One Study About TASER® Safety Puts 50 Others In Perspective

Law enforcement officer tasers suspect.: image via cruchgear.comLaw enforcement officer tasers suspect.: image via Zap!  Zap!  Watching a guy get tasered is scarier to many of us than watching someone get shot. Conductive electricity causes jolts to the body that are spectacularly empathic. 

Supposedly scientific studies on the safety of TASER weapons have been conducted for most of the decade, but now a team of cardiologists at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have assessed some 50 of them to see how 'scientific' they were.

In a research abstract presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's 32nd annual Scientific Sessions, researchers from the cardiac electrophysiology and cardiology divisions of UCSF's Department of Medicine divided the outcomes of the studies into four groups: harmful, probably harmful, unlikely harmful and not harmful. 

Results of this categorization revealed that in 96 percent of the studies funded by TASER International Inc. or authored by someone affiliated with the company (23 studies) TASERs were categorized as 'unlikely harmful' or 'not harmful.'  In contrast, of the 27 studies not affiliated with TASER, only 55 percent of the studies indicated that the TASERS were 'unlikely harmful' or 'not harmful.'

Were some of the studies biased or were the results coincidental?

There has been an ongoing controversy about the safety of stun guns, and TASERS in particular, as they are the most popular and used by many law enforcement agencies.  The high voltage from the devices can cause cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack or complete cardiac arrest, particularly in predisposed individuals.  According to the website Truth Not Tasers, which has followed TASER deaths since 2004, a total of 658 North Americans died (coincidentally) after being tasered as of April 25, 2011. (see comment below).

sources:  Medical Xpress, Suburban Emergency Management Project, Crunch Gear, Truth Not Tasers, Wikipedia



May 10, 2011
by T Goodman


Thanks very much for providing further clarity!

T. Goodman

May 10, 2011
by Anonymous

Taser's Safety

How many have died shortly after being taken into police custody, without being Tasered?

May 10, 2011
by Anonymous

Wrong question!

"How many have died shortly after being taken into police custody, without being Tasered?"

How many have died at the "Taser! Taser! Taser!" warning? According to the preposterous theory that taser proximal deaths have nothing to do with the taser jolt, the rate of coincidental death immediately before and immediately after the taser jolt should be constant per unit time. It isn't, not even close, not even within several orders of magnitude. The taser has a "Curious Temporal Asymmetry" that *clearly* indicates that taser usage are significantly linked in a cause and effect relationship with taser "proximal" (alwats after) deaths.

May 10, 2011
by Anonymous

Look up the 1 May 2010 Taser International Training Pkg

As of 1 May 2010, Taser International quietly changed their official, legal position on taser safety. Their training package issued that date shifted to a position that admits that taser can caused cardiac and other effects that are dangerous and potentially lethal. Up to that point they had, for example, claimed that their late-2009 advice to "avoid the chest" was simply to "avoid the controversy about cardiac effects." As of 1 May 2010, the wording was changed to add "avoid the risk" of cardiac effects. These fork-tongue stun gun salesmen actually believe that the critics aren't paying attention and documenting these subtle changes in the wording as they ever-so-slowly and ever-so-subtly abandon their previous claims of taser safety.

Also, TASER INTERNATIONAL SETTLED WITH BUTLER FOR $3M for Butler's brain damage caused by the cardiac effects induced by the taser. Butler survived, but with permanent brain damage.

May 15, 2011
by Anonymous

Lotta bunk here . . .

Ahem...even Amnesty International's anti-Taser report (December 2008) mentioned that the number of sudden arrest-related deaths had not increased as Taser deployment and use became very prolific throughout law enforcement in the 2000's. That's a clue, folks. There are hundreds of sudden arrest-related deaths per year, and continue to be such, before and after Tasers became prolific. As Bill Clinton would have said, "It's the drugs, stupid." Plus schizophrenia/bi-polar disease, and lots of obesity/bad-heart releated cases. With or without Tasers. Since drug-related emergency-room visits and obesity are both on the increase, simple logic points to continued, perhaps increased, numbers of sudden arrest-related deaths. Again, with or without Tasers. For those who wish to take away Tasers, which have proven for three decades to result in fewer and less severe injuries to officers and suspects than virtually any other police tool or tactic, kindly suggest a safer alternative. Or invent one. Because so far, there isn't one.