., June 25, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SWINE-FLU International, Inc. (Nasdaq: OINK), the market leader in advanced swine flu infections (SWIs), has issued the following NEWS Alert:

According to an article on the June 25, 2009 edition of CBC Manitoba's on-line news website, entitled "Third Manitoban dies from swine flu," a third person in Manitoba has purportedly died "...from swine flu...".

Few details were provided about the death, other than the person had "underlying medical conditions," according to a government news release.

It is important to note that this case is still under investigation. It is premature to draw any conclusions about the cause of death until after a lengthy delay when things might have blown over.

SWINE-FLU International, Inc. would like to point out that swine flu has never been 'directly' linked to any death in the north-eastern section of Manitoba on an early-summer Thursday in a year ending with the digit "9". Not once.

The complete story is available at: http://news.google.com/news?q=swine+flu.

This information was compiled through publicly available media reports and distributed by SWINE-FLU International, Inc. of Swineville, Arizona.

SWINE-FLU International disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy of the media. The reports are the sole responsibility of the attributed media source.

For more information on enjoying the many life-saving benefits of swine flu, please visit: www.swinefluinternational.com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bobbies refuse tasers

British police (Bobbies) are world-famous as being some of the very best. The old joke goes that 'Heaven is where the police are British...'.

Many Bobbies are not even issued firearms.

The [London, UK] Metropolitan Police has rejected plans to extend the use of taser weapons to non-firearms officers. The country's largest force has snubbed Home Office policy to give out 10,000 more of the electric shock weapons. The Met and Sussex Police will not give the weapons to any officers not also trained to use firearms, a freedom of information request has revealed. [LINK]

LONDON, June 22 (UPI) -- Several major British police forces say they are refusing the government's calls to extend the use of taser stun guns to thousands of officers. The Sussex Police have joined the London Metropolitan Police in refusing to extend the use of tasers to officers who are not specially trained to wield the weapons... [LINK]

See also a Daily Mail story via TNT: [LINK]

Other UK jurisdictions are contemplating the same thing.

Suggestion - In Canada, tasers are considered to be 'Prohibited Firearms' (note the keyword FIREARMS). Canadians, in general, are not known for being unreasonable people. Did I mention "FIREARMS"?

One of the people pushing tasers in the UK was former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. She was recently forced to step down after her husband accidentally billed some porn flicks to the British taxpayer, and Jacqui herself was caught fiddling her residence expenses ("...claimed £116,000 expenses for her sister's home in London..."). [LINK]

Edmonton Sun columnist Andrew Hanon on tasers

I don't know if Mr. Hanon gets to write his own headlines, but this one certainly misses some critical details.

U.S. docs support stun guns [LINK]

In fact, the AMA position was far more subtle than the headline claims. Here is an extract from a previous post [LINK] on the same subject:

The AMA’s report detailed concerns about the use of Tasers in three general areas:
1) They are used too frequently and at lower levels on the use-of-force continuum than indicated.
2) Appropriate training and supervision of Taser use is lacking in some
[most] jurisdictions.
3) And they may contribute to the death of suspects
[or victims], either directly or indirectly. [LINK]

If (oh, if only...) those concerns listed above (matching almost exactly what almost all taser-critics have been saying) were fully addressed and completely solved, then perhaps it would put us into a position where the promises made by the Phaser salesmen might just barely start to reflect reality. That imaginary world would be where tasers are used only to replace higher forms of force, not lower forms of force.

Dream on sunshine. Now snap out of it.

Mr. Hanon tries to compare taser stun guns to automobiles, and tries to make a comparison in the death rates. This is a horrible bit of illogical nonsense, but let's extend the analogy and see how it stands up.

Imagine if there was a company that made ultra high performance motorcycles, AND claimed that they were perfectly safe and could therefore be driven at maximum speed all the time. Any crash-associated deaths of speeding bikers was obviously due to unrelated factors and had nothing to do with the marketing approach.

That's the insane and warped world of tasers. The manufacturer keeps saying that they cannot possibly directly cause deaths. But many reasonable people draw a different conclusion. Everything flows from this one fundamental issue.

One interesting tidbit mentioned by Mr. Hanon is the following:

"...in the past decade, 20 people across the entire country (six in Edmonton [I think that he means the province of ALBERTA]) have died shortly after being zapped by a police stun gun. ..."

Do you see any problem with that?

Perhaps Mr. Hanon should stop apologising for the pro-taser lobby and start asking why 30% of the taser-associated deaths in Canada are occuring in his province.

Moberly, MO pays $2.4M - plus Taser Moratorium !!!

Moberly, MO - Attorneys say a northeast Missouri city has agreed to pay $2.4 million to survivors of a man who died after police fired a taser at him numerous times. Lawyers for the family of 23-year-old Stanley Harlan say the settlement with the city of Moberly was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. The agreement includes an indefinite moratorium on the use of Tasers by Moberly police officers. [LINK]

I told you that 2009 was going to be 'an interesting year' for Taser International.

Other jurisdictions might wish to consider this news carefully.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Handbag fight within The Church of Taser ?

Compare and contrast:

ABC (Australia) The World Today - Friday, 19 June 2009: Taser International says regardless of whether its stun gun was used three times - as originally reported by police - or 28 times as later came to light, it would not have killed North Queenslander Antonio Galeano. [LINK] [LINK]

But Australia’s Taser distributor, George Hateley, told the Australian he has warned police authorities not to shoot Tasers more than once. Hately was personally involved in training Australian police in the use of the weapon. [LINK]

Welcome to the muddled, inconsistent, make-it-up-as-they-go-along world of taser 'safety'.

In case you're wondering who is right, see [LINK].

I'll bet that the phones lines from Scottsdale, AZ to Mr. George 'Multiple-Taser-Hits-Are-Dangerous' Hateley in Australia are carrying some heated conversations.

Use your head...

Could 'excited delirium' be cause of [taser-associated] deaths? [LINK]

There have been hundreds of people that have died just AFTER being tasered. Often within seconds, sometimes the symptoms begin within minutes as the disturbed heart rhythm falters (Google the keywords taser + asystole or bradycardia).

So how many people have died of 'excited delirium' just BEFORE being tasered? Logically you'd expect to have an approximately equal number of reports from the police that they were just about to taser someone, when the subject suddenly dropped dead in front of them (just before the taser was used). I've not seen any such reports, but there should be hundreds.

Conclusion? Cause-and-effect follows in the correct temporal order.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Intriguing study titles...

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences - 2009 Annual Meeting [LINK]

A Five Year Study of Ineffective Taser Deployments - Komaal Collie, Florida Gulf Coast University

Tasing Down the Streets: An Analysis of Police Use of Force - Kyle Thomas, Garrett Foster, Caitlin Forbes, Peter Collins, all of Washington State University

I've not (yet) found copies of these studies on-line. Pointers would be appreciated.

IMIM and tasers (which are 'Firearms')

In Canada, tasers are legally defined as 'Prohibited Firearms'. [LINK] Note the word '...Firearms'.

Police in Canada, being under the control of the stun-gun salesmen from the USA, failed to notice the Laws of Canada and their entire approach to tasers in Canada has been mirrored on the practices from the USA.

...research by Ottawa-based consultant John Kiedrowski indicates taser guns are actually explicitly defined in Canadian criminal law as "prohibited firearms" – a designation that brings much stiffer rules around storage, training, certification and usage. Likewise, any offence with a firearm, such as unauthorized use, would bring harsher mandatory minimum jail penalties. [ibid]

In Canada, police claim to follow the Incident Management Intervention Model (IMIM). [LINK]

Inexplicably and indefensibly, even in the 2008 version, the IMIM makes no specific mention of tasers.

But it does clearly show that 'firearms' are at the very top of the scale, and are associated with perception of DEATH of GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM (upon the officer).

In Canada, tasers are firearms.

Using the same logic as '2+2=4', the only conclusion is that the police in Canada have been repeatedly violating their own purported intervention model.

See also [LINK] about the Canadian laws that would seem to apply to the taser Touch Torture mode.

Braidwood Inquiry should call Pam Schreiner

Now that there's more time, perhaps the inquiry should hear from Pam Schreiner. [LINK] [LINK]

Such testimony, if available and found credible, might help in resolving the contradictions between the two sides of the larger debate. In other words, it might help to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Blue Brotherhood caught in the act....

The Salt Lake Tribune (19 June 2009) [LINK]

Brian Cardall's body was lying on the side of the road -- naked and still warm -- when the Hurricane Police Department started working on what a sharp attorney could call a defense.

"Did he come after you?" a cop asked officer Ken Thompson.

"Does he have any drugs? Let's find out. Any narcs, anything like that?"

"He was foaming at the mouth when we got here," Thompson says.

No, Cardall's wife says. No other drugs. Just 400 mg of Seroquel, the medicine he takes for bipolar disorder.

"He went right at you?" someone asks Thompson.

"Huh?" he asks.

"He went right at you?"

"Yeah," Thompson says.

Someone calls for a defibrillator.

"He went down, and now he's not breathing," Thompson says. [These are the words of someone that was taught one thing, and is now looking at the opposite. He's in a state of shock.]

"Excited delirium, huh?" his colleagues ask. It's the catchall, street-side diagnosis for those who inexplicably die in police custody.

They fiddle with the taser's prongs. Why aren't they closer to where Thompson is pointing?

"The wind is blowing them?" one suggests. "I'm just trying to find somethin' for you."

Hurricane police wouldn't need to find something if tasers really were non-lethal. If the officers who responded to Anna Cardall's hysterical 911 call had stopped traffic and used their hands. If Thompson had waited a minute --- just a minute --- before zapping Cardall full of 50,000 volts. Or if the officer had left well enough alone and not electrified the man writhing and moaning on the ground a second time.

But they aren't. And they didn't. And he didn't. And Brian Cardall, a 32-year-old father of two and doctoral student, died June 9 on the windswept side of Highway 59. ...

Friday, June 19, 2009

RCMP email 'bombshell' on Braidwood Inquiry

CBC News - Newly disclosed RCMP email drops bombshell on Taser inquiry [LINK]

The email between two senior RCMP supervisors suggests that the four Mounties who responded to a call at the airport discussed a plan to use a taser against the Polish immigrant before they arrived. The four officers had already stated under oath at the inquiry that they had not discussed using the stun gun before arriving at the airport.

The commission was scheduled to begin hearing closing arguments on Friday morning, but after learning of the email, commissioner Thomas Braidwood announced the inquiry will resume on Sept. 22, so the commission lawyers have time to review the email and conduct an investigation.

"I am obviously appalled," a clearly upset Braidwood said.

Man oh man.

I'll betcha a dollar that between now and September they find even more information that damages the four officers and the RCMP.

Taser 'hits back' at Aussie critics...

It certainly seems like a very common misrepresentation by taser-wielding police to massively under-report the number of times that they fire the taser. It's happened in several famous taser-associated deaths. These all-too-common discrepancy would be another good topic for mental-health professionals to investigate. There's certainly something funny going on inside The Church of Taser.

ABC (Australia) The World Today - Friday, 19 June 2009: Taser International says regardless of whether its stun gun was used three times - as originally reported by police - or 28 times as later came to light, it would not have killed North Queenslander Antonio Galeano. [LINK]

Oh, okay then. I'm glad you cleared that up. So what exactly have you been smoking?

You don't recall that Taser International was found partial liable, originally to the tune of $6.2M, because your idiot minions failed to account for a well-established causal pathway (blood pH) that can cause death? Forgot about that one? Remember, the case you LOST?

Taser International won a subsequent appeal of the amount, based on a legal technicality. The judgment of partial liability has not, to my knowledge, been overturned.

The company says that Amnesty International's claim that the Taser is linked to more than 300 deaths worldwide is wrong because no coroner has ever made such a finding.

Reportedly, AI's review of more than a hundred autopsy reports found that the corners linked the taser deployment to the death in about one-third (variously reported as 27% or 37%) of all the cases reviewed. And this is in spite of the best efforts to avoid such a finding. [LINK]

And you don't recall the Pikes case where the coroners (several) all agree that the death was caused by the multiple taser hits? [LINK]

There comes a point where the local Taser spokespuppets are reading from out-of-date cue cards. The result is that they're making statements that are demonstrably false.

Such as claiming that "no coroner has ever made such a finding."

Folks in Australia should pounce on this obviously false statement. The people making these claims are either ignorant, or liars.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Tasers cannot affect the heart" vs. the ugly results

A Queensland (Australia) man [Antonio Galeano] shocked 28 times by a police officer with a 50,000-volt taser died of a heart attack within minutes, an autopsy has confirmed. [LINK]

The stun gun's US manufacturers have claimed the weapon cannot cause a heart attack.

Tasers are safer than Tylenol.

Tasers have a large safety margin.

The only risks of death are the following: 1) unauthorized replacement parts, and 2) falling down and banging ones' head. [Official Taser Warning (paraphrased, please refer to the original for complete details. Search the document for the word 'death'.)]

To be complete, the news reports also indicate that Mr. Galeano was an amphetamine addict and had an existing heart condition. Taser fan-boys will be quick to claim cover from these contributing factors.

But Taser International can't. They can't claim that the "taser is safe, except for drug users." They're not selling these things to maintain order at church picnics. They're being sold to police for use on the drug-infested streets. So if the taser can cause a heart attack in a drug user, then it's not reasonable to call it "safe".

Taser International is in for a rough ride in Australia. It'll be a repeat performance of what they've experienced in Canada, except a bit warmer and with more poisonous spiders and snakes.

AMA report on tasers - "directly"

"An AMA report finds that tasers, when used appropriately, can save lives during interventions that would have otherwise involved the use of deadly force."

Okay. Now engage brain and think. What about the other 99% of the time? ...When tasers are used to replace lower and less violent forms of force?

For those that just crawled out of their cave and aren't aware, tasers are deployed approximately one hundred times as often as police have historically and generally-acceptably fired their guns. This 100X ratio varies widely, but it's a reasonable approximate number.

So that leaves the vast majority of actual taser deployments, which most often occur when lethal gun-fire would have never been used, without this purported moral justification.

There were some bright spots in the AMA report:

The AMA’s report detailed concerns about the use of Tasers in three general areas:
1) They are used too frequently and at lower levels on the use-of-force continuum than indicated.
2) Appropriate training and supervision of Taser use is lacking in some
[most] jurisdictions.
3) And they may contribute to the death of suspects
[or victims], either directly or indirectly. [LINK]

So this AMA taser report is hardly the ringing endorsement that Taser International will pretend it is.

AMA left open, intentionally and explicitly (!), the possibility that tasers can "directly" (a word that will inflame Taser lawyers) "contribute to" a death.


By the way, if tasers were only used during incidents that would have otherwise involved the use of deadly force, then I would not have bothered starting this blog.

That's the oldest taser lie.

It's the original taser lie.

...that "tasers replace guns".

Taser camera fails exactly when required

Look at this:

Ryan S. Smith was taser-tortured Sept. 29 in Police Headquarters, while he was handcuffed, because he refused to open his mouth to allow the inside of his cheek to be swabbed for a DNA sample. ... A video camera in the Taser itself recorded some of what happened, but the screen goes white and the sound turns to static when the trigger is pulled. The digital clock on the screen skips forward by one minute and 17 seconds after the picture returns. [LINK]

Badly designed. Badly made. Rubbish.

This is just my personal opinion. But it is based on the many reports of taser failures and other related evidence.

The Minions of Minneapolis, Minnesota

A flurry of blog traffic from the pro-taser minions of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They're banging away on the blog and sending each other e-mails with direct pointers to the posts of interest. Some of them are on the road in Iowa City, Iowa.

They're most interested in the following two recent posts:
1. What is Taser International's position on safety? [LINK]
2. Dr. Brian Crandall lays it out... [LINK]

For their benefit, I've made another post that provides further information on the 800-lb discrepancy of interest. See Discrepant messages from Taser International ? [LINK]

I for one would certainly appreciate a crystal-clear, unambiguous, double-or-nothing, fully official statement from Taser International that defines their belief du jour on the issue of internal risk factors (such as cardiac effects of any sort) that might lead to death in normal, and abnormal, population groups.

Please provide numerical values and avoid meaningless adjectives.

Right now the official warnings do not acknowledge any such risks. The only possible causes of death are from using un-approved parts, or people falling down and banging their head. The word 'death' is not mentioned in any other health warning section.

This challenge is a risky double-or-nothing bet. Which is why they will almost certainly never answer it.

Hey! Hey - pssst! "Did he come after you?"

The Salt Lake Tribune - Moments after a Hurricane police officer twice deployed a Taser on Brian Cardall on the side of a southern Utah highway earlier this month, other officers at the scene apparently conferred about how they could make the officer's actions appear justified. [LINK]

"Did he come after you?" an officer whispered at Hurricane police Officer Ken Thompson, who shot Cardall twice with a Taser, once when Cardall was already incapacitated and laying on the ground.

"Huh?" Thompson replies.

"He went right at you?" another officer asks Thompson again, later.

"Yeah," Thompson replies, flatly.

This isn't going to look (sound) good in court.

Sometimes I think that there could be a 24-man, 6-camera Imax film crew ten feet away, and the police would still completely forget that they're being recorded.

Discrepant messages from Taser International ?

"If one ping-pong ball hit to the head does not kill you, 1,000 probably cannot either." - Taser International [LINK] [LINK]

"Prepared by: Mark W. Kroll, PhD ... Published: 3/25/2007"

"Electricity does not build up in the body like poison. If an electrical current does not electrocute someone in 2–5 seconds, it will not electrocute the person with a longer application. Thus, longer applications have no materially different effect on the heart."

Taser document 'Warnings - Law Enforcement.0408' makes no specific mention of any health (or death) risks associated with repeated taser exposure. They do recommend minimal exposure, but do not provide any health (or death) warnings associated with that recommendation.

The word "death" appears three (3) times in the above-referenced warning document, and the only associated warnings of risk of death are with use of non-approved parts, or from the startle response where the victim might fall down and bang their head.

There is no other warning of risk of death. None.

And yet... ...this just in:

"...the warnings and training by the stun gun's American manufacturers that multiple use on a person is dangerous." [LINK]

The above discrepancy is the muddled safety message from Taser International that I'm talking about.

And there is still plenty of scope for Failure to Warn lawsuits regarding the risks when taser darts hit the victims' chests, and are repeatedly cycled.

An analysis by Montreal biomedical engineer Pierre Savard, made available to [CBC], suggests the chances of someone dying after being hit with a police taser increase the more times they're stunned. [LINK] [LINK]

If there's no connection, then this correlation is pretty-well completely inexplicable.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tip-toeing around the obvious

The death of 16-year-old Robert Mitchell is being attributed to an underlying genetic heart condition - arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), a genetic disorder that causes an arrhythmia - exacerbated by the taser.

The autopsy said that Mr. Mitchell suffered two taser probe-related injuries -- above and below the nipple -- on the left side of his chest. [Coincidence my ass.]

The taser is basically listed as a contributory factor.

The autopsy didn't reveal any other signs of injury to Mitchell's body. "There was no additional trauma to his body. There was no type of physical compression on his body or on his chest. He was never in a choke hold, never hog-tied and basically the only thing we saw were the application of the taser marks." [LINK]

Given that this purported ARVD is a genetic condition, then Robert Mitchell would have had this condition from birth. And yet his death is very closely time-aligned (and in the right order) with the taser hit to his chest.

So, in my opinion, the taser deployment is THE CAUSE and the ARVD can be listed as a CONTRIBUTORY FACTOR.

It's a semantic hijack and an affront to self-evident logic to reverse the two. What exactly does the word "cause" mean?

And here's evidence of another logical error that may have affected the clear-thinking of those involved with the autopsy.

Forensic pathologist Cheryl L. Loewe basically quotes the world-view of Taser International and, by context, applies the 'logic' (sic) to this case: "In a healthy adult, it's unlikely an arrhythmia may have been precipitated by a taser." [ibid]

Think! Does 'unlikely' count for anything in these circumstances? They don't deliver the taser survivors for autopsy! The paramedics select those 'unlikely' few that happened to be the ones that died, and deliver only those to the morgue.

So an 'unlikely' death-by-taser is exactly as certain to show up in the morgue as a more-common death. It's a basic error of logic to use the likelihood of a death mechanism to exclude it from further consideration, or move it down the causal factors list.

And the fact that she actually opened her mouth and made this statement, given the context, is not an insignificant observation. Why is she quoting Taser International's world-view?

Yes, I realize that it looks suspiciously like a death caused by the javelin to the head, but you have to admit that that's a pretty unlikely death mechanism. How many people die of javelins to the head during a normal week? Not many! And yes, we've noticed the 8-foot javelin sticking out of the victims' skull. But it's still a pretty darn unlikely death just the same. So we suspect it was a genetic condition that was the actual cause of death. Perhaps the javelin to the head was a contributing factor...

Strange correlation...

39-year old Antonio Galeano was tasered and died.

Oh yeah, he was tasered as many as 28 times. [LINK]

And he died.

28 times!




An analysis by Montreal biomedical engineer Pierre Savard, made available to [CBC], suggests the chances of someone dying after being hit with a police taser increase the more times they're stunned. [LINK] [LINK]

Even the taser fan-boy stuffed NIJ panel found the correlation difficult to ignore.

This correlation is a very inconvenient fact for Taser International.

A topic for psychoanalysis...

Queensland (Australia) Police Union acting-General President Ian Leavers is warning of a police shooting spree and resultant bloodbath if tasers are withdrawn. "A knee-jerk withdrawal of tasers will only see a marked increase in use of police firearms..." [LINK]

Go ahead - call this bluff. There's evidence to suggest that the opposite is true.

Try de-escalation techniques; such techniques are a form of non-violence. Tasers are violence and have many failure modes that leave you headed up the scale when perhaps you should have tried going down.

The Queensland Police Union, which lobbied hard in support of the introduction of Tasers, insists the electric shock devices are safe.

Safe? Perfectly safe? What are you smoking? Follow the news? What's going on here? Defective training? Sheer ignorance?

39-year-old Antonio Galeano died on the floor after being shot three times with a taser.

There's a PhD waiting for the first psychiatry student that can figure out what exactly is going on inside the brains of the police that have become so addicted to the promises made by stun-gun salesmen, even while they're totally blind to what lays sprawled lifeless on the floor at their feet.

It's a subtle form of insanity.

What is Taser International's position on safety?

Their position on taser safety seems to be a bit muddled over recent months. And I suspect that this muddle is completely intentional.

They continue to 'defend the safety' of the taser.

But if you watch their feet intently, they're doing that tiny and subtle feet-twist sideways movement as they slowly and almost imperceptibly slide from the position that Tasers-R-Safe, to slyly warning that tasers are now "not without risks".

These risks are rather ill-defined. Some people think that they remain just the falling down and banging heads sort of external risks. But the wording has been subtly changed so as to not exclude internal risk factors such as cardiac effects of any sort.

Did they think that nobody would notice the change that the more-limited 'individual susceptibilities' is now an all-inclusive 'not without risks' (everyone is welcome to join the life-or-death risk party)?

See also this recent news [LINK] from Australia that Taser International (reportedly) now admits that multiple taser hits can be dangerous and that officers are now being trained to avoid multiple taser hits. Holy Sh_t! Does this warning apply outside Australia too? Anyone seen such a thing in North America? Is this news correct?

Does this new Australian-based warning now mean that all those taser-associated deaths (in North America), where the victim was tasered several (or many) times and died, that Taser International will now be happy to open their checkbook and compensate the families for these deaths which are now, perhaps more clearly, seen as being possibly the direct result of this previously-unforeseen risk from multiple taserings? Or will they continue to be dirty slime-bags and deny all responsibility and leave the victims' families bankrupt? Hey, I'm just asking...

Remember Kroll's article in IEEE Spectrum in December 2007? [LINK] Wouldn't we like to have him appear on the witness stand and try to defend that article given the ugly reality of the real-world results?

Maybe certain EE's shouldn't be (essentially) practicing medicine. Maybe some of them shouldn't be allowed to practice engineering either. Hubris is very dangerous.

Decision makers of the Law Enforcement world should carefully compare their original taser training materials to the latest version(s) - including the Australian version. If the overall taser safety message has slowly evolved through annual subtle adjustments, then perhaps the net change is more significant than they've been led to believe.

Someone, somewhere should be auditing this warnings / training issue. Regulators of the world - where are you?

Taser (partially) quotes NIJ...

In relation to the taser-associated death of Brian Cardall, but without mentioning the name "Brian Cardall", Taser International spokespuppet Steve Tuttle issued the following statement to KSL:

"While we continue to acknowledge that Taser technology is not risk free, [So, can it kill, directly? Yes? No? Hello?] the NIJ report speaks volumes affirming our previous statements concerning the safety of Taser devices..." - Steve Tuttle, VP of Communications, Taser International. [LINK]

Mr. Tuttle extracts only what he wants from the interim NIJ report. His extract doesn't put it into complete context.

See the following for a more-complete understanding of the NIJ interim findings.

Copied below is a related post, first posted almost one year ago (27 June 2008) [Original].

NIJ: 'Safe. Except for you & you & you & you...'

The US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has carefully studied the propaganda and their interim report on 'conducted energy weapons' (tasers) has concluded that they are sometimes generally safe.


...except for that 43% of the time when they're used repeatedly,

...or used on that up to 8% of the population known to have heart problems,

...or used on the elderly, ...or used on children,

...or used on the other ill-defined and unknown-size population that is 'at risk' (I guess known only after the fact, when their 'unique anatomical makeup' [LINK] is discovered at autopsy- this is just ONE example). And some would say that those that tend to come into contact with the police tend to be those 'at risk'.

So there you have it.

Dr. Brian Crandall lays it out...

Dr. Brian Crandall specializes in the electrophysiology of the heart. He says making a blanket statement about a Taser's low risk when users often don't know the medical background of the person they're tasing.

Crandall said, "If someone is going to get tasered, they're not evaluating their medical history going into it, so you don't know those things in advance, so it's difficult to make any blanket statements."

Dr. Crandall says the balanced electrical rhythm of the heart can be fragile even in a normal heart, depending on what's happening at the moment inside the body. In a heightened mental condition where anxiety is pervasive, circulating hormones and the nervous system have an impact on the heart. Crandall explained, "The heart is heavily nerved and the nervous system has a big influence on the heart and the heart rhythm."

Also, a lot depends what part of the body is targeted by the Taser user. For example, if the victim is hit in the chest. "The proximity would definitely play a role," explained Crandall. "It would hit the heart much more there than if it were at a further distance away."

Tasing is simply not a "one-for-all" answer in disabling someone. [LINK]

Compare the above statements to the bold claims made by Kroll and the other idiot pro-taser minions. Justice will only be served when those folks are bankrupted (personally) and held professionally and criminally responsible for their actions and statements about the safety of tasers.

Look at the real-world consequences of their hubris.

Taser considered too dangerous, guns used instead

Wow - this story isn't one that Taser International will be promoting; so I will.

The original news report is written in Australian [LINK], so I'll provide a translated version that is hopefully easier to follow and still faithful to the reported events:

Central Queensland, Australia. A 24-hour stand-off. Police had been informed that the subject had a heart condition that would have somehow interacted with the "Safer than Tylenol" ('will never affect the heart, not under any circumstances') taser. So when the man rushed the police waving a machete, they shot him several times with their police-issue pistols. They hit him in the abdomen and upper thigh. The man was taken to Rockhampton Hospital, where he remains under guard. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

If you're surprised by this story and the outcome, then you've not been paying attention.

The Big Lie is that "Guns always kill, and tasers couldn't possibly."

Update - "Police deny avoiding taser for medical reasons" [LINK]

[This denial] "...conflicts with the statement made by a Queensland Police Union (QPU) spokesman who told the Brisbane Times that police were advised not to use a taser because the man suffered from a serious heart condition."

So who knows?

More - Assistant Commissioner Ann Lewis and the police union are in dispute over why officers used guns, not tasers, to stop another man at Rockhampton this week. ...But a police union spokesman hit back... "Our officers were advised by senior officers that they were not to use tasers because of the medical condition," he said. [LINK]

Seems pretty clear to me. Somebody is trying to cover-up what was really said at the time, and the police union are having none of it.

Don't fight kids.

Who is paying Zuskin's salary?

"A Taser cannot kill anyone unless they fall and hit their head."
[LINK] (the very first comment, as always...)

I'm very suspicious of this endless pro-taser clown. He is still at it - spreading the same old pro-taser bald-faced lies, and he is still often the very first to comment. Must be a full-time job to (almost) always be first.

He's changed his name from "David E. Zuskin" (Poquoson, VA) to "Robert" (or "Bob"), and it seems that he FINALLY found his 'old fart' button (CAPS LOCK key) and turned it off.

It makes no sense that he would be doing this clumsy PR (sic!) work on behalf of Taser International for free. I wonder if there are some under-the-table payments for 'services rendered' being laundered through some 'arms length' (my ass) front?

I'm just a bit suspicious...

Taser saves the baby, or the deranged man?

Exactly as was predicted here [LINK], Taser International has laid claim to the recent "save" of a deranged man...

Oh wait... They're claiming that the taser saved the baby, not the deranged potential baby-killer.

Baby With Knife Held to Her Throat Saved... [LINK]

Now that's a bit of a stretch. Babies aren't that big. There would be plenty of deranged potential baby-killer sticking out that could have been shot with a gun.

Thus, it would be reasonable to claim that the taser helped to save the deranged potential baby-killer from a bullet to the stomach, but Taser International's PR machine (which does include the police in this case) is really making a stretch to claim that the "taser saved the baby".

But I will be generous and credit Taser International with this "save" of a deranged man that was cutting the baby's neck with a knife.

Nice job Taser. Well done. Be sure to put that "save" on your Karma scorecard to trade-off against the more-innocent victims that have "died" shortly after being tasered.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Taser now admits multiple hits dangerous?

Lots of news in one taser news report from down-under. [LINK]

The rollout of Tasers to Queensland police has been frozen as it emerged officers last week repeatedly shot a man, who later died, against the warnings and training by the stun gun's American manufacturers that multiple use on a person is dangerous.

Queensland Taser Moratorium, eh? Yee haw.

...The new review and freeze comes as George Hateley, the exclusive distributor of Tasers in Australia, told The Australian that police have been warned against shooting a person more than once with the weapon.


...In Queensland, Mr Roberts and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said they could not reveal what had prompted the review and freeze because it was evidence before the coroner.

...On Saturday, The Weekend Australian revealed Taser International was last year held partially responsible for the death of a man in Texas, shot repeatedly with the stun gun, after a civil jury found police "didn't know repeated exposures could kill someone".

Did I miss that news? Texas vs. California?

I hadn't seen anywhere before that Taser International now admits that multiple taser hits can be dangerous. I'm surprised by this reported news, as it is essentially an admission of a risk that Taser International and their minions previously denied.

If this is true, then it is lawsuit heaven. Anyone in North America that lost a family member to multiple taser hits could use this reported change to the training as evidence in their lawsuits.

More later...

4 Mounties 'Hail Mary' appeal fails

The B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed a constitutional challenge questioning whether a provincial inquiry can find fault against the four RCMP officers involved in Robert Dziekanski's death. ... [LINK]

Magna Carta (*) - déjà vu, all over again, a second time, just like before. Rulers subject to the rules. Nobody is above the law. Who'd have guessed?

(*Sealed by King John on this same date, 15 June, in the year 1215.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Anatomy of a typical taser deployment...

The New South Wales (Australia) police force says it will (re-)investigate a Sydney officer's possible improper use of a stun gun after new video footage of the incident came to light. ... Fresh CCTV footage of a Taser being used on Sydney's Oxford Street on March 29 sparked the investigation. ... The new footage allegedly shows the man walking away from officers, seemingly in compliance with police requests... [LINK]

Assistant Commissioner Catherine Burn said, "You do need to look at every part of the use of the Taser. A footage on its own tells one part of a story. It does not tell what was happening, it does not convey the potential threat, the potential aggression of the situation. So you do need to look at all other material."

Exactly. The officers' warped perception and cover-up lies are an important part of the story. Also worth investigating is the criminal cover-up of each others' illegal actions (The Blue Brotherhood of Silence).

Also, the Taser-cam video was useless ("obscured"). Waste on money. Designed by idiots. Bought by idiots.

Let's review:

Drunk man. Posing zero threat.
Three other officers at hand.
Reportedly complying to some degree.
Tasered (and, in this case, survives).
Complaint, investigation, whitewash.
Plenty of officers, little truth on offer.
Then - suddenly - a new video emerges.
Authorities reopen the whitewash process.
Victim sues. Huge legal mess follows.

Just another day in the farcical world of tasers.