News & Politics

The Electrocuting Water Cannon


The innovative savvy of American electrical engineers always astounds. If something terrible can be built in the name of security, they never shirk. Who else would be brilliant enough to come up with a water gun that carries molar-rattling electrical shocks?

Jaycor’s electrocuting water cannon falls under the black and moldy umbrella of nonlethal weapons technology, once again in the national security spotlight courtesy of a recent National Academy of Science report recommending more of it. Jaycor reports on such applications are the first two footnotes in the document of blighted science.

The aqueous electrocutor sprays a “high-pressure saline solution with additives” mixed in to maximize range in putting down that troublesome rabble. “[Debilitating] but not lethal shocks” move through the water jet, according to Jaycor’s online brochure. The company hints the voltage can be turned up “to deliver potent electrical shocks to equipment as well as individuals.”

More conventional shockers sometimes leave hooks embedded in victims. With the electrical supersoaker, there’s no need for surgery to take them out. Plus you can hit more people at once.

Jaycor certainly has expertise in this area. It has manufactured something called the Sticky Shocker, a technological annoyance that looks like the giant cocklebur from hell. It’s designed to lodge on people with “tenacious glue” and barbs in order to dispense stunning volts.

Although the latest hazard to humanity hasn’t been tested on live subjects, Jaycor material claims it is voltage-regulated according to some Underwriters Laboratories standard of acceptable partial electrocution. One can only wonder at the way such a remarkable standard was arrived at—perhaps by dropping hair dryers or radios into bathtubs occupied by volunteers?

It is patently obvious that a vehicle-mounted shocking water hose is an atrocious mechanism that would instantly doom the career of anyone who ordered its use on American streets. As with most nonlethal wonder weapons, there would simply be no way to make it look merciful on the evening news.

Sales to overseas tyrant-allies might be an option, though. Penn State University’s Applied Research Laboratory runs an odious Web site devoted to shilling for nonlethal weapons, a function it claims is part of a trusty service to the military and public-at-large. The school suggests various technical means for putting down crowds, and provides a convenient vendor link to the Jaycor electrocutor along with other delivery systems for pain and discomfort.

“Penn State Applied Research Laboratory can assist you in developing a policy plan for using crowd control,” advertises the school brightly. Strategies for electrical excruciations, fresh on demand from the academy.

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