If you have paid any attention to my rants and whining, first of all, I apologize for being such a wiseacre and malcontent. Secondly, you are probably familiar with my continuing issue with the fact that even though we find ourselves living in the twenty-first century, I am still awaiting my own personal jet-pack.
But take heart! The United States Army has begun field testing its new Ray Gun! As with all new weapons, it has a lovely new military euphemism: called the Active Denial System, it projects an invisible high energy beam that produces a sudden burning feeling. Before you start your minds to other high energy beams that produce a burning sensation, let's remember that we're talking about our national defense here. It can penetrate clothes, suddenly heating up the skin of anyone in its path to one hundred twenty-two degrees. It only penetrates the skin to a tiny depth, just enough to cause discomfort but no lasting harm. A Reuters journalist who volunteered to be shot with the beam described the sensation as similar to a blast from a very hot oven.
Obviously this guy never had an older brother. If somebody tells you that it makes you feel like you're going to burst from the inside out, you take their word for it. These reporters are probably the same guys who routinely put themselves in harm's way to give us, the public, a vicarious thrill: standing in the path of a hurricane, or being a crash-test dummy for the latest lawsuit from Detroit, or even allowing themselves to be microwaved like a baked potato.
But when things get really tough, the Army isn't going to be attempting to repel a wave of annoying reporters (despite the obvious satisfaction that could be gained). They will be trying to get bad guys to drop their weapons, or hoping to quell a riot. Again, the manufacturers say that this avoids injury, but the long-lasting effects are still unknown. Who knows, maybe it will help eliminate the violent and overpowering need for a personal jet-pack.