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, November 15, 2009

Tasers and drugs - think carefully

Darryl Bain, 43, was tasered twice and died in the Long Island home of his mother in Coram, New York. [LINK]

An important fact with this incident is that Mr. Bain was reportedly high on cocaine at the time.

This circumstance led the first commentor to suggest that the tasering was justified. It's a reasonable suggestion, but only if the underlying assumptions are true.

My comment in response was this:

The “justification” is certainly an important aspect. But the justification needs to include consideration of the actual safety. If the claims of taser safety are not accurate, then preference for use of the taser (replacing other approaches) may itself be unjustified.

In cases where the subject is a drug addict, and is high on drugs, one needs to be very careful with the logic.

An addict probably takes drugs on a regular basis. Then one day the police arrive and taser him, and he dies. Obviously there will be cases where the subject coincidentally took a lethal overdose, and the taser hit just happened to coincide with a death already in progress.

But that’s ‘unlikely squared’. Unlikely that this day was the day that he happened to take a lethal overdose, and unlikely that the timing would line up so exactly.

So – keeping a close eye on the time axis – it seems that the restraint (including, perhaps, the taser) was a contributor, if not a cause, of death.

And if that is true, then perhaps they should not have assumed it was safe in these circumstances. Perhaps other approaches might be safer. Making such decisions is difficult when Taser International will not admit that the taser can cause or contribute to death, “directly or indirectly” (to quote the AMA).

Here is a post I made on the subject of drug addicts and taser “associated” deaths.


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