CNN Money recently highlighted less-lethal weapons given that the current demand for them is high following several widely publicized stories where police officers used deadly force against unarmed civilians, e.g. Ferguson, Missouri.
One such weapon was the ‘Police Force Triple Defender,’ a pepper spray dispenser, a stun gun and a strobe light all wrapped into one platform.
Several questions, would you carry such a weapon? Would you carry it in lieu of a handgun? Under what circumstances, if any, would you carry it?
Or how about affixing ‘The Alternative’ to the end of your gun, would you consider doing that?
The Alternative is a plastic device that affixes to the end of the barrel and slide, once the firearm is discharged the projectile hits the plastic device and embeds itself into a metallic ball that then hurtles toward the suspect. The metallic ball slows down the velocity of the projectile so that when it hits the suspect it causes injury, not death.
Of course, the non-lethal impact is not guaranteed. The same can be said for stun guns, which according to Amnesty International have killed more than 500 people in the U.S.
“We recognize that there is a need for less lethal tools to minimize the risk of death and injury, which is inherent in police use of firearms,” Amnesty researcher Justin Mazzola told CNN Money. “But what we’re always calling for is that Tasers be used as a last resort. Right now there are no national guidelines.”
That death toll is disputed, however. Taser, one of the leading manufacturers of electroshock weapons, told CNN Mone that stun guns are directly attributed to approximately 60 deaths.
Regardless of the number of those killed, it explains why these devices are known as “less-lethal” weapons. While they’re designed to be less-lethal, that may not always be the case.
Another interesting weapon featured was the Active Denial System, which according to maker Raytheon, “emits a focused beam of millimeter wave energy that penetrates the skin to 1/64th of an inch, producing an intolerable heating sensation that causes targeted individuals to flee.”
ADS was developed for the U.S. Military. And it was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 by the Air Force, though it was never used in combat.
Raytheon worker Kelley Hughes described the sensation when she volunteered to get zapped while standing 3,000 feet from the source of the beam.
“I felt an intolerable heating sensation,” she told CNN Money. “I felt its heat ramping up quickly and lasting a few brief seconds on my entire body. My immediate reflex was to move quickly away from the beam.”
According to the Air Force, the beam is not radioactive, it doesn’t cause cancer or infertility and it’s only lethal when the beam is “sustained and prolonged many times.”
Due to the size of ADS, there is no civilian version of it — at least not yet.