We know our country’s going to hell in a hand basket when we see fresh news reports with Ferguson police firing into crowds, then heave sighs of relief because they’re “only” using rubber bullets.
For some reason, we thought rubber bullets were safe. Something about the words “rubber bullets” conjures up playful images of heavily-armed cops pelting angry Ferguson protesters with toy Nerf gun pellets or squishy blobs of silly putty.
Even Huffington Post‘s Ryan J. Reilly fell for that common fallacy as he unleashed a torrent of mockery on Twitter with the following tweet:
Ryan J. Reilly @RyanJReilly I believe these are rubber bullets, can anyone confirm? #Ferguson
Um, Dude? Those aren’t rubber bullets, they’re freaking earplugs. No wonder Reilly got so many hilarious responses. You can look at a few of them below, and visit IJR for more.
Rubber bullets are NOT safe.
All jokes aside, rubber bullets are far from safe and harmless. On August 14, 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French posted a photo of a grimacing woman displaying the nasty-looking wound she received from one of those rubber bullets the previous night.
Rubber bullets can be dangerous and harmful. The small body of research that has looked at the injuries they cause has routinely found a high number of serious injuries and a small number of deaths.
Their study included 151 patients who had a combined 201 injuries caused by rubber bullets. The injuries appeared all over the patients’ bodies, a random distribution that — as the British researchers warned in the 1970s — indicated a lack of accuracy in shooting.Of the 151 rubber-bullet patients who were seen, 68 people had to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. Eleven of them underwent surgery that required general anesthesia. Three, two of whom were struck somewhere in the face, ultimately died as a result of their injuries.