For two weeks the protests have taken over the news cycle and we are hearing words like tear gas, pepper spray (it is a chemical agent) and rubber bullets used as crowd control.
Rubber bullets is where this post is traveling….
Actually the term “rubber bullets” is far more lethal than the benign term would show…
As protests have taken over the U.S., police officers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Kansas City, Chicago, and more have opened fire on crowds—bruising, maiming, and even permanently blinding peaceful demonstrators and members of the press. The shots fired have primarily been with what are colloquially called rubber bullets.
The name is a bit of a misnomer. These kinetic energy (KE) rounds are rarely made of rubber these days, and some even have metal components, just like conventional bullets. Most are actually shot from grenade launchers, though shotgun rounds are also popular, and rounds are even made for rifles and pistols. Instead of piercing the skin, the rounds are meant to strike someone with blunt force, incapacitating them like the swing of a baton but from afar.
More than a century in the making, rubber bullets can cause serious injury, and even kill, and it’s taken time for the semantics to catch up. Once called nonlethal weapons, research has demonstrated their dangers, like that up to 15% of people struck with KE rounds are left with a permanent disability. They were renamed “less-than-lethal” for a while in the early aughts, and now much of the world, including the UN, calls them by a more suitable title: “less lethal” rounds.
What about tear gas?
An Ohio county coroner’s office is investigating whether the death of a 22-year-old was the result of police firing tear gas at her during a protest in Columbus, according to preliminary autopsy records obtained by the Dayton Daily News.
The records indicate Sarah Grossman’s father told the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office that she had been “exposed to tear gas and pepper spray” used by police at a May 28 protest. Family members had found Grossman unresponsive May 30. She arrived at a hospital in Miamisburg, Ohio, in cardiac arrest and died shortly after arrival, according to the preliminary records.
But that is an isolated case, right?
“The most overwhelming aspect of the pain was an intense tightness in my chest. It felt like my heart might burst or collapse into itself and it was so bad I thought I might be having a serious medical issue,” he wrote.
When tear gas and smoke is fired from canisters, there’s also a risk of serious injury if protestors are hit with the canisters.
Just yet another attempt to put a civilized face on brutality.
Work for a more inclusive society and they would not have these problems or need such barbarous tactics.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”