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Nonlethal home defense

If you gotta have a gun under your pillow...
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  [vote for,

The recent rambling home defense posts featuring pungi sticks, machetes etc have got me thinking. Added to the think is a tragedy in my home town where a child found a loaded pistol by his stepdad's bed and accidentally shot his own head. Tragic but all too common.

Clearly, Americans will not give up their guns. But do they have to be so lethal? My search on rubber bullets exclusively found references to cops, riot control etc. My proposal: if you have to have a loaded gun in your house, why not load it with rubber bullets?

Legislating this is a no go. There is too much inertia and too much reflexive opposition to any law about guns. I propose that rubber bullets, to fit any gun, be subsidized such that they are free. So: imagine I am a handgun owner. I have limited means, live in a bad neighborhood and engage in questionable activities, and thus I need a weapon in my house. But regular bullets are expensive, plus the kid is always around. Rubber bullets make the same frightening sounds when fired, and still pack a disabling wallop. The chance of accidentally killing someone is much less, and the price is right.

The main drawback I can see is that people will be less hesitant to pull the trigger. If your boyfriend has really ticked you off, you still might hesitate to kill him outright - but a rubber bullet in the small of the back would get the point across without the whole murder thing.

bungston, Jan 11 2003

reference - The Lancet Journal http://www.dimmockr...m/rubberbullets.htm
[po, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Hypersonic Sound http://www.popsci.c...2543,351353,00.html
Truly *non*lethal weapon, unless too much pain can cause death, just wait a few years. [Bert6322, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]


       I like the objective, and I like the way you acknowledge and deal with the political difficulty of legislating the idea. But I wonder if it would ever be adopted. Part of the psychology behind low seatbelt usage rates is that if you thought you'd need the seatbelt, you'd never get in the car in the first place. Likewise, if a handgun owner adequately recognized the risk of killing a family member or other innocent by mistake, surely they wouldn't keep a loaded handgun around in the first place?
beauxeault, Jan 11 2003

       This is well-meaning but probably a terrible idea.   

       The effect of rubber bullets and other sublethal weaponry is unpredictable, particularly without advanced training. Sometimes they are actually lethal; sometimes they do nothing but enrage the enemy. The gap between perceived lethality and actual lethality is *very* dangerous, and the dilution of respect for firearms is also *very* dangerous. Like nuclear weapons, most of the value of a firearm is deterrence; if deterrence is weakened casualties often increase.   

       There is a spirited debate ongoing elsewhere on the use of "sublethal weaponry" for police and army use. I can't say if they're a good idea or not in that circumstance, but I'm very dubious about encouraging their use by individual gun owners.
egnor, Jan 11 2003

       /Rubber bullets won't stop anyone and are likely to enrage them. They are frequently lethal, esp../


Darnit, [egnor]...
X2Entendre, Jan 12 2003

       Good point, [X2]. I reworded the annotation.
egnor, Jan 12 2003

       [gooberphat] and [egnor] are entirely correct. These are "low-lethality munitions", NOT non-lethal munitions. They can be unpredictably fatal, even if used as intended. Certainly, in a self-inflicted injury scenario - especialy to a child - they still pose a very high risk of causing a fatal injury.   

       Another problem is that there's a fine line between causing a disabling but non-fatal injury, and causing just a very painful but non-disabling injury and making the target VERY pissed off. Having acted as a volunteer target for such projectiles, I know whereof I speak.   

       ANYONE who leaves a loaded firearm where a child or other unauthorised person can get at it richly deserves to be shot themselves. There are enough fast-access combination lock ready-use storage boxes around to make safe storage possible.   

       [bungston], your idea is well meaning, laudable, but misguided. I really wish you were on to something, but you're not. I'm sorry but in conscience I can't give you a croissant for this.
8th of 7, Jan 12 2003

       I quite like the idea, there are two sides to this coin though, the very person you want to protect being your child, could do themselves lots more harm with a gun than you could ever provide safety by tackeling somebody with the gun. However keeping a gun under lock and key defetes the whole point of having a gun in the first place. I dont think the rubber bullets would solve the problem because (as has previously been said) at close range they would probably kill a person even more so a child. There are probably better non leathal ways of defending your property such as a teaser, but quite frankly anybody carrying a gun with the intention to harm or scare deserves to be shot - and i dont mean with rubber bullets either - if somebody put me or my family in danger i wouldnt think twice about shooting the bastard!
STE_2020, Jan 12 2003

       Very interesting. I like the part about teasing the intruder. That oughtta show him!   

       Seriously, how much did you pay the village scribe to write that for you? (my apologies if English isn't your first, second or third laguage)
snarfyguy, Jan 12 2003

       [snarfyguy] <SMACK>   

       Sit down and be quiet. Please do not tease newcomers. Especially, don't ladle irony on them from a great height.   

       Wait till they are established and setlled and happy - THEN attack ! Haven't you learned anything ? <sigh>   

       [gooberphat] - see you at guard change .....
8th of 7, Jan 13 2003

       [snarf], is English your first laguage?
egbert, Jan 13 2003

       Hmm, [snarfyguy] uses irony, though, a linguistic technique which is in my experience somewhat uncommon (although not unknown) in the US of A.
8th of 7, Jan 13 2003

       OK - for those who missed it. [Snarf] lambasts [STE_2020] for poor spelling and grammar, but adds a thoughtful qualifier at the end, just in case. In doing so he misses one letter out of the word "language". [Egbert] picks up on this obviously unintentional typo, incorporates the mistake into his own anno in order to reinforce [8th]'s point. Irony, see?
egbert, Jan 13 2003

       Oh goody! <hits head>   

       Eggie, dearie, 'splain these funnies to me willya?
neelandan, Jan 13 2003

       [UB] misses the point and employs heavy irony to make [egbert] feel dull. [Egbert] in turn fires back a tedious blow by blow account of his use of irony, resulting in irony squared. By now, everyone's starting to get a bit sick of it, but [neelandan] wades in with yet more. The foundations are groaning, but [Egbert] answers the irony with...oh, I can't be bothered with this, I'm getting bored.
egbert, Jan 13 2003

       Yeah, I guess that was uncalled for. I'm sorry, [STE_2020].
snarfyguy, Jan 13 2003

       Rubber bullets could work, but the edge of a box of aluminum foil hurts more. Close range, of course.
-lines-, Jan 13 2003

       Too much of it can make the house collapse in on itself, killing yourself and the intruder,and we've been there before. I can't help but smile, though, at the image of [UB] crushing an intruder's will with a quick burst of ego-wilting sarcasm. Far more effective than teasing.
egbert, Jan 13 2003

       Rubber bullets are actually metal with a thin rubber coating (a millimeter or two). If they were small enough to fit into a standard firearm, they'd tend to penetrate just like a normal bullet. The rubber bullets fired from an M-16, say, involve an adaptor fitted over the muzzle and a blank that propels the chunks of rubber-coated metal. They've got big accuracy problems to begin with (kinda hard to send rubber through a rifled barrel). Generally, though, accuracy has been less of an issue since you want to hit... the crowd.   

       I think there was a solid rubber baton round (40 mm), about the weight and hardness of a hockey puck and goes about 300 km/h. By comparison, Al Iafrate's slaphshot shatters the backglass at 160. Lethal if it his in the head, say.   

       There's a variety of less-lethal (the term used now, since a lot people have died from "non-lethal" ordnance)stuff for shotguns, including those foam-tipped bullets and the wooden ones (they look like a sections of broom handle, with rounded edge). For home defense you could use "hornet's nest" rounds, which are a spread of rubber coated metal pellets, hence accuracy is less important.   

       Overall, though, thinking any firearms make for good home-defense is goofy. You wake up 2 a.m. groggy (hard to aim and think clearly) and then go right to a big hit of adrenalin (hard to aim and think clearly) and you're gonna go peer into the dark living room, see something, and start blasting away?   

       Even cops who've trained for years show big accuracy drops in shoot-out situations. Saying, in an authoritative voice, "Who's there!?" is a real good idea, just in case they have guns and you want to be gent and let them take the first shots. Even if you do hit your target, his accomplice pops around the corner and takes you out, and if they've got lead, you might want the same.   

       Plus there's the danger that it's Susie who's creeping back in after she was serenaded out of her window, and winds up blind from a face-full of pellets. Basic danger of all non-dog home defense is that sort of target discrimination.
rowlycat, Jan 14 2003

       My vote for the best home defense, lethal or non, is oleoresin capiscum (OC) bear spray.   

       It's just (very) hot-pepper oil, but so effective that backwoods hikers rely on it to stop an angry grizzly (usually works, too). Prison guards call it "knock-down spray" because it puts a violent prisoner on the ground so fast, incapacitated for fifteen minutes. The good stuff (the only kind you want to get), for example First Defense brand, is made of all food-grade ingredients (yep, you can spray it on your enchilada).   

       Mace and the CS sprays are irritants, and thus are far less effective against someone who uses willpower, is insane, is high as a kite, etc. They're also so toxic (including genotoxic) that the American Medical Association has called for them to banned.   

       Pepper spray, on other hand, is an inflammatory, so the reaction is a involuntary constriction of breathing passages and the eyes swelling closed - making it much more effective, even if someone is in a state where he's feeling no pain. (A lot of that, too. Searing.) It's also faster-acting.   

       The advantage to the bear spray can is that there's a lot of it in the cannister and it fogs the area (hikers don't want to get up close). You don't have to aim. You don't even have to see your target. You go to the top of the stairs and cut loose, the whole downstairs is gonna be fogged and the intruder(s) will get out if they can or still be on the floor when the cops show up.   

       After twenty minutes, roughly, you're OK again - just like when you didn't realize just how hot Uncle Ted's famous chili really was. So, even if you get some, and there's a good chance you will, there's no harm.   

       And that, to me, is the main reason to prefer it for home defense - you can actually use it without being absolutely, one-hundred percent certain the situation is life-threatening - and if it is, the last thing you want to be doing is the "Who's there?" and alerting them.   

       Also, if the kids get into it, as they do with guns (trigger lock? "Hey, I know where my dad keeps the key..."), they learn their lesson and live to tell about it.
rowlycat, Jan 14 2003

       //yep, you can spray it on your enchilada//   

       See, I’m not the only one who uses oleoresin capiscum for cooking.
Shz, Jan 14 2003

       It'll do that.   


       "//yep, you can spray it on your enchilada//   

       See, I?m not the only one who uses oleoresin capiscum for cooking."   

       Well, unless you're thinking of some double-entendre with "enchilda"... in which case, well, empirical research is not the preferred learning method.   

       With peppers, if you don't need gloves to handle them, they're not hot enough.   

       I do occasionally use high-grade oleoresin capsicum spray as a condiment, but only at restaurants, where I go with the bear-spray dispenser. I don't even have to aim (useful when I'm groggy) - just point in the general direction of my enchilada and WWWhhhrrrggggggrrrrooooooo. Really clears out the sinuses.   

       And the restaurant.   


       "You know, you're likely to run into wild animals on your safari. Do you have a gun?"   

       "Of course."   

       "Does it shoot elephants?"   

       "Don't be absurd. It shoots bullets."
rowlycat, Jan 15 2003

       I realized that these bullets should be available in glass candy jars, which would be made available at liquor stores, check cashing places, and other spots where folks looking to save some $ on ammo could grab a quick handful.
bungston, Jul 17 2003

       Why are you trying to change the ammo of your gun to save your kid? The BEST prevention method is a great gift most of us have ("most" being the operative word) called Knowledge. This is a wonderful gift some of us like to use to, per say, annotate to this lovely conversation.   

       Sarcasm aside, the best prevention is to teach your kid to use, handle, fire, and, most importantly, respect your gun. You can keep it in an out-of-reach-from-you-kin place until he/she is old enough to be taught the "ways of the gun"
tustin, Sep 13 2003

       It occurred to me that the free government rubber bullets would be even more popular if they were hollow, and contained thick fake blood, which would splash on the target in a frightening and realistic manner. Every 50th bullet would contain bile, for variety.
bungston, Oct 23 2005


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