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.

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...

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