Monday, February 05, 2007

Non-Lethal Weapons are So Funny

"He was in his underwear, that was the experimental protocol. In fact, the first guy up was going to wear a leopard skin pair." (loud chuckle)

So begins NPR's story on the military's non-lethal "heat ray" weapon. David Kestenbaum continues, "The military now has a series of videos: typically a grown man stands calmly in a field, then for no apparent reason, he jumps like he’s been goosed. You can hear the guy holding the video camera chuckle." Golly, hurting people is so funny!

Kestenbaum also informs us that "the military put together another video demonstrating a hypothetical scenario. (sounds of a mob) Some guards are stationed at the entrance to a facility and an angry crowd approaches the barbed wire fence. Are they carrying explosives? Maybe they’re just unhappy citizens? The guards don’t want to have to shoot."

Well that's one scenario, but here's a few other possibilities: "Citizens, already angry at having their country occupied, approach the gates of Abu Ghraib to look for seized relatives are ordered to disperse. When they don't...'" or (closer to home) "Some guards are stationed by the 'free speech' pen outside the Democratic Party Convention and a few rebellious citizens ignore warnings to stay put and decide to walk down the street with their signs -- zap, zap, chuckle, chuckle."

NPR's use of humor and levity (and amnesia) in covering another non-lethal tool of pain in the hands of US authorities really ticks me off given the context of human rights abuses that have been committed - both currently and in the past and at home and abroad - with non-lethal weapons (dogs, tear gas, tasers, pepper spray, etc). For a serious and complicated discussion of this same topic take a look at the report on Democracy Now!

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