The Trouble with Tasers
An April 30 study, published in the American Heart Association’s online magazine Circulation, verified what Static and a lot of other people have known for a long time: Taser weapons can cause fatal heart attacks. The study, by Dr. Douglas P. Zipes, a cardiologist at the Indiana University School of Medicine, analyzed the medical records of eight people who lost consciousness after being jolted with the Taser X26. Seven of those died. Cause? Heart attacks due to interrupted heart rhythms produced by those weapons.
In 2009, Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani came to a similar conclusion in the case of Michael Jacobs Jr., who had been blasted by a Fort Worth police officer’s Taser twice, for 49 seconds and again for five seconds. Peerwani attributed the death of the 24-year-old to “sudden death during neuromuscular incapacitation due to the application” of the Taser.
Over the years, Taser International has changed its position from claiming that the weapons they make are non-lethal to “less lethal.” The company even began recommending in 2009 that law enforcement should avoid direct hits to the heart area. (You think?)
Mark Haney, a Fort Worth attorney who has dealt with Taser International, said, “The company has historically resisted independent product review, even suing medical examiners who attributed deaths to Taser weapons. So I’m pleased to see independent analysis being done on the dangers of the product.”
It’s a Virtual Award
Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators cheered last Friday as a representative from the “Texas Corporate Power Partnership” presented them with the “Corporate Power Tool Award” for allowing big business to “maximize profits regardless of what the public of this nation — or any other nation — thinks.”
Truth is, the “partnership” and award were all part of a prank, pulled off primarily by Occupy Dallas protesters, to shine a light on exploitative trade agreements promoted by mega-corporations through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which met at Dallas’ Omni Hotel last week. (Public and consumer advocates were locked out.)
Despite tight security, protesters disguised as delegates gained access and got local puppeteer David Goodwin to the podium, where he introduced himself as “Git Haversall” and tried to deliver the award. Kirk, now the U.S. Trade Representative, attempted to accept before federal agents interceded.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement between the U.S. and several countries in South America and Southeast Asia. Protesters say it will expand corporate rights while undermining environmental and health laws, sending millions more American jobs offshore, and flooding the U.S. with untested food products. Expect to hear more about this one in the future.
Check out the video at yeslab.org/tpp.