Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cops Have Their Own BFG

I know, it looks like the sweetest laser tag weapon you've ever seen, and while there are several lasers involved I get the feeling that being hit by this thing is a bit different than just having your helmet and chest plate start to vibrate:

Look out, everybody — here come the trigger-happy cops with even more non-lethal weapons. Pictured above is the PHaSR, the bad-ass "Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response" rifle that's just about ready for deployment. It puts the hurt on you by dazzling you with laser light, while also burning your skin with an infrared laser. Let's just hope they set those PHaSRs on stun.

The next big, scary gun in development (but not quite ready for deployment) is the Active Denial System (ADS), blasting out a 6-foot-wide microwave beam that makes those evildoers want to jump back, pronto. Ouch. They rifles aren't going to kill you, but they'll make you wish you were dead until you get your carcass out of those hot rays.

It's good news that the police are developing weapons that don't kill people, but when you look at the way police are all-too-eager to use Tasers, you might consider whether this is a good thing or not. We're thinking they can be either good or bad, depending on who wields them. While we're wondering why we can't all get along, we're also thinking to ourselves, "Don't microwave me, bro!"

As I've said before, I have no problem with the existence of guns or private gun ownership but I do hate that they kill so many Americans every year so I see the invention of these types of non-lethal weapons as a good thing for the most part. One of my concerns is that these weapons and others like them will most likely be eventually used for crowd control purposes, doing the job that tear gas canisters and weighted bean bag rounds do today. Not that such methods aren't needed by the authorities at times but with the increased usage of so-called "free speech zones" during lawful political protests under the Bush administration I fear that these weapons have the potential to further squelch the first amendment rights of Americans; I know that Barack Obama will be running things soon but I'm still instinctively loathe to put devices with the express intent of being used on citizens in the hands of our government.

[Update: Welcome Idleworm readers! Please feel free to have a look around Brain Rage; and thanks, dermot.]

1 comment:

Van Zan said...

I regard guns of any type with a fondness that most people reserve for black widow spiders.
They're a single-use object pregnant with tragedy, devoid of honor, discrimination, loyalty, humanity.

Tasers are not always a safe alternative, although I prefer them to guns any day.

Saw footage once of a man having a psychological interlude in a Canadian airport being tasered to death by 4 fat slobs who were afraid because he was armed with a chair. I know 100 guys and some women who could have got around the chair, got an arm around his neck and put him to sleep in 10 seconds. I could have done that. He would have woken up with handcuffs on and a sore throat the next day, and a cup of coffee while he waits for someone to take him home or to his shrink.

Expensive toys like this may work some of the time. But they will also create escalation. Sting them with a microwave and they're just going to come back angry with a gun, because the average moron has the emotional maturity of a 12 year old and will feel a need to match your toy with a bigger badder toy, especially in America where guns are some kind of symbol of personal empowerment.
And how long is it till some beaker-brained nerd tweaks it for lethal or permanent injury?