Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Chicago study calls Taser's safety claims into question

What is different about this study is the length of time the electricity was used. Repeated and prolonged use of this device is what has been causing concern. The makers say that the trial with pigs is not the same as humans, and that is right. Before the tasers were used it is unlikely that the pigs were in a state of extreme stress. Or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Yet the police use tasers on people who are - very obviously - extremely distressed. And deaths have occurred when the subject was under the influence of drugs.

Of course the manufacturer will dismiss studies that are unfavourable to their products. They would, wouldn't they. Just like the makers of thalidomide dismissed studies - or of lead based petroleum additives - asbestos still gets used (but not here) and people would use CFCs if they could. And DDT.

The death of Robert Dziekanski - and these pigs - means that our police must now stop using tasers until we understand what restrictions need to be in place for their safe deployment. Obviously the police need something other than guns. Training seems to be important too. Like not putting your knee across someone's neck and then using all your weight as a restraint technique.

Our present knowledge shows that our police cannot be trusted to use these weapons. And until the doubts about their safety are resolved to the satisfaction of some independent, qualified body they should be removed from police access.

1 comment:

Samsara said...

Awesome posting! WE need more people willing to stand up and say no more! Thanks for signing the petition! You're great. {{hugs}}