15 September 2006

High power microwave "guns" =? non-lethal

Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

The Air Force has paid for research into nonlethal weapons, but he said the service is unlikely to spend more money on development until injury problems are reviewed by medical experts and resolved.

Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam. Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also can be effective in disabling some electronic devices.

The issue here is what precisely do they mean by "microwave" - the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum is really broad. Some wavelengths are cellphone communication, some are GPS, and some boil water. High power microwaves therefore might fry your cellphone (and possibly cause cancer, though studies are still conflicting on whether cellphones do cause cancer), fry your GPS, or boil your blood. As they do not give sufficient information, I'm going to have to assume it's dangerous to humans, and it IS a lethal weapon, and therefore should NOT be used for riot control.

Yoinked from rosefox

1 comment:

Allison said...

I've heard this weapon referred to as a "pain ray" - because the microwave freq's used cause a severe burning sensation in skin neurons but don't actually burn you. I think they've tested it and limited exposure doesn't harm "normal" healthy people - but making someone feel like they are on fire is incredibly inhumane and makes this non-lethal weapon unacceptable and immoral...

Also who knows what it does to anyone who's not in good physical health? Not all protesters (which is who this would be used on) are young, fit adults. Some are Raging Grannies, have pacemakers, weak hearts, ashtma etc. and using something like this on them might cause unforeseen effects.