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Pepper Spray, Tasers, and LRADs — What’s Behind the Explosion of ‘Less Lethal’ Weapons for Crowd Control?

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Rania Khalek
AlterNet
December 6, 2011
From the battlefield of Afghanistan to your local Occupation, the government has invested big bucks in weapons that don’t cause permanent damage.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the research and development of more “media-friendly” weapons for everyday policing and crowd control, and as uprisings around the world spread, the demand for nonlethal weapons is increasing.

According to an October report by the Homeland Security Research Corporation, the global market for “less lethal” weapons is predicted to triple by 2020, with more than half of the current market devoted to crowd dispersal weapons like those being used against protesters at Occupy Wall Street.

Americans have a rich history of taking to the streets to demand social justice.  From the labor strikes of the progressive era to the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 60s and 70s, the reaction by the powers-that-be has been the same: send in the riot police. As the Occupy Wall Street movement advances this tradition, the powerful have again reacted with overwhelming force. But the riot police of yesterday were armed much differently than they are today.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 8:01 am





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