Now many of you may remember Gunny Hartman in "Full Metal Jacket" telling us that "God has a hard-on for Marines because we kill everything we see!" Well, not so much anymore, at least not at the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program. This isn't real news - the Marine Corps has been the DOD Executive Agent for non-lethal weapons development since about 10 years ago. Currently, they run a "train-the-trainer" course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for all the military services. They're considering expanding the program to allow for hands-on training at Leonard Wood and to ensure they keep up with new technologies being fielded (right now, the hands-on training is done at the home stations). This is a good thing, and I'll tell you why.The Non-Lethal Chemical and Biochemical Weapons Research (NLCBWR) project under the Sunshine Project tracks incidents of improper or deliberate misuse of non-lethal weapons such as "pepper spray," by civilians as well as by military or law enforcement officers. Some of these instances include:- A man dies as police subdue him with pepper spray in San Mateao, California- Police use "excessive violence" and pepper spray to subdue a man at a traffic stop in South Carolina- Policeman uses "excessive" amount of pepper spray on crowd in Vermont- Family in drug raid in New Orleans accuses police of excessive force in use of pepper spray Now the NLCBW project is clearly focused on watching for any improper use of pepper spray or other non-lethal weapons at these kind of events. Certainly there are cases where the police has properly used pepper spray to peacefully and successfully resolve individual and group conflicts. However, it illustrates the important point that, if the military intends on using these non-lethal technologies, it ought to ensure that its troops receive proper and frequent training on the use of these devices, if for no other reason, to stay focused on the intended outcome - few to no casualties and successful resolution of potential military-civil conflicts during peacekeeping (and other) operations.-- Armchair Generalist
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