Taser Talk – Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers.

Here we are, 6 months after the taser- related death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, and still no answers.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/05/12/taser-inquiry.html

In fact, more questions have arisen regarding the safety of the newest weapon in police officers arsenals, with little resolution on any. Most disturbing- although not surprising- is the continued defense of the safety of the questionable weapon by creator and manufacturer, Taser International. Of course, do they have any other alternative? No. At this point, any admission of any kind of failure to ensure complete and appropriate taser testing would probably result in a class-action lawsuit.

Enough already.The last straw for me was seeing a TV report investigating irregularities in the amount of electricity a taser discharge contained. To be more precise, the report highlighted the fact the every single discharge was different, with an extremely wide variance in electrical charge- some discharges clearly and vastly exceeding the stated discharge amount. 

As if that weren’t bad enough, there is no way for an officer to determine if his taser is working properly, or discharging the “appropriate” electrical charge.  Sounds like a liability to me.

Can you imagine ? Maybe it shoots the right charge once, but four times the proper amount on the next use.  No consistency, no testing method for the officer in charge of the weapon, and therefore, a complete wild card in my eyes. The admission that there is absolutely no way for an officer to know how much electricity will be discharged when he or she uses that weapon, opens the door for all sorts of  new legal liabilities within law enforcement.

Would the public stand for police handguns that unpredictable? What if there was no way to tell if an officers gun was working properly or not, if it might backfire, or release more than one bullet with each pull of the trigger? Do you really think that would be acceptable?

Pull tasers from all police, security and private use , in Canada, until we have some absolutes – some REAL guidelines, more regulated and independent testing, and development of after-market product safety and consistency testing. Right now , there are still too many questions and not enough answers or solutions, and to me , that’s completely unacceptable.

11 Comments on “Taser Talk – Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers.

  1. Much rather get whacked with a steel baton a few times and risk broken bones.

  2. The so called “Department of Justice” is responsible for providing legal opinion and prosecutorial services to the RCMP. It should be no surprise that as lawyers they would view even the remotest possibility of harm/death as an unacceptable risk, especially given the publicity and subject of the test. I also note that it is not mandatory any more for the officers to get zapped. I wonder if they still get pepper sprayed. The Vancouver Province reported some interesting statistics that are coming out at the inquiry.

  3. Do they even use pepper spray anymore? Sounds to me like the taser is where its at.
    Where do you think this inquiry will end up? Talk, talk and more talk, but never any results, or results that are able to be enforced upon the RCMP.

    Transit police, private police, and RCMP all carry -and use- tasers currently. Sure, they arent allowed to test on themselves – yes, the infamous “workers compensation” issue of falling and injuring a shoulder or other body part. Let’s not forget burns, or cardiac events or god forbid – death. No, they’re worried about falling and hurting themselves. Sure, tell me another one.

    This president of Taser International is a smooth talking, PR coached and coddled American “hero” type. Why is his testimony even being heard? It has no relevance on the subject- keep the profit motive, profit driven individuals out, and let the unbiased, independant bodies in.
    The question is, are there any left?

    BTW, a link showed up on my stats from rcmpwatch.com. Apparently DeepThroat says that I think the site is full of kooks and alien abductees -blah blah blah.
    Funny, considering I frequent the site myself and have always had it as a link on my blogroll. Guess I’m lumped in there too.

  4. Pingback: Taser Talk - Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers. | Taser Times

  5. Now that you mention it I have not seen any articles dealing with pepper spray such as we were bombarded with since it caused all sorts or irreparable harm quite a ways back. Perhaps we have a kindler gentler spray in use these days, or as you suggest, its all taser now.

    Speaking of rcmpwatch, the rcmp member running the site doesn’t seem to enjoy my comments in answer to his question of what I thought of as the ‘purpose’ for the site. Seems he has stifled free, albeit anonymous, speech by excising my latest musings. He should take lessons from your policy.

    Taser International has a vested interest in all the legal actions with respect to the taser, just as big tobacco had against theirs. You cannot deny them access to such proceedings, however, good legal counsel could make them reveal interesting facts if they chose to.

    The inquiry is only provincial in scope, and therefore has no binding effect on the feds. However, depending on the recommendations, I think you will find that any serious findings will be adopted by the feds. It would not be in their best interests to completely ignore the inquiry. I am sure though, that there would be modifications to any direction they thought was ‘out of line’. If it is one thing that they do not like, its bad publicity.

    The media never ceases to amaze me with their stupidity. A recent newspaper report noted that there was as massive increase in taser use in recent years, ‘as the inquiry continues’. Well duh, how many officers now carry them as opposed to a few years ago? More carry, more use it. Its no wonder people are skeptical of newspapers.

    The more talk and testimony, the more questions, and thus the more talk and testimony. if you have ever sat through a Congressional hearing, it can be sonorous, but genuine nuggets can be found. Was it not in the Iran Contra affair we first heard the name Osama bin Laden?

  6. Very interesting Get, that he would censor you, of all people. I’ve yet to hear the kind of insane ramblings from you that others seem keen to post occassionally, and your always present compelling points for debate. Perhaps he fears the obvious?

    I have to agree that gems of information are often found in the midst of loads of mundane steaming coils. Look at Basi /Virk. How much has gone unreported in mainstream media, that the majority of middle class working public wont hear about? How deep does this pile go? Major media wont cover it because they are liberal contributors themselves, and although it would be too obvious to NOT report on the daily shenanigans of our local politicians, they fail miserably in bringing to the table the factsb ehind how corrupt our current government is.

  7. I think it was my pointing out that people who host blogs on the net always, in my experience, limited as it may be, are up front with their identity as well as the opinions or views they share. I merely pointed out that in answer to his query what is the purpose of the site, that he too should be up front about authoring rcmpwatch.com and not hide his identity as an officer in the rcmp.

    I found an interesting site: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp that outlines journalistic ethics. Very interesting reading if you examine some of the newspaper articles, and headlines with these points in mind. A number of prominent columnists seem to gravitate to the totally negative side of government affairs, or the actions of public officials. Granted the people in public life have to be transparent in their dealings, however there seems to be a ‘find the dirt’ attitude prevailing. Think of some of the more prominent columnists and when was the last time they actually laid out a bit of praise for some well taken action or even retracted some slight or error on their part without a lawsuit? Is it because they are inept that they do not follow corruption well? Or are they like the crow with the shiny penny? Is the almighty dollar taking precedence over substantive investigation?

  8. Re: taser. These weapons are tested on cops and other similarly in shape and healthy people; also they are “controlled” shootings in that they target certain body areas. So all the research that backs up tasers as “safe” is grossly misleading. They wouldn’t test a taser on someone with a known heart condition or whose health is not that great– or maybe they would. When a police officer tasers someone there is no way of knowing the degree of harm is produced and the level of health of tasered person; moreover what part of the body will get hit, what nerves on the body might be harmed and dangerously affected. I agree with previous writers too about the voltage fluctuations in tasers, and the variance in of electrical emissions. Secondly, there is now a camera on some new tasers that should be made mandatory for the police’s new arsenal if the police insist on pursuing this barbaric form of defense. Thirdly, in the US, some people are holding taser parties instead of tupperware parties, so it won’t be long before we see non-police owning tasers and an even greater increase in taser deaths and abuses. This is not the king of barbaric society I want to llive in.

  9. The “non-police” have owned tasers for many years. What all these police related deaths have in common are the ‘arrest’. “In custody deaths” even of late have nothing to do with the taser. Perhaps we should restrict or remove the ‘arrest’ from the authorities.

    Police do not get tasered when they train with it anymore because of the hoopla surrounding it presently. Personally I would like the authorities to know what it feels like to have it used on them so that they may share the experience with someone they are about to use it on.

    Variations in the voltage output are unacceptable, and as such should be open to civil remedy from the manufacturer who is supposed to ensure the product performs as advertised.