Eddie Griffin Speaks at JFK Museum

Eddie Griffin Speaks at JFK Museum

Friday, April 4, 2014

Using Public Education as a Political Football



To: FWISD Walter Dansby & School Board Members

From: Eddie Griffin, Child Rights Advocate

 

RE: Education as a Political Football

 

 

Dear Mr. Dansby,

 

As a former PTA President, school system volunteer, and often critic of our schools, I have spent the past 20 years working to improve our children’s education. But, as I observed from the beginning, there have always been too many cooks in the kitchen giving advice on the subject. As a consequence, we were slow to embrace technology in the classroom; and once technological advances helped us bridge the digital divide, we were slow to embrace online education and using internet tools to help close the achievement gap. Also, we have been hindered by low graduation rates due, in part, to a lack of classroom management which led to the ill-fated creation of Zero Tolerance policies that has since evolved into the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

 

Now one of the principal architects behind the failed zero tolerance policies, a former covert CIA agent who uses early nineteenth century eugenic pseudoscience, is being cited for his ideas on how to improve the education system in Texas. The most dangerous part about his ideas is scapegoating the parents of students for their lack of involvement in the school system and scapegoating the students for the breakdown in classroom discipline. Blaming the parents and the students is a popular idea among the more conservative members of our society, and even among some of us. This is why author and consultant Charles A. Murray is being cited in gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s Pre-K Education plan.

 

If Abbott’s plan looks and sounds good, it is only because it borrows from a smorgasbord of ideas we have already thoroughly explored, particularly in our Malcolm Baldridge Continuous Improvement model. And, I have always been a believer in starting where we are, and not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, lock, stock, and barrel, and starting over to reinvent the wheel by siphoning off valuable resources for public education and putting them into experimental charter school programs which, to date, have had dubious mixed results. This new Pre-K Education plan proposes to use Best Practices in the classroom, which we have already been investigating, and it undermines the structure of the public education system in favor of privatizing the system.

 

The premise of these ideas, and the starting point of Charles Murray’s ideologies, begins with this quote: Family background has the most decisive effect on student achievement, contributing to a large performance gap between children from economically disadvantaged families and those from middle class homes,” which is cited by Abbott from Murray's book Real Education.

 

Such a statement seems so simple and self-evident enough that Mr. Abbott needed no Murray citation. But taking a closer look, we see more of Mr. Murray’s eugenics idea than Mr. Abbott’s education plan.

 

Notice, it dichotomizes the “economically disadvantaged families” from “middle class homes” and it alludes to the popular stigma about the “family background” of the lesser being the cause of the academic performance gap. Many people believe this. Therefore, in order to address the ineffectiveness of the public school system, they suggest that we should look at the dynamics within the dysfunctional poor families and their background.

 

It is also interesting that Murray contrast the term “economically disadvantaged families” with “middle class homes”, with the latter being the ideal “home”, and the other not really constituting what might be called a home. We, on the other hand, never automatized family as an isolated unit in society, but always promoted the concept “It takes a village to raise a child”. However, it is apparent that not all people concur with the village concept. Murray’s ideas, from his previously published works, promote the notion that genetics is the cause of low academic achievement. And that is what separates us.

 

Therefore, this makes us very suspicious of what Murray means by “family background”, and what aspects of family background does he infers leads to low achievement in academics, and why he states in Real Education argues that “students with lower IQ's are not as educable as smarter children and should be siphoned off to vocational programs instead of sent to college”, and that “only 10 to 20 percent of young adults are capable of doing college-level work.” Is he ignoring the empirical fact that a good education can turn low-performing students into high achievers?

 

For Murray, low-IQ is immutable because it is based on genetic factors, such as brain size. However, these ideas of eugenic factors being attributable to the cause of poverty and low-IQ and immoral parental lifestyles are not new. Thomas Malthus, in his book Principle of Population (1798), uses the same pseudoscience in his argument against the Poor Laws of England, predicated upon the Social Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest”. He argued that the poor people of England were genetically inferior to the rich. In later revisions, he expanded this argument to include the darker races being inferior to the lighter races, based upon a genetic hierarchy. Moreover, Malthus argued that helping the poor through welfare would move valuable resources out the economy, which would reduce money available to pay wages, and given to the unworthy and unfit, which in turn, would provide incentives for laziness, immorality, increase in the birth of illegitimate children, and discourage people from saving for old age or illness.

 

Needless to say, these are popular notions in our society today, especially in the stigmatization of poor minority families.

 

Notice the similarities between the Social Darwinians and the Malthusian theories of the early nineteenth century, and the central thesis of Charles Murray’s 1984 book Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–1980. In it, he proposes all government welfare programs should be abolished, supposedly because welfare hurts the very people it was intended to help by “rewarding bad behavior” such as “illegitimate babies.” He also called for ending food stamp programs.

 

Murray's most famous and controversial book, “The Bell Curve (1994), co-authored with Richard Herrnstein, promoted racial eugenics theories claiming that whites and Asians are genetically superior in intelligence to blacks and Latinos.

 

The Southern Poverty Law center writes: “In Murray’s world, wealth and social power naturally accrue towards a ‘cognitive elite’ made up of high-IQ individuals (who are overwhelmingly white, male, and from well-to-do families), while those on the lower end of the eponymous bell curve form an ‘underclass’ whose misfortunes stem from their low intelligence.

 

Recently Murray wrote:No woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world's great philosophical traditions… Women have produced a smaller number of important visual artists, and none that is clearly in the first rank. No female composer is even close to the first rank. Social restrictions undoubtedly damped down women’s contributions in all of the arts, but the pattern of accomplishment that did break through is strikingly consistent with what we know about the respective strengths of male and female cognitive repertoires.”

 

The term Cognitive repertoires signify another way of saying the genetic God-given brain size and capacity to learn.

 

According to some research of Charles Murray’s own background, his career peaked in the Vietnam War years (1965-71) in Thailand, first as a Peace Corps worker, and then, from 1968 onward, in a Pentagon-contracted counterinsurgency program run by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), which operated under the cover of academic anthropology research. In 1970, the New York Review of Books exposed the AIR program in Thailand where Murray worked in covert military counter-insurgency program ran by the Department of Defense's research and development agency ARPA, in cooperation with the CIA.

 

A 1970 Ramparts magazine investigation into counter-insurgency operations described it as a “behavior control” program through crop destruction against a rebellious minority hill tribe, the Meo, during the period that Murray participated in the counter-insurgency program in rural Thailand.

 

And now, this man, Charles Murray, with these ideas and pattern of practices, is being touted as an expert is education. We should be offended and kicking ourselves for not doing better and allowing these misguided notions to take parlance in our discussion on Education.

 

It seems as though we have lost sight on what is first and foremost: Education should teach our children HOW TO THINK, to become problem-solvers, as oppose to those who believe education is about teaching children WHAT TO THINK. With the ability to think, children of today are empowered with the capabilities of solving tomorrow’s real world problems. Knowing only what to think leads them down blind channels over which they have no control or input, to a destination unknown.

 

The Charles Murray model of Education is not about educating, but rather about controlling the system of Education. Some people buy into the idea that regaining control of the classroom is our most important objective. We think otherwise.

 

Sincerely,

 

Eddie Griffin

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Abortion Barbie?


To: Rush Limbaugh

From: Eddie Griffin

 

Why do you call my state senator Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie”? Is it the color of her hair, or because she filibustered an amendment to the Texas Abortion Law? Or, is it both?

 

I consider your usage of term “Abortion Barbie” a slur, not against Wendy Davis but the Barbie doll, and against the little girls that grew up adoring her. It is reminiscent of the days of Goldie Hawn on Laugh In when she was typecast as the “dumb blond”. Beauty without a brain was a typical locker room joke among boys about blonds back in the day. Not only was this blond stereotype perceived being not very smart, but she was also portrayed on the movie screen as the poor helpless maiden who always fainted at the first hint of danger, or the girl tied to the railroad track screaming for help from some chauvinist hero. Do you remember?

 

So what are you saying? Are you insinuating that Wendy Davis is a dumb blond, fearful and weak and a helpless maiden in a man’s world, just because she does not wave around her Texas six-shooter as a macho posture in the gun rights debate?

 

Really, I beg your pardon, sir. Wendy Davis did not get into her position as a leader of our community for any of the above reasons. She is proven. She has defied the odds and been victorious in battle.

 

As a constituent of Texas Senate District 10 and a friend of Wendy Davis, let me not lose sight of the fact that a slur against her is a slight against all her constituents, who voted for her, and love and adore her for her courage.

 

SECONDLY: As for the Abortion Issue, it seems to me that FOX News and other you other outside media come into our state in the 9th inning and want to coach the rest of the ball game. It only goes to show your ignorance of the fight in Texas over abortion, which has been going on for a long time before you Johnny-come-lately got here. Start with the fact that Texas already has an abortion law. Are you surprise? It is authorized under the state’s Health and Safety Code, which was enacted in 2003, and amended in 2011 and 2013.

 

Sec. 171.003 reads: An abortion may be performed only by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state.

 

Like it or not, the first five words say it all: An abortion may be performed. The law dictates the terms and conditions under which a doctor can administer an abortion in Texas. For example, in a situation where the life and health of a pregnant mother hangs in the balance and a decision has to made whether to save the unborn child or the mother, who should make the call as to which one lives and which one dies? I do not believe politicians are equipped to make that decision. It is a decision to be made only by a woman, her husband, and her doctor. Spiritual counseling helps.

 

If there is a starting point in this abortion debate, it would begin with the Texas 78th Legislature and a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry. All of this Pro-Life versus Pro-Abortion juxtaposing is nothing but a false dichotomy created by the media for political entertainment. The real problem arises, not between pro and con factions, but the wording of the law as it is written.

 

For example: In the 2013 amendment SB 5, Sec. 171.061(9), the law defines an “Unborn child” to mean “an offspring of human beings from conception until birth.” Under the 2003 law, Sec. 171.061(4) defines the “Gestational age” to mean “the amount of time that has elapsed since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.” Sec. 171.016(a) speaks of “gestational increments” measured “from the time when a woman can be known to be pregnant to full term.” Moreover, Sec. 171.041, which is cited as “Preborn Pain Act”, in subsection (1), Post-fertilization age means “the age of the unborn child as calculated from the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum.” In other words, for the purpose of the law, pregnancy begins when the sperm fertilizes the ovary egg.

 

Most women do not know that they are pregnant after missing one menstrual cycle. Some delay until after the second missed cycle. But by then she is legally pregnant, which means that provisions and restrictions of the law kick in. The so-called morning-after pill RU-486 then falls under the strict regulations of state law, though it is approved for distribution by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

 

Those who believe that the life of an unborn child begins at the fertilization of an egg are counting their chickens before they hatch. And, for those who believe in the bible, they should know that life begins before biological conception. As God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5). In other words, God knows each of us before we are born. However, we do not become a “living soul” until God breaths into us the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). If life is meant to be, God will make it happen. Otherwise, man is in error if he thinks that he can will life into existence.

 

There was just such case in Wendy Davis’ district which proved the fallacy of man’s thinking that God’s will is for every conception to come to life. The case centered on Erick Muñoz and his late wife Marlise, who died during the earliest stage of her pregnancy. The man fought for the right to lay his wife to rest and have some closure for his grief. But the Texas abortion law prevented it. Therefore, the woman’s corpse was kept on life support for two agonizing months, while political opportunists championed a misguided cause for a right-to-life for an embryo that was still at the developmental stage of a tadpole. Why? Because the law defined an unborn child at the point of conception, doctors were forbidden from terminating the pregnancy.

 

As Marlise Muñoz’s corpse decayed, the more deformed the fetus. Eventually, God prevailed. But it would seem that under Sec. 171.002(3) and Sec. 171.0124(c) of the law that the doctors could have terminated the pregnancy on the basis of “medical emergency” provisions. But the punitive sanctions in the law would put the doctors at risk of being charged with a misdemeanor under Sec. 171.018 and fined $10,000 and possibly losing their license to practice medicine, insofar as the Texas Medical Board was given the police power to enforce this law (Sec. 171.062).

 

Nevertheless, we have found that once a law is on the books, it is rarely abolished. Rather, it is eroded over time by new amendments. Likewise, the Abortion of Law of Texas has been changed quite a bit since its 2003 origin.

 

Another example: The law alludes to the victims of rape and incest, but makes no exceptions to its strictures except under Sec. 171.046 (a) where the life and health of the mother is jeopardized, and Sec. 171.046 (c) where an abortion can be performed “on an unborn child who has a severe fetal abnormality”.

 

The law does not forbid any woman from getting an abortion, as long as it complies with the aforementioned constrictions upon doctors. But the only specific provision for victims of rape or incest is Sec. 171.012(2) (C), which says:

 

… (2) the physician who performs the abortion or the physician’s agent informs the pregnant woman that: (C) public and private agencies provide pregnancy prevention counseling and medical referrals for obtaining pregnancy prevention medications or devices, including emergency contraception for victims of rape and incest.

 

What need does a victim of rape and incest have for “emergency contraception”? To insure that she does not get pregnant the next time she is violated?

 

The big deal with the outside media has been focused on Wendy Davis’ filibuster against the 20-weeks Post-Fertilization prohibition in Subchapter C. If people had ears to hear, instead of their preconceived ideas, they would have heard Wendy herself say that the 20-week restriction was the least of the problems with the law. In fact, in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “She has said she would have backed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy if parts of the law had been different.”

 

This list above is only a few of the flaws. Again: The severability clause in Sec. 171.048 provides that if any part of the law is found to be unconstitutional by the federal court, all other portions of the law remains in effect. And if the court “declines to impose the saving construction described by this subsection, the Supreme Court of Texas shall provide an authoritative construction of the objectionable statutory provisions that avoids the constitutional problems while enforcing the statute's restrictions to the maximum possible extent.” In other words, if any part of the law is deemed unconstitutional by some lawsuit, the state of Texas will fix the discrepancy itself, no thanks to any outside interference from the courts and the federal government. Nothing changes in the intent of the law.

 

The 2003 law originally provided for the publication and distribution of information “designed to inform the pregnant woman of public and private agencies and services that “are available to assist a woman through pregnancy, childbirth, and the child’s dependency”, according to Sec. 171.015(1) (A). This indexed list would have included agencies like Planned Parenthood which provided a full range of healthcare services for poor women, including cancer screening, mammograms, and counseling, besides making medical referrals for abortions. But the 2010 amendment narrowed the list to only adoption agencies and excluded all agencies that made referrals for abortion, no matter how medically necessary- See Sec. 171.015(1) (B-C). Moreover, in anticipation of future mass closings of Planned Parenthood facilities, the law provided certain waivers for expectant mothers who had to travel more than 100 miles to receive the same medical services that they previously had been receiving at their neighborhood clinics.

 

No, Texas does not prohibit abortions as many outsiders think. Instead, it concentrates abortion-related services into the hands of fewer medical practices, in certain geographical areas of the state, and only for those who can afford to travel back and forth over a great distances to receive it.

 


 

 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Prayer for Erick Muñoz



Our prayers go out Erick Muñoz for the healing of his family, now that he can finally lay his wife to rest. Of course, it may be of little consequence the court ruling gave him no comfort, only relief.

 

It is tragedy enough to lose a wife and an unborn child. But this tragedy is compounded by people like the Texas Alliance for Life in Austin who issued a statement saying it was saddened by the judge’s order to take Marlise Muñoz off life support:

 

“The decision fails to recognize the interests of the unborn child, who is a separate patient,” the statement said. “We believe the intent of the legislature, as expressed numerous places in Texas law, is to protect the lives of unborn children to the greatest extent possible.”

 

There is something missing here between the ears called common sense. What did they expect? Did they imagine that a female corpse, after 2 months into rigor mortis, to carry a 22-week old fetus to term, while it is already in the process of mutating? Mr. Muñoz only mentioned his heart sickness having to endure the stench of his wife’s rotting flesh, while on hospital visits. As she mortifies, the fetus deteriorates. But had the Texas Alliance for Life had its way, this could have gone on for seven more months.

 

We forget that God made us, and not we ourselves (Psalms 100:3). Who would overrule God to create life where there is no life? No matter our fortunate journey from sperm to worm, until God breathes into us the breath of life, we cannot become a living soul (Genesis 2:7). The body is not the spirit, and without the spirit the body is dead. And the dead cannot raise the living. And a dead womb cannot bring forth life.

 

Marlise Muñoz is decaying. In a short while, her remains will turn to dust and skeleton, and only her memory remains. Who, then, can raise the dust to life? Or bring life up out of the dust? Can a dead Egyptian mommy give birth simply because their embalmed bodies are preserved?

 

What is disturbing is those who would preserve life do very little to support it. Otherwise, we would pave the way for the next generation of healthy babies, and reduce the infant mortality rate. Would these same people fight for life, with the same zeal as they fight for the right to life? Would they fight for adequate health care and food, as hard as they fight for a dead woman to give birth?

 

When Job cried out, “Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light? (Job 3:16)”, he makes us realize that if it is the will of God, then a child is born. If not, the unborn remains as an infant “who never saw the light”.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Letter of Thanks to Wendy Davis from Eddie Griffin

 
From: Briana Russell, born January 14, 2014

Dear Wendy,

 

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit me at my home on this past Christmas Eve and bringing presents for my grandchildren. You were there for us when the hope of Christmas was the most dismal, and the life of my unborn grandchild hung in perils. You were the answer to our prayers. May the Lord bless you, your family, and your team for answering the desperate cry for help from me and my family, and moreover for your sweet and kind words of consolations to the destitute.

The last of your gift cards went to buy my newborn granddaughter some baby formula. Briana Russell was born on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, a healthy child and blessed, thanks, in part, to a fairy godmother that lifted a burden off an old man’s shoulders and saved Christmas for her family, before she was born.

 
 
 
Praise to the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever.


I give thanks also to the Everman Church of Christ family who also heard our cry and came to our rescue. It is hard on the eyes of an old man to see his grandchildren homeless, with another on the way... stranded on the streets in the middle of an ice storm. And, I shuttered at the thought of my daughter-in-law, eight months expectant, trying to navigate on 4-inch thick ice, in soaked wet cold tennis shoes, trying to move their stuff from a rented motel room, after money ran out, in search of somewhere else to go. Had the mother slipped and fallen on the ice, we would have no doubt lost the baby.



Tears are hard to come by, for a prideful old man. But when I see Baby Briana’s sweet and innocent face, realizing she knows nothing of how she got here, I break down.

On the first Sunday of her life, the baby was in the church nursery, watched over by her angel and a loving and caring saint, a Sunday teacher who knew the weary young mother needed a surrogate for just a little while to rest.

I remembered looking into the eyes of a worried 5-year sister-to-be, when times were bleakest, and grandpa promised her that everything was going to be alright, when there seemed to be no way, no how.


But blessed be the name of the Lord, for he is wonderful and does marvelous things. Now grandpa has some peace and relief from his anxieties.

As a footnote: When the picture above was taken of grandpa and the baby, I was talking to her, telling her about a fairy godmother named Wendy who saved her family’s Christmas just before she was born.




 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Taser Death ruled Natural Causes

by Eddie Griffin

 

-Excerpts from Star-Telegram “Heart disease, not Taser, killed Fort Worth man, autopsy finds”, September 4, 2013

 

A Fort Worth man who died in May after police shocked him with a Taser during a drug raid died of natural causes, the Tarrant County medical examiner has ruled. The shock from the Taser did not contribute to the death of 34-year-old Jermaine Darden, said Linda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office…

 

The medical examiner’s office ruled Darden’s cause of death as “sudden cardiac death” due to heart disease and “application of restraint”…

 

Anderson said “application of restraint” refers to Darden’s hands being handcuffed behind him. She said, however, that forensic pathologists believe that being handcuffed had no impact on Darden’s death and that he could have died of heart disease even if he’d not been restrained.

 

According to the autopsy report, officers used the Taser on Darden twice — for five seconds each time — after he failed to comply with instructions during the execution of the search warrant.

 

A team of forensic pathologists reviewed the case, including video that showed Darden being stunned with the Taser and continuing to struggle. 

 

 

COMMENTARY by Eddie Griffin

 


So they say: It was not the taser that killed Jermaine Darden, and neither did the handcuff restraints contribute to his death. He could have died of a heart attack on his own. Therefore, the Fort Worth police officers were only incidental in his death. After a four months investigation, this is what they come up with.
 

 
If anyone believes this, they are “hoodwinked”, as Malcolm X would say.


NO! We will not believe it. We need to see the video tape, because there are discrepancies between the official reports and the eyewitnesses accounts. Isn’t this the reason why Police Chief Jeff Halstead purchased the taser video cameras, so there would be more transparency? Pictures don't lie. But medical examiners have been known to concoct a fabricated cause of death. How can the ME conclude that “maybe” Darden would have died on his own? "Maybe" is not a medical conclusion for cause of death.
 
 
Maybe and maybe not, there is plenty of room between "maybes" for skepticism and cynicism. Another scenario could be this: Maybe Mr. Darden started dying the minute he was tased. How long does it take for a person's heart to stop beating after being electrocuted with 50,000 volts of electricity? Simply because it did not occur instantly like zip, even being struck by lightning, it takes time to expire. Sure, while he was complaining about not being able to breathe, he was in fact in the process of dying. So goes maybes and their theories.

 

They can say what they will, however. But this we know from past experience. TASER International, the maker of the stun gun, has a history of suing every medical examiner who attributes cause of death to their taser. And what is more intimidating is that they have never lost a suit. Therefore, ME's are terrified to rule against the company, and the company, in turn, rewards them with perks like lavish vacations disguised as medical conferences, all expenses paid for by the TASER International.

 

To obscure the true cause of death, ME’s created a lexicon of psychobabble, with terms like "death by excited delirium" and "in custody death syndrome", and now "cardiac arrest by natural causes". We note that this ruling comes only after learning that Darden was asthmatic with a heart problem. Thus, they claim, in so many words, he would have died anyway.  For all intent and purpose,  they could have very well said it was Mr. Darden's time to die, and God simply called him on home.

 

Psychobabble may sound medical to the ignorant. But it is an insult to our intelligence. We have been through this before. We discovered many years ago medical examiners covering up the cause of death of inmates in the state penitentiary, after prisoners who had been beaten to death by prison guards. They used to rule death by natural causes after the victim's body was laid to rest. (Credit some local funeral directors for exposing these facts).
 


 

 

CORRESPONDENCE to the Chief of Police Jeff Halstead from Eddie Griffin

 

 

April 22, 2009

 

Dear Chief Jeffrey Halstead:

 

Thank you for coming out to the Minority Leaders and Citizens Council Meeting. The pleasure of meeting you was mine. I have attached the statement that I delivered to you, with regards to the tragic tasering death of Michael Jacobs.

 

When all is said and done, the question is: Did the officer do her job, according to law and according to policy?

 

Secondly, we must not try to ascribe the cause of death to the victim. Michael Jacobs did not cause his own death. Even if he were on his death bed, he still had a right to life, and no one should take it away from him, without due process of law. To say he died because of "excited delirium" would add insult to injury.

 

Thirdly, we must recognize that he died as an innocent man, guilty of no crime, and that he died at the hands of the Fort Worth Police Department. We cannot leave a vacuum in the assumption of responsibility. To say that no one is responsible would be playing the ignorance card.

 

Fourthly, Taser International, Inc., the maker of the device, issued specific product warnings against Taser usage in cases where there might be a "Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome". These cases call for heightened discretionary judgment in deployment, because the risk of death to the subject is much higher.

 

Therefore, the death of Michael Jacobs calls into focus the FWPD policy's alignment with the manufacturer's product safety warning.

 

Are officers trained to recognize a "Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome" and how to avoid it?

 

As one of your officers admits, it's not the use of tasers, but the abuse of tasers that kill people.

 

But who is accountable? Civil damages, in whatever amount, can never compensate for the loss of life.

 

Let me point out again: Tasers are deadly. If officers are trained to think that these devices are non-lethal, this may be why so many officers deploy the instrument, without fully weighing the consequences.

 

A Day of Blogging for Justice has already been called by the AfroSpear against the use and abuse of taser. Bloggers from around the world will be protesting taser deaths of people like Michael Jacobs. Amnesty International will add another number to the total death count, and we continue to call for a moratorium. This movement is beyond anyone's control and has a life of its own. Nevertheless, I am a co-signer and supporter.

 

At the very least, we should recognize that tasers have caused too many deaths (351), that the Taser is a deadly weapon, and should be reclassified as lethal force, and used with the same appropriate caution and discretion, if used at all.

 

Sincerely,

Eddie Griffin

 

Postscript: Taser death toll now 806. #529 is Michael Jacobs, Jr. and #782 is Jermaine Darden.

 

 

Excerpt from Eddie Griffin (BASG)

Blogging For Justice Day, April 19, 2009, AfroSpear

 

 

The Taser, produced by Taser International, Inc. (Nasdaq:TASR), is the latest toy put into the hands of law enforcement to subdue resistive subjects during apprehension and arrest. But the product manual for the device warns of its misusage.

 

Product Warnings for Law Enforcement from the Manufacturer

 

Obey Applicable Laws. Carry and use the TASER device in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws as well as your law enforcement agency’s guidance—policies, procedures, training, etc. Each TASER device discharge must be legally justified.

 

Avoid Weapons Confusion. Handguns have been confused with TASER devices. Learn about the differences in physical feel and holstering characteristics between the TASER device and your handgun. This will allow you to confirm device identity under stressful situations.

 

Select Preferred Target Areas. The preferred target areas are the subject’s torso (center mass) or legs. Avoid intentionally aiming a TASER device at the head or face without justification.

 

Avoid Sensitive Areas. Significant injury can occur from TASER device deployment into sensitive areas of the body such as the eyes, throat, or genitals—avoid intentionally targeting these areas without justification.

 

Avoid Known Pre-Existing Injury Areas. When practical, avoid deploying a TASER device at a known location of pre-existing injury (e.g., avoid targeting the back for persons with known pre-existing back injuries, avoid targeting the chest area on persons with a known history of previous heart attacks, etc.). These injuries may be provoked by such deployment.

 

Beware—TASER Device Can Ignite Explosive Materials, Liquids, or Vapors. These include gasoline, other flammables, explosive materials, liquids, or vapors (e.g., gases found in sewer lines, methamphetamine labs, and butane-type lighters). Some self-defense sprays use flammable carriers such as alcohol and could be dangerous to use in immediate conjunction with TASER devices.

 

Control and Restrain Immediately. Begin control and restraint procedures as soon as it is reasonably safe to do so in order to minimize the total duration of exertion and stress experienced by the subject.

 

Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome Awareness. If a subject is exhibiting signs or behaviors that are associated with Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome, consider combining use of a TASER device with immediate physical restraint techniques and medical assistance. Signs of Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome include: extreme agitation, bizarre behavior, inappropriate nudity, imperviousness to pain, paranoia, exhaustive exertion, “superhuman” strength, hallucinations, sweating profusely, etc.

 

Continuous Exposure Risks. When practical, avoid prolonged or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER device's electrical discharge. In some circumstances, in susceptible people, it is conceivable that the stress and exertion of extensive repeated, prolonged, or continuous application(s) of the TASER device may contribute to cumulative exhaustion, stress, and associated medical risk(s).

 

Other Conditions. Unrelated to TASER exposure, conditions such as excited delirium, severe exhaustion, drug intoxication or chronic drug abuse, and/or over-exertion from physical struggle may result in serious injury or death.

 

Breathing Impairment. Extended or repeated TASER device exposures should be avoided where practical. Although existing studies on conscious human volunteers indicate subjects continue to breathe during extended TASER device applications, it is conceivable that the muscle contractions may impair a subject's ability to breathe. Accordingly, it is advisable to use expedient physical restraint in conjunction with the TASER device to minimize the overall duration of stress, exertion, and potential breathing impairment particularly on individuals exhibiting symptoms of excited delirium and/or exhaustion. However, it should be noted that certain subjects in a state of excited delirium may exhibit superhuman strength and despite efforts for expedient restraint, these subjects sometimes cannot be restrained without a significant and profound struggle.

 

Permanent Vision Loss. If a TASER probe becomes embedded in an eye, it could result in permanent loss of vision.

 

Seizure Risks. Repetitive stimuli such as flashing lights or electrical stimuli can induce seizures in some individuals. This risk is heightened if electrical stimuli or current passes through the head region.

 

Muscle Contraction-Related Risks. The TASER device can cause strong muscle contractions that may result in physical exertion or athletic-type injuries. In certain instances this may be serious for some people, such as those with pre-existing conditions and/or special susceptibilities. This may also occur in instances Sudden in-custody death results from a complex set of physiological and psychological conditions characterized by irrational behavior, extreme exertion, and potentially fatal changes in blood chemistry.

 

Secondary Injury Risks. TASER-induced strong muscle contractions usually render a subject temporarily unable to control his or her psychomotor movements. This may result in secondary injuries such as those due to falls. This loss of control, or inability to catch oneself, can in special circumstances increase the risk(s) of serious injury or death. Persons who are physically infirm or pregnant are among those who may be at higher risk.

 

Strain Injury Risks. It is possible that the injury types may include, but are not limited to, strain-type injuries such as hernias, ruptures, dislocations, tears, or other injuries to soft tissue, organs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and joints. Fractures to bones, including vertebrae, may occur. These injuries may be more likely to occur in people with pre-existing injuries or conditions such as pregnancy, osteoporosis, osteopenia, spinal injuries, diverticulitis, or in persons having previous muscle, disc, ligament, joint, or tendon damage.

 

Laser Beam Eye Damage. The TASER device incorporates a laser aiming aid. Laser beams can cause eye damage. Avoid intentionally aiming at the eye(s) of a person or animal.