It’s really an adorable diagnosis that can be affixed to almost any capital punishment. Maybe we can start saying death row inmates died from “spastic derangement” to shut up all of those protesters.
Following the death of David Smith, a man who died after Minneapolis authorities tasered him, the police have publicly recognized that their electric torture guns are lethal. Taser International apparently concurs because they’ve sent out a bulletin with the very helpful suggestion that officers don’t shoot anyone in the heart.
It appears as though there is a connection between this whole forced electric shock treatment and people dying because Taser has agreed to put out a new model soon that will cap electrocution at five seconds. Current models electrocute citizens for as long as the trigger is held down.
Of course, if you’ve in poor health, five seconds of excruciating pain may still be enough to cause massive heart failure.
Back in 2008, Canada held an inquiry where Dr. Michael Janusz, a heart surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital, testified about the dangers of tasers. Back then, Taser International’s products were described by the press as delivering “a five-second jolt that incapacitates the muscles.” Even though the jolts in 2008 were documented as lasting no longer than five seconds, which apparently wasn’t true in all taser-related incidents, Janusz still said, “”Tasers must be regarded as being capable of causing cardiac arrest.”
Back then, Taser International denied any link between their product and cardiac arrest, a denial that didn’t really impress Janusz.
“This creates a problem with credibility of the company and could lead to difficulty in dealing with the company in matters of safety standards and training requirements,” Janusz said.
Right. The credibility thing. It makes it difficult to take Taser Int’l seriously when the company denies the linkage to cardiac arrests, then coins a stupid phrase to explain away all the death, and now says it’ll come out with a new model of their weapon that will cap torture sessions at five seconds, which is what the cap has supposedly been this whole time…while people have still been dying.
Side-note: People have known about the five second cap problem for a long time. Australian police launched a search for an alternative to Taser International’s guns back in 2009 for the expressed purpose of finding another brand which “limits each Taser cycle to five seconds … in the wake of a report recommending changes to their use.”
Taser International has had several years to get over the shock (no pun intended) that people have a problem with police being armed with guns that can electrocute them until their hearts explode. Apparently, all it took for them to tweak their product was several years of public outrage, international governmental inquiries, and some lawsuits. Rand Paul is right, you guys. The private sector always does the right thing…when eventually hunted down by a torch-wielding, carrying-some-of-their-dead mob.
You’ll have to excuse me if I’m unprepared to tongue kiss Taser Int’l just yet. This sort of reminds me of when the cigarette companies started toying with lowering nicotine and tar levels when an outraged public accused them of peddling poison. The basic product still sucks, and all of the tweaks and marketing bullshit are superfluous window-dressing.
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– Allison Kilkenny