Just test them on Meth/crack heads - who cares if they die? actually that would be one way to cure the scourge of drugs.
In shock* news it has emerged that a group of sheep in America, out of their minds on Class A drugs, have been repeatedly blasted using controversial electric Taser stun weapons. Rather than some kind of degenerate drug-fuelled brouhaha indicative of the moral decline among America's sheep community, the ovine electro-stunning …
This experiment is nothing more than a puff PR piece. My problems with it
- I think I'm right in saying sheep react physiologically differently to opioids, and in fact to many medications. That's why they aren't lab animals (that and they are very tasty...)
- Did any of the sheep also suffer from diseases humans sufffer from - heart disease etc.
- More to the point, were any of the sheep in the poor condition (Hep C, HIV etc.) that a significantly higher number of drug addicts suffer from
- Why do smaller ones suffer from increased cardiovascular problems when being tasered? Does this mean we can taser everyone over 16 stone, or over 8 stone?
Total crock, whoever authorised this "experiment" needs to be tasered til they mess themselves. It's the only way they'll learn!
Wrong: Methamphetamine is not an opioid, it is an amphetamine (the clue is in the name). These work in a much simpler way. Opioids act differently between species, as they act upon the brain, and mammalian brains tend to vary substantially between species. Amphetamines are smaller molecules that act on the metabolism. There is much less variation in this between species, particularly mammals.
Right: Sheep are not the best model for human physiology. Pigs are better.
It was probably cheaper/easier to get away with the testing on sheep, Animal rights activists probably don't care so much about them (because they are so tasty) they'd probably have to get through a lot of legistlation and protestation if they wanted to use something closer the requirements.
It's probably a lot more dangerous to meth up a bunch of primates too.
I wouldn't really want to be trying to taser some tweaked out chimp.
From a scientific viewpoint I have no problem with testing on animals, what would you suggest?
Testing on humans? I suspect that there might be some legality issues there, even if there wasn't the expense could be horrendous when you have to pay out after the tests prove that there is a danger to using meth and being tasered.
You'd have a bunch of effectively executed humans and I expect theire families would quickly learn it pays to be litigious.
>From a scientific viewpoint I have no problem with testing on animals, what would you suggest?
For some reason I read methamphetamine as methadone; for that apologies- obviously the red mist had descended after reading about yet another crappy study.
I'm not against testing on animals, but at least make sure the experiments are well set up and actually necessary. Tasering a bunch of sheep means f**k all when we're already generating masses of data from the regular tasering of humans.
The taser needs to be subject to the same kind of trials as a pharmaceutical. We're now at the Phase IV or Post Marketing Surveillance Trial stage. Animal models mean nothing except as media friendly way for PR companies to distribute product friendly info.
>>If they believe it's safe, surely Taser employees should be testing them on one another?
Erm, perhaps Taser don't think it's safe to be dosing their employees up with meth? Just a thought...
There is no easy answer here. Meth addicts plus controlled experimental conditions don't really go together, so it's pretty hard to find a perfect way of testing the safety of this. We also know all the alternative methods of restraint have risks, though goodness knows how you'd come up with a trail to see what's safer.
However it's unlikely that because there aren't any safe methods of restraint that the drug-crazed-criminal population is suddenly going to start co-operating with the police. So you try and find the safest alternative, for both police and suspects, and do the best you can.
I don't quite get the kneejerk anti-taserism from my fellow commentards. Sure they can be used to torture suspects, but so can every other piece of equipment the police carry. It seems to me that there's been a lot of effort to try and ensure that when this happens, it's detectable. There are clearly times when a taser is a far superior (and probably the only) alternative to shooting someone - so what's not to like?
If there's a problem with police indiscriminate use of force, that's a police problem, not a taser problem.
"addicts plus controlled experimental conditions don't really go together"
I don't know, it didn't stop the Gov and MOD working on this sort of thing at at Porton Down. Happily giving innocent soldiers doses of God-knows what then asking them to perform basic tasks, letting them go without telling them what they had been given or why.
All in the name of science. We don't need a reason, we just need answers, even if they are wrong ones, we just need them!
"Using sheep as a human model for such a physiological complex interaction? Yeah, I can't see any problems there." I can't help wondering whether such things as wool might make a difference. I really don't know, but does anyone else? How would it be measured. Also, the amount and type of fat might be relevant (if I remember my biology from a few (ahem) years ago, mutton fat gives off much more energy than other domestic food animals. Again, I don't know if it make any difference, but does anyone else, especially the notoriously deceptive bastards at Taser?
"If they believe it's safe, surely Taser employees should be testing them on one another?". This sounds good, because the sick fucks who a) invented the Taser, and b) come up with experiments like this to justify their use are clearly all on mind-altering substances of some description, and are therefore much better models than sheep!
... how do we know that sheep respond in the same way to these drugs as humans do? Is there any evidence (a quick Google search hasn't come up with anything)? I suspect they might just as well have given doses of the drugs to trees, and then Tasered them - the results would have been abou the same.
Yes, as we all saw at those protests in London last year. Well, those who survived, that is. Not everyone made it home to see themselves on telly...
Surely the safest weapon for the police to use is society's fear and respect of them, so that if a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. And I don't mean the fear they'll murder you.
"(four unlucky control animals got none at all) " ......... :-) Thanks for that deep personal insight into the Lewis Page, and presumably by professional association, the El Reg Executive Staff Psyche?
The study seems highly unlikely to win over the weapons' critics.... no error there. Anyone with any ounce of ethical probity would not treat another creature with such callous disregard. So they're sheep... that makes it ok to pump them full of drugs and then fry their brains? oh, hang on, reality check. That's what we do every day, isn't it... Ho hum.
A variety of descriptions for the collective term used for sheep: drove, flock, herd, drift, fold, mob, pack, trip.
Although most of these are probably no longer used today I think a trip of sheep would be more apt for this story.
Must say i would rather be a sheep herder, than a sheep flocker (sounds too much like a Harry Enfield sketch, goddam muddyfunster!)
I would expect that a higher death rate among junkies would actually be the result of their deteriorated physical condition caused by long term drug abuse rather than just 'being high'.
So it's essentially a marketting/coverup excercise for Taser/The Police force that means absolutely nothing.
Sheep are unlikely to resist arrest after tasering. Scientists are unlikely to feel malevolent towards a cornered sheep...
Did they try this test: hold the sheep down and repeatedly taser it until it stopped struggling to get away (or "spasming with electro-convulsions" as it's also known).
That's what's going to happen to some real tasered subjects. Problem is, when you stop struggling it means you're dead.
I thought tasers fired at least two wires and use pulsed DC.
The real question is why aren't the wise guys wearing conductive sheets across their chests so as to provide a minimal resistance path for barbs their by mitigating taser effect, that way even with victim trying to brush the barbs off most of electrica energy passes harmlessly through sheet?
Firstly, a Taser fires two prongs into you, so the return is *not* via earth.
Secondly, the earth return from a "one wire" shock is via capacitive coupling from the *whole* body surface, not just the soles of the feet. That's why neon testers work, even when you're up a wooden ladder and wearing boots. And also why children are more likely than adults to survive contact with the live wire of the mains (smaller body surface area means less capacitance means higher reactive impedance means less current flow).
This is a link from "Dance for me monkey boy"'s post from earlier, no only do the police taser but also punch repeatedly punch this Nottingham Chap.
I think firearms are more humane and at least the police have to be vetted before being allowed to wield them
... to say this, but I honestly believe that, in general, police officers should not be able to use anything that puts them more than arm's-length from the person they are trying to intimidateH^H^H^H^H^H^H^arrest. There should always be the chance that a police officer is going to get injured - that way, they will be less likely to escalate a situation. In the rare occasions that a weapon is required (OK, I'm talking from a UK perspective here - our American cousins probably require a different perspective), the officer(s) that used them should be immediately suspended pending a full investigation, and potential prosecution for homicide/GBH. That way, we might be able to have a little more trust that they don't think they are different from the rest of us.
Pirates ... obviously
Were any of the sheep long term users of Meth?
Longterm use may increase probability of an adverse reaction; though the planet is over populated!
Though the idea of a flock of sheep being longterm Meth-heads roaming the country side looking for their next "gang-bang" a little worrying.
Although some courts have been misled by Taser International's almost abusive manipulation of the "science", many inquiries are begining to reach the only rational conclusion, tasers can sometimes kill, directly, even healthy adults. Canadian Braidwood Inquiry, Canadian RCMP, UN, Maryland Attorney General, and too many more to list here. All have rejected the false claims of safety.
If you'd like to work it out for yourself from first principles, Google your way to the taser's "Curious Temporal Asymmetry". It's a simple observation that the deaths associated with taser deployment are skewed to the minutes AFTER a good hit. The duration from when a taser is drawn and displayed, and verbal warnings issued and arguments concluded, this period appears to be much safer. It's always tasered then died.
There's never been a report of an officer yelling, "Taser! Taser! I am going to taser you! Sir? Hello? Sir? I'm about to Taser you, sir? ... Damn, I think he's dead!" It's never happened in recorded history.
But tasered-then-died happens about seven times per month in the USA.
Would you like to show some figures to back up that statistic? While you're at it, would you like to add figures for the number of people who die after being 'normally' restrained, and add in figures for the number of situations when tasering was the only viable alternative to shooting, and therefore could arguably have saved a life?
I'm not saying that tasers are 100% safe, because I haven't seen the stats - I've just spent 10 minutes searching, and I'm none the wiser. They're certainly safer than bullets, I've no idea if they're safer than physical restraint though (and I'm not sure how you could test that anyway).
However they must consider them to be reasonably safe, as the UK police used to taser every officer who they equipped with one, as part of the training process. I don't know if they still do, but that implies a certain confidence. Of course they're less controversial over here, because they're still mostly deployed only with specialist police units.
Oh, and your point about people not dropping dead under the threat of tasering is both very silly indeed, and not backed up by any statistical evidence...
"as a Taser generates a permanent internal record and scatters forensically verifiable confetti every time it is discharged."
I didn't understand this comment, I plan to read once the birds have stopped singing again for the night.
If someone with a higher IQ than me can explain I would be eternally grateful.
I ain't Sparticus: "I've just spent 10 minutes searching, and I'm none the wiser."
Exactly. Try digging into the issue for two and a half years and maybe you'll catch up.
The list of the 470+ tasered_then_dead is on the 'Truth...Not Tasers' blog. The raw data has been plotted month-by-month (multiple times) on the 'Excited-Delirium' blog. The plot reveals many interesting trends, for example the relative risk of death from the older 1999-era M26 versus the newer 2003-era X26 (look at the jump starting 2003).
With respect to "safer than bullets", that misses about 99% of the issue. This is because tasers are used approximately 100 times as often as bullets ever were (varies widely, good round number). If tasers were only ever used to replace lethal gun-fire, then there would quite literally be nothing to complain about. There would be zero controversy. But that's not the situation.
Taser International makes claims that tasers do not, and can not, kill. Their claims are not limited to the devices being as risky as other options. Their claims are infinitely broader than that. And those stronger claims are clearly false and have led directly to overuse.
The blogs examining this issue run to thousands of posts. The arguments are sometimes very subtle, and it is very easy for a taser-issue newbie to be many years behind the debate.
David McMahon asked: "..."
Tasers have built-in recording chips. These have proven to be useful when the police claim they tasered the late-victim only once or twice for just a few seconds. But the recording indicates that they tasered the vicitim (for example) five times for 31 seconds. And the victim immediately (!) died of a cardiac issue.
When used in dart mode (as opposed to Touch Torture mode), the cartridges pooft out some serial numbers on bits of paper. This makes the devices traceable to the criminal. Except for the other 99% of the time when the crims use the devices in Touch Torture mode. It's another example of the promises being more than the ugly reality.
I hope this helps.
But a debate cannot be conducted in comment boxes. As I mentioned, the blogs run to thousands of posts covering every possible angle.
I was just raising questions. But I did find it worrisome that 10 minutes of searching turned up no definitive data (or even references to it existing).
I looked at the UK Home Office for example, who've got a study of the number of Taser uses, with no data as to the effects, or much focus on whether alternative restraint methods were possible. That seems to be what they laughably call the results of their trial, with decision to up the number of tasers deployed by our police.
Then I looked at Taser's own website. Which has a bunch of very powerpointy and not very scientific, executive summaries of US police department reports on taser deployment. None less than 4 years old.
I found lots of stuff on blogs, but didn't really look at it before, as I was looking for something more authoritative.
My conclusion was that either I was searching wrong, it's all not been published, or there's no proper research been done.
I had a quick look at the Truth not Tasers blog you mentioned, and that didn't look particularly scientific to me either. Perhaps there's more info on there, and it's just badly laid out.
But it's not just whether someone died after use of a taser, you need to look at whether they'd have died anyway (drug overdose for example), whether alternative methods of restraint would have been better/worse in that situation, and in fact whether it was co-incidental. For example I found the supposed first (only?) taser related death in the UK, where the person died 4 days after and the post mortem did not cite the taser as a cause. Whilst I'm not automatically going to take the government's word for everything, I want more than just a blogger saying, 'they were shot with a taser 4 days before they died, it must have been the taser what done it'.
Looking at a few anti-taser websites I've found the above possible UK taser death, and some listing none, and the Home Office figures to Sep 09 are 3,000 odd uses. That argues the taser is at least somewhat safe.
Without being able to find better data (I've only spent about half an hour on this today), my feeling is that this could be a policing problem, more than a taser problem. The UK, in limiting use mostly to specialist firearms officers - has had better control of taser use, and so a better outcome. I'll have to do more reading about the US. Some of the US police department studies showed drops in injuries to both suspects AND officers, and even drops in complaints when they shifted to taser use - but I've not read remotely enough to form a proper opinion.
However I've also read an awful lot of knee-jerk anti-tasery that's got even less basis in evidence than my opinions and questions stated above.
I think you have hit the nail on the head - the evidence just isn't available, if it exists at all. As far as I can tell, there have been no peer-reviewed articles published in reputable journals.
Since there is serious concern over the use of these things, and lives are at risk, they should be treated like drugs and medical devices, and not used until proven to be safer than the other options available, and then subject to rigorous review every time a death or serious incident occurs. This is a failing of regulation, and therefore government's fault.
How do you do a controlled trial on the effects of tasers versus physical restraint on Meth'd up violent criminals? You pretty much can't.
I very much doubt there is a safe way to detain someone in this state. Therefore you're picking from a list of bad options, and it's hard to impossible to determine which are the safest. Also you need to remember that we should be trying to ensure the safety of 2 parties here, the suspect and also the police.
The best way to ensure the safety of the police is to equip them with a standoff weapon, I believe they only currently available options are tasers or guns - I'm assuming net throwers and the like are still in development.
You then get down to some really complex calculations of how much risk to expose police officers to, as compared to the various risks to any detainee, adding in that I'm not even sure we've got accurate figures for the safety of choke holds, hitting people with big sticks and the like...
It may even be that this is all un-testable, and all you can do is keep changing your restraint methods and looking at annual total deaths and injuries injuries and get the figure as low as possible.
I still come back to my original point, that there seems to be a huge anti-Taser bandwagon (this is the only discussion where my comments keep getting down-voted, whenever they appear even slightly pro-taser). There may be a problem with Taser trying to make claims that their product is safer than it is, and that's a big problem if true, but I still think it's a valuable addition to police tools, and if there's a problem with it being abused that's a policing, not a taser, problem.
The Truth...Not Tasers blog captures the related news, and tracks 'The List Of The Dead' (taser-associated). The Excited-Delirium blog primarily shreds the pro-taser arguments for sport. With about 2000 posts each, there's a lot of potentially-important findings on these blogs.
But to be clear, it's not just random bloggers that have concluded that tasers can sometimes kill. The Canadian Braidwood Inquiry was a $4M public inquiry. One clear-cut conclusion was that, of course, tasers can kill and should therefore be treated as a serious weapon to be used only in serious circumstances. The Maryland Attorney General concluded that Taser International has been significantly understating the risks. The RCMP admitted that tasers can cause death, and have tightened up their policy.
If Taser International hadn't been so greedy, then they could have simply stated that use of tasers carries risks up to and including death. This would have cut into the sales of cartridges, but such a clear-cut warning probably would have given them real immunity. But they wanted the extra sales, and now they will pay the ultimate price.
By the way, the recent Taser Sheep Study reportedly used the wrong anesthetic (one with cardiac effects), thereby making the entire study (reportedly) worthless.
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