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.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Attn: San Francisco Police Chief George Gascón

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - ... San Francisco Police Chief George Gascón, who ordered the study shortly after coming on the job in July 2009, wants to bring tasers into his department’s arsenal. ... [LINK]

The study in question, using the numbers provided in the report itself, reveals that tasers might save approximately two (2) lives per five year period.

There might be five (5) "opportunities" to use the taser (per the report), but tasers would only actually save about two (2) lives per 5-year period. It's important to be clear about such roughly 2-to-1 errors in logic, or lack of clarity.

Unfortunately, it is very likely that tasers would be used approximately 1500 times during the same period (almost every day). Perhaps this inherent overuse ratio could be adjusted downward slightly by good policy and good (non-OEM) training, but it's simply not rational to make unrealistic promises. If tasers are introduced to San Fransisco, they WILL be used well over a hundred times per year.

How many people would be killed by those 'extra' taser deployments is the subject of debate, but using even Taser International's own promises, the taser death toll could be as high as seven (7) during a 5-year period. It's even more likely that it will be at least two.

Mesa, AZ, where Gascón was previously Police Chief, has had THREE taser associated deaths in a period of approximately five years. [LINK] So it's not rational to presuppose that San Fransisco would be immune.

A key change that tasers bring is that the very real risk of death is redistributed from the most violent people (those whose lives we're talking about saving), to non-violent people (those who get a good solid tasering because the officer is having a bad day). Very bad karma.

None of this is particularly complicated. You simply start with a smidgen of skepticism. And review the claims carefully.

Note - all above is just a summary, please see the following previous post for complete details. [LINK]

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