The less than lethal tools have been used by the law enforcement officers for a long time to neutralize combative persons and also to disperse groups of people who may be holding riots. These tools are supposed to impact fear and endurable pain on the culprits without causing critical effects such as death. Studies have however shown that, the armed forces have in some instances used the less than lethal tools wrongly and as a result end up causing trauma and deadly effects to people. Most instances where law enforcers have used the less than lethal tools while arresting suspects, they end up in a deadly force incident (Copley et al 104).
Researchers have done a study on the use of a Flash-Ball by the police in various parts of the United States as a less lethal tool, and the impact that the weapon has had on various people. The flash ball is a gun that fires many bullets by the use of kinetic energy. Though the flash ball has been made in such a way that the bullets cannot penetrate through the skin, the impact of the bullets have been reported to have caused traumatic damage to internal organs. Boston has had two cases where two students were shot by use of the the Flash-Ball, when the police were discharging a group of rioting students. One of the students ended up suffering severe lung constusion that eventually lead to death. This in real sense explains a situation where the less lethal weapons may end up being lethal.
According to Trochim (46), a medical review has since been conducted and it was proved that, some of the less lethal tools like the Flash-Ball may end up causing very serious internal damages. Researchers have stated that, though the less than lethal weapons are supposed to have very little impact on people, the failed application of the tools has ultimately lead to the police officers using deadly force. A study conducted in California showed that, 12% of the police officers deadly force incidents, preceded due to the failed application of less lethal weapons.
Another of the less lethal tools that have been poorly applied and caused deadly force is the taser. A taser is an electroshock weapon, it causes muscular incapacitation by use of an electro muscular way of disruption. This tool causes a great impact on the nervous system where it stimulates the motor and the sensory nerves. Subjects who have a high degree of tolerating pain can survive where a taser is used as opposed to the use of the gun.
The use of taser in California was reported to have caused more than two deaths in the past few months (Trochim 52). Studies have explained that, it is immaterial to concentrate on the question as to whether it is the less lethal tool that caused death in a certain use of deadly force incident, or whether the injury was caused due to the poor use of the weapon by the police officer. The less than lethal tools should be applied in the right manner whether it be an OC, a taser, a fist fight, a baton or even a flash bullet, to avoid incidents of fatal injury. Word Count: 541
Copley, Walt. Criminal Justice research Methods CJ408 Grantham Arts & Sciences Series. 3rd Edition. Grantham University, Kansa City, Mo USA. Prentice Hall, 2006. 102-106.
Trochim, William M.K. Research Methods Knowledge Base, 2006 (Retrieved on September 16, 2008 from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/survtype.php)