Privacy SOS

Stun guns. Rubber buckshot ammunition. “Super sock” ammunition bags. “WASP” projectiles. Horizontal aerosol projectors, “high-volume aerosol projectors, chemical devices and specialty-impact munitions.” Laser visual impairment devices. Door “breaching” projectiles. Electronic taser guns. Pepper foams and sprays. Police riot-gear shields. More stun guns. Robots that can dispense tear gas and other chemical dispersants. A taser that looks like a knife

These are all “less than lethal” weapons available to federal, state and local law enforcement. Unfortunately, many of these technologies, often deployed to push back or control demonstrators at political protests, can and do kill people. In a case that became a symbol worldwide in December 2011, Israeli forces fired a tear gas cannister at a Palestinian demonstrator. The cannister hit Mustafa Tamimi in the face; he later died from his injuries.

There are so many examples of tasers killing people that it's better simply to link to a Google search than to point out one or two examples. Rubber bullets kill people, too. A study by the British medical journal The Lancet says that their use in civil crowd control should be discontinued

In 2003, police used rubber bullets to attack anti-war protesters at the Oakland, CA docks. Many activists were injured; some seriously. 

The US military and associated industries are pushing the boundaries with new technological development in “less than lethals”. On the other side of the Atlantic, at the cutting edge of crowd control development, the Israeli military has used “less than lethal” devices to put down Palestinian popular resistance demonstrations for decades. Israel's military has in recent years been testing strange new devices on Palestinians, Israelis and international demonstrators at protests against Israel's wall, cutting through Palestinian lands. 

Two of those crowd control technologies are particularly interesting: the skunk trunk and the scream. The skunk truck sprays horrible smelling water; the scream emits a sound so jarring to human beings that it creates “vibrations in the organs, which cause nausea and dizziness.” 

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.