Do they issue copious amounts of drugs to the senior leadership of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department while they are on duty?
I only ask because that was the first question that popped into my mind when I read this idiocy over morning coffee:
About a month after a white officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., the city’s assistant police chief, Al Eickhoff, took to Google and searched under the words “less lethal.”
Eickhoff, a 36-year veteran of Missouri police work, said he was looking for any new device, weapon or ammunition — any alternative to lethal force — that might have prevented a deadly result when Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson encountered each other in the noonday heat last August.
Browsing a California company’s Web site, Eickhoff found pictures and videos of an odd-looking, blaze-orange device docked on a normal handgun barrel. When a bullet fired, it melded with an attached projectile the size of a ping-pong ball that flew with enough force to knock a person down, maybe break some ribs, but not kill him, the product’s makers said — even at close range.
Its name: the Alternative.
This week, five Ferguson police instructors will train to use the device; the department plans to introduce it to the entire force of 55 officers.
Yes, they are issuing “the Alternative,” a device so mind-bendingly stupid that Alternative Ballistics pulled down the YouTube video promoting the product do to the overwhelming negative response from viewers like you who understood the lunacy of the system.
We wrote about “the Alternative” before Christmas, describing it thusly:
The device itself consists of a clear plastic “docking station” that slides on to the end of the gun, and the projectile, which looks roughly like a clown’s nose.
But we didn’t really care how it looks (though that might make suspects simply discount and ignore the device due to its comic appearance), we were far more worried about what would happen when it was used under the stress of a deadly-force encounter.
In other words, an officer in a deadly-force situation must take his support hand off his weapon, and, while keeping an eye on the subject, acquire The Alternative from a belt-mounted pouch, orient it in his hand, and then potentially muzzle his own hand (they claim otherwise) in a high-stress situation to put a device on his gun that looks like a toy.
Once he has the device on his weapon he then fires a live round, hoping that the device works as designed and captures the bullet that he just fired. If it works, the projectile will capture the bullet and presumably strike the subject downrange. The docking station and projectile blasted free of the gun, the officer immediately reverts to conventional lethal force fired out of the same weapon.
I have grave concerns over any attempt to use the same device to deliver both lethal and non-lethal force.
I further have concerns that if there is more than one officer involved in the encounter, that the officer deploying the less lethal from a conventional handgun will create sympathetic fire from his colleagues, so that the suspect is struck in a fusillade of both lethal and less lethal fire.
The Post are goes on to note our belief that this device is the “worst lethal force idea ever.”
I guess we’ll all find out when police officers actually use the device on the street.
Update: Several people have also noted the fact that most law enforcement officers are trained to fire “controlled pairs” if forced to open fire. As human beings default to their level of training, you can probably predict with a fair degree of certainty that when “the Alternative” is used, you will see officers fire the “clown nose” and the following live round into the suspect they are attempting to control.