During the first media demonstration of the weapon yesterday, airmen fired beams from a large dish antenna mounted atop a Humvee at people pretending to be rioters and acting out other scenarios that US troops might encounter in war zones....This is the first time I've ever heard the ADS described as "not painful"; the whole point of the weapon is to produce a level of pain that people can't tolerate.
Anyone hit by the beam immediately jumped out of its path because of the sudden blast of heat throughout the body. While the heat was not painful, it was intense enough to make the participants think their clothes were about to ignite….
"There should be no collateral damage to this," said Senior Airman Adam Navin, 22, of Green Bay, Wis., who has served several tours in Iraq.
Beyond that, an angry mob whose members are simultaneously trying to get out of the path of a heat ray sounds to me like an unbeatable recipe for "collateral damage."
“Cheer up,” says Dick Destiny, “it may never happen!”
The military microwaver, you see, has always been coming but never quite arriving, perhaps one reason being because no sensible officer wants to see his career go down in flames over it when it's unleashed on a defenseless crowd and creates an atrocity that's captured on TV camera.Although I agree with DD overall, I’m not entirely reassured by this argument. If a "sensible officer" doesn’t want to deploy the ADS, there are several ways of getting around that obstacle. Also, one nation’s atrocity is another nation’s weak-willed overindulgence; there are plenty of commentators and politicians whose biggest problem with the ADS will be that it gives "evildoers" a chance to escape.
That said, I do think the ADS is likelier to be used in a more relaxed and intimate setting, like a torture chamber.
Or perhaps it could serve as an invisible barrier against illegal border crossings. That could be very effective, especially if the pain rays were accompanied by a 75-foot, flag-waving, fire-breathing hologram of Michelle Malkin. In a post recently cited by Subtopia, Architectures of Control discusses the possible uses of projected or holographic images in conflicts large and small, and reproduces this snippet from a fascinating document called Nonlethal Weapons: Terms and References:
This reminds me of the “techno-colonial dream" described in 1883 by a New York Times op-ed piece, in which a phonograph serves as a "portable god" with which to overawe the savages. And of Henry Stanley, who used a concealed battery to shock African natives who shook his hand.
In other news, police in Tijuana are patrolling the streets with slingshots.