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Monday, November 03, 2008

Letter to the Editor: Chief has taser bias

November 3, 2008
Owen Sound Sun Times


I read the letter by our police chief, T. J. Kaye, who is also vice-president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) with interest and alarm. I have the greatest respect for Chief Kaye and the CACP, but blatant errors such as his cannot be left hanging in the public sphere.

Firstly, having an organization such as the CACP review research on the use of Conducted Energy Devices (CED), commonly known as Tasers, is akin to having Big Oil review research about the harmful effects of the Alberta Tar sands on the local environment, or Big Tobacco review research on the medical consequences of smoking.

Any such review must be conducted by scientists who have no preconceived opinion about the subject matter at hand.

This "review" cannot help but be biased by the fervently held beliefs of those conducting the review. I don't know if this is "fact" or not, but independent review is a cornerstone of sound scientific research.

Secondly, it is hypothesized that CEDs kill by inducing fatal disturbances in heart rhythm, so called fatal arrhythmias.

This could be a primary effect on the electrical conduction system of the heart, and could be exacerbated by chemical disturbances caused by impaired ventilation (breathing) in subjects who are repeatedly exposed to CED.

Death by fatal arrhythmia leaves no tell-tale signature that allows a pathologist to determine that death was caused by an arrhythmia.

Therefore, while it may not be possible to determine that death was caused by a CED exposure, it is also impossible to determine that it was not caused by CED exposure.

Therefore, "the results of the 10 of the 25 ongoing inquests into fatalities where a CED was deployed have all shown that the cause of death was not the result of the use of the CED" is incorrect, since that conclusion is impossible to reach.

Therefore, the "facts" as Chief Kaye presents them are in fact, not "facts", but simply the inevitable bias placed on the research by a reviewer who is far from impartial.

Colin McIver
Owen Sound (Ontario)

1 comment:

chetthejet said...

Whenever departments of authority put themselves in charge of policing themselves or employing some type of internal investigation, you're going to have bias. It seems obvious that the agency of which you refer is trying to put a rubber stamp on an action they have taken (repeatedly, it sounds like) which they know is inappropriate and dangerous to humans. The danger inherant in such tactics as described in your post is that common folks may tend to believe that there is an impartial commission making sure everything is safe for the general population. Common sense tells us this is bad government. Yet even the "scientists" you suggest must be screened as well, as faulty forensics via "connections" with police and politicians can create a worse monster. No easy answers, but your point seems to shed light exactly where things look darkest.