You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Letter to the Editor: Trial and error

November 4, 2008
Calgary Herald

Could someone direct me to a scientifically controlled article that establishes the safety of Tasers? Frankly I would like some scientific evidence based on a controlled study. It simply is not good enough to Taser a number of slightly nervous volunteers and say "see, no one died." I would suggest Tasering 1,000 or more people who are out of their minds on crack cocaine, speed or ecstasy, or are in a blinding rage, and see how that group does. What? You say that has been done over the past few years, and more than 20 people have died in Canada? Whoops!

Al Wilke, MD


chetthejet said...

Will keep an eye out for significant research regarding the effects of tasers on human beings.

They sure seem dangerous to me.

I knew of a guy that guy tasered repeatedly while handcuffed in police custody, on his leg, a torture, I guess, reportedly performed by a Calumet City, IL police officer.

What you're doing with your blog is a good thing. The content is important.

Bart said...

Most Mds don't have a problem perceiving tasers as a health risk. But, in this latest incident, a forensics 'expert' is already reported as saying the main culprits are likely drugs and 'aggressive behavior' i.e. if the police tasered you while you were in a good submissive mood (and, I guess, not drinking) everything'd be just hunky dory; the police would get to taser you and you'd get to live. There is admonitory wisdom here: always be happy when around the police, no matter what, on the offchance that you get tasered.

Bart said...

The Cops Are Always Right

Most doctors aren't shy about telling you (I'm married to one with 4 or 5 degrees)that, when that many volts go through you, of course it can affect the heart. We're pretty far gone when we have to do 'research' or look for stories to prove something so obvious.

But what does anyone know for sure when they're up against the police and our 'justice' system and the cops don't want to believe?

chetthejet said...

Bart is correct, I believe, in that the cops don't want to address this tasering issue. If they did, and found hard evidence that proved it dangerous (as if it isn't obvious), they would have to admit that their use of tasers is inappropriate.

If drugs are the culprit of deaths and severe injury, then that's enough for me to say: "Quit using the tasers!" If they mean drug-crazed junkies, that doens't mean they deserve the torture, and what of the many folks who take prescription drugs, which can be almost as strong as the junkie-juiced folks. For instance, heart medications.

Hmm. Heart medications, or pacemakers, or simply bad hearts, plus thousands of volts. You'd have to be an idiot to think that tasers wouldn't have a negative effect on the heart. Or, maybe you'd just have to be a cop.

Anonymous said...

The study has already been done - on the streets.

If you examine the reports and follow the news, adjust out the many hundreds of thousands of fake training shots to the back (always to the back), compensate the data to figure out roughly how many full-up deployments were to the chest, then you end up with a taser-associated death rate of something in the range of 3% (seriously).

The true answer may be an order of magnitude lower than this rough guestimate, but it is obviously many MANY orders of magnitude higher than the level of safety that Taser claims.