Non-Lethal Weapons

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Although interest in Non-Lethal Weapons has waned since the advent of the Lethal Weapon film trilogy, considerable effort has been put into development of non-lethal weapons. Some of the best known are the Glue gun, The Taser, and the Nerf foam rocket launcher. This article deals with less well known devices.

The Burt Lancaster Sound Ray
Developed closely with Lancaster himself, the device is based heavily on a megaphone, with pre-recorded sound clips of Burt Lancaster. It had over 200 different clips for different scenarios - for example "Hi, I'm Burt Lancaster - and I sure do dislike people being uncivil to their elders". The device was shown considerable interest, but was a flop thanks to its $500,000 price tag.

The Trip-Thief Street Network
The street network was a complicated system of levers and pulleys, which, when operated from a central headqaurters, would spring a wall-to-wall rope from a groove below the ground, to 3 inches above, thereby tripping a thief. The design was a disaster, financially ruining all who backed it. It took 4 years to build the first model, and the mechanical equipment took up the entirety of one half of the street. Lastly, during one phase of testing, all the trip-ropes activated simultaneously, injuring 47 people and killing 7.

Buzz Aldrins Moon Boots
This concept was in no way affiliated with Buzz Aldrin, which contributed to its failure. The principle was that the Moon Boots would inflate when activated, thus greatly impeding the flight of the criminal wearing them. It was ridiculed when it was pointed out that the thief could just take the shoes off, or never wear them in the first place.

Safe-T-bop Crime Hammer
This foam replica hammer was intended to look exactly like a real household hammer, and to scare criminals into submission. Its simplistic approach and low price won it several law enforcement contracts across the USA. However, in the long term, after being forced to use the hammer, criminals became wise to the ineffectual foam hammers. A second model was developed to rectify these faults, but it was pointed out that it was in fact a real hammer, and thus potentially not non-lethal.

Chester the anti-crime hyena
Whilst technically not a weapon, many Americans will remember Chester the anti-crime hyena touring schools, and performing a rap about crime. Sadly, Chesters career was cut short when he was hit by a bus driver.

All content copyright Tom Crowley

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