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, December 13, 2009

Slightly discrepant reporting of ME statements in the matter of Derrick Humbert

Regarding #448 - September 28, 2009: Derrick Humbert, 38, Bradenton, Florida [LINK]

A recent article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune [LINK] would leave one with the impression that is has been concluded with absolute certainty that the taser played no role whatsoever in the death of Derrick Humbert.

However, when I looked for other related news items, I found the following:
Medical Examiner Dr. Russell Vega said it appears the Taser did not cause Humbert’s death. “If it did, it appears to be have been a minor role or none. There’s no way to confirm that,” Vega said. “We simply couldn’t find any evidence the Taser played a role.

This statement is much more open-ended and more accurately reflects the state of the "science" surrounding taser deaths.

Another point worth mentioning is this extract:
Vega, a medical examiner with a solid reputation, says he thinks Tasers probably have contributed significantly to some deaths elsewhere. ... That doesn't mean Vega thinks stun guns are perfectly safe. They aren't. ...

There's nothing wrong with the findings of Dr. Vega when taken in whole. But keep in mind that the absense of evidence is hardly clear cut proof considering that public inquiries have found that there may be several (ill-defined) taser death mechanisms. And the fact that Dr. Vega allows that taser can cause or contribute to death is worth highlighting.

The only unreasonable and irrational position on the issue of taser safety is the false claim that tasers are essentially perfectly safe with respect to inherent internal risk factors such as cardiac effects.

For example, comparing repeated taser hits to being hit with a ping pong ball. [Kroll, "Cardiac Safety" (sic), Taser International's website] That's the ultimate example of junk science, and it summarizes the apparently official position of Taser International. Even the NIJ panel noted the apparent risk of repeated taser hits.


Critical Mass said...

I agree that coroner Vega went some extra distance to seek out the Curious Coincidence of a death following a taser shock. It would be even more interesting to know what he was looking for, when he sent the brain and heart out-of-state for further medical evaluation.

Taser electrocution, as has been noted before, leaves few if any medically ascertainable traces of evidence, besides the puncture/burn marks and what symptoms the taser victim was displaying just before the onset of the process of death (death is usually a process, not an event).

Surely the police at the scene gave Vega a description of the victim displaying distressed breathing and extreme pain?

There are just so few postmortem markers in any electrocution death. One marker should be the sequence of events, which will almost universally show that the taser shock PRECEDED the onset of the death continuum.

Excited-Delirium.com said...

Well who collects brains in taser (associated) death cases? Could it be Dr. Mash of the University of Excited Delirium?

Maybe, maybe not.

And normal electrocution with commercial power, where it's a voltage source of essentially unlimited current, provides enough power to leave obvious traces such a carbon tracks.

The taser (X26) is a current source where the current is far too low to leave any evidence, but marginally too high to be reasonably safe. Which perhaps ecplains why their newest model emits about 40% less charge - but details are not readily available to confirm the difference.