by William Teach | February 4, 2015 7:17 am
Perhaps they should consider instead why so many in communities like Ferguson are violent and lawless
(Washington Post) About a month after a white officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., the city’s assistant police chief, Al Eickhoff, took to Google and searched under the words “less lethal.”
Huh. It’s like there was no reason for the shooting. No mention of Michael Brown attacking a store clerk, stealing cigars, walking illegally in the middle of the street, attacking said police officer, trying to take the officer’s gun, running away briefly, then charging the officer. Context matters.
Eickhoff, a 36-year veteran of Missouri police work, said he was looking for any new device, weapon or ammunition — any alternative to lethal force — that might have prevented a deadly result when Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson encountered each other in the noonday heat last August.
Browsing a California company’s Web site, Eickhoff found pictures and videos of an odd-looking, blaze-orange device docked on a normal handgun barrel. When a bullet fired, it melded with an attached projectile the size of a ping-pong ball that flew with enough force to knock a person down, maybe break some ribs, but not kill him, the product’s makers said — even at close range.
Its name: the Alternative.
The Ferguson PD is planning on arming all its officers with the Alternative.
But others consider the product dangerous because officers must take time — if only a few seconds — to remove it from their belts and affix it to a service weapon. That “exposes police officers to greater risk” and “turns policy on its head,” said Steve Ijames, a former Springfield, Mo., police major and training expert.
“I am all about less lethal,” he said. “What bothers me is we will allow an officer to face immediate deadly jeopardy with a less-lethal round. Deadly force is the most likely thing to repel deadly force.”
It’s not a bad idea, and it will certainly have its uses. There are times when an officer has the time to affix it.
Of course, after they’ve fired that first shot, then what? There are many times where people have been shot multiple times and keep going. Michael Brown did.
Question: Could this thing have saved Brown? After a ruminative pause, Eickhoff offered that if Wilson’s fusillade of gunfire didn’t stop Brown, it’s not likely that a single-shot blunt-force projectile would have. “You could still shoot him with this round,” the assistant police chief said, “and he could still get up and come at you.”
Huh. That tidbit comes as the last paragraph of the article.
Actually, it’s a bulbous metal alloy bullet-capture device that travels up to 250 feet per second (when propelled by a 9mm slug) and sends “a shock wave of pain through the suspect” when it hits, Ellis said. Effective to a range of 30 feet, the Alternative incapacitates a person but would very rarely penetrate the skin, he said, citing ballistics tests using leather chamois, foam and gel to simulate the human body. All tests were conducted at a range of five feet from muzzle to target.
There are good points and bad points. If police can have less lethal methods, great. It will certainly save lots of problems for police officers who have to deal with taking a life, even if said life is a criminal scumbag looking to harm an/or kill the officer or someone else. Unfortunately, so often an officer has no time to attack the Alternative when they are pulling their service weapon, with unfortunate tragedies occurring at times. Like when someone aims a fake gun at officers, and there is no way in the moment to see that it is a toy gun.
Bob Owens is less than impressed.
You can see how it works here.
One question I have is whether the “ball” that captures the bullet and hits the perp is reusable. Because the units cost around $45 each. Much less than a life snuffed out by accident in certain circumstances, of course.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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