Rant of the Week

Delirium of Tasered Excitement


Have you heard about the new medical condition that causes people in police custody to suddenly die?  It's called "excited delirium" and it is exacerbated by "multiple drug toxicity".   It also, don't you know, actually gives people "super human" strength.  I'll bet you thought that only happened in comic books!

Now, if you had a number of men who were drunk or high, and loud and abrasive, or experienced a sudden influx of superhuman strength, there are many unfortunate things that could happen to them but one of the least likely-- and veritably unknown before the use of the taser-- is sudden death. 

But if you had an equal number of men who were tasered repeatedly by the police, then thrown to the ground, hand-cuffed, and tasered again, we know you will likely have a few deaths.  In those cases, we hereby declare that the deaths are caused by contagious "excited delirium" exacerbated by "multiple drug toxicity".  The superhuman strength is of no avail in these situations.

I'll bet that right now, if you are a cop with a taser, you are making a point of memorizing the phrase: "excited delirium" and "multiple drug toxicity".

 Some day, those words might save your career.

And I'll bet you didn't know that "excited delirium" is not a real condition.  It was invented by the taser industry to explain those inconvenient deaths of people being tasered.


Lest you think I am anti-cop...  I'm not.  I'm only against bad policing. 


I just  saw a documentary on Frontline about a group of cops in New Orleans called to a bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina because a man was seen with a gun.  Now, first of all, this IS America: what's the problem?  Oh wait-- he was a black man.  Okay, so the cops pull up in a rented cube van, two in the front and about eight in the back where they couldn't see what was happening.  As they are pulling up-- I'm not making this up-- one of the cops in the front fires a warning shot.  Seriously.  A warning shot.  The rest of the cops in the back think there is something happening so they quickly jump out of the truck and take positions and carefully assess the situation to try to determine where the shots are coming from, how many gunman are involved, if there are any civilians in the line of fire, and how best to ensure public safety in the face of the threat. 

Hoo ha!  Had you! Just kidding, of course. 

Actually, they jumped out of the van, guns a'blazin', and shot wildly in all directions.  Eight people were hit, two of them fatally.  Fortunately, no dangerous guns were found.  At least, not on the civilians.

Well.  Cops are under a lot of stress, you know, what with all the bizarre  super humans with excited delirium going around.  My theory is that these guys on the bridge were displaying symptoms of "prescient excited delirium with multiple inactivity inversion".  

[Update: 2011-08-05. Apparently, the five officers involved have been convicted of... well, did you think they would be convicted of murder? No. They were convicted of various civil rights offenses, and covering up the shooting. They still complain bitterly that even though Ronald Madison was running away from them at the moment he was shot, he still probably would have had a gun if he could have and would have turned around fired it at police if he had been what the New Orleans police thought he was.... wait--]

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