Wednesday, 17 June 2009

On Tasers...

TOTALLY blows my mind that the Police would release THIS statement. Anywho, they did, and OFF it goes. They didn't even say what a 'cycle' is or even offer 'we are investigating a malfunction'. Mate, hand the guy a noose and get it over with....Jesus.

I find it hard to believe a 'year old' copper would would effectively torture someone to death for 28 'cycles' without intervention from others on the scene. TWENTY EIGHT....twitch your finger like you're pulling a trigger 28 times...

What is a 'cycle'. It seems a 'cycle' is a pull - charge - and release of the trigger. That could be a microsecond long and up to 3 days long...

How do Tasers work?:

When you pull the trigger of a Taser gun, a blast of compressed nitrogen launches its two barbed darts at 55 meters per second, less than a fifth the speed of a bullet from a typical pistol. Each projectile, which weighs 1.6 grams, has a 9-millimeter-long tip to penetrate clothing and the insulating outer layer of skin. Two whisper-thin wires trail behind for up to 9 meters, forming an electrical connection to the gun.


The X26--the model commonly used by police departments--delivers a peak voltage of 1200 V to the body. Once the barbs establish a circuit, the gun generates a series of 100-microsecond pulses at a rate of 19 per second. Each pulse carries 100 microcoulombs of charge, so the average current is 1.9 milliamperes. To force the muscles to contract without risking electrocution, the signal was designed to exploit the difference between heart muscle and skeletal muscle.


Skeletal muscle constitutes 40 percent of a typical person's mass and is responsible for making your biceps flex, your fingers type, and your eyelids wink. It's organized into bundles of single-cell fibers that stretch from tendons attached to your skeleton.


...opening nearby ion channels that are triggered by voltage instead of by acetylcholine. As a result, a wave of voltage rolls outward along the fiber toward both ends of the muscle, moving as fast as 5 meters per second. As the voltage pulse spreads, it kick-starts the molecular machinery that contracts the muscle fiber.

By directly jolting the motor nerves with electricity, a Taser can stimulate the muscle and get the same effect.


The force with which a skeletal muscle contracts depends on the frequency at which its nerve fires. The amount of contraction elicited is proportional to the stimulation rate, up to about 70 pulses per second. At that point, called tetanus, contractions can be dangerously strong. [...] The Taser, with its 19 pulses per second, operates far enough from the tetanus region so that the muscles contract continuously but without causing any major damage.


To see just how different skeletal and heart muscles are, let's look at what it takes to seriously upset a heart's rhythm. Basically, there are two ways: by using a relatively high average current, or by zapping it with a small number of extremely high-current pulses.

In terms of average current, the 1.9 mA mentioned earlier is about 1 percent of what's needed to cause the heart of the typical male to fibrillate. So the Taser's average current is far from the danger zone for healthy human hearts.

As far as single-pulse current goes, the Taser is again in the clear. The heart's chronaxie is about 3 milliseconds--that's 30 times as long as the chronaxie of skeletal muscle nerves and the pulse lengths of a Taser. The single-pulse current required to electrocute someone by directly pulsing the most sensitive part of the heartbeat using 3-ms pulses is about 3 A. Because a Taser's 100-ms pulses are such a small fraction of the heart's chronaxie, it would take significantly higher current--on the order of 90 A--to electrocute someone using a Taser.


In the United States, about 670 people die each year under police restraint, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics. These incidents include arrests and attempts to control an uncooperative person who needs medical assistance, as well as suicides after arrest. Studies have shown that stun guns were used during about 30 percent of in-custody deaths in the United States. Although Tasers were involved in a sizable fraction of these deaths, one should not leap to the conclusion that Tasers caused them. One study found that 100 percent of in-custody deaths involved the use of handcuffs, and one might apply the same faulty logic to argue against ”killer cuffs,” but that would, of course, be absurd. Medical examiners have cited Tasers as the primary cause of death in only four cases to date, and three of those were later thrown out of court.

I think we'll find out it wasn't the Taser itself that was responsible for the guy's death. Put 20 bucks on it...anyone?.

Info gained from: HERE


  1. Above quotes were from Mark W. Kroll, an electrical engineer who has helped invent numerous electrical medical devices and who sits on the board of Taser International....

    Not saying he's wrong, but he's got an almighty vested interest in Tasers being accepted as legitimate tools of law enforcement. I'll take his opinion with a handful of salt. The second study sounds suspiciously like it was made to order, but that's supposition on my part.

    If the thing fired 28 times, and even half that many shots hit their target, it killed him. I'll take that bet.

  2. You'd think Mark W Kroll would have his finger on the pulse ('cuse the pun...again) when it comes to how they work then eh?. I'd personally would rather gain knowledge from an expert than the shit that's crackling ('cuse the pun) through the media. Haven't found anything disputing his statements. Point me in their direction if YOU do.

    I fucking hate the media.

    Twenny it is.

  3. Mate I've heard enough corporate spokespuppets telling us over the years that their products are safe. The tobacco industry. The car industry - Ford with their self-combusting Pinto where they decided it was cheaper to pay off the families of burns victims than engineer a solution to the things exploding in rear-enders. Big Pharma - in the last couple of years we've had the situation with Merck Pharmaceuticals withdrawing Vioxx, a heart drug they knew caused potentially fatal side effects but covered up the clinical trials evidence which proved it. It's my job to question stuff and I question this. If he's on their board, he's of them and he's left his engineering independence at the door. I'll say it again - I'm not saying he's wrong. But I am saying he's being highly selective. And if I was to believe what he'd have me believe, I'd want to hear it from an independent scientific source - not a guy from the board of the company who sells the device, whether he invented it or not. His view will be just as slanted as that of the media, some of whom are pressing for this to look like police brutality. But the 28 shots thing wasn't the media - as you say it was Qld police PR.

    To be honest I'm not interested enough to chase up the literature on this. I don't even care that much if the thing DID kill the guy. If the Taser log is telling the truth and the thing got fired 28 times - which is in disagreement with all the witness accounts from the officers - then the guy was well out of his gourd, was probably a danger to himself and may have been a danger to the officers involved. At that stage a bullet in self-defence is not unwarranted. The problem I have with Tasers is that because they're nonlethal they will get used for stuff that just doesn't warrant it. It's human nature and it's already happening in the States - that same IEEE article gave examples of it.

  4. "But the 28 shots thing wasn't the media - as you say it was Qld police PR."

    They said " had operated on 28 separate cycles during the course of this matter." You know what that means?. You a expert?. Are the media?. They sure as fuck think so. They're saying the victim was tasered 28 times when that is NOT a fact. IT CYCLED 28 times...that is all the police have said. Could he have been tasered 28 times?...yeah, it seems so, WAS he? one knows, excluding the copper who pulled the trigger and probably his partner.

    I'm not totally pro-tasers, I'm more pro-non-lethal, because the only other option you really have is shooting someone to stop them and then there's a FAR SIGHT less chance of them getting up.

    As for non-warranted use, that's TOTALLY at the discretion of the officer, as is shooting them, or spraying them. Do you have the same concerns about firearms in the hands of the police?. If so, how would you have them protect themselves and you and your family?.

  5. I've not read a single article where they said the victim HAD been Tasered 28 times. Maybe Murdoch's tabloid goons said it, but I deliberately don't read their shit and anyone who does deserves to have their intelligence insulted. I read Fairfax's take on it because they're generally (GENERALLY) less exploitational. In my view this is as fair and balanced a report as we're ever likely to get with the massive lack of actual knowledge at this stage.

    "Police initially said Mr Galeano was shot three times, but data recorded from the Taser has shown it operated on 28 separate cycles during the confrontation."

    And yes mate I do know what it means. I'm not an expert but I can figure that out. It means the thing went off. 28 times. What I'd like to know is why. Whether all, most or few of those cycles actually discharged into the late Mr Galeano.

    As for the firearms thing - separate issue. Tasers are supposed to be non lethal. Guns aren't. I live in NZ where rank and file coppers don't carry guns and as near as I can tell don't need to and get respected more for not doing so. The odds of them waving a firearm in my face are incredibly low, unless the AOS turn up at the wrong house. I prefer the NZ/UK system of dedicated firearms officers than arming every officer because I think it makes it easier for the police to do their job if the public respect them for the position they hold rather than fear them for the threat they possess. As well as concentrating quality firearms training in the hands of those who are trained and required to use armed force. But the system in Australia seems to work in that we don't have a disproportionate number of people killed by rank-and-file police gunfire - setting aside that spate of shootings in Victoria in the 90s - so I wouldn't advocate your average Constable Care in Oz having his gun taken off him, but I'd rather NZ kept the system it has.

    In terms of experts, I side most closely with the RMIT Professor quoted in the BT story. Everyone in the story has an agenda to push - which is why balancing each of them is key in the reporting of it - and he's probably little different, he has his research profile to build upon and this is clearly his field, so a bit of self promotion isn't out of the question. That said, he's more likely to be dealing in scientific facts than the rest of 'em.

  6. Can I interrupt here a second? Obviously something went wrong, but in the end, the situation called for someone to be restrained, and rather than have yet another cops family grow up without a dad, the boys took action. I don't condone a death, but I condone even less the death of a cop.
    This person made the decision to not come quietly, his choice. No one forced him to act the way he did. These are the results of that decision.

  7. Yeah, no one deserves to die, ESPECIALLY someone doing their job, but if the guy didn't resist we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  8. Yob ~ Read the link and can't really disagree with your RMIT mate. Thing is, if you can't use them more than once safely then they may as well be taken away. If some drugged up 6 foot something and bullet proof fuckwad is going off all he needs to know is that cops can only hit him once then it's all on.

    When THAT happens we'll be talking about cops causing physical injuries or shooting them to subdue naked knife weilding crazies on crack.

  9. Hey I've got no prob with cops doing whatever it takes to protect their own lives or that of other peeps. Guns, tasers, whatever - all bets are off when it's genuine self defence. Problem is I don't know if that was the case here, but it'll come out in the wash. Looks like the QPS are desperately keen to appear transparent on this one - hence admitting to the 28 cycles thing rather than not annoucing it and having someone in the media unearth it later, to much greater controversy - so the report will be made public I'd say.

  10. I agree. They blurted it tho IMO. It's like they threw him into the line of fire to see if he was bullet proof.

  11. I edited the news this morning and covered this story. At no point did we say "He WAS tased over 20 times".

    We said "data downloaded from the device suggests he MAY have been hit at least 20 times."

    Then we went onto the "went through 28 cycles" when police released that.

    You may think it's a small difference

  12. ...sorry, forgot to finish line.

    You may think it's a small difference, but it's an important one. ;)

    Sorry, tiredness...

  13. Okay, I’m not going to be drawn into the main argument, but just to say how I’d interpret ‘cycles’ in this context.

    I would imagine the number of cycles is the number of times the capacitor (which would be used to store the high-voltage charge, in much the same way as in an electronic flashgun) is charged and discharged.

    When a Taser is fired, the barbs (a) have to hit the target in such a way as to penetrate the skin, and (b) remain embedded in the skin – not pulling loose into the clothing, for example.

    I have no idea what the truth of the matter is, but if my interpretation is correct, it would be possible for the Taser to go through 28 charges without the victim receiving an electric shock AT ALL. The number of times he received an actual, full discharge of the Taser is, I would imagine, not possible to know. It wouldn’t be like counting bullet holes.

    This is pure hypothesis, but I’m going to suggest that in a situation like this, the police officers firing Tasers are not going to be certain how many effective ‘shocks’ the gun delivers. Sure, if the target goes straight down and stays down they know, but otherwise they will tend to operate on the ‘keep going until he stays still’ principle.

    Lastly, with all due respect to the press, they are not technical or scientific experts: I doubt if many reporters can tell you how human nerves operate, never mind a Taser. In cases like this they should stick to quoting official reports only, unless they are completely confident they know what they’re talking about.

  14. People are dying all over the place from tasers. Here's just one story:

  15. GC ~ I heard on the news last night that he WAS Tased UP TO 28 times. Yeah, there's a caveat with the 'UP TO' bit but the average Joe 'Today Tonight' Schmuck is only going to see 28 times'. Not once have I heard from you - YES YOU lol - that the Police were ALSO looking in to see if the Taser was functioning correctly. Mr Police Officer should get THAT caveat on his credibility until PROVEN otherwise.

    Simon ~ Can't disagree with ya.

    Kate ~ People dying all over the place?...Just looked outside....nope, none there.

  16. maybe they were testing it out to see if it tickles after the first initial *ZAP*

    I wonder if they went through training to be certified to use non-lethal devices..they first have to experience them firsthand..IE a trainer zapping them with a "Taser" or pepper spray..


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