“Instead of firing hundreds of deadly .223-caliber bullets, the soldiers fired sponge-tipped rounds?40mm-wide canisters capped with green high- density foam, shot from rifle-mounted launchers. One of these hit the man who threw the rock at Brown. He screamed, threw his hands to his face, and bolted in the opposite direction. ‘The nonlethal rounds achieved a tremendous effect: Everyone backed up immediately and settled down,’ Brown recalls. ‘By the rules of engagement, my soldiers could have chosen to shoot people. We would have had a very bloody day, and it would have had a terrible effect on everyone in Kosovo.’” Eric Adams
–Shoot to Not KillPopular Science)
It’s tempting to wish that all American soldiers had such nonlethal weapons — but would that soften what little reluctance we in the U.S. have for sending forces elsewhere to enforce peace? As Adams notes, “Nonlethal, after all, does not mean nonviolent.” Would removing the reluctance soldiers have for firing on civilians mean that civilians would be fired upon (non-lethally) more frequently, and for increasingly mundane reasons?
If nonlethal weapons got in the hands of criminals (most of whom would probably pefer to steal, and only kill when something goes wrong with their plan), how would that change the way in which crimes are prosecuted?
Incidentally, the title is an excellent example of when it is probably acceptable to split an infinitive.