Among the many factors that have helped turn the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in downtown Manhattan into a seemingly unstoppable nationwide force of civic willpower has been a stealth element of surprise. From a moderately-noisy, performance art-focused movement of a few hundred camped out in a New York city block to a genuinely American protest phenomenon counting tens of thousands of supporters in an ever-growing list of cities across the country, no one (at least no one perched atop the vaunted institutions of American media and politics) can honestly claim to have seen it coming.
As the drive continues to grow, there is one more thing very few have seen coming. As an exercise in expression that is testing the limits of law enforcement’s patience, the protests are on a direct path to collide with another, little-known, and also very genuinely American phenomenon: crowd control weapons of the stealthy, never-before-seen variety.
Turrets Can Shoot High-Energy Sound Waves
This is the stuff of dystopian science fiction novels for which the adjective ‘surprising’ feels several sizes too small: turrets that can shoot high-energy sound waves and down protesters thousands of feet away, rifles that can use laser beams to electrocute a charging crowd, flashes of light meant to dazzle and incapacitate entire crowds.
Fueled by a decade of research in military-grade less-than-lethal weapons technology, promoted by lesser-known working groups within the various branches of the federal executive, tested in the battlefields of sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East (and in the prisons of Los Angeles and Guantanamo), these weapons have now been packaged and sold off to local law enforcement by the mighty military-industrial complex. Taken together, they are designed to be an unmovable wall.
So what could the protesters face, as their “radical democracy of the future” meets the radical crowd control of the future?
Click ‘Start’ below to see some possibilities, and then ask yourself, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable wall?