The Telegraph, a UK newspaper, reports that police in that country are testing a laser-rifle intended to blind rioters. Similar developments have been going on for years in the United States.
The clear assumption of governments working on such technical means of “crowd control” is that they expect their populations to revolt as a consequence of their policies. In short:
– Imperatives of money and power mean that we are going to do what we are going to do, and we know you won’t like it and that you can be quite unruly.
– So, we are being prudent, and planning to be able to stun you into submission as humanely as technically possible.
– If you become sufficiently educated, you will come to understand that we are right, and you will thank us.
– If not, those who are sufficiently educated will thank us for protecting them from you, and we can rest satisfied for having served the nation.
A depressing story, the plutocracy employing its scientist-armorers, like Zeus commanding Hephaestus to fashion new thunderbolts to be stockpiled for the anticipated popular tantrums, which are expected as the rations are increasing cut.
Here is my one (run-on) sentence pitch to be the Republican Party nominee for president of the USA:
Excessive indulgence has bred popular surliness, and the necessary imposition of increasing discipline to put the people on a diet to reduce their fatted profligacy will naturally make them unruly at first, but with persistent policing employing our new laser-gas-and-electrified enhanced cattle prods, the people will be corralled and trained from being an aimless and spoiled rabble into a devoted and humble peasantry tilling the fields of their incorporated barons, and gleaning for leavings outside the walls of the baronial fortifications.
As a former scientist (or formerly employed scientist) I think of how sad it is that people who were excited by science in their youth — the desire to know about the workings of nature — and who made the rigorous efforts to gain degrees in technical fields are today most likely to find few choices for employment except as modern day armorers, as here fashioning anti-insurgent, anti-populist, anti-“rabble” weapons for police and military forces. Also, it is disheartening to see our police departments being militarized: are we all Palestinians now, occupied in our own homelands? Do our local cops become so many phalanx-clones of IDF formations, herding us away from the walled-off prosperity of an ‘Israelized’ corporate class acting as national landlord?
I have no enthusiasm to explain the physics behind the new crowd-supression technology being described in the Telegraph article. The physics being exploited can be fascinating, but I just don’t have the heart to go into that. I hope you will excuse me, and permit a suggestion that may seem completely off this topic. Read: “Ill Fares The Land” by Tony Judt (published by Penguin, 2010).
The reason governments find it necessary to contain their people with laser-rifles, irritating gas cloud and blasts of sound-pain waves is because governments have become the harpy-whores of neo-liberalism instead of the nurturing den-mothers of social democracy. Tony Judt describes how this happened over the last thirty years (since Reagan-Thatcherism), and what attitudes and visions “the people” (a.k.a “the 99%”) have to recover if we are to return to any approximation of a “good society.”
In the short term, I am afraid there are really no effective personal countermeasures against the new crowd-supression weapons, except not being there to get shot. But, in the long term, we can defeat the purpose behind those weapons if we (the 99% we) recover the vision, as in 1945, of what a social democracy (or, a social contract) means, and we find ways to work collectively for that. Read Judt.
MANUEL GARCIA, Jr., once a physicist, is now a lazy househusband who writes out his analyses of physical or societal problems or interactions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org