If You Can’t Stand The Heat…
Last week authorities in the District of Columbia found themselves unprepared and overwhelmed when an insurrectionist mob stormed the building where the nation’s laws get made, intent on preventing Congressional certification of the Biden/Harris triumph in the 2020 presidential election. Sadly, Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick was murdered in the line of duty. Unfortunately, one intruder was killed, and three other protesters died, all under the impression that the election had been stolen from them. The half-week that’s followed has been laden with efforts to compare or contrast that event with the protests and/or riots of the past summer that occurred in response to the much-viewed arrest and death of George Floyd in the hands of Minneapolis police.
On Wednesday the DC National Guard were rather late in arriving to assist, perhaps initially because of an error in judgement by DC’s mayor, and then possibly because they were held back by the President Trump. But their summertime presence was rather conspicuous; and they even considered going so far as to employ an actual heat ray.
Yeah, that’s a real thing; has been for a couple of decades now. The Active Denial System (ADS), developed by Raytheon Technologies, produces millimeter waves (the band of which is one higher than microwaves, with lengths of 1 to 10 millimeters) at a frequency of 95 gigahertz. The beam cannot penetrate human skin beyond a depth of roughly one sixty-fourth of an inch. And while it causes the skin to feel as if it’s on fire, it does not actually burn it, as evidenced by the lack any lingering discoloration afterwards, though there was a test injury in 1999 and another in 2007.
Reportedly the ADS has never actually been used outside of testing. Perhaps its presence could have prevented the murder of Officer Sicknick, four other deaths and the only violently insurrectionist breach of the Capitol in the its history. And, sadly, right as I’m about to finish writing this, I learn that another member of the Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood has committed suicide, reportedly due to mental stress sustained on Wednesday. The White House flag was finally lowered to half-staff in honor of his colleague today. Hopefully it will remain that way until after both policemen have been buried. May they all rest in peace.
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