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Raytheon’s recent patent application for a new choking sound-cannon has gotten a bit of attention since Gizmodo picked up the story from New Scientist.

http://gizmodo.com/5867984/future-riot-shields-will-suffocate-protestors-with…

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228425.300-riot-shields-could-scatter…

My soon-to-be-patent-attorney friend has chided me not to worry, because this is “just a patent application.” And here’s an example of how a little bit of legal education, which strictly de-emphasizes context and the analysis of power dynamics, can be a dangerous thing. There is a substantive difference between a patent application by a random would-be inventor working out of her garage and a patent application by Raytheon.

Raytheon is one of the largest arms dealers in the world. Raytheon has billions of dollars of US government contracts. Raytheon has current contracts to develop crowd control weapons, and is testing them on American prisoners. Raytheon has already developed crowd-control weapons from battlefield technology and sold them to domestic prisons for use here in the States.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129630188

Raytheon is girding itself for shifts in US government defense spending, partly by selling more war-weapons to other countries…

http://www.defenseprocurementnews.com/2011/12/01/saudi-patriot-deal-receives-…

…but also by increasingly marketing to ‘non-military customers.’ Such as the Department of Homeland Security and prisons, public and private. These ‘non-military’ customers buy a lot of crowd-control weapons.

http://technorati.com/business/finance/article/raytheon-illustrates-diversifi…

Another sonic weapon, developed by LRAD, has already been deployed against first amendment-exercisers here in the States.

http://gizmodo.com/5860592/what-is-the-lrad-sound-cannon

It’s really not a giant leap of logic to imagine that this particular patent application might be something nasty, deployed for nasty purposes.

Oh, BTW? Raytheon has been repeatedly sanctioned for illegal and unethical practice – it’s the 5th-worst government contractor, according to the Project on Open Government’s misconduct database. Competing, of course, with the OTHER four major defense contractors.

http://www.contractormisconduct.org/index.cfm/1,73,221,html?ContractorID=46&r…

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http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/08/this-was-always-going-to-happen.html

Please click through the above photo or link, and read Andrew’s blog post on the London riots. And then come back here for a rebuttal:

Criminal opportunism? That’s called capitalism, dear. You can’t inculcate a whole (global) culture with the religion of the market, and then expect the poorest members to wait patiently outside the carnival, observing the spectacle of wealth without any prospect of partaking themselves.

Mr. Sullivan sounds confused – why would you need to draw a distinction between a race riot and a ‘social inequity’ riot? Racism is a form of social inequity, and social inequity is often a form of racism. And besides, just because Tottenham itself is relatively integrated does not mean that the pernicious effects of past and extant racism are somehow magically dissolved. That suggestion is laughable.

And if Andrew’d done three minutes of historical research (or listened to a bit of punk rock or hip hop as a youth) he would have discovered that many, many “looting” riots occur within the neighborhoods where the rioters themselves live. This isn’t because of “soft” police response, it’s because the police (or, more to the point, their bosses) are very calculating in their policies of ‘containment.’ Riots are allowed to rage on, and to burn poor neighborhoods, as long as they do not encroach too much on richer neighborhoods. Blaming the violence on unredeemable “criminals” and “sheer thugs” from “elsewhere” is a way of ignoring the fundamental problems that create BOTH ‘legitimate’ riots AND ‘sheer thugs,’ as well as the overbearing police state that strategically manipulates the threat of underclass violence.

Believe: Unless the ‘harder’ police response Andrew romanticizes would be swift and sure investigation, trial, and PUNISHMENT of cops who wrongly shoot civilians, his prescription will not help the malady. More cops with more guns and more water cannons and more rights to harrass more civilians and break up more demonstrations will not mystically mean more security, just less freedom. The Sikhs have had the right idea during the riots: if you want to protect your home and family, depend on yourself and your community, not the state.

Until and unless the police actually start behaving as trustworthy guardians of the public good, people will keep having reasons to form their own clans, gangs, neighborhood patrols, superhero squads, civil liberties unions, block watches, revolutionary cells, and other forms of what the legal profession likes to call “self help.”

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So, a cranky undercover cop drew his gun on a crowd of snowballers in Washington DC. Apparently, his personal vehicle had been caught in the crossfire. Of snowballs. He was quickly and effectively shamed when the crowd began chanting, “Don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight!”

Just as the first shoe thrown at Bush Jr. inspired an avalanche of shoes tossed at effigies and public offices, let these humble snowballs unleash a calvacade of imitators. Let the snowballs reign! Let the fun-missiles fly! Grouchy authority figurines should be taught that squashing spontaneous carnivalesque eruptions of cheery mayhem is NOT within their purview.

Baller for life. What what.

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http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20091004231103793#

A Tortuga household member describes the experience of being raided by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

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I guess the question that’s burning in everyone’s mind right about now is: “Why didn’t WE think of that??” How much work does it really take to make a website and roll up in bumfuck Montana with a black SUV? Like, 5 hours for the website and 30 minutes to borrow the ride? We could be seceding by now! Just come three deep into Hardin, offer to operate the jail on contract, set up a few roadblocks…the local populace can supply most of the armament; when we see the ATF coming, we just tell the townspeople that it’s a squad of UN peacekeepers in disguise. THAT’S gangsta.

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