back to article Mounties taser bed-ridden octagenarian

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have once again demonstrated their enthusiasm for the Taser by zapping an 82-year-old hospital patient, CBC News reports. Frank Lasser, of Kamloops, British Columbia, was in his local Royal Inland Hospital on 3 May suffering from pneumonia following heart bypass surgery which obliges him to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Charging !

    Clear ..!


    Is the hypoxic, delirious, old man subdued enough yet ?

    No sir






    Right, the slightly smoking, semi-conscious old man is now a manageable threat. Take him !

  2. alistair millington
    Thumb Down

    so let me get this straight.

    He has had a triple bypass, he is over 80 and suffering from pneumonia and on oxygen.

    And 3 police men can't disarm him and calm the situation down. Imagine going home and explaining that to the wife and kids.

    "Yeah had a really big call out today, 3 of us went in... some old man in intensive care... yeah open heart surgery and pneumonia... over 80... well he had a knife, no he was in his bed and not bothering anyone else... we tasered him... a few times... don't worry no harm comes from it... it can only heart the fit and agile in airports... the old and reallly infirm are fine... he was on oxygen yeah... but we couldn't use pepper spray as he couldn't breathe..."

    Good job the massive vaults of electricty didn't spark the oxygen supply from his mask.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tasering a heart patient

    Proves the point that nobody considers safety when using a taser as a labour-saving device.

  4. Steve

    What's wrong with the Mounties?

    I thought they were supposed to rugged, no-nonsense, outdoorsy types. What a bunch of pansies.

    Did none of them think of turning down his oxygen?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Gouts of flame

    Imagine if he'd been carrying a cigarette lighter - with his oxygen supply hose he could have turned it into a flamethrower! Assuming he also had some petrol. But still, imagine it! Gouts of flame!

  6. Tim

    They always get their man!

    The mounties have that ruthless determination to get their man.... even if overkill is the order of the day!

    I would be interested to know how they justify zapping someone who is clearly bedridden, as they cant say they were in danger. Also, how did they know he didnt have a pacemaker?

  7. Jamie Kitson

    You Might Be Interested

    The Braidwood inquiry into that death has just begun, keep your eyes on it on behalf of us.

  8. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Dead Vulture

    Never underestimate the plod.

    Not that I am in favour of knife wielding nutters. But there seems to be a rather cavalier attitude on the part of cavaliers these days.

    Or maybe it's just that stuff like this gets reported because it's new.

    Or maybe stuff like this gets reported because there is little else to fling to the masses.

    Never underestimate the ability of the media. I think there must be something about red that does it. Especially pillock box red.

  9. Mad Mike

    Bunch of girls

    I've never been called a liberal leftie and certainly believe in the rule of law and sensible enforcement, but where do police get off these days? If someone really poses a threat, they should be dealt with as firmly as required to keep people (police included) safe. If someone threatens others with a gun, shoot them etc.

    But, how in gods name can a 80ish year old man, in a hospital bed, attached to oxygen etc. be a treat even if a knife is in his hand? At worst, stand off and hit his hand with a broom handle or batton etc. I'm sure the knife will drop quickly enough. Using a taser is just beyond belief.

    Also, the RMP need to seriously get some brains. Pepper spray would only contaminate the immediate area, where as using a taser (which could spark) in the prescence of someone on oxygen...............? Idiots.

    Personally, I believe all cops with tasers should be given police issue handbags as once a taser is issued, they seem to think every situation calls for its use. Big bunch of girls...........

    Hate to see them in a really sticky situation.

  10. cynar

    Give the police a try

    I still dont know why they dont make the police have to experiance the taser themselves before they can use it. If they want one capable of giving 3 5 second shocks at full power they should have HAD 3 5 second shocks at full power! I think most would think twice in a situation like this (or at least know why the perp wont stop writhing on the floor after being zapped). If there totally safe as clamed then this wouldnt be an issue.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Oxygen doesn't burn, you numpties!

    @Alistair Millington

    "Good job the massive vaults of electricty didn't spark the oxygen supply from his mask."

    @Ashley Pomeroy

    "Imagine if he'd been carrying a cigarette lighter - with his oxygen supply hose he could have turned it into a flamethrower!"

    Good God... even ignoring the terrible spelling, it's appalling that correspondents have such complete ignorance of basic chemistry... oxygen is an essential part of the process of oxidation (burning), but it doesn't burn! Got it? So... no explosion or "flamethrower"...

    They did the right thing, if he didn't drop the knife - a knife in the hands of an 80-year-old hospital patient is just as deadly as the same knife held by anyone else. The alternative would have been the use of a side-handled baton... what would the comments have been if that had been used. These people have no idea about the extent to which external oversight would crucify these officers for deviating from standard operating procedures of the "health & safety" (hah!) policy straight-jackets dreamed up by desk-drivers who've never actually had to face anyone with a knife.

    If any of these officers had been injured or killed, any compensation awarded to them or their families would have been REDUCED if it was shown they didn't stick to procedure... so you reckon they should throw that away just to appease the illiterate drongos who commented adversely above?


  12. Peter Ford

    Oxygen doesn't burn...

    I love it when people think that oxygen is a flammable gas - it's the FUEL (hydrogen, carbon, methane, whatever) that burns, and it burns better in oxygen, but: no fuel = no fire, however big the spark is...

    Still overkill indeed - surely they only needed to threaten to use a Taser, or even just wheel the bed into a separate room while he calmed down?

  13. Mark

    RE: Oxygen doesn't burn, you numpties!

    Hmm. So surgeons, nurses and other medical staff as stupid for requiring that there is NO SMOKING in or near a patient in an oxy tent?

    Please note, Anon Cow, that the person who said that also said in the SAME FREAKING LINE: "Assuming he also had some petrol."

    But, no, you wanted to shoot your mouth off, didn't you.

  14. david

    I don't understand...

    ...what was he doing with a knife in his pocket (or pockets for that matter).

    I'll give up my swish army knife when it is prised from my cold dead hand...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @AC "oxygen doen't burn"

    You're right - but youv'e forgotten an important point: in a high-oxygen environment fires start more easily and burn much hotter and faster. So yes, a spark from the taser could have caused the bedclothes to ignite with catastrophic effects, and yes, burning lighter fuel in a jet of pure oxy could have been pretty spectacular - consider an oxyacetylene torch.

    All that is irrelevant however. A Taser was a completely inapporopriate weapon for a bedriden pensioner. Worst case, sit and wait till he gets tired. He's not going anywhere....

  16. Mad Mike

    Anonymous Coward

    'Oxygen doesn't burn, you numpties.'

    Well, apart from your complete lack of perspective about their response, I never suggested the oxygen would burn. So, let's give you some basic chemistry. Oxygen supports combustion. In other words, the more oxygen, the more ferocious the oxidization. Also, items that would not normally burn will if enough oxygen is present. Things like his gown (or whatever he was wearing), bedding etc.etc. Not a flame thrower, but certainly a potential blazing inferno.

    I just hope nobody ever catches you holding a knife whilst posing no threat. Presumably, you'll be quite happy to get a good tasering. Even if he wouldn't let go of the knife, they could have simply stayed around and left him. He was hardly going to get out of bed and run around stabbing everyone!! After a short period of time, he'd probably fall asleep and then could simply take it out of this hand.

    Those that defend this are as bad as those who issue stupid edicts etc. from behind a desk. And I'm sure if they'd hit his hand with a baton, nobody would be complain. A blow to the immediately dangerous part, just enough to make him drop it. Sounds like a proportionate response to me.

  17. Stuart Van Onselen

    Just as deadly?

    AC,, it's a KNIFE ffs. Not a gun. So it is NOT as dangerous in the hands of a weak, delirious, convalescent old man, as it would be in the hands of a fit, mobile and determined youth.

  18. Rolf Howarth

    Re: Oxygen doesn't burn

    Well... while I was at school I did once see a demonstration of an "inverse" flame, ie. inject oxygen into a container full of natural gas and it was very clearly the oxygen jet that was burning :-)

    But the comment about "...if it was shown they didn't stick to procedure" is precisely why people get so annoyed by these sort of situations. The fact that people are so worried about getting blamed for something they refuse to make decisions of their own but rigidly follow procedure at all times. The point of putting real intelligent human beings out there rather than machines is precisely so they can use their judgement and decide when it's appropriate to follow the procedure and when not to.

  19. Richard Silver badge

    @ Oxygen doesn't burn

    Yes, oxygen on its own doesn't burn - but it's a potent oxidiser and fire accelerant.

    So if there is stuff that can burn around (clothes, certain plastics?), and a source of ignition (spark), this could theoretically spell trouble. Admittedly, it's not particularly likely.

    And for goodness sake! The guy's 80, confined to a bed and has a knife.

    The only possible danger he could be is to himself - not to any bystanders.

    Ergo, if he won't drop the weapon, then the sane solution is to stay out of range and let him regain his senses.

    Instead, these people give him not just one, but THREE Taser shocks?

    All that aside, doesn't the instruction manual for Taser say not to use it on people with heart problems?

    Finally - have these guys ever suffered an electric shock?

    I have, and it doesn't make you drop things. It makes your muscles clench quite powerfully (and painfully), which makes you grab quite strongly.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @Oxygen doesn't burn, you numpties!

    "a knife in the hands of an 80-year-old hospital patient is just as deadly as the same knife held by anyone else"

    In fact even more so in this case, since the lack of oxygen would most likely have made him irrational and unpredicable, and being a bedridden invalid would make anyone cranky.

    Still, if it was Melbourne they would have shot him.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Coming here soon

    Now that every UK plod is going to be allowed to taser the public after the bare minimum of training, you can look forward to that happening here very soon. If I ever see a police officer using one against an elderly person (or their other favourite of pregnant woman) in a situation which could be delt with otherwise, by god I am going to step in and hit them hard. Damn the consequences to me, which are likely to be far more severe than the original offence, and with supplemental charges of extreme porn for anything they don't like on my computer, just to make sure I don't get chance to stand up for human decency again for a long time.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    To much BC Bud and reindeer piss.

    Annonymous coward, oh my god 3 mounties couldn't handle a bedridden 80 year old man with a knife. Broomstick or Batton if they were that fearful. But 3 tazer blasts, sure his fecking hand was probably spasmed so much after the first shock that he couldn't move and they felt the need to shock him twice more. I'm sure he was sucha threat, right wing idiot what if it was your granddad in a confused state????

    Big Girls in nice red outfits. What did they do before the Tazer???? Probably forgot all those lessons, to much BC bud and fermented reindeer piss I guess.

  23. Andy Enderby
    Thumb Down

    jeez...... tasered for wasting time ?

    rather more of a threat.... how about complications to that heart surgery such as ooohhhhh, I'm not a doctor but how about arrhythmia brought about by an enthusiastic tasering. My father in law used to suffer from similar episodes, delerium as a complication of serious lung disease. Whilst he could be violent in such a state, trained staff were always able to deal with him in the end. It took staff, training and time - nobody hurt on either side. Certainly nobody thought to consult the local constabulary and have him zapped, although I'm sure his contiued smoking tempted them.

    The RCMP's concerned can consider themselves lucky not to have caused another death.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't they just have gotten...

    Couldn't they just have gotten an 8-year old kid that grew up in a semi-downtrodden suburban neighborhood to wrestle the knife out out of Grandpa's hand?

    How about in addition to having anyone who is going to be using a taser (or pepper spray) experience it themselves, we also IQ test potential police/security personnel... It might make it a lot harder to fill the ranks, but in the end, it'd easily be worth it. Remember: higher=better

    Is there a 'standard' test for emotional stability?

  25. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    > Oxygen doesn't burn, you mounties!

    Oxygen burns you oaf. It just doesn't oxidise -unless you count its reactions with Halogens and the Oxygen group.

    You aught to watch more American TV programmes. Heart patients are always catching fire in those. It wouldn't surprise me if Hollywood executives sue the Mounties for loss of income.

    Of course if the Red Menace had torched him, they'd have been there with contracts to buy the script.

    Whaddya mean 'nother customer took it? He leave me d' gloves though, huh?


    That's OK....

    It's OK, fergeddaboudit.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... what pockets?

    Post op, recovering from pneumonia, permanently attached to oxygen, bed ridden.

    What pockets?

  27. ImaGnuber

    AC I'm with you

    "a knife in the hands of an 80-year-old hospital patient is just as deadly..."

    Probably a safe bet that none of these pencil-necked monday morning quarterbacks have ever worked in a hospital and seen the violence a delusional patient (even an elderly one) can commit. I have. The term 'bedridden' is a meaningless term in this context.

    And they should try to get get past the stereotypes associated with age as indicated by use of the term 'octogenarian'.

    If they had tried to outwait this 'octogenarian' delusional patient, as some have suggested, and he had harmed himself there would no doubt be another set (actually probably the same set) of numties crying "Why didn't they do something sooner?" and making jokes about 'Mounties in Standoff with Octogenarian' etc.


  28. TheThing

    It could have been a cunning ploy

    Can't believe nobody else has posted this yet....

    That old man's a killer!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Fire triangle

    "Please note, Anon Cow, that the person who said that also said in the SAME FREAKING LINE: "Assuming he also had some petrol.""

    Yes, I agree with you, Mark, and I want to make it very clear that although we read The Register at roughly the same time, we are not the same person.

    The sad thing is that the anonymous fellow completely missed my multi-layered humour, whereby (a) it is ludicrous to imagine this 80-year-old man trying to fend off some Mounties with a cigarette lighter, (b) it is doubly ludicrous to imagine this man hiding a tank of petrol in his hospital bed, (c) it is funny to imagine the patient and his bed and the hospital etc exploding in gouts of flame - the phrase "gouts of flame" is funny by itself - and (c) there is humour in my callous disregard for the patient's safety.

  30. Ross

    Knife fights are not fun

    First of all, if any of you have actually done any knife defence training you will KNOW that it doesn't matter how good you are, you're going to get cut. Ok, a slash or two across the forearms isn;t of itself life threatening, but you have no idea where that knife has been. Would you like to wait around for the HIV/Hep C blood test? I sure as hell wouldn't. People have committed suicide before whilst awaiting the results of such tests - why should the police be put through that stress?

    Now I fully agree that *3* tazerings seem a tad excessive, but the alternatives were to 1) break his arm/wrist with a baton or 2) stick morphine in his IV which may well kill him. And that presumes you can get close enough to his IV line to adminster the drugs without getting stabbed/slashed.

    Given that he was waving a knife around in a manner that was sufficiently dangerous for the hospital staff to call the police there was never going to be a good outcome unless he did as he was told and dropped the knife.

    Todays lesson? If armed police tell you to drop the knife/gun/table leg you damn well drop it.

  31. phix8
    Dead Vulture

    Sorry guys, you're full of it.

    You're saying if you were a policeman you'd give some crazy a chance to stab you just because he's old? Hmm. Let me check my physics textbook - yep, it says that a knife pushed in to flesh can kill even if the person on the other end of the knife is elderly.

    They were right to zap him. I don't know why he was wearing his civvies after an operation, that sounds a bit odd but he definitely had it coming.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only the one ?

    Grief half the drugs that are prescribed to hospital patients following injury, surgery etc are psychotropic to varying degrees - might as well just plug every patient into the wall socket along with their oxygen, monitor etc as a precaution.

    Amazed that the hospital staff even called the cops - my mother was a psychiatric nurse for 40 yrs and when one of the patients got 'out of hand' she either just dealt with it or called for help from a couple of burly colleagues and these were people who were often not physically hindered in any way!

    Seems everyone's getting lazy these days.

    "Now where did I leave my foil lined, carbon nanotube pyjamas?" :)

  33. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    RE: Oxygen doesn't burn, you numpties!

    AC, if you are going to call people numpties, then get your own facts straight first !

    Almost anything will burn in an oxygen rich atmosphere, even concrete ! That's why precautions are taken wherever oxy is used. It doesn't even need a spark, just the friction of high pressure oxygen passing along a pipe can make the pipe surface reach self ignition temp when in contact with pure oxygen.

    It is quite possible that there would be an oxygen rich atmosphere around the guy, add in a spark and you could ignite the bedclothes, his gown, the plastic pipe carrying the oxygen - allsorts really.

    So tazering someone on oxygen is a REALLY stupid thing to do. And ignoring standard safety precautions like this is also a stupid thing to do. Hmm, will they be prosecuted for their flagrant disregard of safety procedures while oxygen is being used ?

  34. Glyph

    Standard procedure.

    I would imagine the standard procedure for facing someone armed with a knife is to shoot them. Rightly so, in most cases a knife is a serious threat even to someone armed with a gun.

    However this guy is probably not a fast runner at this point in his life, and is connected to the wall via an oxygen hose. Though I suppose if he is delusional he might not worry about either before attacking.

    I wouldn't want to get close enough to him to fiddle with the O2 and that might kill him too. Pepper spray would work except for the surroundings. The best solution here IMO is probably as someone said, to whack his hand like a child in catholic school with a *very* long pole. That does qualify as deadly force under my local penal code (clubs), but so does a stun gun or taser I think, and responding to a knife with deadly force is legal (here at least).

  35. Anonymous John

    The nurses called the Mounties.

    So they clearly saw him as too dangerous for them or hospital security to deal with.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ross and phix8

    An bedridden 82-year old recovering from heart surgery would not pose any threat to someone unless they were stupid enough to jump in and try and wrestle it from him.

    The fact is that he was unable to get out of bed to attack anyone with it and was more than likely unable to throw it far enough to hit anyone with it.

    Additionally, he was also delirious and evidently not thinking rationally, so it's ludicrous to suggest that it's his own fault for not 'being a good boy' and putting the knife down.

    I doubt the hospital staff even needed to call the police - it was probably some health and safety protocol that insisted upon it - and it's evident that the police tasered him purely to save themselves the time and hassle of waiting for him to become tired and fall asleep.

    The only reasons I can think of for forcibly disarming him would be if he was in a danger of injuring himself with it, or if he needed urgent medical treatment. In either case, there are more suitable methods of disarming a bed-ridden pensioner than electrocuting them. Perhaps a poke in the ribs with a broom handle?

    What astounds me is that he was elecrocuted THREE times.

    No doubt the ill-trained police assumed that his reaction to the electrocution was worthy of further punishment - much like the parent who hits their child for crying, then hits them harder when they fail to stop crying.

  37. Chris Bradshaw

    Had to be said

    I thought Canucks preferred clubbing the helpless and immobile.

    But (seriously) clubbing him can break bones, and if you just leave him there (assuming he's not alone in the room) he is a threat to the other patients and nurses who may need to care for them. I absolutely agree that a Taser isn't a good option, I'd prefer to see a dart gun with a sedative, alternatively slip something into his tea...

    And if he has a history of 'sometimes' becoming delusional, why didn't they take the knife away from him?

  38. Sillyfellow
    Thumb Down

    all cowards

    yes, that's what i said.. these mounties are total lazy cowards.

    .. and anyone who thinks that multiple tasering any OAP not armed with a gun, is acceptable, then they are cowards too. and disrespectful ones at that!

    talk about swatting a mosquito with a bazooka!

    when did they start teaching mounties/police that this is ok?

    is this what our tax money pays for?

    what kind of cowardly policing practice is this?

    it is not ok.

    and i'm wondering how on earth he had a knife on him after he has just been in heart surgery.?? someone should have to answer that one also.

    seems to me that humans in general are becomming more and more scared of practically anything by the day. is this how a species survives and evolves?

    i think not.

  39. Mad Mike
    Paris Hilton

    Dangers of an 82-year old man

    Glad to see people defending the mounties actions. Shows what a bunch of soft wusses we're breeding. Nobody said life was safe. Some jobs are more dangerous than others as a matter of necessity. Being a police officer is one of these. If you want the safest job in the world, don't become a policeman. Forget the army, air force and navy as well. After all, someone might shoot at you........................

    Anyone who really considers that person dangerous (even with a knife) against the people available should lock themselves in a very deep bunker and stay there forever. Life and the world is clearly too dangerous for them. Those of us that accept life and the risks etc. will continue to move the human race forward.

    The nurses may well have considered him too dangerous for them, but the police? What on earth are they going to do when faced with someone really dangerous. You know, maybe a 20-year old with a knife? Call in the army I suppose.

    "Sorry, we had to carpet bomb the area as there was a 20-year old with a knife. Far too dangerous for our policemen to tackle"!!

    It's like something out of Demolition Man where the police can only ask assertively.............................

    Next time, tell the mounties to put their handbags down and that'll free up their other hand.............................

    Paris as even she could have subdued him.....................albeit probably in a different way!!

  40. Schultz Silver badge

    lethal weapons

    How come they still hand out knives in hospitals. Didn't they learn anything from 9/11? Time to revert to blended food!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's truly disgusting

    that these idiots would resort to such "force" on a hospital patient of any age, ignoring the fact that he's most likely connected to tubes and pipes and all sorts of things.

    Tasers are valid tools, in the right situation. Law enforcement should get some idea of what a tasering feels like before zapping every skateboarding 12-year-old for dropping gum on the the sidewalk.

    How much harm could someone like this poor old man do with a knife? I can assume he can't move out of his bed, so he's got a range of 1 feeble arm length! Come from behind?

    I'm so disgusted that I'm battling to rebuke the morons any more! Do they not learn at Mountie School how to tell a delirious codger from a crystal meth-crazed psycho?

    Frikkin' Idiots!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mad Mike

    Considering that you don't seem to have any grip on reality, let me return the favour.

    The story is very definitely phrased to get the response you've given - although it's depressing how unwilling you are to think through the possible "complications". He's quite happy to admit that he's delusional - so I don't think we can really rely on what he said happened... If he was with it enough to remember, why didn't he drop the bloody (or was it clean?) knife?

    Lets start with the oxygen pipe. If you try and get the knife off him, the chances are that it's going to get dislodged and/or broken. In fact, from what I remember of the hospitals, the join at the wall is pretty good (it's one of those ball/socket jobs to create an airtight seal) so you're probably going to rip either the pipe or the mask - damaging the patients face. It's also going to spread oxygen through the whole room and therefore increase the chance of fire.

    Next lets add the fact that he's in a hospital ward. God knows what infections are going to be on the knife. MRSA is the one that springs to mind first. That's something that can be nasty if it gets on a cut... So a knife with it on is going to be a one stop shop for getting a possibly life threatening disease. There are lots of "worse" things that could be on the knife. Assuming the mountie is the main breadwinner for the family, are you happy for 3 families to run the risk of losing their main income for the sake of some bloke that is specifically behaving in a threatening manner?

    So lets look at the choices shall we? "Get the knife off him" : Possible risk of fire, possible risk of increasing breathing problems, possible risk of infection with attendant affect on families (including small children - won't someone think of the children?). "Taser": Possible risk of fire, possible risk of complications for the patient.

    Hmm - both have a fair chance of hurting the dipstick with the knife - only one has an increased risk to the mounties and everyone else. I know which seems best to me.

    Yes, 3 times is excessive - but using a tazer sounds fair to me.

    Finally - what if the guy was a commando / SAS trained or something. Don't care how old he is then (and I've known some bloody strong & fast octagenarians) getting the knife off him would be bloody stupid.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why not?

    20 years, 80 years, 100 years.

    When a person is with a knife in this hand, why not?

    Gramma, you're the next! :))))) Gimme the last cake! :))))))))

  44. Mark

    "Ergo, if he won't drop the weapon"


    Jeesus, don't they train police officers any more???

    As for the "you don't know where the knife has been", well guess what? THEY'RE IN A FRIGGIN HOSPITAL. I think that they can deal with infection.

  45. Steve Mann

    Can't we all just get aloAAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!

    First of all, chemistry and ambient atmospheric composition aside, there isn't enough oxygen coming out of one of those nose-tubes to provide a real danger of fire unless the cunning old bastard collected the gas for several hours under his bedsheets. It's a trickle.

    Secondly, how tollerant of his behaviour would you be if your grandad was in the next bed to this knife-smuggling, delusional loon? Does anyone seriously doubt that someone cunning enough to smuggle a knife into a hospital isn't capable of sticking it into someone?

    Thirdly, there were plenty of staff at the hospital who dealt with this sort of thing on a regular basis who felt it was time to call in the civil militia. Clearly, things were a bit more fraught than would appear at first reading.

    The Taser is clearly a controvesial weapon, and not nearly as harmless as was at first thought by many BUT it is the best of the alternatives when it comes to disarming someone behaving irrationally without undue risk to the one doing the disarming and without permanently maiming the perpetrator. This isn't TV. A knife slash could easily be a career- or even a life-ending experience. In their place, what would YOU do?

  46. ImaGnuber

    It's so easy spot the people with no practical experience. Bullshit artists who sit around letting you know what a freaking hero they'd be in a similar situation -'cause it would have been so easy, right?

    These imbeciles are the LAST people I would want around me in anything even approaching a difficult situation.

    Can we have an icon of a big steaming mound?

  47. Jay

    Today I am ...

    embarrassed to be a Canadian

  48. Mark

    @Steve Mann

    "Secondly, how tollerant of his behaviour would you be if your grandad was in the next bed to this knife-smuggling, delusional loon? Does anyone seriously doubt that someone cunning enough to smuggle a knife into a hospital isn't capable of sticking it into someone?"

    Not enough to zap him THREE TIMES.

    Shit, your old man may be a bit of an arse, but that doesn't mean I'd smack upside the head to shut him up.

    And how do you think he smuggled one in? Up his bum? They don't generally let you keep your clothes with you (especially in the operating theatre), so pockets are out.

    Maybe the knife was given to him for his dinner. It doesn't say what sort of knife it was, so it could be an ordinary table knife. Or, if you want to be charitable to the Red Menace, a steak knife.

    But if it wasn't given to him, how would he manage to get it?

  49. Doogie

    Cops are the bad guys until you need them

    I live in British Columbia, Canada and am a paramedic

    I see some problems with the man's side of the story - first off I doubt you'd have to shock him 3 times to subdue him - of course maybe the RMCP went a little overboard there but his - I don't know what happened I'm hypoxic (low oxygen levels) it caused my to go crazy seems pretty far fetched indeed.

    First off he's in the hospital on O2 so he's levels would be under control. Second he just have heart surgery so he would have be hooked up to a monitor that shows his vitals - one of which being how much O2 is in the blood - an alarm would have went off if his levels were low prior to him going "crazy" as it were and the staff would have come check on him. He would have been in the cardiac ward which has more staff than most other wards so the alarm would have been noticed.

    Third, I've worked with the RCMP and they are not the trigger happy people everyone thinks there are - heck I've tried to get them to taser people and they won't go for it. I've been on those calls were the patients are out of control and tasering is considered the last option - well just above shooting which is how things were dealt with in the old days. Hmmm 1 or 2 people died from tazering - 90% of people shot died in the past - sounds like tasering saves lives.

  50. Pierre

    Quite a bunch of trolls here

    Given that he had the knife in his pocket, we can safely assume that it was nothing big enough to be called "weapon", not to mention "deadly weapon" (or the guys in red are real wussies).

    Given the target, the tasers should have been considered as DEADLY weapons, and thus not used. (I know, noone died this time, but people don't always die when shot either, guns are still deadly weapons.)

    "it doesn't matter how good you are, you're going to get cut. Ok, a slash or two across the forearms....." Sure, you're going to be cut. If it's one on one, if your oponent is mobile, if you're unarmed, and wear a T-shirt. When it's 3 on one, your oponent is barely able to move, you wear a pair of heavy leather gloves and a solid uniform jacket, and own a stick, if you get harmed in any way (even a light scratch) it means you have nothing to do near physical security duties.

    The old perp probably needs to spend the rest of his live in prison though, you're right Ima. After all, he has been a bad guy, no matter if it's due to his medical condition. Some of us have been scared by patients going postal, it means obviously that everyone raising his voice in an hospital should be shot on sight. And the mounties should get a medal, too. I mean, they probably saved the free world by tazering this old-timer...

    Disclaimer: I'm fully aware that the old guy might well have been physically impressive (it's not like he was a former beancounter) but we're not talking about an old granny afraid that her purse might be robbed, we're talking about 3 well trained cold-blooded anti-riot cops. No excuse.

  51. Tsu Dho Nimh

    Pocket! No fair, he had a POCKET!

    This must be the real reason hospital gowns in the USA don't have pockets ... so we can't hide weapons in them.

    Patients get delirious, often combative and delirious, but for heaven's sake, why aren't hospital staff taught how to persuade the guy to drop the knife.

  52. Mad Mike

    Anonymous Coward and all the apologists for this act.

    As the people defending the mounties haven't even done the most basic of checking, I looked up the article on news websites. The knife in question had a 8cm blade. Now, bearing that in mind, we're looking at a penknife or similar. Might be sharp, but not exactly a special forces killing knife. Also, as he pulled this from his trousers, it rather questions the competence of the staff in not spotting the knife. He had been in theatre!!

    Now, to tackle anonymous coward and his fantasies.

    The oxygen pipe is not likely to be an issue. Firstly, they only let out a trickle of oxygen, not a gushing torrent, so the oxygen levels in the room would be unaffected even after several hours. Stragely enough, any oxygen he doesn't breathe in escapes into the room anyway!! So, no fire hazard outside the very immediate area. These things are also designed to come off easily and with no damage in the event of being caught. So, no risk to the man either. Your first point is total rubbish. Additionally, once subdued, they would simply reattach the oxygen. Clearly any time he is without it, is not good, but the time involved would be short.

    Whilst I appreciate all the loony lefties etc. try to claim there is no such thing as an accident and are under the delusional idea that life can be risk free, in reality they are wrong. Life is full of risks and if you become a police officer, it stands to reason you accept these risks just the same as if you joined the military. If a police officer is this scared of risks, he should resign and take up knitting. He's clearly not up to the job.

    The police have tools specifically designed for tackling people with knifes, not including a taser. Side arm batons are one such weapon. Police officers are supposed to be trained to amongst other things use discretion. That means to pick the appropriate tools and actions for the situation and not simply use the standard stock answer which is rapidly becoming the taser.

    The taser has a place and should be used in certain instances, but all evidence shows that police use it constantly for the most mundane arrests and actions. This is not good and should not be tolerated. Because it's seen as so safe, it's use will continue to rise, but there is an increasing body of evidence that whilst safe for many, it can be dangerous and can easily kill.

    Anyone who thinks this action by the mounties was correct should roll themselves in bubble wrap, never interact with anyone else and stay inside their homes. To be honest, I'd prefer they did and leave the rest of the world to people who actually understand reasonable force.


    Before anyone asks. I most definately understand what I'm talking about and don't need that rubbish thrown at me.

  53. Alex
    Thumb Down

    To all the morons..

    ...defending the mounties, do any of you understand the notion of heart surgery? as in cracking someone's chest open and stitching it back together. consider what kind of force one would have in one's arm with a cracked sternum while lying down under the influence of various drugs. morons -.-'

  54. Daniel B.
    Dead Vulture

    Turn down the O2

    Why didn't they think of this first? Obviously the old guy would've passed out, so they would remove the knife from the guy. Easier, and you avoid a potential heart attack, dude!

    That said, somebody with a knife IS a threat, especially if he's delusional. If you think old people don't have the strength, I refer you to that voicemail recording of a dude narrating the events concerning a car crash, one idiot guy, and 4 old women...

    The vulture got tasered by the plod.

  55. Mad Mike


    If you read canadian websites for their comments, I think you'll find most canadians think this was wrong and are, quite frankly, pretty embarrassed by it.

    Most of them agree that if 3 police officers can't disarm an 82-year old man, with a heart condition and a penknife, they really shouldn't be in the job.

    God help them if they meet a serious criminal.

  56. Snert Lee

    Dear Sweet Nell...

    Dudley Do-Right would be ashamed.

  57. Martin Usher

    About that knife

    It was probably the one that came with lunch. In the article we're led to believe its some kind of 10" hunting knife that will rend flesh and sinew at a touch but in reality it was the one he was using to spread butter on a roll.

    The real problem are the H&S Nazis.

  58. ImaGnuber

    Beeg Mistake

    I think one mistake we may all be making (yes, gasp, that includes me) is that we are relying on information supplied by reporters. Yes, those people we often make fun of for their inability to get a simple technology story straight.

    That way lies speculation based on partial (and probably mis-) information. Any assumption that we have enough accurate information to form a reasonable judgement is probably the equivalent of madness. Fun, but still madness.

    Only the un-erring eye-witness accounts reported by our highly esteemed Reg journalists can form a reasonable basis for judgement.

    Having said that... who are these drooling paranoid idiots whose kneejerk response to the word 'police' is etc. etc.

  59. Anonymous Coward

    @Mad Mike

    >"Whilst I appreciate all the loony lefties etc. try to claim there is no such thing as an accident and are under the delusional idea that life can be risk free, in reality they are wrong. Life is full of risks and if you become a police officer, it stands to reason you accept these risks just the same as if you joined the military. If a police officer is this scared of risks, he should resign and take up knitting. He's clearly not up to the job."

    Chip on your shoulder much? AFAICS the lefties are the ones arguing that the coppers should have grown a pair and taken the risks like men, and the law'n'order wing-nuts are the ones who argue that anyone who steps out of line for a second is fair game for massively disproportionate punishment because we should all be obedient to our superiors in society.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    electrocution??!?!!! means he died..

    When responding to ancient hospital crazies... the Mounties should start deploying heavy wet towels. I'm thinking someone needs to develop the "mellow gun" that shoots a large amount of THC into the room. (Helps the cops and citizens maintain calm)

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Always remember rule one

    What kind of little old man was it?

    If it was a small white haired asian guy they were right to be careful - he could have been a retired ninja master. The mounties should be given predator drones with hellfire missiles to safely cope with ninja octogenarians .

    Rule one = "Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men!"

  62. Mad Mike
    Paris Hilton

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Chip on your shoulder much? AFAICS the lefties are the ones arguing that the coppers should have grown a pair and taken the risks like men, and the law'n'order wing-nuts are the ones who argue that anyone who steps out of line for a second is fair game for massively disproportionate punishment because we should all be obedient to our superiors in society."

    Nope. The loony lefties are the ones that introduce all the stupid health and safety rules that prohibit doing anything more risky than cutting your toe nails. Therefore, they're the ones causing the stupid rules than may well have been a contributory factor here.

    Posted by the man not hiding behind 'Anonymous Coward' and not posting from a bunker.

    Paris because she's got more balls than the mounties or some people posting.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Taser as a labour saving device?

    Of course having fired one taser and stopped the guys heart you need the other two as defibrillators.

    I hope this does not become standard medical practice; when you enter hospital you are fitted with taser contacts just in case you become agitated.

    Where did this guy get a knife and what sort was it anyway? Unless he had his outdoor clothes with him perhaps it was the knife he used at lunch. You can do a lot of damage with a thing like that.

  64. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    Tazer a lot safer than an automatic sub machine gun

    If the mounties were not allowed to use a Tazer then they would have had to open fire with sub machine guns, riddling the crazed knifeman with bullets and possibly spreading infected blood all up the walls. I am sure the other people on the ward are very glad this man was tazered.

    Heart because of his heart op.

  65. Mark

    @Wayland Sothcott

    They would? Why?

    And if they had wasted the guy, they WOULD be up on murder charges. So therefore if they hadn't got tazers, they would not have used SMG's on him, they'd have, oh, grabbed the arm, held it and restrained him.

  66. Mark

    Dinner knife

    "Where did this guy get a knife and what sort was it anyway? Unless he had his outdoor clothes with him perhaps it was the knife he used at lunch. You can do a lot of damage with a thing like that."

    Assault and buttery?

  67. D

    I've looked after violent and psychotic/confused patients

    and had to deal with with violent behaviour from individuals ranging from 15-90 yrs over a number of years. I have been involved in countless restraints. Once we had a twenty stone steroid monster of a man, and we had to get the police in to help us restrain him safely, that's the only time I saw the police being brought in to a hospital to manage a psychotic patient. So I'm not some naive bleeding heart liberal commie pinko bedwetter,

    I've got a better idea than most about the reality of this kind of situation, and it's with the benefit of my extensive hands on experience, training and hours of personal reflection that I say - what a sad and pathetic pair of excuses for men these mounties are, zapping an 80 year old crazy guy, three times. Seriously, it's the most pathetic thing I've heard in a long time. You don't punish people because they're too crazy to do what they've told.

  68. Maty

    two questions ..

    1. Does bed-ridden mean literally unable to get out of bed? And therefore, whom, apart from himself was this guy a threat to?

    2. How do you get hold of a knife immediately after heart surgery? Was one of the surgeons verrry careless?

  69. Ed


    Maybe the mounties are just sick of dealing with knife weilding loonies....

    The old bloke was off his rocker.... I am sure it was not his fault but he did have a knife in his pocket.... come to think of it whats a bloke recovering from a triple bypass doing with a knife in his pocket...

    I think if any of us had deal with crap like this every day we too would be reaching for our tasers at the first notice, cmon how many users would you like to taser every day.....

  70. Ed Carter

    President-for-life of the Dominion of Urban Mountaineers

    The RCMP just thought he was speaking Polish; give them a break.

  71. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    White Hat - Black Hat - Brown Hat?

    It certainly seemed that someone got out of the wrong side of bed (or was trying to) that morning. Initial thoughts: blah blah common sense, blah bah sledgehammer v. nut, blah blah oops - overlooked the 02 angle, blah blah surely not... those nice Canadians?

    So... decided to enquire further at the RCMP website. Answer:

    "In response to your comment posted on the RCMP website involving the 82 year old male in Kamloops, British Columbia.

    We respect that there continues to be questions raised around our response to the armed patient at Royal Inlands Hospital on May 3, 2008. The R.C.M.P continues to review the incident, including 9-1-1 calls, and witness accounts. Some of the family members have been in contact with the Kamloops R.C.M.P and we remain available for further discussions. The Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints (C.P.C.) against the R.C.M.P. has ordered an investigation into the matter, and the R.C.M.P. will be cooperating fully with that investigation.

    We are always accountable for our actions, and are confident that the review by the C.P.C. will deal with the concerns.

    [Redacted - popular word at the moment*]

    Kamloops City R.C.M.P."

    So, all a bit sub judice/media relations it seems...

    *I've got "qua" qua "I'll get my coat qua anorak" lined up for another post... oops!

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