Monday, October 31, 2005

New England Journal of Medicine - TASERS!!!
Volume 353:958-959
September 1, 2005
Number 9

Ventricular Fibrillation after Stun-Gun Discharge

September 02, 2005

original article by Alex Berenson

A shock from a Taser stun gun caused a teenager in Chicago to go into ventricular fibrillation, a usually fatal heart disturbance, according to a letter published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Tasers are pistol-like weapons that fire electrified barbs up to 25 feet, immobilizing people with painful shocks.
Dr. Wayne H. Franklin, a pediatric electrophysiologist at Children’s Memorial and one of the letter’s authors, said that the teenager would have died if he had not received immediate care. An electrocardiogram or heart rhythm test, administered to the teenager, proved that he suffered fibrillation, Dr. Franklin said.
About 130 people have died after being shocked by a Taser, including 70 in the past 12 months, according to Amnesty International, which has called for a moratorium on the use of the guns.
By Neil Osterweil, Senior Associate Editor, MedPage Today September 02, 2005 “An adolescent was subdued with a Taser stun gun and subsequently collapsed," "Paramedics found the adolescent to be in ventricular fibrillation and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation within two minutes after the collapse," wrote Paul J. Kim, M.D., and Wayne H. Franklin, M.D., of Children's Memorial Hospital in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. The letter was accompanied by electrocardiogram tracings showing the boy's heart rhythm before and after defibrillation.
At a meeting of the Academy of Forensic Sciences in February, electrical engineer James Ruggieri made a presentation in which he said that the electrical output of Taser's M26 model succeeds the fibrillation threshold for half the U.S. population. Primary source: New England Journal of Medicine
The Associated Press Tuesday, September 27, 2005; 5:30 PM
The Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into stun-gun maker Taser International Inc. is now a formal investigation with an expanded scope, the company said Tuesday.
Shares of Taser fell 96 cents, or 13 percent, to close at $6.35 Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, slipping below its 52-week range of $7.11 to $33.45.

Class Tensions and the Falsity of “Choice”

Class Tensions and the Falsity of “Choice”

What kind of choice is working 40 or more hours every week just to spend over half of that money on rent for a place to sleep, eat, and have privacy, only to find out that you barely have any time to spend in this expensive place? What kind of freedom is conditional upon submission to the noxious reign of capitalism and private property to legitimize membership in the community?
What other choice is there but to withdraw from this sinister con-game that fools us into participating in our own demise, just to meet our immediate needs?
There has been much speculation in Arcata lately about those who “choose to be homeless.” For most homeless people, if not all, being homeless is not a choice. Most would prefer a safe warm place to sleep and to keep their stuff. Even the highly politicized research recently done by Humboldt State University makes this obvious. Even those who “choose” to be unhoused do so because their other options are too fucked-up to realistically consider.
The capitalist economic system, with its grip on space as private property to be paid for, demands scarcity. While buildings sit vacant with “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs, people are harassed off of cold concrete storefronts. Meanwhile, a vocal bunch of house-owning and business-owning individuals make excuses for this inane system, and blame the homeless for not doing enough to house themselves. Most of us are a paycheck away from being homeless ourselves, but as long as we stay obediently out of sight in our paid-for private dwellings, we will not be bothered.
If it hasn’t already been brought to your attention, perhaps the local debate on homelessness reveals the state of our freedom in this country. Those who choose to either boycott the rent/private property paradigm, or who simply cannot operate within its domain, are expected to hide from public view, and are harassed or cited for sleeping wherever they can. Some have been assaulted by the police with Taser stun-guns, which have been found to be LETHAL (New England Journal of Medicine, September 1, 2005
Does the community approve of the tax-funded police-enforced policies of keeping the poor and homeless living in fear and out of sight? Does the community know how much tax-money is spent on enforcing these policies compared to how much tax-money is spent making sure that everyone has enough to eat?
How much does the non-homeless community know about those labeled as “homeless by choice”?
What kind of choice do we have?

FREE SPEECH, the police, and the McKinleyville statue

FREE SPEECH, the police, and the McKinleyville statue at Food Not Bombs on the plaza
McKinley Quick Facts:
Under McKinley’s presidency, the United States invaded Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
McKinley claimed that the invasions were humanitarian in nature, but instead inflicted suffering on the people and seized control of their LAND.

On three separate occasions, Arcata police overseers have shown up on the plaza when a man climbed the statue of McKinley (supposed to be in McKinleyville) and spoke in opposition to the current U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. All three times, police overseers have tried to intimidate the free-speech performer, but were halted by on-lookers who did not approve of the police mis-conduct.
Arcata police overseers Ron Sligh and Kevin Stoneberger attempted to intimidate those who spoke out publicly against the genocidal war that the United States and corporate co-conspirators are waging in Iraq. Their efforts went unheeded.
Arcata police overseers leave the plaza.
Why were they there in the first place?
Who called them? Why?
Why were the police trying to get the identification numbers of people who speak out against the illegal genocidal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq?

Food Not Bombs! has chosen to take a stand against violence. We are committed to nonviolent social change by giving out free vegetarian food thus celebrating and nurturing life. Poverty is violence. One expression of the violence of poverty is hunger. Millions of Americans, almost half children, go hungry every day. By spending money on bombs instead of food, our government perpetuates and exacerbates the violence of poverty by failing to provide food for everyone in need


Humboldt Property Management recently bought Arcata police department’s ranger Bob Murphy a $1600 bicycle to make his gentrification-enforcement efforts more comfortable and enjoyable. (See Arcata Eye 8/30/05)

Humboldt Property Management surely expects their business to flourish as the well-equipped ranger Bob drives away any individuals that might pose a threat to property values.

Is it immoral for a property management company that stands to make a significant FINANCIAL GAIN from ranger Bob’s routine VIOLATIONS of the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS of unhoused people to give him a $1600 bike as a gift?
Of course it is!
But is it illegal?

Thursday, October 13, 2005


During the October 5th Arcata city council meeting, president of Humboldt State University Rollin Richmond spoke out against medicinal use of cannabis, contradicting most scientific findings and traditional wisdom.

His goal? To convince the Arcata city council to remain silently complicit while the University Police Department enforces HSU’s “zero tolerance” cannabis policy on targeted segments of the ARCATA population (not just campus).

Some notable quotes from Oct. 5th
Arcata city council meeting:
“We will not tolerate medical marijuana on campus and we will discipline students who have it and remove it from them.”

“One of the things we would hope to do is work with your police chief and your police force to collaborate more effectively than we already do in the use of our joint police forces.”

“I cannot ask the police at the university to work with the police force in Arcata if my police people cannot enforce the laws in the same way they do on campus within the city of Arcata.”

“We brought before you the other evening a Healthy Plaza Initiative, which is supported by the university, a number of business organizations in the community and a number of business people.”

He has also spoken at Homeless Task Force meetings, saying that some people just don’t fit into his idea of what society is.
Richmond suggests more police.

where's the "chronic"?

where’s the “CHRONIC”?

HSU professor Jane Holschuh and president Rollin Richmond at a task force meeting.Humboldt State University’s president, Rollin Richmond, has been attending Arcata City Council meetings with the purpose of blaming homeless people for declining enrollment at the university. In spite of his flimsy story, the HSU consultant team to Arcata’s Homeless Task Force has devised a plan for labeling people “chronically homeless” based on questionable and vague standards, and forcing mis-treatment on them, based on the presumption that they are “mentally ill,” have a “disabling condition,” and are a danger to themselves or others.

The definition of “chronic homeless”:
HHS, HUD, and VA have agreed on the characteristics of persons experiencing chronic homelessness and use the following definition in their collaborations:
An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or has had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years.

The Homeless Services Plan (available at, written by HSU representatives, to be enforced on the Arcata population, refers a number of times to “chronically homeless” people, but keeps the definition vague and broadly applicable. In fact, the federal definition, which includes having a “disabling condition” as a qualifier to fit the label, was REMOVED from the plan.

This definition was available in the 7/21/05 version of the plan (available at, but is absent from later versions of the draft. After concern about the vagueness of the definition and broadness of its application (and seriousness of its implications) was brought up several times at task force meetings, HSU professor Jane Holschuh said that she would include the federal definition in the plan, but it is still not in the most recent version. Why not? Why was it removed in the first place?

The implication of the vague and broad use of the term “chronic homeless” is that every unhoused person could be labeled as being in need of involuntarily receiving the heavy-handed help of the State, including forced drugging and confinement in a mental “health” facility.



Food Not Bombs, a radical direct action group that serves free vegetarian meals, was recently approached and asked to cook at the Arcata Endeavor on Saturdays, where there is plenty of food that would otherwise go unprepared and unserved on weekends. This is in addition to FNB’s meals served throughout the week that are cooked in the homes of volunteers. It was discussed and decided that it would be tried.

For several months now, there has been healthy vegetarian food served at 1:00 pm on Saturdays at the Endeavor (at no extra cost to taxpayers), and there are still enough volunteers to prepare and serve dinner at 5:30 pm on the plaza. Many of the volunteers now cooking lunch at the Endeavor on Saturdays were not previously affiliated with Food Not Bombs.

These events make clear that the facilities exist for those in need to be given the opportunity to help themselves. Instead of acquiring large sums of money to study the obvious lack of basic necessities, and spending lots of money hiring people who reinforce the separations between service providers and service recipients, Arcata could allow the already existing facilities to be used by those who are willing to volunteer to provide services to themselves and others. The costs of operation (utilities, supplies) could be covered by the money saved.

Not only would this less-hierarchical approach save money, and time spent to acquire that money, but it would also set an example of this historically tested and trusted method of social planning that involves less professional authoritarianism, and the actual meeting of more needs. The D Street Neighborhood Center is a perfect place to open up. Currently is sits locked and empty most of the time.

The direct action of preparing and sharing meals helps to relieve some of the pressures that create tensions in our community. Healthy and nutritious meals provide relief from the immediate discomfort and anxiety of being hungry, and prevent the long-term negative effects of malnutrition. For those overwhelmed by the cost of living in today’s society, FNB’s free meals provide relief from the competition for ever more scarce dollars.

Preparing meals together is a good way to engage our innate ability to get along and work cooperatively to meet our common needs. By addressing the issue of hunger directly, FNB also demonstrates our ability to solve community problems from within the community.