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, July 1, 2009

One more response for John Alexander

I was copied on an e-mail (recent, I believe) where Mr. Alexander is quoted:

"Sorry, but I don't see any fatalities in any of these reports. My single issue is whether or not there is reason to believe that the electrical discharge from an ECD (Taser specifically) can contribute to death. I argue that the scientific and applications evidence overwhelmingly shows it does not."

Wow. It's difficult to believe that someone that purports to be "an expert" in 'non-lethal' (sic) weapons would be so divorced from the 'recent' (December 2006 and December 2008) information.

Obviously he reads only from the information provided by the 'helpful' folks at The Church of Taser. That's a mistake. A huge mistake. One should choose one's friends very carefully.

Here's some information from TWO other sources:

1) FACT: In 37 of the 98 autopsy reports plus two inquest transcripts reviewed by Amnesty International, medical examiners listed the use of a Taser as a cause or contributory factor in the death. Medical examiners or coroners reportedly made similar findings in at least 13 other cases where Amnesty International did not have the autopsy reports. [LINK]

That's running 37% of the 100 cases studied. Extrapolate it and you're looking at 37% of about 400, or approaching 150. But even 50 is much greater than zero. [LINK]

In case you don't like AI (why?), then try this one...

2) Use of a Taser was considered a potential or contributory cause of death in 27% [of the autopsy reports reviewed during this study]. [LINK]

Authors: Jared Strote, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA; and H. Range Hutson, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

37% [LINK] or 27%. With all the downward pressure on coroners and medical examiners over the years, these sorts of numbers can only be low ball ratios.

But this sort of fraction (about a third, as it stands today) can almost certainly be extrapolated to the entire List Of The Dead [LINK]. Adds up to 130 to 150 or so. And that's with today's low ball fraction. These numbers can only increase with time. Yikes. [LINK]

For obvious reasons, autopsy reports are not easily available on-line. Google doesn't have an Autopsy tab. It takes a lot of effort to gather the reports and review them. In these two reviews, involving a huge effort, the results were 'about one-third' of the cases reviewed.

ABOUT A THIRD. Multiply by 400+. Do the math.

Hint - it's not zero.

So Mr. Alexander...

At this point do you acknowledge that you're being provided with 'incomplete' information from your 'friends' at The Church of Taser?

It's your reputation. Do with it what you will.

Don't blame the messenger. Blame your 'friends'.

1 comment:

Critical Mass said...

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.