Yes, the technology was being developed in 2003.
What's new is the public's growing awareness of the effects that these 'non-lethal' (they do everything but kill you, most of the time; the rest
of the time, they kill you), weapons have. Add to that the growing realization of the potential for application by the government in efforts to
control domestic dissent. I saw the article then, and it was about military use in crowd control in foreign countries like Bosnia. This thread has,
in contrast, explored what these weapons are capable of doing to a person, and how they might be misused to control public opinion.
The real danger lies in who is behind the weapon. Can you picture W (is for ?) turning to extra tricky Dicky and saying, I'm really f-ing tired of
all these protesters, let's just blast 'em with that pulse-plasma gizmo and see if that shuts 'em up fer awhile. That's what we'd do back in
Taxus, that's fer sure, ayup. Not that that would happen, of course.
Weapons like this are not for domestic use, and shouldn't be used on any crowd of civilian demonstrators, anywhere. Mobs attacking military
installations, maybe. Pepper spray swabs and tear gas and billy clubs and strap ties are enough to handle most civil unrest. During riots, there are
rules of engagement and lethal force can be authorized under them. That means real bullets. At that point, I think these 'non-lethal' weapons
could be just as damaging, and more painful, than a well placed bullet. Here's a quote from that article to support this.
"On the counter-personnel front, the technology is only marginally more tame. Nonlethal, after all, does not mean nonviolent. Although information
here remains scarce—and the directorate won't share details—the pulsed-energy projectile rivals the Active Denial System pain beam in its sci-fi
promise. The weapon will fire a pulsed (in brief shotlike bursts) deuterium-fluoride laser that will produce an ionized plasma on whatever surface it
hits. That in turn will cause both pain and a kinetic shock, and could literally knock people off their feet.
Another counter-personnel system, the veiling-glare laser, is designed to produce fluorescence in the human eye, inducing a whiteout effect, blinding
individuals for brief periods. Acoustic devices that produce low-frequency, incapacitating sound are also being investigated as counter-personnel
I think the research is useful, but the products are potentially more dangerous to us than to the enemy.
[edit on 26-4-2005 by Icarus Rising]