Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rubber bullets Kill

Rubber bullets can kill @ close range - not safe for crowd control

Rubber bullets were used for the first time by British forces in Northern Ireland in 1970. These "missiles" are intended to inflict superficial painful injuries, thereby deterring demonstrators from continuing further hostile activities, while at the same time avoiding serious injuries and deaths that arise with conventional firearms.

Police forces are instructed to fire the rubber bullets from a “safe range” of more than 40 m and to aim exclusively at the lower limbs of rioters. The inaccuracy of the bullets makes it difficult or impossible to avoid hitting the face, head, and chest.

Between 1970 and 1975, over 55 000 rubber bullets were fired in Northern Ireland, with an estimated death rate of one in 18 000 rounds, and serious injury rate of one in 1100 rounds. Children and teenagers have been reported to have the most severe injuries from these bullets, particularly skull fractures and brain injuries, along with injuries to the lungs, liver, and spleen.

The Israeli Police Force also uses rubber bullets to control demonstrations. Dr. Ahmad Mahajna and his researchers looked at the 201 proven rubber bullet injuries sustained by 152 persons admitted to a front-line clinic, two hospitals and a trauma center in Haifa and Nazareth, Israel following the riots in October 2000. Their paper, published in the Lancet, 26 May 2002, reviewed 61% patients who had blunt injuries and 59 (39%) with penetrating ones.

Three died from their injuries, two from brain damage after the bullets entered the skull through the eyes. The third died post-operatively following knee surgery. Long-term morbidity was noted in one patient with head and neck injury (post-traumatic psychosis), in three with facial injuries (blindness), and in two with abdominal injuries (repeated intestinal obstruction because of adhesions).

Inaccuracy of rubber bullets and improper aiming and range of use have resulted in severe injury and death.

This ammunition should therefore not be considered a safe method of crowd control.