Re: Should we be developing nonlethal means of self-defense?
Fri, 1 Oct 1999 06:23:00 EDT

<< den Otter writes:

>Ok, how about:

>--the "laser taser" that has been discussed earlier is a prime
>candidate, assuming that it works. That would be a really nice
>all-round weapon.

What was the laser taser again? Would this be a taser with a laser sighting mechanism?

>--a combo weapon that consists of a stun gun (say 500,000 volt), a
>pepper spray/mace mix and a "Phaser Pain Generator "
>Certainly not ideal, but it could still help a lot in all sorts of
>scenarios where the attacker(s) only has/have short-range weapons like
>pipes, broken bottles etc., or is/are unarmed. Great against potential
>rapists, for example. The Scorpion 200 is a step in the right
>direction (but it's still fairly clumsy), see:

Actually, I thought the Pulse Wave Myotron sounded pretty good as a hand-to-hand nonlethal defense weapon. Causes widespread muscle paresis from what the web stuff said. Apparently it's in use with the FBI. I'll check out the Scorpion 200, though.

>--a dart gun with a (revolving?) magazine and variable gas pressure
>so that you can adjust the projectile's velocity according to the
>approx. distance of the target, if you have the time. Perhaps the
>projectile itself could be made so that only the needle can penetrate
>(the pellet's main body could flatten itself on impact, for example,
>thus forming a plug). The key issue is obviously the toxin; it has
>to incapacitate the attacker very quickly but be fairly safe at the
>same time, even if you hit someone with multiple darts. If this
>is feasible, then the dart gun could become quite a "hit".

This talk of only the needle makes me think of the old sci-fi needler concept. Actually, small high velocity needles in a shotgun pattern might provide a pretty good delivery device for our chosen incapacitation agent. You point out the Achilles heel when you say the problem is which agent to use. I'll need to look at some of my drug references more deeply to see if I can't come up with a good one.

>--weapons that fire regular ammunition and have an integrated
>(laser) taser or dart gun. Perhaps the most viable option for
>cops etc. (the movie "Freejack" featured such guns, if I
>remember correctly).

This might be a compromise option. Try the nonlethal feature first, and if the attacker is still able to attack, switch over to deadly force. Not the most elegant solution, but even with a purely lethal weapon you don't always incapacitate with the first shot.

>(none of these could be called "ideal" -- Star Trek phasers are
>more or less ideal -- but they'd still be a significant improvement,
>and that's what counts). Check out
>btw, they've got lots of nonlethals & related stuff.

I will check that sight out. BTW, I was afraid someone would go for the Star Trek phasers reference (my wife did a few nights ago and I teased her for it...oh, she's gonna get me back when I mention this<G>).

>So, should we be developing nonlethal means of self-defense?
>Yes, of course we should! It would be a great way to make an
>extropic buck. I'd start a company right away if I had the
>necessary funding/expertise.

Ditto, although with the education I'll be getting in medicine and neurology, maybe some year soon I will have that expertise.

>I beg to differ; mace, stun guns and air tasers are also great
>(potential) tools for rapists and kidnappers, yet in reality they're
>seldom used for criminal purposes.

I wonder if this might not be a psychological point. Do criminals really want to use a nonlethal weapon, or would they prefer to intimidate and harm their victims (most probably do, though there are criminals who will want no confrontation and might prefer the nonlethal option if it were widely known and available.

>You obviously need a new justice system (juries, go home!) and
>widespread camera/audio surveillance (private and/or state-controlled).

I think you're right about needing a new (or seriously revamped) justice system....a subject for a later discussion<g>.

>So I ask you again: what is the chance that you'll be attacked by
>kids & women (someone even mentioned grandmothers!??) wielding
>lethal weapons. Btw, when you're using a stun gun, you have a
>fair amount of control over the shock you're administering; approx
>1sec blasts for "light" attackers and 5 secs or more for "tough guys".
>"Death by stun gun" is very rare indeed.

It's not so much being attacked by kids and grandmothers as the possibility of accidental death. I don't like that kids end up getting killed by playing with guns, and would like a weapon that's a little more forgiving (I know, you can keep the weapon out of reach, teach the kids gun safety, put a lock on the gun, but that won't protect my future children from the neighbor's kid who found a new toy).

As for varying dosage of shock by length of time applied; five seconds is an awefully long time in a fight.

Thanks for the input,

Glen Finney