The military has been pouring money into non-lethal weaponry that can break up a crowd or immobilize individuals without bullets or permanent injuries. One is already in production: a truck mounted ray that makes people feel like their skin is on fire. Requests to use the truck in Iraq have been denied.
There remains serious legal questions over these devices, which may be used domestically. Pain is pain under the law — whether caused by real fire or perceived fire. Morever, the use of such a device on a large crowd could pose problems for the very old or the very young or pregnant individuals. This is not to say that non-lethal research is a poor investment. It has much promise but it will be a challenge to fit these devices into more forms of crowd control such a tear gas and will require much study. There have already been problems in the expanded use of stun belts in courts, for example. click here
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