Protests Boost Sales and Fears of Sonic Blaster
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: December 20th, 2011
Rather than batons or rubber bullets, some police departments have started using an intense beam of sound to manage protesters, but the annoying tone has drawn criticism from some who say it can cause permanent damage. More U.S. police and emergency-response agencies are using the so-called Long-Range Acoustic Devices ... for crowd control. The leading manufacturer, LRAD Corp. of San Diego, said the product was developed as a nonlethal option for military use. Some people who have been on the receiving end call the devices "sound cannons." A woman is suing the city of Pittsburgh claiming the piercing tone from a police blaster during the 2009 G-20 summit permanently damaged her hearing. There were reports that New York City police used the punishing tone on protesters. The devices were developed for the U.S. Navy. They have also been used to deter pirates from attacking cruise ships. The products range from a 15-pound, battery-operated, hand-held unit to a 320-pound device with a range of nearly 2 miles. Even the smallest unit, the LRAD 100X, emits as much as 137 decibels at 1 meter, which is louder than a jet takeoff at 100 meters.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on so-called "non-lethal" weapons, click here.