The Perfect Non-Lethal Weapon

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could design the perfect device for personal protection? Many might look upon this idea as un-realistic and overly idealistic but it occurs to me that well designed technology often derives from creative works of fiction decades in advance.

Right now the “perfect weapon” might seem impossible in terms of the laws of physics or thermodynamics but 20-30 years ago nobody would have imagined I’d be publishing this post to a worldwide network of machines, from a moving train, on a touch screen device more powerful that the most capable computer of that day.

Many factors would have to be overcome to build the perfect personal protective device. But I thought it would be interesting to try and list them here.

Reasonable Range

I don’t know what an acceptable range for such a device would be, but I’m guessing it would need to be something longer than the average taser. I don’t know exactly what complaints a gun owner would have about switching to such a device but I’m guessing range could be one of them.

A very quick scan of speaks of ranges between 15 to 35 feet. This chart gives a few references that seem to indicate the average handgun has a range of somewhere around 2,300 meters or ~7500 feet. Quite a difference.

If a device manufacturer wanted to build the perfect personal protective device, they would have to get to a range of something closer to a handgun.


In addition to range, I’d have to assume accuracy is also of major concern. Many tasers cast a large net or spray of small devices on wiring that I have to assume curtail accuracy.

The perfect personal protective device would have to be at least as accurate as a handgun.

Sufficient Power

To achieve such a range and accuracy, the device would have to be capable of storing and discharging a phenomenal amount of power. One can imagine that such a device, assuming it doesn’t involve the launching of a projectile meant to pierce flesh or armor, would involve some sort of incapacitating electrical, light emitting or auditory payload. For that to be possible, the device would need enough power to create such an event, multiple times at the pre-established range.

Load Capacity

As stated, the device would have to be capable of creating such an incapacitating payload more than once. Poor aim, a disproportionate number of attackers or differences in the anticipated resiliency of a target compared to his or her actual size etc. means you may have to fire off multiple shots.

Appropriate Effect

Assuming the goal of the weapon is to incapacitate, rather than kill, the device’s payload would need to be extremely effective and preferably cumulative. In other words, depending on the type of incapacitating agent being used, the target’s size, body chemistry, and armament may mean that multiple shots will be required to take him or her down. It may also have a factor in how long they stay down. If the average payload can incapacitate the average person that’s acceptable, but preferably, multiple discharges would take down above average targets.

The ideal weapon/payload would ensure that after a minimal number of discharges, any assailant would be rendered docile for more than enough time for a person to reach safety.

It is assumed that a cumulative weapon of this type would most likely, eventually, cause irreparable damage. But if death is not the default, many un-necessary deaths could be avoided.

Highly effective Safety Measures

In an effort to ensure the weapon cannot be turned on its owner and used to incapacitate them, more effective safety measures need to be developed. Perhaps “Smart gun” technologies currently being developed for traditional firearms could be employed here.


This is obviously a rather insurmountable looking list of requirements that no doubt many weapons researchers have already thought of. It would be interesting to know how much effort and how many resources are being applied to research in these areas. I’ve read a fair amount about some of the current tech being developed for military applications. One would hope those advances, like many others, are passed along to the civilian population.

This of course assumes that one believes the development of non-lethal weaponry has a place in personal protection. In the heat of an altercation or assault, one can assume that many variables could contribute to an un-wanted death. Unwanted on the part of the target certainly. But I have to believe there is a market of people out there that would also prefer not to have the death of another human being on their hands.

One can only hope.

Being Defined by Others

Identity is an interesting thing to think about. We have our own identity we develop for ourselves, we have different identities that others perceive, sometimes we even have a shared identity with a spouse or other type of partner.

Over the years I have been defined by others as a wide variety of different personas. I’ve been labeled a geek or a nerd, a military man, a runner and a technologist. I’ve maintained a popular Twitter profile where many would labeled me a hopeless romantic. A politician would have called me a “NASCAR Dad” for a time even though I was a democrat and I’ve had people argue with me up and down that I’m gay, even though I know that I’m not.

At the present time two themes run through my mind on a regular basis, both of which I try to blog about here.

For the first, many would label me a “swinger”, a free lovin’ hippie, or even a man-whore. I’ve been judged by people I love as not being balanced, focusing too much on sex, being morally corrupt. In reality, I will fully admit that sex often consumes more brain power for me than I’d like. But on the flip side I think sexuality is a very important part of the human experience. I also feel that for far too many people, the need for it can get easily repressed or ignored until they are miserable.

Communicating with people can be an exhausting endeavor for me at times. But the drive to connect with others physically is almost second nature. The desire to reach out and touch a person, to give them a hug, is very strong with me. I’m also very visual and see dozens of people each day that I’d jump at the chance to connect with physically. The idea of making out with someone new sets off an electrical storm in my brain like no other.

I’ve come to the realization, that while others constantly want to push their identities on to me, I’ve seen the same drive in myself. I’ve taken to the idea of promoting a culture where sex is less repressed and where jealousy is dead. A place where we don’t own our partners sexuality but enjoy and celebrate it, where we receive joy from seeing them experience ecstasy.

I realize not everyone sees things the way I do, but I can’t help but wonder if the world wouldn’t be a much better place if, to put it quite bluntly, more of you were getting regularly laid.

I’ve recently been trying to refine and promote my philosophy for making the world a less violent place. I like to envision a world where peace, love and cooperation are the norm. Where we’re less protective of our goods and borders and seek to understand rather than command and control.

I don’t know which will come first, more peace or fewer implements of death like firearms, missiles and tanks. As with any problem I think every option should be on the table, explored and experimented with. I have argued for fewer guns, for less war, but at the same time would like to see more focus on improving the mental health of those we can and educating those who would choose violence over more diplomatic solutions.

For my speculation about reducing the number of guns in this country and more tightly controlling the ones we have, I have been called an anti-rights cultist, a gun grabber, and a sanctimonious little prig. But for every individual I’ve run across who resorts to name calling, I’ve in turn met other formidable opponents with well reasoned arguments. These people have demonstrated a willingness to seek common ground, debate politely and will admit that they can’t possibly have command over all the right data or have all the answers.

Whether the identity being pressed upon me is related to sex or guns I’d like to make it clear to everyone willing to listen that neither issue is as simple as one might think. I know attention is at a premium these days for most working people, my attention span is the worst. But to get a real sense for who I am you might have to read more than one post or comment thread. You might have to listen hard for what I’m really trying to say and ask a ton of questions.

Written media is terrible for relaying things like mood, demeanor or tone. It is often terrible for real time communication. I’m trying to get better at organizing my thoughts but I still suck at it. I’ve fallen victim to the allure of hyperbolic language in a few posts here and I regret some of that.

But please be aware, there is more here behind these words. There is a real person with a big heart and a desire to do and share good works. I am human and I will make many mistakes as I continue to try and write, to peddle and influence. For me, at least right now, this blog is more about thoughts and feelings than hard data or the letter of the law.

Please bear with me as my identity continues to evolve.

Adding Color to Firearm Death Rates

Yesterday I posted a link to a table that listed the Firearm Death Rates, ranked by state.  I thought it would be interesting to see what this ranking would look like if I added some color to indicate the way that state tends to lean politically.

I used the Wikipedia definition of Red States vs. Blue States.

This of course was a pretty simple thing to do.  It’s not rocket science.  But it certainly shows a relatively stark contrast.


Great Write-up on Debate Tactics

I’ve found a great write-up on intellectually honest vs. intellectually dishonest debate tactics today while preparing to answer a blog comment.  The author of the debate post seems to only believe Democrats are capable of intellectually dishonest debate tactics, but be that as it may, the content is still very useful.

At first I questioned posting this here because I wasn’t sure it was “on theme”.  But in the interest of “Spreading Love” I decided it would be relevant to encourage good communication and polite debate.

I have already been guilty of some of these intellectually dishonest debate tactics and I’m planning to use this list to try and keep myself in check.

State Firearm Death Rates

The below link points to a chart that represents the firearm death rates by state for 2013, ranked by rate.

The people who pulled the data from the CDC make observations about those state’s gun laws that I haven’t personally researched.

But I thought the chart was worth saving.

The states at the top and bottom of the chart are interesting to think about, in terms of their “red”, “blue” or “purple” nature, from a political perspective.

Update: I’ve uploaded a version of the VPC/CDC firearm death rate chart with colors indicating the political leanings of the state.