Not-So-Nonlethal Weapons

Rubber bullets. Tear gas. Flash grenades.

Used by police since the 1880s, so-called “nonlethal” weapons have been deployed by police to quell protesters this week. Their name obscures how dangerous they can be, Popular Science reports.

The rubber bullets shot into crowds of protesters can potentially “disable, disfigure and even kill,” NBC reports. In Minneapolis, a photojournalist was blinded in one eye after being hit with one.

But not much is known about how police deploy rubber bullets‚ as they are not required to document their use. There are also no national standards for their use. 

Guidelines advise only aiming them at the lower body under of a “violent individual.” But when fired at close range, they can break bones, “explode the eyeball,” or cause traumatic brain injuries—shot from a distance, they could easily hit the wrong target.  

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