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Taser International Wins Lawsuit to Change Cause of Death

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the shock-and-law dept.

The Courts 577

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Taser International recently started a legal campaign against medical examiners who claimed tasers contributed to the cause of death for several people. On Friday, an Ohio judge ruled in favor of the stun gun manufacturer (free registration may be required). While they do have a number of scientific studies on which they establish their claims, it's interesting that the alternate cause of death they champion — excited delirium — appears only in police reports on the deaths of difficult or drug-addled inmates, not in medical textbooks. Of course, that may change soon — Taser is funding and promoting research on the subject. Coroner reports such as the ones in this case contributed to the UN's opinion that taser use is torture."

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Excited delirium (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#23290906)

Sounds like one of those 18th century list of causes of death, where they didn't actually know the reason so they threw in some medical buzzwords of the day such as hysteria.

Re:Excited delirium (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291232)

you should listen to some press cons with the rcmp "doctor"

hysterical (4, Informative)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291362)

Yes but there is a common cause to these deaths, police intervention with taser. Calling it something else is a lie.

At the same time, it's nice of you to bring up previous quack explanations like hysteria [wikipedia.org] , especially female hysteria [wikipedia.org] which was cured by rape.

Re:Excited delirium (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291404)

No.

Sounds like the studies by the Tobacco industries trying to show that smoking does not kills you.

Now Taser manufacturers can join the M.O.D squad

Time for... (3, Funny)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291478)

Time to manufacture conductive underwear then. Just short the tazer and avoid the trouble.

Re:Excited delirium (1)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291488)

Don't forget the nineteenth century. (As in, "Personally I think these dangerous rabble-rousers have succumbed to brain fever!")

Glorified Cattle Prod (5, Interesting)

Neuropol (665537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23290912)

Just fire up the sidearm electrocution device.

It's torture my any means.

It's unlawful restraint.

We don't do this (legally) to animals in public, although some do in private, but they'll be dealt with accordingly. So, given that one simple fact, then why should humans be subjected to it?

Don't tase me, bro.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (-1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23290970)

I am sick and tired of this stupid argument. People are NOT animals. We have control over our actions, and MOST of us have control over our actions and thoughts. We are less willing to induce control and "restraint" on children because they are not as capable of controlling themselves. As such, its a simple thought proccess. The more control you have over yourself, and the greater the ability to understand your actions and there reactions, the more willing we are to restrain someone. Take for example the argument that we should not execute the mentally challenged. Why? They are incapable of understanding several key things. Same with children, animals, "vegetables", ETC. Those groups of subjects are given special consideration as far as restraint and discpline.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (2, Insightful)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291130)

Pre-edit: D'OH. I misread your post and thought you were saying we SHOULD execute the mentally handicapped. My brain doesn't always work the best this early, so, uh, since I wrote this out, I'll post it anyway, just, don't take offense, 'kay?

Well, given that most of us here are NOT mentally handicap, at least I should hope, then we should be able to reason that things that are not as intelligent as we are still deserving of respect and our moral consideration.

When a child misbehaves, you reprimand him verbally. You don't beat him. I would hope the same would go for animals as well. They may not now (or ever) become fully capable of understanding morality, but that doesn't make it right for those who do understand to be IMMORAL to them.

A mentally handicapped person is not able to understand the consequences of his actions and, as such, should not be considered entirely responsible for his actions. However, the price for that is the restriction of freedom to make your own decisions. In this case, he needs to be sent someplace where his actions can be monitored and maybe improved over time.

Of course, this is all coming from someone who is adamantly anti-capital punishment in general.

And back to the topic of the article, in the cases of these people, even if they are obviously incapable of showing moral consideration for others (assuming the criminals they arrest are ALL guilty, which is another can of worms in and of itself) tazering is torture. I fail to see how anyone having enough electricity shot through them at such a high voltage that they collapse, spasm, and occasionally DIE can be considered anything LESS.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (3, Funny)

traveller.ct (958378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291144)

I am sick and tired of this stupid argument. People are NOT animals.
Unfortunately, science seems to disagree [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (3, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291480)

Change the textbooks then. People must not be mammals [wikipedia.org] then either.

I take it you've never dealt with a human toddler in the 2-3.5 earth year category.
It's said the the mental capacity of most non human mammals fall in intelligence category of a human 'animal' toddler; you can't reason with them, they react on instinct, and the fact that they can't communicate their thoughts exactly makes it extremely difficult to have a meaningful dialog with them.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291522)

Indeed, which is why those that don't show restraint and abuse tazers to the point where there are deaths involved should be held far more accountable than they are currently.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (3, Informative)

frieko (855745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291036)

A Taser is actually far more violent than a cattle prod. A cattle prod feels like a hard slap. A Taser drops you to the ground in pain.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (4, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291152)

If we have trouble with an animal, we shoot it -- either lethally, or with tranquilizer darts. Now you might say let's just use tranqs on humans! ... but that wouldn't work. The only tranq I know of that would be safe to use on humans would be ketamine, and it's not exactly fast-acting. So then we're still left with the question of what to do when somebody violently resists police or police need to stop somebody from acting violently towards others. Do you just shoot them? Beat the shit out of them until they stop? Those both are much more lethal than a taser could ever be. Try and talk them out of it? Oh, but if you do that now you're valuing the life of the criminal above the life of innocents and the police. There are most certainly cases where tasers are over-used and abused, but I think that just means the police need to be held more accountable for their use -- not that tasers are an icky nasty evil thing that should be bannzt. Oh, and it's not unlawful restraint. Where the hell did you even pull that from.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291228)

Well, in most cases, I'd think that pointing a gun at someone is a good way to get them to stop. I don't mean FIRING the gun at them, but I mean simply pointing it.

Granted, I know this won't work in every situation, and sometimes you need help with a non-lethal close-encounter take-down, but tasers have had a rather bad track record of doing their job well. And quite frankly, they are far too painful to be considered anything other than torture. And I'm aware no "non-lethal" device will ever be without its faults or the bad cops who will abuse it, but we really need a better alternative. Granted, I don't know of any better at the moment, so I will simply say that I wish to see better accountability and better judgment when using them.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291448)

Well, in most cases, I'd think that pointing a gun at someone is a good way to get them to stop. I don't mean FIRING the gun at them, but I mean simply pointing it.

BZZT. One of the very first things you learn in gun safety courses is that you don't point the gun at some(one/thing) unless you plan on shooting that person / thing.

Once you point the gun at someone you have immediately escalated into deadly force. If the perp doesn't back down - you have to shoot him. That's the entire idea behind a taser - non lethal force. This isn't like TV where people hold guns at each other and talk rationally, defuse the situation and move on to a commercial.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291278)

Beat the shit out of them until they stop? Those both are much more lethal than a taser could ever be.


You know, back in the old days.. maybe say a whopping twenty years ago, cops were actually trained and were able to apply techniques like swarming to take somebody down. Nowadays we have stupid, lazy, out of shape (tho round is a shape) cops who would rather push a button and BBQ somebody than to put on a set of graphite loaded leather police gloves and do their fucking jobs via jointlock, strategic hit with a baton, etc. I live in southern Ohio, and it seems like about fifteen percent of our cops are actually willing to do their job and have the ability both mentally and physically to do so. Most of the rest of these people couldn't pass a U.S. Army P.T. test, which is incredible since many patrol officers are making 50-70k in a low cost of living area. Standards, anyone?

And before anybody goes there with "what if they've got a knife?".. then the .40 cal comes out and you blow them away. Full stop. If the perp escalates it to that point then so be it.

Tasers are far too antiseptic and easy to use. Woman doesn't get out of the car at a traffic stop? Tase her. Guy mouths off to you? Tase him too. Twelve year old school kid doesn't want to go to detention? Fry her! It's just so easy.. if they displease you and disrespect your authority, well light em up! Hell, it's just the push of a button away and there are few consequences!

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291506)

Any news on those body suits that nullify the taser charge?

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291350)

What's worse? Tasering someone, which only lasts a few seconds and can quick calm down a situation, or just straight out shooting them? It's true that there have been over-uses of it by cops, however tasers have saved many lives when cops would've been more than justified in using lethal force. And no, I am not a cop myself. The problem is something I learned in the military: One screw up can void a hundred atta-boys. So, when some dumb cop over-uses a taser, everyone forgets all the times that good cops used a taser to prevent lethal force. Of course, cops could go back to using billy clubs to beat the suspects when they're being violent or, even worse, being forced to use lethal force when a taser could've taken care of the situation. People are so quick to judge a situation they are not in and never have been in. People also forget that tasers are used both correctly and incorrectly, but, usually, only the incorrect use shows up on the news. We rarely see results from the correct use. So, it seems worse than it really is.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291366)

It's torture by any means.

It's not torture if shareholders profit from it happening.

Re:Glorified Cattle Prod (1)

defile39 (592628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291498)

The obvious problem, addressed in other replies, is that there are few (if any) better solutions for when police need to subdue someone who is acting violently and endangering the lives of others. I'd rather be tased than shot, hands down. However, police have been using tasers where they would never have used guns lawfully. I think that the same degree of restraint that police are required to have with guns should be used with tasers. Tasers should not be used unless there is immediate danger of the violent suspect seriously injuring themselves or another.

Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23290914)

Having been Tased myself, I find the idea of torture to be a joke. However, the idea of changing death records is just sad propoganda.

Be careful how you create your titles, soulskill.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23290922)

Even though the company is "Taser International" and these things are improperly referred to as tasers, please do not use the term falsely.
 

A taser has darts or clips with wires which are remotely launched.

A stun gun has two electrodes and requires the attacker to press the electrodes to the victim's skin.
 
VERY few use actual tasers, and even fewer know what a taser really is.

Re:Be careful how you create your titles, soulskil (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23290956)

This is called a genericized trademark [wikipedia.org] . Perhaps you've heard of it or seen it before, you whiney little anal-retentive bastard. Have a nice day.

Re:Be careful how you create your titles, soulskil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23290968)

Taser doesn't make stunguns to my knowledge(with the exception that most taser devices have stungun capabilities as a backup).. The real difference between a stun gun and a taser is not the electrodes but the actual electric pulse itself. The idea behind a stun gun is compliance through pain. A taser is designed for compliance through disruption. The taser interferes with the signals from brain to muscle, thusly making it impossible (for most) to continue resisting.

Re:Be careful how you create your titles, soulskil (0, Troll)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291128)

You say "improperly referred to as tasers" and then use the word "taser" repeatedly to describe them...

Re:Be careful how you create your titles, soulskil (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291368)

No he doesn't. He explains the difference between them quit well actually.

Re:Be careful how you create your titles, soulskil (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291204)

Uh, no. You can just remove the probe cartridge and it turns into what you call a 'stun gun'. http://www.taser.com/RESEARCH/Pages/PhysicianFAQs.aspx [taser.com] :

There are two primary ways to expose a subject to a TASER electronic control device ("ECD") device... The second method is a direct contact method known as a âoeDrive-Stun.â The Drive Stun method is where the front of the ECD device makes direct contact with the subjectâ(TM)s clothing or skin.

Re:Be careful how you create your titles, soulskil (1, Offtopic)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291206)

The credibility of pure anonymous posts here is very low. If your comment is modded down you may want to open an account and respond using it. In the future you can continue to defend taser, promote the technology and educate under your account.

Still torture (4, Insightful)

Eudial (590661) | more than 6 years ago | (#23290964)

Whether something is torture is not (or rather, should not be) decided from whether or not it will actually kill you.

Undoubtedly, pulling someone's teeth out is torture, yet it's not going to kill you. The relevant part is the wanton quantities of pain involved.

Re:Still torture (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291010)

I cannot agree with you here. A bullet and gun will not necessarily kill you, so is that torture as well? If I needed to be subdued for whatever reason, I'd much rather be subdued via something that might leave a burn scar rather than something that will need to be retrieved from my leg using a scalpel and tweezers.

Re:Still torture (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291054)

I cannot agree with you here. A bullet and gun will not necessarily kill you, so is that torture as well? If I needed to be subdued for whatever reason, I'd much rather be subdued via something that might leave a burn scar rather than something that will need to be retrieved from my leg using a scalpel and tweezers.


The lesser of two evils is still evil. You could argue that subduing crowds with guns is justified because flamethrowers is much worse. Or that flamethrowers is justified because nerve gas is much worse.

While I strongly oppose to subduing anyone, the best would be to use tranquilizer darts. Works like a charm on animals (appropriate irony). Fast acting and relatively pain free.

Re:Still torture (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291114)

If hundreds of people were getting tranquilized with darts each year, some of the would die due to drug sensitivities or interactions. Also, there are accuracy and rate of fire issues with tranquilizers.

Plus, the US has embraced a gun culture(let's just not argue about whether that is a good thing), so the police sort of need to be able to respond with equivalent force.

Re:Still torture (3, Informative)

rabidMacBigot() (33310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291116)

While I strongly oppose to subduing anyone, the best would be to use tranquilizer darts. Works like a charm on animals (appropriate irony). Fast acting and relatively pain free.
People die every day from anesthesia administered by highly trained, licensed, expert anesthesiologists with access to the best in modern drugs and equipment. I really hope you don't think that a cop can just shoot a magical one-size-fits-all tranq dart at a 250lb thug on PCP and a 95lb teenager and safely send either or both to magical sleepy land. That only happens in the movies. A taser is probably significantly safer.

Re:Still torture (1, Insightful)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291070)

I am no fan of the police, but I wonder how a lone small policeman or policewoman is supposed to deal with a large belligerent person who might assault them or someone else.

Re:Still torture (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291164)

Don't the police get appropriate martial arts training? I know they get aikido based training in Scotland. In that case, the heavier the opponent is, the more you can use their weight against them. If the attacker knows aikido too then they'd be kind of screwed though :p Having said that, in the case where someone is being violent and non compliant with the law, then what's wrong with tasers?

Re:Still torture (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291182)

Well, they DO still have gun guns. You know, the kind that shoot bullets made of metal. You often times don't even have to use it to subdue someone! Just point in their general direction, and most people will stop in place.

I'm not advocating cops go trigger happy(/happier than they already are in some places) nor am I a fan of guns, but it is effective. I can understand wanting or needing a non-lethal takedown device in some cases being necessary (they have a hostage, the officer is alone, etc.) but this is NOT the vast majority of cases. In general, police should be able to calm just about any perp by using overwhelming numbers and simply HAVING overwhelming firepower.

Re:Still torture (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291508)

Well, they DO still have gun guns. You know, the kind that shoot bullets made of metal. You often times don't even have to use it to subdue someone! Just point in their general direction, and most people will stop in place.

Well, since it's Sunday morning and my brain isn't functioning well, I will just repeat myself:

The first thing you learn in gun safety course is that you don't point the gun at anything/anyone that you don't intend to shoot. One the gun goes up, you are in a deadly force situation. If the crack addled / drunk / high / mad perp doesn't do what you want - you have to shoot them. That's the whole rationale behind a Taser - a (usually) non deadly option.

Re:Still torture (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291560)

Having overwhelming firepower is only effective if the opponent is in a state where they can understand the danger they are in. If someone is sufficiently riled up they may not be able to care or understand that they are likely to be shot. Someone in that state is also likely to get seriously injured (or die) in the process of being physically subdued.

And of course that's on top of the risk of injury to the police from bitting scratching, needles in pocket etc.

Tazer is still the best option in many cases. The only down side is that I think the police have gotten too used to thinking of them as "non lethal" and sometimes end up using them where no confrontation was needed at all.

Re:Still torture (2, Insightful)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291076)

Right, that works. As long as you punish people who use a taser when a bullet wouldn't be merited the same as if they had shot the bullet. Which so far nobody is doing.

I would *certainly* rather be handcuffed and pushed outside rather then risk death by taser for spending too long on my question at a political speech.

Anyway, the GP was trying to say that if a device can cause death is irrelevant to if it is torture... so yes, if you use a bullet and gun to try to inflict pain, it can be torture. For example, kneecapping.

Re:Still torture (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291174)

I don't think it was the length of the question so much as the nature of the question..

Re:Still torture (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291176)

Its not the device its how its used in both the case of the tazer and the gun. If have a gun and shoot you in the kneecap while I am asking you questions because you give me an answer I don't like that is torture. If I shoot you in the gut because you're attacking me or my family that is not torture. My intent was to protect myself by incapacitationg, and I had the need to do that; it was not that I specifically meant to case you agony.

If cop uses a tazer once to subdue an unruly suspect long enough to get handcuffs on him/her that is not torture. Once again the intent would to incapacitate you long enough to get control of a dangerous situation. If that Officer continues to use the tazer on you after you are already handcuffed laying face down in the dirt I would say that is torture. There is no more need in that case to be inflicting agony on you. The intent is now just cause you pain and that is well wrong.

It doesn't work that way (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291302)

Yes, the theory is that the taser is used instead of a gun, in the situations where otherwise they'd have to shoot. Too bad it doesn't seem to work that way. It seems to work more like: when they would have used a gun, they'll still use a gun, but now have the taser for the rest of the time.

Off the top of my head, I remember such gems as:

- guy with a medical emergency calls 911, cops show up first and tase him in his bed. Apparently they thought he lunged at them. While lying on a bed across the room.

- student doesn't have his library card at the library, and is already leaving (so wtf of a danger did he pose?), campus security guards tase him repeatedly.

- some idiot decides to streak naked, gets tased. I can think of at least two of these.

- schoolkid threatens to cut himself with a piece of broken glass, gets tased.

- 12 year old schoolgirl is found skipping school, gets tased.

- 75 year old grandma insists too much to visit an old friend in another nursing home, a cop gets called and tases her.

- guy gets agitated after being kept IIRC for 12 hours without access to food, water or his medicine in an airport, cops tase him to death. Literally: tased repeatedly, until he dies of heart attack.

Etc, etc, etc.

Here's my question for all the "well, it's better than being shot" gang: exactly which of those would have warranted a bullet instead? No, seriously, I'm curious.

AFAIK not even in Stalin's USSR or Mao's China would they shoot a sick guy for just calling an ambulance. And no country in the world takes school _that_ seriously as to shoot a 12 year old for skipping school.

No, it's already used in _addition_ to the gun, not instead of.

And here's a funnier thought: we already have plenty of evidence that it's used repeatedly. Some even on camera. In some cases it seems to be police stupidity: they see a guy spasming after the jolt, and they think it's some kind of resisting arest, so they do it again. In some cases it seems genuine torture. They've been given free hand to use the taser, so they'll cause you some more pain just because they don't like you.

Torture is ok (1)

nten (709128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291200)

It can be used to retrain minds. We are learning machines with positive and negative feedback. All negative feedback is pain of some sort. I would personally rather be 'fixed' clockwork orange style than be stuck in prison, useless to, and a burden on, society.

Its not the technology of the taser, or the practice of using pain, that is bad here. Its the mindset of *some* of the people using it. Letting the tech divert us from holding them accountable is a mistake.

Missing something... (2, Insightful)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 6 years ago | (#23290984)

Taser advocates an alternative cause-of-death scenario called excited delirium. The condition, which is not recognized as a diagnosis in official medical manuals, is used to describe deaths of suspects who become so agitated by drugs, psychosis or poor health that their bodies shut down during struggles with police.
How the hell does one get so agitated of his/her own poor health (that during a struggle with the police), you die? I can imagine that people get extremely agitated by 50kV flowing through their bodies. I can even imagine people going psychotic because someone is putting 50kV through them. If they want to use the Excited Delirium scenario, they should also list as being Tasered as one of the probably causes of it.

The same thing is true when the cop shoots you (4, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291002)

Failure to maintain adequate breathing, or something like that.

Traditionally, It's called: "Lead Poisoning" (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291126)

Someone needs to tell these courts that companies working with/for/owned by "Loyal Bushies" are literally above-the-law, and shouldn't have to deal with these distractions as they Keep America Safe For Their Business Plan.

Re:Traditionally, It's called: "Lead Poisoning" (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291222)

Yeah, but it's like the corporations man! Little Eichmanns working to give the police an option to restrain criminals non lethally. Bastards.

Re:Traditionally, It's called: "Lead Poisoning" (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291294)

The police have had that for CENTURIES.

It's called a "Baton"

And it's a whole lot more controllable and accountable than an UNTESTED MEDICAL DEVICE which should, by rights be regulated by the FDA.

Re:The same thing is true when the cop shoots you (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291452)

No, it is lead over contamination.

Might as well get used to it..... (2, Interesting)

darinfp (907671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291012)

Over here (aus) tasers and MACE sprays are the new thing. Suddenly every police force needs them to handle drug crazed people.

I'm sure it's got nothing to do with the push for middle aged women and people of random ethnic backrounds to become police officers. Apparently the police force should reflect society. If that means a 45 year old, 5 foot tall woman needs a taser when she confronts a fight at a bar, then that's ok.

Apparently..

In America... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291014)

In America, lawyers get to determine how the human body works.

Not sure this is a step up from the Catholic Church getting to decide, but I hear your President has God whisper advice directly into his ear, so...

still (4, Interesting)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291018)

Yeah, those things probably can kill occasionally. But so can kicking, punching, shooting, even restraining. I'd rather get tasered than kicked, punched, or shot, and if they didn't have a taser, those would be the alternatives.

On the other hand, I think if police use a taser or other electrical device, it should be treated just like kicking or punching by the legal system and needs to be justified accordingly. And I think it's wrong for the company to try to suppress these incidents. They are most likely real, we just need to debate whether they are acceptable.

Re:still (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291048)

Actually a kick,punch,whatever can never be counted.Each time a Taser is fired the time/duration of the firing is logged in which only Taser can decrypt the data. So accountability for firing a Taser is much higher.

Re:still (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291248)

Each time a Taser is fired the time/duration of the firing is logged in which only Taser can decrypt the data. So accountability for firing a Taser is much higher.
Right... accountability...

Re:still (4, Interesting)

Palpitations (1092597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291184)

On the other hand, I think if police use a taser or other electrical device, it should be treated just like kicking or punching by the legal system and needs to be justified accordingly.
No, it should be treated just like a handgun. In every police department in the US that I'm familiar with (my dad was a SWAT team leader, chief of police, and various other positions in many departments in several states), even unholstering your firearm requires some pretty extensive paperwork to be filled out, detailing the circumstances and the justification for it.

Locally, the police pretty much do things that way. The policy here is basically "If you'd shoot someone, shoot them. If you'd pull your gun as a threat, but aren't threatened enough to shoot yet, tase them." It's a small town, and with some of the old guard retiring recently, they've done a pretty good job of weeding out the corrupt cops (unfortunately, the worst of them have moved on to be cops in another city, usually getting a promotion along the way), so that policy has worked pretty well here.

Of course, with stories of elementary school students getting tasered, people being beaten when they "don't comply with a lawful order" because they're essentially seizing from multiple shocks, and all of the other abuses, who knows. The biggest problem is really the code of silence that runs along the thin blue line.

Re:still (3, Interesting)

ckedge (192996) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291428)

Now here's my biggest complaint. After years and years of field use, where are the statistical numbers that show a decrease in "adverse effects" - before and after taser use began? Yes yes you have to adjust for lots of different factors because crime waxes and wanes and so does the number of incidents with a given level of resistence from people being detained. BUT - if ANYONE in the world is equipped to collect good statistics, it should be police departments whose officers spend 50% of their time on paperwork.

Why the ******* are we all hanging in the wind GUESSING whether or not Taser use causes X% more deaths on the left, and not N% more bruises and M% more deaths due to savage beatings and justified and unjustified shootings on the other hand? Where are the ****ing hard numbers from all the YYY jurisdictions using tasers?!

Also the mumbo jumbo bull**** language about the "cause of death". The *only* thing that matters is whether or not the person would have died if the Taser had not been used. Are they actually claiming that they know for certain that the indviduals would have died had Tasers had not been used? **Exactly** what likelyhood do they place on the individual having died from a seizure or heart-attack if a Taser had not been used? If it's not zero percent, then the Taser's use IS contributory to the cause of death.

It doesn't matter if the person had a congenital heart defect!! Would the person have lived a longer life if a different form of force had been used!?

Now ... balance that against the people that would have died (yes, probably completely different people, this is one of those damned if you do damned if you don't) if Tasers were not available. ..then we can choose how and where to allow the use of Tasers. So far I see no evidence that a systematic rational method of doing this is being done. Individual police departments are pulling guidelines out of their ass, for all I know. (They probably are not, but how come *that* is never mentioned? The only reason people get angry is because they don't know just how much effort is going into doing something right - and so they must presume that nothing is being done right - lack of evidence in such cases IS used against you by the public.)

ErrrrrrrrreeewwwwwWHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291470)

Yeah, those things probably can kill occasionally. But so can kicking, punching, shooting, even restraining. I'd rather get tasered than kicked, punched, or shot, and if they didn't have a taser, those would be the alternatives.
So you are saying that you would by all means be resisting arrest? You should be tased for saying that!!!

WONDERFUL! (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291040)

Now we have a weapons manufacturer dictating medical procedure and reporting.

*Sniff* *Sniff* I smell bullshit....

Re:WONDERFUL! (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291192)

Sorry, that was me :/ Having 50kV running through my body gives me issues with bowel control

Excited delerium? (2, Insightful)

Reader X (906979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291058)

Apparently excited delerium. [wikipedia.org] is a very specialized mortal condition that only occurs when you're in police custody.

Right.

You can always find a dumb judge in America.

Re:Excited delerium? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291238)

Wow.. the cases in there are sickening. It's funny to read summaries like this, but then when you relate it to actual real life.. that's kind of terrifying, and horrific for the families involved (and any future victims of the police officers that caused the deaths). I think that sometimes, unfortunately someone is going to have a weak heart or whatnot and die from one taser shot. The cases in that Wiki article seemed to involve the use of more than one taser at once. If the first one isn't planted in a good area for disruption, don't use it as well! Personally I'd rather just have my arms grabbed or something if I've gone crazy.

In Local News... (4, Funny)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291066)

A power company lineman died today from excited delirium when he accidentally came in contact with a live power line.

Co-workers are reported as saying he didn't appear to be excited or delirious prior to his unfortunate accident, although witnesses do report that his body appeared to become quite excited at the moment of contact with the fatal current.

Full story at 11.

Ummm...yeah...

Strat

In other news... (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291068)

...chronic depression will be renamed "melancholia," and loss of consciousness due to orthostatic hypotension will from now on be known as "the vapors."

Not voltage (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291072)

I found this info [taser.org] interesting because I had always assumed Taser used high voltage on the human body.

Voltage Facts
THE VOLTAGE MYTH
Stun guns rely on voltage to cause pain that will stop an attacker only a percentage of the time. That is why the Air TASER® Weapon has been discontinued. The new Advance Tasers do not rely on voltage. They utilize an advance technolgy that totally interrupts the body's electrical system which is effective 100% of the time.

The next question is WHAT is the advance technology being used?

Re:Not voltage (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291224)

I found this info interesting because I had always assumed Taser used high voltage on the human body.

Voltage Facts
THE VOLTAGE MYTH
Stun guns rely on voltage to cause pain that will stop an attacker only a percentage of the time. That is why the Air TASER® Weapon has been discontinued. The new Advance Tasers do not rely on voltage. They utilize an advance technolgy that totally interrupts the body's electrical system which is effective 100% of the time.

The next question is WHAT is the advance technology being used?


Firstly, if it was voltage alone, there would be no pain. One can play with a Van De Graaf generator with many times the voltage of a taser with no harm whatsoever because it has a very very tiny current delivery. It's the *current* that causes pain and death. I imagine the "new technology" consists of upping the current-delivering abilities of the high voltage circuit to cause every muscle in the targets' body to go into rictus, thus immobilizing them. Unfortunately, the heart is also a muscle.

Even for a perfectly healthy average sized adult, there's a very fine line between enough current to incapacitate, and enough to kill.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Not voltage (3, Informative)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291272)

Extremely suspect site.

According to them, their brand spanking new ULTRA OMEGA SUPER DEATH RAY (Advance Taser) does not in fact rely on "voltage". However according to the site they link you too: http://www.taser.org/m18l.html/ [taser.org]

"50,000 Volts, 18 Watts and 133 MilliAmps of measured power is instantly discharged into the subject. The electrical discharge pulses in a revolutionary new method of advanced EMD power (Electro-Muscular Disruption) that no subject has ever been able to overcome. The EMD power surge instantly disrupts the central nervous system and results in the subject falling to the ground in spasms of involuntary muscular convulsions. "

How does "50,000 volts being instantly discharged into the subject" = "does not rely on voltage"?

Re:Not voltage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291472)

I hope those numbers are wrong, because only 50 milliamps would kill most people instantly.

Re:Not voltage (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291326)

The next question is WHAT is the advance technology being used?
I've heard of this too, it's called the Large Ampere Mind Buffer 2 (Superior Love And Understanding Generator Having True Enlightened Results)

Re:Not voltage (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291512)

You could probably generate a waveform at a frequency which messes up the control loops in the human nervous system.

I guess they use some sort of high voltage generator which is inherently pulsed since most are - typically you use transistors to send pulses into a transformer [demon.co.uk] . So they'd just choose the most disruptive frequency.

They hint at this in press releases

http://www.securityprousa.com/stgunandtagu.html [securityprousa.com]

Its pulsating electrical output impedes the communication between the brain and the muscular system, resulting in loss of body control.
The designers probably tested it on themselves, maybe with the output current limited. I think that's the way I'd do it, unless I could dig up some paper on motor nervous system jamming with pulsed high voltage.

Re:Not voltage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291516)

Most likely, they have discovered that alternating current of the appropriate frequency (maybe several frequencies) disrupts the somatic nervous system. It may also be some kind of pulse train, rather than a sine wave.

Better than being shot (0)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291086)

Tazer's role is to subdue people resisting arresting without resorting to violence that risks life or injury to the officer, or risks getting shot. Your odds of getting killed by a Tazer are remarkably low, so low, in fact, that people do taze each other in training with it. Yeah, anything might kill you, and tazer isn't perfect, but overall, tazer is better than being shot or having a cop getting his ear bitten off.
 

Re:Better than being shot (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291186)

Actually, I think Taser stopped requiring cops to tase each other in training when a cop died after being tased.

Re:Better than being shot (4, Insightful)

Reader X (906979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291194)

Uh huh, and that explains why Taser International is threatening to sue coroners who cite it as a contributing factor to cause of death. It's not because the product kills people every now and then and they might not sell as many tasers to cops if that becomes widely known. It's the cops they care about! That thin blue line between civilization and chaos!
 
Look, I think everyone agrees that cops need to be able to subdue violent people with as little lethal force used as possible. To the extent that tasers, stun guns, etc. contribute to that goal, fine. The point is that Taser International's commercial interests may not necessarily coincide with that goal (i.e. the product can be abused, or should not be used in some circumstances), and Taser International may not be interested in owning up to that fact for marketing reasons.
 
Coroners, who are obligated to determine cause of death as accurately as possible, should be able to opine that the use of a taser contributed to cause of death when that is in fact the case, end of story. That is, assuming you want cops to be accountable. It was interesting to scroll down the comments in TFA to note the number of people who apparently think cops should just be able to pull people off the street and kill them in custody.

Re:Better than being shot (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291220)

Thank you for not understanding anything. The main problem is that the threshold for when this potentially fatal method is applied in a loooong row of cases have been shown to be incredibly low. In quite a few cases it has been shown to be the *first* thing the officer does when encountering resistance. If you're equating tasering someone with shooting them, I sincerely do hope shooting people have never been the first reaction to resistance where you live.

Tasers should be outlawed; they do not do anything you couldn't do before with a gun or a truncheon, other than give the you the opportunity to torture your victim on the spot in order to masturbate your poor ego, without risking any punishment for it.

Re:Better than being shot (1)

Fr0mZer0 (708046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291250)

Tazer is a For Profit company their role is to market and sell a product that is an alternative to firearms. In order to do that they need to market their products as a better alternative that the use of guns. Their marketing campaign tries to encite fear in law enforcement and political officals of the problems that go along with using more lethal firearms. They state their products are less lethal and safer reducing the paperwork and lawsuits police will be invovled in. Because Tazer training touts the safety fot ehir products and how littl eharm it does to the individual they are trying to restrain, police have been given the impression that if one shot with a Tazer is not enough then they can discharge several of them on the same individual with not additional complications.

Re:Better than being shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291446)

I would beg to differ. [bbc.co.uk]
The UK police (who are usually well known for their level-headedness and reasonable approach) now knock people's doors down and, in full riot gear, threaten to taser an unarmed and barely lucid man if he 'does not comply'.
The taser is a device to subdue already violent persons who do not require the immediate application of lethal violence (i.e. persons pointing a gun at you), it is not a tool to gain compliance through the threat of infliction of pain.

Using the direct application of physical pain to coerce adults has been mostly wiped out in the western world for over 100 years, now, in one stroke, it's back, and as official policy!

Cops carry guns too (4, Funny)

krygny (473134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291134)

DON'T TASE ME, BRO'!!

Wait a sec ... is that a Glock?!!

DON'T SHOOT ME, BRO'!! TASE ME, TASE ME, BRO'!!

Re:Cops carry BATONS too -- for centuries... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291274)

"Don't Beat Me, Bro!"

All in all, I'd rather have the force continuum be:

"batons > pistols"

Tasers are too much like Extrajudicial Torture for my tastes.

The judges' first words ... (0)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291188)

When reading the verdict, the judges' first words were "Don't taze me, Bro!"

FUD on both sides (4, Insightful)

Mad-cat (134809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291196)

Disclaimer: I am a police officer in Florida. I use the Taser. I do not own stock in Taser International.

To say that a Taser didn't *contribute* to the deaths is probably wrong. To say that a Taser *caused* the deaths is almost certainly wrong.

The amperage on a Taser is too low by a few orders of magnitude to cause death by electrocution. It will cause central nervous system disruption, which is very uncomfortable, and causes some unusual side effects.

I've been shot with a Taser. Not a stun-gun, a full-fledged Taser with the barbed prongs and ranged shot. I took a five second burst of 50,000 volts. It isn't fun, but I'd prefer it to pepper spray (which I've also been hit with). At least it's over in five seconds, instead of three hours.

During the shot, the Taser causes you to literally scream out all the air in your body in about two seconds. You spend three seconds trying to force out air that isn't there. In someone full of drugs or with pre-existing medical problems, this can definitely pose a risk.

As a police officer, I've had six situations where using the Taser has saved me from serious bodily injury. In all but one case, the defendant was immediately back on his feet after I helped him up, and quickly back in good spirits. In two cases, they spent the ride to jail joking with me. In one case, the defendant had to go to the hospital due to a cocaine overdose. He lived due to timely medical intervention, but we expected him to be in bad shape and had an ambulance standing by to assist the minute we had him secure.

As for calling the Taser torture, let me put it this way: I would willingly be shot with a Taser again in a training exercise. I've willingly subjected other people to it after feeling its effects. I would *not* willingly be shot with pepper spray/mace again. I have not and will not willingly subject other people to it after feeling its effects. The Taser is a valuable, but dangerous weapon that must be treated with caution and only used appropriately. Pepper spray is torture.

Re:FUD on both sides (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291296)

Thanks for your interesting post; if I had mod points right now, some would be going your way.

What paperwork/bureaucracy is involved when you use a Taser? I know that in many jurisdictions, any use of a sidearm requires the officer to fill out forms & reports, etc. Are there similar reporting & tracking requirements for Taser usage?

Re:FUD on both sides (5, Interesting)

Reader X (906979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291390)

OK, can I ask you some questions to maybe help de-FUD the debate:

1. It's clear that some individuals, because they were full of illegal drugs or possibly for other reasons, have died after being shot by tasers. It's also been asserted that at least one police officer has died in a training exercise after being shot by a taser; presumably he or she was not full of illegal drugs. So, knowing this and assuming the above is true, would you willingly be shot by a taser again as part of a training exercise?

2. You stated that the taser must be used appropriately, and made reference to drugs and unnamed medical issues. Could you define more specifically what that means? Having read the TFA, do you think there is a possibilty that the taser is being used inappropriately either by accident or on purpose?

3. As a police officer, you and your coworkers are obviously constantly in situations where you're subjected to serious bodily harm, and let me be the first to say that as a citizen I deeply appreciate it and think the police are not supported as well as they should be from a financial and operational perspective. That being said, do you believe that the mitigation of serious injury is worth the death of a suspect? Put another way, would you forego the use of the taser and accept increased risk of bodily harm if you thought there was a heightened risk of the suspect's death?

4. Per 3) above, I also strongly believe that a civilized society needs to rigorously oversee the use of force to enforce the law. Are you comfortable with the level of oversight that a coroner's inquest provides on the use of both lethal and nonlethal force? If not, why not?

5. It seems clear to me that in seeking the decision referenced in TFA, Taser International is motivated by the desire to avoid liability for the use or misuse of their product, and perhaps less so by the desire to protect officers. Do you agree? If not, why not?

All of the above assuming that you have nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than post to Slashdot. Feel free to ignore.

Thanks for the thoughful commentary.

Taser use == MEDICAL PROCEDURE??? (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291440)

This raises the important question:

Should Tasers be regulated by the FDA as a medical device? And exactly what MEDICAL TRAINING is provided to enable the user to make the proper diagnosis before prescribing repeated debilitating electrical shocks?

Re:FUD on both sides (1)

DirtySouthAfrican (984664) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291416)

To say that a Taser didn't *contribute* to the deaths is probably wrong. To say that a Taser *caused* the deaths is almost certainly wrong.
then

During the shot, the Taser causes you to literally scream out all the air in your body in about two seconds. ... In someone full of drugs or with pre-existing medical problems, this can definitely pose a risk.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I think some people might disagree with your apparent definition of "cause". A friend of mine used to quip that death is usually "caused" by the heart ceasing to pump. I think if you knowingly spike someone with a heart condition's beverage with lots of salt and caffeine, precipitating death, there's probably murder, manslaughter, or 'criminal negligence causing death' waiting for you, even though the pre-existing heart condition was the "cause" here. As for the torture thing. What about incidents where the device is used multiple times for no apparent reason (or, apparently, "look, he's still moving. Tase him!")? That smells of torture, or at least cruelty/brutality.

Don't tell the UK H&S executive that (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291418)

The amperage on a Taser is too low by a few orders of magnitude to cause death by electrocution. It will cause central nervous system disruption, which is very uncomfortable, and causes some unusual side effects
Unfortunately this is not true.

Years ago I was responsible for designing a safety interlock system on a piece of high voltage test equipment, and I worked with an officer of the UK H&S executive to achieve compliance.

H&SE have evidence of people being killed by shocks of as little as 2.5mA, and have reason to believe that there is no lower limit. The actual cause is heart fibrillation which can be set off by a very small current in the wrong place.

The standard set for equipment like electric fences for cattle is based on this research, but it is statistical - that is to say, the overall likelihood of deaths from this cause is very small bot non-zero. People fit and active enough to walk across fields are unlikely to die as a result of contacting an electric fence, but people with heart conditions need to be very careful.

In the case of the taser, the electric shock is deliberately caused and the victim has no opportunity to avoid it. This is a different situation . The law needs to reflect the scientific evidence that electric shocks can cause death because otherwise a police officer may be tempted to use on in a non-threatening situation. It must be possible to prosecute police who behave recklessly, and legislating that certain technology is not dangerous removes this protection from the citizen. Unless you are one of those judges who believe that all policemen are totally honest and always have the best interests of society at heart, in which case I have a job for you in China.

Consensual Acts ARE torture in other contexts. (1, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291422)

"As for calling the Taser torture, let me put it this way: I would willingly be shot with a Taser again in a training exercise."

Just because YOU are willing to consent to something doesn't mean it still isn't an act of TORTURE.

Go over to some of the BDSM websites on the 'net, and you will find people who consent to, and actually enjoy being tied up and hit with a cattle prod.

That doesn't mean it isn't torture.

Re:FUD on both sides (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291434)

The Taser is a valuable, but dangerous weapon that must be treated with caution and only used appropriately.
See, and that's the problem: tasers *are* dangerous (no matter whether they're less so than other things), they *are* weapons, they *must* be treated with caution, and they must *only* used appropriately.

The whole "tasers had nothing to do at all whatsoever with the deaths at hand" spiel that the company's perpetrating is dangerous because it downplays the risks involved with tasers. For that matter, the same can be said about your anecdotes; even though you probably didn't really intend them to come across this way, what you say ("immediately back on his feet", "spent the ride to jail joking with me", "I would willingly be shot with a taser again" etc.) also belittles what tasers actually do, and contributes to the idea that it's OK to easily taser people.

It's not, though.

Use a taser like you would a firearm - as a last esort, but nothing else. When you taser someone, keep in mind that you might very well kill or seriously injure them, and don't do so unless this is a necessary risk. There's too many cops out there who don't understand this, unfortunately, and who will routinely taser people much more easily than they would shoot them with a firearm.

(On a side note, I also dispute that you really know what a taser feels like. A training exercise is one thing, but you will not be subject to the same stress and the same adrenaline rush and all that. You'll also know that your "opponents" don't actually want to do anything to you, and you'll also know that qualified medical help is right there should it be necessary, and you'll know that you're healthy and in good shape. None of these are true for someone at the receiving end of your own taser.)

FUD from your side too (2, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291474)

Honestly, did you read what you wrote?

The amperage on a Taser is too low by a few orders of magnitude to cause death by electrocution.
Please put your straw man away. Nobody is saying that death by Taser is electrocution.

I've been shot with a Taser. Not a stun-gun, a full-fledged Taser with the barbed prongs and ranged shot.
And unless you did this while you were being arrested, you did this as part of a *training excercise*. Which makes it pretty much irrelevant.

As a police officer, I've had six situations where using the Taser has saved me from serious bodily injury. In all but one case, the defendant was immediately back on his feet after I helped him up, and quickly back in good spirits.
Really? In good spirits?!?!?! You're saying you were being threatened by someone, you hit them with the taser, they went down screaming, then you helped them up, and they said "wow, thanks - I feel much better now!"

Pull the other one.

I would willingly be shot with a Taser again in a training exercise.
This is the main thrust. Being tasered in a controlled setting, where the subject is fit, not under the influence of any drugs (legal or illegal), calm, not under stress, and is aware it's going to happen and can prepare for it *is completely different* than when it's used in an adversarial situation, with people who might have medical conditions, or are otherwise not cops in training.

Re:FUD on both sides (1)

dickens (31040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291494)

I have no doubt whatsoever that the taser is a valuable option to have for an honest peace officer.

However, as I'm sure you know, no non-lethal weapon exists that has not been used to torture someone. If you weren't honest, you could go over someone with your night stick after they were already subdued. This is not torture in the sense that you are trying to extract a confession. It's extra-judicial punishment, and it's common. Tasing that poor stupid bastard at the John Kerry speech was extra-judicial punishment. You *know* he posed no threat to the half-dozen officers who were sitting on him, and you *know* he would have run like a bastard to get the hell out of there. The officers on the scene tased him because it is painful. They accused him, judged him and punished him on the scene because they thought that he deserved it. They knew he probably wouldn't have been convicted of a crime if he were arrested. Of course that is wrong and according to statute they are all felons and should serve long prison terms. But I don't see that happening.

A single taser shot is okay (2, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291552)

The problem with Taser use is not a single Taser shot to stop a potential attacker. It is when out of control police Tase someone repeatedly for "failure to comply with a lawful order" or just as revenge for striking an officer. The problem is when it is used as a coercion method like beating someone over the head with a phone book, or performing a choke hold used to be.

The problem with Tasers is that it is hard to detect when the bad cops use them like this. But when the cause of death is "excited delirium" (yeah, its not like hospitals wouldn't have noticed this if it really existed) you can be pretty sure that a bad cop used some inappropriate method of coercion or restraint.

Don't test the teasers bro (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291240)

Don't test the teasers bro

What if we lived in a fascist country and ... (1)

intnsred (199771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291292)

What if we lived in a fascist country and nobody knew it?

"Fascism could better be called 'corporatism', for it is merely the merging of state power with corporate power." -- attributed to Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator who "invented" fascism.

Fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism." -- The 1983 American Heritage Dictionary.

"The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power." -- Vice President Henry Wallace, April 9, 1944.

We don't control the "justice" system -- it is run, like the entire gov't, primarily for the benefit of corporations and their wealthy owners.

We shouldn't be surprised at Taser's actions, they're little different than what the RIAA does. The real question is, what are you doing to stop this creeping fascism?

Re:What if we lived in a fascist country and ... (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291550)

when you have business interests manipulating perceived reality so that your soldiers will invade a foreign country for profit, it's clear that there's no avoiding american fascism.

It's a new evil - shooting the messenger (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291300)

This new trend of governments and companies trying to legislate independent experts out of existence is very worrying. In the UK, coroners are identifying the cause of death of soldiers as being due to failures by the MOD - so the MOD wants the law changed to prevent them from doing so. Here we have a company trying to use the law in exactly the same way. The Tesco company (think Wal-Mart only worse) based in the UK is now trying to use criminal libel laws (in Thailand) and ordinary libel laws (in the UK) to prevent investigative journalists reporting on what it gets up to. Macdonalds famously spent a fortune (in the McLibel case) trying to destroy a pair of activists who exposed their practices - they had what is known as a Pyrrhic victory - hundreds of millions of pounds of legal expenses and adverse publicity in exchange for £40000 damages - but still they pursued the case.

Meanwhile we find out that drug companies have been using the full weight of statistical analysis and selective reporting to represent ineffective drugs as being effective. The result is that independent organisations like the NIH and, in the UK, the NICE, have to spend to counter the propaganda.

Perhaps we need to take a leaf out of the book of the Byzantine empire - which was around a lot longer than the British Empire was or the US Empire is likely to last - and restrict the maximum size of any corporation to the point at which it cannot dictate to elected governments. But who is the "we" who any longer have the power to do it?

The brutal murder of Deacon Frederick Williams... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291394)

Please watch this, if you think that Tasers do not kill people, or that law enforcement officers are typically responsible enough to wield such lethal weapons:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=833329c647

All of them just witnessed this happen, without stopping it. All of them are responsible for this mans death.

Do you trust the police? Do you trust weapons manufacturers to be truthful when profit is their one and only motivation? Do you trust the courts in a society which has had capitalism overrule humanity?

I feel so safe (2, Insightful)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291430)

Because I know the folks at Taser International have my best interests as a citizen at heart, and are not concerned with their own profit and liability. Seriously, I've heard law enforcement officers claim tasers don't kill people. Maybe they don't always, but they can kill and injure people. It's shooting needles into a person and hitting them with electricity. It's not safe. It can kill. It may be less lethal than a bullet. It may be more effective at subduing someone than wrestling with them. But it's still got the potential danger there. Ignore that at....the peril of the citizenry.

Re:I feel so safe (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291466)


Not only that, but speaking as a doctor - if politicians and judges are not allowed to practice medicine, corporations certainly shouldn't be. Now if this judge claims he has discovered a new disease and can determine cause of death based on forensic evidence, I plan to file a complaint about him practicing medicine without a license. Because as far as I know, only a medical pathologist (ie the coroner) can determine a cause of death. And the "state appointed" coroner's word is FINAL, whether the judge likes it or not.

I am not a lawyer (obviously), but this ruling is rubbish and will probably be overturned at the drop of a heat - or at least another dead taser victim.

This is a real problem in our society ... (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23291462)

I rank Taser International right up there with Diebold, DirecTV and the RIAA as organizations that regularly misuse American law to suppress competition and legitimate discussion of their products and services. This is not a matter of using the legal system to provide redress of grievance ... it's a form of quasi-legal censorship. It needs to be stopped, particularly when it comes to TI's intimidation of medical examiners and other State employees who are performing vital public services. This is wrong any way you look at it.

So ... new warning label for taser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23291582)

WARNING: Use of taser on subjects experiencing "excited delirium" may cause sudden death.
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