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Riot Control Ray-Gun for Use in Iraq 1317

team99parody writes "An 'Active Denial System' weapon that 'fires a 95GHz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds' is scheduled for service in Iraq in 2006 according to CNET and the print version of New Scientist. It was recently tested on people playing the part of rioters at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico where they asked the subjects to remove glass and contact lenses to protect their eyes. Hopefully real rioters will get the same courtesy. Police and the Marines are working on portable versions. Sandia Labs also has a nice writeup on this system with pictures of smaller versions of the weapon."
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Riot Control Ray-Gun for Use in Iraq

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  • Coming to America (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nokilli ( 759129 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:09AM (#13121439)
    It's only logical. Our right to peaceably assemble is in the process of being eviscerated, which means that future efforts on the part of the citizenry to protest the increasingly hateful policies of this government will become more and more confrontational, and which in turn sees the government resorting to ever more punitive policies in response.

    Prediction: the ray-gun is on the streets in America in time for the 2008 Republican National Convention.

    I can't wait to hear what they consider to be acceptable levels of casualties as the result of using this thing on people.

    The thing I regret most in this life is that of all the science fiction movies I loved watching as I grew up, Soylent Green [imdb.com] ends up being the one that most closely depicts the future.

    (I'd rather take my chances on the Nostromo.)
    Why didn't you know? [tinyurl.com]
    • by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:27AM (#13121565) Homepage
      Our right to peaceably assemble is in the process of being eviscerated,
      Since when are riots considered peaceable assembly? This thing is designed, like teargas, beanbag guns, rubber bullets, etc. to disperse riots. Now I'm not saying that that's all they'll be used for, certainly there are instances where the line is grey and the police in charge of these devices have inappropriately chosen to use them, but there is a valid reason for them to be developed.

      I'm glad that devices like these exist because as much as it's important for people to peaceably assemble, if a mob of people gets rowdy and starts destroying peoples' property en masse, they have abused their right and ought to be dispersed.
      • by nokilli ( 759129 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:39AM (#13121622)
        Absent the trend in placing new and more onerous restrictions on where, when and how many people are allowed to peaceably assemble, I might agree with you.
        • by chrish ( 4714 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @08:47AM (#13123112) Homepage
          That's it, Citizen, you just earned yourself a trip to the Freedom Zone!
        • by Irvu ( 248207 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @01:17PM (#13125992)
          At the Republican and Democratic national conventions police have begun creating "Free Speech Zones" located inside barbed wire fences often miles from the actual convention site. People inside these zones were still, in some cases, subject to behavior restrictions (no shouting etc. At the RNC convention in new york police shut down a permitted march and arrested large numbers of people for being on the sidewalk or doing what they were otherwize told they could do. Many of those convinctions were subsequently thrown out and the police were rebuked both for arresting non-violent demontrators and for excessive use of force.

          At the Central American Free-Trade Agreement minesterial in florida last year unarmed and non-violent protestors were shot with bean-bag guns and rubber bullets (in theory non-lethal but they can in fact kill or at least cause permanent soft-tissue damage). Judges there are still sorting out the damage.

          Wake up!

      • > Since when are riots considered peaceable assembly?

        A more interesting question is, why is riot control a problem in a country just liberated from an insanely bloodthirsty dictator?

        There's something wrong with this picture, and I don't think the trouble lies in my set.

        • by drsmithy ( 35869 )
          A more interesting question is, why is riot control a problem in a country just liberated from an insanely bloodthirsty dictator?

          You think that "bloodthirsty dictator" was operating alone ?

          • by zoney_ie ( 740061 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @04:21AM (#13122069)
            Course not. Sure didn't some big world superpower give him a load of help in the 1980s?
            • by kalel666 ( 587116 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:03AM (#13124349)
              I know this is one of those things that "everybody knows", that the US armed Saddam in the 80's, but the facts speak otherwise. Yes, we supplied Iraq with monies and arms, but we were far behind those paragons of International virtue like:

              USSR 17503 50.78%
              France 5221 15.15%
              China 5192 15.06%
              Czechoslovakia 1540 4.47%
              Poland 1626 4.72%
              Brazil 724 2.10%
              Egypt 568 1.65%
              Romania 524 1.52%
              Denmark 226 0.66%
              Libya 200 0.58%
              USA 200 0.58%

              But don't take my word for it. Refer to the report from SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) here: http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/Trnd_Ind_IRQ_Im ps_73-02.pdf [sipri.se]

              If you're going to blame the US for something, go ahead, but a least blame us for something legitimate.
      • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @03:27AM (#13121847) Homepage Journal
        It's designed to be used against people. How does it sort out the "rioters"? Is it any better than the cops at the NYC RNC convention last year, who swept up everyone on the streets, regardless of their "peacable" status? Or any of the other mass arrests I've ever heard of, where my friends, or their friends, have been picked up, even when just caught on the other side of the street, on their way to work?

        Have you ever been in a public demonstration? The actual treatment of your rights - ignoring them - is enough to wake up practically anyone. Especially when you see how different it is from TV and the movies. This raygun is going to get abused even worse than batons and tear gas, because its effects are mostly invisible. So the person leaning on the trigger, farther away from the action, won't be as inhibited by feeling personal responsibility. This thing is a nightmare from hell for people who actually care about exercising freedom, rather than just hiding behind a police fantasy, fearing for their property over crowds that will never threaten them.
        • by drsmithy ( 35869 )
          Have you ever been in a public demonstration? The actual treatment of your rights - ignoring them - is enough to wake up practically anyone.

          The trouble is that the mood of crowds is unpredictable, can change *very* quickly, and cannot be reasoned with. Added to that people in packs tend not to act with the same restraint they would individually. When a crowd turns nasty, the people they're targeting are usually vastly outnumbered and have no chance of defending themselves "fairly".

          This thing is a nigh

          • The trouble is that the mood of crowds is unpredictable, can change *very* quickly, and cannot be reasoned with. Added to that people in packs tend not to act with the same restraint they would individually

            This might be a reason to deny the right to assemble. But the right to assemble is graned by Your constitution, so this argument does not count.

            A mob of lunatics rampaging through the streets burning cars, smashing in windows and robbing houses

            Agreed. But on most demonstrations I was, it was only ve
            • Re:Coming to America (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Biomechanical ( 829805 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @07:14AM (#13122636) Homepage

              This isn't a counter-argument to either you or the next comment up, merely an observation of a rally I was in several years ago.

              It was a rally for the decriminalization (sp?) of cannabis.

              We sang songs, smoked dope (quite illegaly) with a couple of coppers on the job watching us, and generally just annoyed people by holding up traffic and chanting corny slogans.

              The few people I noticed who did try to get everyone all fired up and bloodthirsty got one of two things - the first few were, very inconspicuously, beaten up by a couple of the bigger, "gentle giants" in the crowd, and the other wankers were shoved straight into the arms of the police, who arrested the dickheads for "assaulting an officer", with a wink and a smile from the rest of us.

              We'd decided on having a peaceful rally, with some civil (polite too) disobedience by our pot smoking, and we'd kept that peace through some subtly violent methods. There was no damage to property, nor people who weren't being morons.

              We were Brisbanites, quietly, seriously, exercising our possible - still dunno if there's anything in the books that says we're entitled to it - right to peacefully assemble and express our displeasure at the government, and that's what we did, and because we were civil-minded, peaceful folk, we beat mary-hell out of the dumb fucks that tried to ruin it for us and then we handed them over to the police while wearing big, doped smiles.

              It was a pleasant day.

            • by RWerp ( 798951 )
              When you organize a big demonstration, one of your responsibilities is protecting the peaceful demonstrators from some aggressive people who might join the crowd and start trouble. You do it with the cooperation with the police. If there is sufficient organization, some idiot throwing bottles will not be a problem.

              Your right to peacefully assemble is not unlimited, it is limited by other people's rights, like the right to protect their property.
        • by notany ( 528696 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @04:11AM (#13122037) Journal
          Tinfoil. Tinfoil hat, dungarees, under your normal clothes. And you can carry tinfoil placards that reflect microwaves back to police.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2005 @03:46AM (#13121939)
        Amen, everyone properly inside the free speech cages will be shielded from the microwaves completely.
      • Re:Coming to America (Score:3, Informative)

        by Seumas ( 6865 ) *
        How about when police officers attend pre-assembly rallies and discussions under cover and try to promote violence from within and then attend the actual rallies under cover and start spraying people randomly with pepper spray just to stir them up and cause a disturbance so you can claim that they are violent and not peaceful?

        And yes, this does happen. It has been videotaped.
      • by Frodrick ( 666941 )
        Since when are riots considered peaceable assembly?

        They mostly start out peaceful - except, of course, for G8 protests - but rapidly escalate. A row of police standing between the protestors and their target becomes a noisy protest with much fist shaking and placard waving. Pushing and shoving from both sides occur as the protestors attempt to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Then something gets thrown or someone gets hit - not seriously, but enough to inflame passions. After that every

      • by jglen490 ( 718849 )

        "Since when are riots considered peaceable assembly?"

        First, one must define "riot", and then (more powerfully) must define who gets to decide what a riot is. Witness the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago in which the powers-that-were either panicked or were not understanding the purpose of protest.

        Yes, in an emotionally charged situation it's easy for anyone to lose control of that situation and to thereby allow, or even cause, an escalation. However, comma, this is a very powerful syste

      • Re:Coming to America (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dtfinch ( 661405 ) *
        Just in the past year pepperballs were used in a nearby small town to disperse a nonviolent crowd of Bush protesters. As far as I could tell there was no rioting or destruction of property.
    • by miu ( 626917 )
      I can't wait to hear what they consider to be acceptable levels of casualties as the result of using this thing on people.

      I imagine that any casualties will be subject to incredible levels of propaganda. Human nature is such that we are very very good at accepting the most hateful propaganda if it matches what we want to believe - and Americans still desperately want to believe that we are not monsters. So any casualties that result from this will be painted (and widely believed) to have got what was co

  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by einstienbc ( 825770 ) <einstienbc&gmail,com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:09AM (#13121445)
    Wheres mine?
  • by JemVai777 ( 411658 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:10AM (#13121456)
    I Wonder whether its usage can contribute to cancer down the track?
    • by DanMc ( 623041 )
      I wouldn't worry about it... US gunfire and air strikes are more likely to kill you than cancer.
    • by Tezkah ( 771144 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:25AM (#13121553)
      I Wonder whether its usage can contribute to cancer down the track

      ... only if you use it to light your cigarette. =)
    • by carldot67 ( 678632 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @05:57AM (#13122401)
      It's hard to say.

      All cells have a fundamental shock response to heating as well as to UV and other stimuli. They produce various repair enzymes that wander around doing useful stuff like refolding damaged proteins and relinking damaged DNA.

      The problem is they sometimes get it wrong leading to mutations or regulation imbalances. Heating also changes the shape of proteins. Go higher than 42C for many animal proteins and they cease to work properly, in some cases permanently until they are replaced (there is a natural turnover).

      Now since proteins are involved in genetic switchgear and regulation I can easily see the possibility of one delicate subsystem going out of whack: growth factors, receptors, messengers, polymerase initiation factors, repressors etc. If one or more of these go wrong you _can_ have unregulated cell growth. aka Cancer.

      This would be particularly true for children or individuals with a pre-existing disposition.

      Numbers are hard for me to take a stab at without data and mammalian heat-shock isnt my field (although my degree in molecular biology is a good start).

      However, and as most people would suspect, unnatural stimuli given often enough to a large enough sample will eventually throw up something bad in individual cases at a rate higher than a control group. Its a statistical certainty.

      What "how often", "eventually" and "large enough" and "something bad" mean in relation to the weapon are anyone's guess. And I think thats a problem. You can find all this out for Aspirin, so why not the weapon?

      On balance, if you get tagged by this thing once due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time then the chances are it's not going to harm you long term. That said, I would really, really steer clear of it. It sounds like a nightmare.

      Speaking from a social viewpoint, I personally think its a dangerous escalation. If the authorities start firing this at people then it can surely only be a matter of time until they start firing back.

      • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @08:06AM (#13122824) Homepage Journal
        Speaking from a social viewpoint, I personally think its a dangerous escalation. If the authorities start firing this at people then it can surely only be a matter of time until they start firing back.

        Mod parent up. That's the point. Shooting at people with stun guns and CS gas causes them to throw stones at you (not to take sides, it also works the other way round: If you start throwing stones, don't be surprised if a CS grenade comes back).
        So why should this be any different? It will be a shock and probably disperse the crowd the first few times around. After that, it'll incite violent reactions. Since it is a most natural reaction to eliminate the source of your pain, I wouldn't want to be the cop who's holding the gun.
        • by pkahle ( 149174 )
          At the moment, the "gun" is mounted on a Humvee. So you don't much have to worry about anybody carrying it. Also, it's purpose is to scatter a whole crowd. It's not directed at a single person, it's got a wide arc of fire. And from what I've heard, nobody's managed to stay in the beam more than 2 seconds (in somewhere over 2000 test subjects)
  • "non" lethal? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:13AM (#13121471)
    • Interesting that they focus on the non-lethal aspect. I'd suspect the military would also be interested on whether you could turn up the power a bit, and you have a lethal ray gun that can hit lots of people at once.
    • Wonder if the volunteers of which the article speaks were found in a similar way that earlier human radiation 'volunteers' [doe.gov] were found.
    • Wonder if making people feel like they're being burned alive counts as torture?
  • by robpoe ( 578975 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:13AM (#13121477)
    I hope that it might be a little more humane than lobbing teargas at someone.

    Of course, someone will sue the inventor, the user, his boss, the bosses boss, the company, the government and some guy named Joe - because their cousin's niece's daughter's friend's cat got nuked by that thing...
  • Wow this is stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vectorian798 ( 792613 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:18AM (#13121510)
    But New Scientist magazine reported Wednesday that during tests carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, participants playing the part of rioters were told to remove glasses and contact lenses to protect their eyes. In another test they were also told to remove metal objects such as coins from their clothing to prevent local hot spots from developing on their skin.

    In real life obviously there are going to be people wearing lenses or carrying metal objects so what gives???

    Is Iraq just the guinea pig for our experiments now?

    While I certainly support non-lethal weapons in use of riot dispersion, this does not seem safe at all (and certainly, I do not want to be aimed at with microwaves!)
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:20AM (#13121519) Homepage Journal
    That's the way to win "hearts and minds" of people angry at the US occupation forces: zap them with rayguns. We'll teach them how the 21st Century US welcomes them with "compassionate conservatism", by frying them with rayguns. After sizzling whole towns, there's no way they'll ever listen to insane jihadists telling them that the Great Satan has burned them with hellfire, that we're all better off in a medieval fiefdom under god. Yeah, sticking Iraqis into a microwave oven is exactly the way to get them to calm down, stop their civil war, and break out those flowers they're supposed to be greeting us with.
    • by frying them with rayguns

      After which, they can still go home to their spouses and children, which is far more than they could say under the Old Regime [kdp.pp.se]. Of course, this won't stop them from strapping explosives around their waists and blowing up children [cnn.com].
  • Commute (Score:3, Funny)

    by 3770 ( 560838 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:20AM (#13121522) Homepage
    Having one of these mounted on my car would help me with my daily commute.
  • That's a relief (Score:5, Insightful)

    by legLess ( 127550 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:22AM (#13121533) Journal
    From the article:
    Burn injury is prevented by limiting the beam's intensity and duration.
    Well thank god for that. We all know the customary restraint of law enforcement and military personnel will prevent any civilian injuries,
  • by ostsJoe ( 756449 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:23AM (#13121541) Homepage
    by tin foil?
    • by Boricle ( 652297 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @03:00AM (#13121720) Homepage
      I suspect that what happens then is that they use the "less-lethal" tool first - anyone left standing, or with shiny foil face masks are then categorised as "combatants" and "more-lethal" tools are then used.

      The trick will be to incorporate the foil into some unobtusive clothing, dress up like a woman in head-to-toe covering (otherwise it will look strange if you are in full head covering). Or maybe a member of the Klan with some sun-glasses on. That'd be unobtrusive (not). Any kind of full body covering will do. Cow costume..., Scuba gear, ummm....

      Of course the fact that you are not running away screaming might still be a bit of a clue.

      Probably won't do much for improvised explosives though.

      ...which reminds me, I must remember to wrap my passport in foil..

  • So many questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Valacosa ( 863657 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:24AM (#13121552)
    My first thoughts:
    • How wide-focus is this? Would police be able to use this on the street without frying everyone?
    • Could some sort of protection be made against this? (Portable Faraday cage, maybe?) If not, what's to prevent one of these falling into the black market and eventually being used on Police?
    • So Iraq has become the population-control guinea pig. What's even better is that this will probably be viewed by police as a magical dissent-eliminating ray. It's not. If people can't peacefully protest (or even riot), dissent is just forced underground, causing it to be made manifest more anonymously, more unexpectedly, and likely more distructively. Instead of more protests or riots, we have more things like...say...roadside bombs.

      Wait, isn't that terrorism? Using this thing could increase terrorism? Fucking wonderful.
  • by hobotron ( 891379 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:36AM (#13121604)
    Nonlethal weaponry is a horseshit myth.

    The term they should have used (and what law enforcement uses now, after more than a few wrongful death lawsuits, is the term of "Less lethal". Did any of the Kirtland Air Force Base participants have a pre existing heart condition? I bet they didnt let pregnant women participate.

    Im so glad that when every time one of these proportedly nonlethal weapons pops up its run under a FULL and accurate barrage of labratory and set up tests, which almost never reveal the compounding issues that lead to death in real world enviroments.

    The news.com article asks a few of the many lurking questions to this system. We all know this device is going to Iraq to go through real world testing before its used here in the US. Someone is counting on all the "little kinks" that are more than likely deadly will be ironed out under the public eye.

    I find it highly ironic that our testing of this indescriminant weapon will be used in our even more indescriminant war.

    Terrorists dont use large crowds as weapons, if you stop and think at why this weapon would be needed, its ultimately crowd control on our home front. Now why would we need that? Lakers winning again? I highly doubt it. Someone had a plan when they initated and funded the development of this, and it doesnt look like a good one.
    • Iam certain (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @03:43AM (#13121924) Homepage Journal
      ..it is possible to devise a genuinely non-lethal weapon. The problem is, I doubt anyone would buy it if such a thing really existed. In order to be truly non-lethal, it would need to operate on some principle other than extreme shock or total immobilization.

      I'm surprised they haven't deployed water cannons over there - those would seem to be infinitely less lethal than machine-guns or even this microwave laser they're proposing. However, given the heatwaves and lack of electricity for cooling, there's a danger people would riot just to cool down.

      Of course, a lot of the dissaffection is as a result of a lack of amenities in an extremely unforgiving climate. On that basis, it would probably be much more cost-effective simply to give every household their own generator and supply them with fuel until the power situation has been stabilized. Probably kill a whole lot fewer people, too. Might even win a few friends.

      For the safer parts of the country, they could even run a water delivery service. Drop off a 20 or 50 gallon tank in the morning at the front door, picking up the empties in the process. No different than what a million milkmen do every day in England - except the getting shot at part, and the size of the bottles.

      That wouldn't eliminate problems, but it would reduce a LOT of the tension. And if you reduce the tension, you reduce the risk of riots and other violent protest. Containment is better done by meeting legitimate complaints, rather than suppressing them. Suppressing them only risks building the tension up more, which increases the risk of massive confrontation.

      Things are bad enough, over there, why go out of our way to make things worse, when it is cheaper, easier and quicker (not to mention more ethical) NOT to?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:48AM (#13121659)
    We have given up on winning their hearts and minds, instead we will cook their hearts and minds with experimental ray-guns. God Bless America!
  • Why is it ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrispycreeme ( 550607 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @02:50AM (#13121673)
    with all our technology, science, power and resources, all we seem to do is come up with more and more fucking evil disgusting ways of hurting people? This is fucking sick.. Does nobody else see this?
    • Re:Why is it ... (Score:3, Insightful)

      I totally agree - I expect far more of Slashdot than publicising this crap.

      Until recently, I was also an aircraft fanatic and used to go to a lot of air displays here in the UK. But then it suddenly dawned on me that, with military aircraft, I was basically paying to go into an airshow where manufacturers are basically showing off weapons to interested buyers. Suddenly, these shows no longer seemed that appealing...

      ...but this stuff is a hundred times worse.

  • Freedom Ray (Score:5, Funny)

    by HunkaHunkaBurninLove ( 411198 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @03:00AM (#13121717)
    This will nicely wrap up our hearts-and-minds campaign.

  • by pirateshot ( 900237 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @03:22AM (#13121819)
    I have anti-globalization activist friends who were in Miami in 2003 protesting the FTAA meeting going on at the time. They tell me that the cops (other than having their own embedded journalists, getting extremely favorable corporate media coverage, beating people senseless and blinding some people with pepperspray) used some sort of microwave weapon on them and it made them throw up. For more info on that protest, check out a movie called the Miami Model http://www.ftaaimc.org/miamimodel [ftaaimc.org].
    • by basic0 ( 182925 ) <mmccollow@ya[ ].ca ['hoo' in gap]> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @03:45AM (#13121933)
      I'd never heard of this "microwave weapon" until now, but you may be referring to the "Long Ranged Acoustic Device" which has been in use by police and military for years now. Apparently, with the right sound frequency, it's able to cause nausea and disorientation within seconds. More info can be found here [infowars.com]
      • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday July 21, 2005 @04:11AM (#13122042) Homepage Journal
        You are right, it was indeed the weapon you describe.

        It's been known for quite some time now that using waves of sound can do all kinds of things to the human body. Using stereo-separated soundwaves of differing frequencies, you can create a harmonic that your brain respods to. This has been shown to make people sick, or make them feel better and give relief from a headache. It's also shown to be possible to make people hallucinate, put them to sleep, pep them up, and more. Our skulls and brains respond rather well to nice resonating frequencies. Kudos for you bringing this up. Makes me wish I could post and mod at the same time.

  • Okay, so this crowd control of the lower classes is one thing.

    But where are the tech research projects to defeat the techno-millitant industrial corporate police? Do you really think the world is safe breeding such corporations, capable of producing devices like this for the purpose of MASS CONTROL?

    Weapons-manufacturers are the ones who create wars to sell their products. The U.S. Gov't has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted to keep its despotic fingers out of the mass-control pie. Why should we be 'grateful' that 'non-lethal weapons' are now being created out of electronics, when electronics have been governing the masses for decades now?

    Show me a hand-held device that defeats television. Show me a device which will de-fuse a rabid neo-con. Show me a tool that can be used to bring religions together in peace.

    Too many times I've seen Defense-industry nazi's get their rocks off on their latest weapons designs. I think its about time the people of the world revolted against the weapon makers ..
  • by markandrew ( 719634 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @05:16AM (#13122269)
    This shouldn't surprise anyone, really - the whole culture of western government (the US and UK, certainly) is moving away from solving the problems they face, and toward minimising the bother they cause the government.

    Too many people protesting outside parliament? Don't find out why they're so angry, just make it illegal for anyone to protest, peacefully or otherwise, within 1km of parliament.

    Too many corrupt middle-eastern regimes? Don't try to help get rid of the corruption, just invade one and hope for the best!

    Too many terrorist attacks? Don't try to figure out why so many people are willing to die to hurt you, just find a convenient country to blame and invade it!

    Too many underage criminals active at night? Make it illegal for *any* children to be on the streets at night, whether they're doing anything wrong or not.

    Too many riots and violent protests? Don't worry about it, just develop new and ever more sophisticated ways of punishing those who take part, or even those who are in the same place at the same time.

    What's next? Too many people thinking Bad Things? Don't worry...

    The whole mindset of the people in control at the moment is skewed - they're not solving problems, they're just hiding symptoms (or, increasingly, brutally suppressing them).
  • Lemme see if I've got this straight.

    They tested a system to find out whether people were experiencing intolerable heat in New Mexico?

    Surely in New Mexico, all you have to do is just stand in the sun?

  • by ZeroExistenZ ( 721849 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @05:55AM (#13122394)

    This once again looks like the US is doing weapon-experiments on humans they'd shoot otherwise. As they did in the Gulf and any other 'war'.

    It's disturbing really. I imagine this might be used domesticly as well when they see most Iraquee civilians don't end up dead or heavily mutilated and the ray proves 'humaine enough'.

    More of these internet vids from kids being overrun by the riot-police and beaten up for voicing their discontentment using peacefull protest to come. nNow with added rays!

  • Nice thought (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zpok ( 604055 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @06:15AM (#13122454) Homepage
    Something a friend of mine said some four years back (when everybody shouted "tinfoil hat" at the idea): if a few seconds can do this, imagine doing it for a few minutes.

    Isn't it nice we have all these backward countries to test our toys with and send our kids to to teach them some geography?

  • by drewpc ( 58090 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @06:59AM (#13122586) Homepage
    I'm currently serving in the Marine Corps and the reaction I've heard here on slashdot is surprising. It seems that no one at all has chimed in saying "hey, maybe this is a good thing".

    I was at the Force Protection Equipment Demonstation [fped5.org] this year where I talked to some of the Marines at the Joint Non-Lethal Warfighting Lab about this exact product. We as Marines are looking at this tool as a lifesaver (literally). If we can roll through a place like Fallujah and use this tool to incapacitate the bad guys in front of us, then that saves their lives and puts less risk on our Marines. We want to and are doing everything we can to improve our non-lethal and less-than-lethal capabilities so that we have more options when we're faced with an enemy.

    More importantly, the general vibe that I got from these responses is that you all think that we're a bunch of indiscriminent killers! Guess what...we're not! We don't want to kill if we don't have to. However, when someone is pointing a gun at us, we're not going to sit there and wait them out. For example, we have Marines coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan who are messed up psychologically because they had to shoot a kid who was shooting at them. They had no choice. They did the right thing, but now they're fucked up in the head. The only reason they're fucked up though is because they believe that it's morally wrong to shoot a child. But when that child puts themselves into a situation where they become a combatant, the only response we have right now is to shoot them.

    Back to this less-than-lethal ray gun, if that Marine could've incapacitated that child instead of killing him, then the Marine can go home knowing that he completed his mission and didn't have to shoot a child, and that child can go home alive.

    I'm really dissapointed in this crowd. I've been a slashdot reader for the last 8 years and I've been pretty impressed with most of the comments up until now. Have a little faith in the people serving on the front lines. We're professionals, just like you try to be at work. We care about honor, courage, commitment, etc. Frankly, if I can use this ray gun to help make my Marines safer and bring them home to my families, then as a commander, I'm all for it.

    • I don't think the reactions are to the army using weapons on bad guys. I think the reactions are in the context of the army using the weapon as stated in the article --- on rioters. There is a big difference between the two, and a big difference between rubber bullets and the stuff they use on rioters here and a ray gun...
    • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @11:38AM (#13124739)
      This is a great post, and I appreciate your sharing your views. I do not often hear from people "on the ground". You make good points and I believe you when you say that the US military is professional. You guys do an important job that I, frankly, would not want to do. But I am concerned that not every person is as professional as you are. I am also concerned that things can get out of hand and that many situations are quite open to interpretation.

      If someone is pointing a gun at you, you probably do have to shoot them. Not too much interpretation there. But governments around the world, including the US govt., have a history of misusing power and classifying protesters as "rioters" or worse. We have seen many examples of police and soldiers overreacting to situations. Kent State and all that kind of stuff. Although, perhaps this microwave thingy would have helped in that situation.

      Basically, I hold our men and women in uniform in high regard, but I don't trust our civilian leadership one bit. And I know how clashes between citizens and the authorities can get out of control. Anyway, thanks again for your perspective. And thanks for doing the job you do. I hope, in the future, our government has better reasons for sending people like you into harm's way.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday July 21, 2005 @09:03AM (#13123236) Journal
    Browsing at 4: 33 comments, universally bemoaning the near-fascist oppression of the Evil Bush & Co., as well as the obligatory comments about how we shouldn't be in Iraq.

    1) Do you people understand what a Riot IS? This is not a bunch of grungy stoners standing around peacably smoking hemp before they are brutalized by the jackbooted police thugs. I've BEEN in a riot, and they are characterized by VIOLENCE. Violence and damage to property, as well as against other people standing around. Many posters have said something about the indiscriminate use of these weapons. Hey dumbass: the point of RIOT CONTROL cops is not to beat your sorry ass down (as much as you may deserve it) it's to DISPERSE the rioters, because people are far less likely to be (rioting) assholes when not protected by the anonymity of the herd around them. If you're a spectator, you're part of the fscking problem. For all the sympathy we're supposed to have for 'innocent bystanders' accidentally caught in this weapon's area of effect, I don't see a SINGLE post suggesting sympathy for the people whose businesses, cars, property, and yes, even LIVES are threatened/damaged/ruined by the rioters.
    But then again, why should they get sympathy? They're working a job, running a local business, making a living, supporting a family...you know, all those things that the "anti-globalization protestors" (really fancy way of saying unemployed vandals) are supposedly "protecting"...

    2) It's great we're in Iraq, we're accomplishing good things in the majority of the country where the psychotic terrorists aren't an everyday event. And yes, it's JUST as irrelevant for me to make that point as it is to make yours that "we shouldn't be there".

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito