Re: Non-lethal protective technologies?

den Otter (
Thu, 3 Jun 1999 16:53:50 +0200

> From:

> den Otter [] wrote:
> >That may be, but it is better to be zapped than to be stabbed/beaten/
> >shot, which is often the alternative.
> Only one minor problem with that argument; as we've been pointing out, a
> crook will happily stun you and then rob/rape/whatever because there's no
> chance of killing you.

In that case ordinary stun guns and air tasers should be quite popular with crooks, yet in reality their use [by criminal elements] is rather rare afaik. Any stats on that?

Kleck's research backs this up, showing that a crook
> with a knife is far more likely to use their weapon than a crook with a gun.

This may in part be due to the fact that knives are less impressive than guns (so a crook may stab someone just to make sure he's taken seriously), and require close physical contact to be used. Close contact easily leads to a struggle, mutual aggression and general excitement, and consequently casualties.

> >And of course anyone with half
> >a brain will carry his/her own piece (and the threshold for using the gun
> >for self-defense will be lower too).
> And when they stun you from cover a hundred yards away without warning?

Well, then you're obviously fucked. But then again, such an ambush can only be done under certain conditions (not too much people around etc.) Besides, things that seem perfectly plausible don't always happen; i.e. phasers might for whatever reason not become the crook's weapon of choice. But perhaps more importantly: even if you're right on all counts, we cannot "undo" this technological development. It will have its pros and cons, just like ordinary guns. I think the net gain will ultimately be positive, but we'll just have to see. Note that should proliferation of the phaser lead to a crime wave, the correct action for law enforcement would be cracking down on crime, not the banning the weapons (ah well, it's the gun debate all over again).

> are you going to run around stunning anyone who looks like they might even
> be thinking of stunning you?

Obviously not, but there are plenty of of cases where you can see trouble coming from a mile away, so to speak, and be ready for it. Example: you're alone in a subway late at night and a group of blatantly intoxicated youths is steadily moving in your direction. Finger on da trigger...