Flash! Star Trek-like Agonizer to be used in L.A. jail
You know when there was that transporter malfunction and Captain Kirk and some of the Star Trek officers ended up in a mirror universe and Spock had a beard? This was a bad place…the Federation was evil, Spock was evil, Sulu was evil.
One way they were evil? They used pain-giving devices called Agonizers (and ultimately, Agony Booth).
Well, Raytheon, one of the first makers of home microwave ovens, developed a “pain beam” for the military. No, not in Star Trek…in real life.
What it does it fire an invisible beam at a person, causing unbearable pain. If you step out of the beam (or they turn it off), the pain stops. They can point it very precisely…even a single body part. Gee, I wonder what body parts they might target?
Well, I guess this is better than shooting somebody in a riot…maybe even better than tear gas.
It’s also not designed to cause pain for punishment…it’s to make people move, stop what they are doing.
Still…there’s something bothersome about using a weapon on prisoners in a jail that we apparently have so far decided not to use on our country’s enemies (one story I read said that the military was concerned about bad publicity microwaving people on the battlefield).
In Gene Roddenberry’s vision of our future, humanity has pretty lofty ideals. It certainly doesn’t always live up to them, but the desire is there. The mirror universe (as written by Jerome Bixby) is there to show us what could have happened if the Earth and the Federation had made different choices.
I think Roddenberry would have been happy to see cell phones (reportedly directly inspired by Star Trek), and some of the other technology (like medical sensors) that we’ve developed. He’d be blown away by our computers.
But would he have thought real agonizers in an L.A. jail were a good choice?
What do you think? Feel free to let me know.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle