It may look like one, but this crude graphic (courtesy of the venerable Beeb) does not depict a scoped bullpup bipod-mounted can of ultra-pasteurized whipped cream. It’s actually a very crude CGI illustration of an experimental riot-control weapon that uses a laser to temporarily blind its targets. By ‘temporarily’, we hope they don’t mean “until science develops an artificial replacement retina.”
Designed by a former Royal Marines Commando, it was originally intended for use by ship crews to deter pirate attacks off the east coast of Africa. In yet another worrisome display of the tools and tactics of war being adopted by civil law enforcement, the £25,000 weapon is to be tested by an ‘unnamed’ UK police force for use as a crowd-control device. By burning people’s eyes out. At least temporarily. In theory.
The effectiveness of simple countermeasures such as dark sunglasses (or hand-held mirrors) has not been disclosed, and how this pricey retina-roaster will discriminate between violent rioters who pose an imminent threat to life and limb, stalwart constables plying their truncheons on the side of law and order, and hapless bystanders caught up in the scrum, has yet to be determined. Blimey.