ShockRounds: less-lethal ammo assaults multiple senses
By End the Lie
Governments never seem to be satisfied with what they have, particularly when it comes to offensive technology or anything that can be used against their people, especially those who can be identified as dissenters.
Of course the United States is no different, in fact it might be the worst offender when it comes to developing technology to be used against the American people, like the dirt cheap miniature spy computer funded by DARPA or the new ShockRounds produced by Colorado-based SmartRounds Technology, LLC.
The defense industry seems to be quite fascinated with the concept of smart munitions, evidenced by the massive taxpayer dollars poured into programs like the self-guided bullet development at Sandia National Laboratories, although the concept of smart less-lethal munitions is a bit newer.
SmartRounds Technology (SRT) is developing a round which carries liquefied compressed gas and then activates a high-powered “shock wave” which, upon impact, rapidly expands and “attacks three of the five human senses.”
Generally, one unit volume of the liquefied compressed gas will expand to around 800 unit volumes at standard temperature and pressure, meaning that a relatively large amount of gas (like a chemical irritant) can be carried in quite a small package.
The ShockRounds are designed to be fired from SRT-approved rifle launchers modeled on the Colt M4 carbine while the pistol launcher is modeled after an unnamed “popular semi-automatic handgun.”
SRT says that the choice of the payload carried on the projectile is what determines the stopping power of the particular round and there are many options in terms of payloads.
According to Wired’s Danger Room, they already have developed “around 10” of the payload combinations including chemical irritants, expanding foam, gel and explosives.
The ShockRounds are different from any previous less-lethal munitions because they employ a micro-mechanical system (MMS) which acts as an accelerometer.
This allows the round to detect when it is fired and when it makes contact with its target, then triggering the activation of the payload just a millisecond before the round can penetrate the body.
Previous rounds which were billed as less-lethal often proved to be quite lethal indeed, with a history of deaths from around the world with some studies actually concluding that certain types of rubber bullets “kill and maim too often to be considered a safe method of crowd control.”
Most recently America witnessed the serious damage these rounds can do during Occupy Oakland when Scott Olsen, a Marine veteran was hospitalized in critical condition after he was struck with a police projectile, which resulted in a fractured skull and brain swelling.
The MMS in the ShockRounds will supposedly lessen the damage these types of rounds can do, although it is still far from an appealing thing to be struck with.
When the round hits, a loud noise is emitted as the compressed gas is released and it has been designed to create a bright flash in order to obscure the vision of the target, all while delivering a payload of possibly toxic chemicals backed up by the punch of the bullet itself.
Nick Verini, the president of SRT says that his company’s new rounds have a 300-foot range and while law enforcement agencies are already interested in the ShockRound, Verini says he has not had much contact with military officials, although I doubt this is necessarily accurate due to the fact that many contracts cannot be discussed publicly.
Furthermore, given the Department of Defense’s obsession with technology like this, I find it highly unlikely that they wouldn’t be at least keeping tabs on the development in order to snap it up once it is ready.
Judging by how frivolously this type of technology has been used against the American people in recent history, I do not find this development encouraging. When police are pepper spraying peaceful protesters for no reason whatsoever, why would we trust them with even harsher technologies?
Given that pepper spray can actually kill people and some still defend it as a harmless food product, I can’t even imagine what these new weapons would be capable of and the unforeseen damage they could cause.
I am sure that if this comes into widespread use there will also be a chorus of talking heads constantly blabbering about how they are actually totally safe and whatever damage they do is either a freak accident or somehow the fault of the victim.
However, it is quite clear that this technology can and likely will be exploited by less-than-scrupulous law enforcement in order to oppress the American people and stifle legitimate dissent as they so happily did in the case of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
The fact that this is a multi-sensory assault and not just the pain from being struck by a projectile or assaulted by caustic chemical irritants is especially troubling. I am sure it will be much easier to intimidate the public and stifle completely legal peaceful protest with the threat of such technology.
Based on the fact that so many police departments are happily becoming militarized through programs like the Pentagon’s 1033 program, I think that technology like the ShockRounds will likely be gleefully embraced and used against the American people whenever possible, no matter how illegitimate it might be.