Monday, August 29, 2005

Set Lightning Bolts To Stun

Set Lightning Bolts To Stun

As the mission of the U.S. military transforms from beating back a Soviet invasion of Western Europe to aiding the war on terrorism, non-lethal weapons have become an increasingly important part of its arsenal.

So it does make sense that the government is funding the development of weapons such as "phasers" that use lightning bolts to stun, microwave projectors that make people think God is talking with them, and Raytheon's Active Denial System, which makes you feel like your skin is on fire, without causing actual physical harm.

On the other hand, the perfect logic of this activity still doesn't detract from the unintentional hilarity in this description of the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration, or FPED, the world's largest trade show for counterterrorism technology.

"A man who introduced himself as a buyer for the Turkish military asked if he could get a free sample of Bitar's lasers, or barring that, could he borrow one and return it if the Turkish military wasn't interested. Bitar said that wasn't likely.

'We're not going to do that,' Bitar chuckled. 'We're not Wal-Mart.'

But Bitar noticed that foreign militaries were the most interested in his weapons, and officials from Asia, the Middle East and Europe had all visited his booth. 'It's kind of weird, especially because when it comes to weapons, you'd rather arm your own country than someone else,' he said.

But he shrugged and added, 'A customer is a customer.'"

Yet after reading the whole article, I had a hard time repressing the urge to start my own company to pursue dreams of developing phasers, Spiderman's Web shooters, and other sci-fi and comic book weapons. I'll bet I could get a great price for lightsabers!

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