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Lately, it seems like clips of police officers abusing civilians are threatening to overtake adorable kittens as the Internet's most popular video genre. Police departments across the country are well aware of how these incidents are affecting their reputations, and are searching for new (read: nonlethal) ways to restore public trust in law enforcement. Unfortunately, some of these tools resemble crosses between the efforts of Wile E. Coyote and Q from the James Bond movies (when he was played by John Cleese). For instance ...

7
"Skunk Water," Or: Riot Police Are Going To Make Everything Smell Like Shit

Isbi Armor

Riot control tools have to walk a fine line between "not discouraging enough" and "way too goddamn dangerous." At first, a weapons-grade stink bomb seems to straddle that line perfectly. Make everyone smell so bad that they become too disgusted to keep rioting? Shit, can we get a commercial version for when our roommate won't take the hint that we want to watch a movie?

The Problem:

"Skunk" has a few problems, aside from a name that sounds like the new teen dance craze. Described by one journalist as smelling "like dirty diapers mixed with old roadkill that's been left in the sun," it's so hardcore that it sounds like something the Israeli military would come up with. Mainly because that's exactly where it came from.

Reuters/Darren Whiteside
The guy in the hazmat suit looks like he's about to contribute to the smell.

Skunk scent has a tendency to linger for days and cause massive collateral damage. Spraying looters in a store may discourage them, but you've also ruined all the store's merchandise and made it impossible for them to operate for a week. Stinking for days makes it easy to identify rioters to arrest after the fact, but it also ruins the lives of innocent bystanders, whose friends, family, and co-workers will think they were out committing crimes. And let's not pretend there isn't an element of humiliation. In September, it was reported that U.S. police departments have been stocking up on skunk. Imagine the reaction if a mostly white police force made a mostly-black community reek like beached sperm whale for days.

Isbi Armor
Especially when it's coming from a vehicle that looks like it's operated by Hydra.

Even if people are happy to see protests broken up, that good faith will be lost when they have to live and work with the smell of shit clogging their noses for a week. Whenever your riot control invention is a supersized version of a junior high school prank, you're inviting the same people who thought stink bombs were hilarious then to go mad with smelly power.

6
Nunchakus! For Some Reason!

Los Angeles Times

Reading that Anderson, California is equipping its police officers with nunchakus sent us into emotional turmoil. In theory, nunchaku give police more options for restraining criminals, as demonstrated in these handy images:

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times
Baton: Look like one of those fascist soldiers from The Hunger Games.
Nunchucks: Look like a goddamn sex machine.

Yes, you can even use them as feet-cuffs. Holy shit, how did no one think of this before?

The Problem:

They did! In the '80s, unsurprisingly. This is how it went:

via YouTube
The echo of that "SNAP" still reverberates somewhere in America.

There's a reason nunchaku are illegal in California. Cops stopped using them after lawsuits from protesters and their own broken wrists. But they say it'll be different now, because they'll have to go through a mandatory 16-hour training program to use them. Even if they're more responsible this time around, we imagine that increased tactical versatility will be offset by the need to detain far more suspects, because we can't even begin to guess how many wasted dudes are going to start some shit so they can later brag to their friends that they got into a goddamn nunchaku fight with a cop. On the other hand, should this program prove successful, we're one step closer to this being a reality:

Konami
"The cop wrote me a speeding ticket, and when I tried to complain, he turned into a log."

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5
A Belt Magnet For Easy Reloading (And Shooting Your Dick Off)

Magnetactical LLC

The Magnetactical belt clip is a snazzy trouser accessory that will magnetically hold up your gun for you, allowing you to quickly reload it with one hand if your other hand is unavailable due to injury, firing a second gun, flipping off your attacker, etc. Sounds like something Batman would have. So what's the problem here?

The Problem:

Magnetactical LLC

Huh. It ... almost looks like that guy is pointing a freshly-loaded gun at his dong, but that can't be right. If we zoom in, we'd probably see that he's really--

Magnetactical LLC
Pray that you never come across a gang of sexy naked bank thieves.

OK, yeah, that's a bad idea. Sure, in a demonstration in which your greatest enemy is your production budget, it's easy to calmly and safely perform a one-handed crotch reload. But if you're in the middle of a real firefight and you've already lost the use of an arm? It's all too easy to imagine someone panicking or fumbling around and accidentally giving themselves an impromptu vasectomy.

The attachment's other function is to simply hold stuff, like handcuffs, keys, or cufflinks, in case you need to raid a black-tie gala. But we know what you're thinking: "Can I stick an exposed knife dangerously close to my gut, where anyone can grab it and stab me with it?" Yes, you absolutely can! They even show you how:

Magnetactical LLC
"Leave your hands where I can see them as I bend down to pick up this quart--AAAAAARGH"

Finally, consider the fact that approximately 100 percent of people who have used a belt clip have had something fall off it and be lost to history. Things stick perfectly to the tactical magnet in the demo, where the inventor stands completely still. But the moment he breaks into anything more than a brisk walk, knives and handcuffs are going to trail behind him like bread crumbs. Although if your weapons fall off as you chase a criminal, at least you won't have to worry about anyone (including yourself) attacking your dick with it.

4
The Taser Shotgun (Was An Objectively Terrible Idea)

Taser International

Tasers are nonlethal weapon that have killed over 500 people, so obviously, the next step was to make them bigger and stronger. The Taser X12 Shotgun had a range of over 100 feet and shocked targets for 20 seconds, which is four times the potency of a regular Taser, or more than enough to take out the drunkest of raging frat bros.

Taser International
We're starting to notice a painful pattern in this article.

The Problem:

Suspicions were first aroused when the shotguns went on the market without any test results being revealed -- which is worrying if you're releasing a new line of televisions, let alone a product that could lead to someone's death. And then ... guess what happened. In March 2015, an Albuquerque police officer improperly used a Taser shotgun during a bungled attempt to arrest a mentally ill homeless man, starting a chain of events that led to two other cops killing him with actual guns. In Taser's defense, the officer shouldn't have been using their product. The cartridges had expired, and the manufacturer had issued explicit warnings that using an expired Taser was about as safe as eating expired raw chicken.

KRQE
"FYI, you will not look even the slightest bit badass with this thing."

Taser had discontinued the product line three years ago, but Albuquerque police thought they were just too rad to give up. Taser cited flagging sales, while everyone else on the planet cited the fact that they were about as accurate as your blind grandma playing Call Of Duty, and that, oh yeah, they had the potential to cause serious injury. During one incident in Britain, police fired two shots at a crazed suspect. One missed and the other did precisely bupkis, so the man went on to kill himself. We admittedly don't know much about weapon design beyond "always see if you can add a chainsaw," but we don't think the trick to making a good nonlethal weapon is to take an already-problematic one and make it worse.

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3
A Gun Attachment That "Safely" Blinds People For 15 Minutes

Shield Defense System

The Z-RO is a gizmo which not only makes your gun look like something a sci-fi movie cop would have, but also gives it more or less the same functionality. It blinds your opponent for 10-15 minutes with a laser, allowing you to slap the cuffs on him while he's trying to figure out who turned out the lights. Perfect for riots, drunken brawls, or messing with that dick who won't stop looking at his phone at the movies.

Shield Defense System
Z-RO: Make your gun rave-fit today!

The Problem:

Now, you're probably wondering, "Is this thing safe, or will it make me cry blood for a month after I inevitably point it at my own face?" Well, the product description claims that the laser "will inflict Z-RO damage to [the target's] retina and cornea" ... which sounds less like a pacifistic reassurance and more like a promise that they've trademarked a special brand of eye damage more terrifying than anything you've ever witnessed before. "Z-RO damage" is something we expect to see pop up in a badly-translated fighting game, not the sales pitch for something police officers might carry.

Shield Defense System
This is like when KFC stopped using the word "chicken."

Also, if the last thing a person judged erratic enough to incapacitate will see for a quarter of an hour is a gun in their face, wouldn't that only make them more freaked out? Imagine someone who's drunk, angry, and waving a knife around -- now they're also confused and flailing wildly. And as Complex points out, in an era in which we're more concerned than ever with police accountability, taking away the ability to witness the actions of cops isn't going to go over well with anyone. We stand by our "this is some sci-fi shit right here" comment, but now we're thinking it's less Jetsons and more 1984.

2
A Nonlethal Gun Attachment That Only Works On The First Shot

Alternative Ballistics

The Alternative, in addition to being the slogan of half the world's radio stations, is a little metal ball that attaches to a gun and essentially turns the first bullet fired into an oversized BB. Instead of ripping through flesh, it just hurts like an incapacitating motherfucker.

Alternative Ballistics
The shape of the projectile is a suggestion of the place where you can aim it.

The Problem:

This is actually a fairly good system ... for exactly one shot. Every shot fired after that will be of the regular, organ-perforating variety. Which is important, because in almost every police shooting, the suspect is shot multiple times. If you fear for your life, you don't take one shot, pause to see if you were accurate and effective, and then go from there as if you're shooting pop cans. No, you fire several shots to make sure the target goes down. One nonlethal bullet isn't going to make much of a difference if it's instinctively followed by three deadly ones.

And what if you manage to restrain yourself to a single shot, but miss? Now you either have to shoot regular bullets or pause to stick another metal Ping-Pong ball on the end of your gun while your terrified or pissed-off target either flees or fights back. You can't elevate the situation to active gunfire if you only get a single shot before your strategy has to radically change.

Alternative Ballistics
Sure, it looks cool. But if that was the most important factor, our policemen would all be cavalry archers.

The official website advertises the Alternative as the "missing link" between lethal and nonlethal force. Again, we're no experts, but it seems to us like a weapon should probably be one of the two, so you know exactly what to reach for. Creating a hybrid is only inviting disaster, like a soda fountain that occasionally pours poison. That the Alternative's being sold despite significant criticism and a complete lack of data on how the shot affects a human being and how police would use it while under stress is terrifying. But at least it's so far only found its way into the hands of responsible police officers in ... uh, Ferguson, Missouri.

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1
Taser Drones (Are, Astonishingly, An Even More Terrible Idea)

Chaotic Moon Studios

In August 2015, North Dakota passed legislation that allows drones to be armed with nonlethal weapons, like rubber bullets, pepper spray, and Tasers. Apparently, the Terminator movies were never released in North Dakota. But that was the logical conclusion of a bill that was, uh, intended to ban all weapons from drones. The bill also instituted a warrant requirement for drone surveillance, which was previously not necessary (it seems that no dystopian movies have made it into the state, either). That part of the bill passed, but only after law enforcement lobbyists negotiated the addition of nonlethal weapons. Because once they finally get that inconvenient warrant, there's no way their targets won't deserve a few high-velocity beanbags to the face, right?

droneandquadcopter.com
Hopefully this at least reduces the shocking number of murders in the Fargo area.

The Problem:

Pretty much every nonlethal weapon has racked up a modest kill count thanks to either misuse or simple bad luck, and there's serious concern that both could be exacerbated by the depersonalization drones create. It's already tempting enough to fire a Taser at someone who's annoying you. Now, you don't even have to look them in the eye, deal with the consequences, or acknowledge them as real human beings?

Dair Massey/The Daily Beast
"All of the jaywalkers pepper-sprayed. News at 11."

One county sheriff called the entire bill ridiculous, arguing that unsupervised weaponized drone surveillance was a key plank in his crime-fighting strategy. We're not sure if we should be more terrified of the supervillainy that's supposedly occurring in North Dakota or the loose drone cannon sheriffs that are combating it. Either way, a man who calls efforts to keep weapons off police drones "ridiculous" and refuses to disclose how many drone flights he's overseen is not someone we'd trust with their finger on a remote Taser trigger. Furthermore, we're worried that the drones ARE WONDERFUL. THIS IS NOT BEING TYPED BY A NORTH DAKOTAN DRONE AFTER THIS CRACKED WRITER GOT ZAPPED IN THE BALLS. YOU BETCHA.

You can read more from Mark at his website, which will blind you for 15 minutes if you leave a rude comment.

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