The RCMP has reportedly changed its policy to reduce Taser use to situations where a suspect is “combative” or “actively resistant”. This comes after an interim report issued by Paul Kennedy, the chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.

The CPC recommendations have addressed one problem; “usage creep”, or police overuse of Tasers, but they continue to ignore the elephant in the room, namely, the dangers of the weapons themselves.

Mr. Kennedy’s report contains no analysis of the nearly 300 deaths proximate to Taser use nor any reference to the fact that there are no testing protocols or safety standards fopr these weapons.

In my view, the report should have recommended a moratorium on Taser use pending electrical safety testing of a random number of the weapons and further rigorous independent study of the potential dangers of the electroshock weapons.

Based on my study of the circumstances surrounding Taser-related fatalities, the following common denominators emerge:

-agitated or distressed victims

-multiple shocks, usually including “drive-stun” application(s)

-no evident cause of death

Getting hit with the Taser’s 50,000 volts is a bit like getting hit by a bolt of lightening; everyone gets knocked down, some survive the experience, while a few don’t, with no apparent medical explanation for the unlucky fatalities.

A lot more work needs to be done, by experts unconnected with TASER International Inc. or its cheerleaders in law enforcement, before these weapons can be considered acceptable.

Here is a list of the last dozen to die, all since Robert Dziekanski succumbed:

October 14, 2007; Donald Clark, Asheville, North Carolina

October 17, 2007; Quilem Registre, 39, Montreal, Quebec (no. 285)

November 2, 2007: Stefan McMinn, 44, Hendersonville, North Carolina

November 18, 2007: Jesse Saenz, 20, New Mexico

November 18, 2007: Jarrel Gray, 20, Frederick, Maryland

November 18, 2007: Christian Allen, 21, Jacksonville, Florida

November 20, 2007: Conrad Lowman, Jacksonville, Florida

November 22, 2007: Howard Hyde, 45, Halifax, Nova Scotia

November 24, 2007: Robert Knipstrom, 36, Chilliwack, British Columbia

November 29, 2007: Ashley R. Stephens, 28, Ocala, Florida

November 30, 2007: Cesar Silva, 32, Los Angeles, California

December 10, 2007: Leroy Patterson Jr., 41, Watson County, Georgia