by Mary Francis, President of Voices of Oklahoma
Rubber bullets are erroneously considered by law enforcement as “less than lethal” or “nonlethal” weapons, similar to chemical irritants, water cannons and stun guns. Rubber bullets typically consist of a 40-millimeter metal shell coated in rubber and are claimed to incapacitate without causing serious injury or death.
However, deaths have been documented, which means a more accurate term would be “nor as lethal” or “less lethal.”
Water Protectors in North Dakota have been shot with rubber bullets and also tazered, beaten, tear-gassed and are victims of water cannons in below-freezing weather. Reporter Wes Enzinna gives a first-hand account.
“Rubber bullets: I watched police shoot shot-gun-style weapons at protesters on more than a dozen occasions. Morris, the medic, also showed me these rubber pellets, which he’d retrieved from a protector’s leg.” [Link below.]
According to a study by medical researchers published in The Lancet, which analyzed the Israeli military’s use of rubber bullets against Palestinians, the researchers concluded: “Inaccuracy of rubber bullets and improper aiming and range of use resulted in severe injury and death in a substantial number of people.”
Of 152 rubber bullet casualties treated during the Oct 2000 Israeli/Palestinian conflict, 93 (61%) had blunt injuries and 59 (39%) had penetrating injuries. Two victims died.
The physicians concluded, “This ammunition [rubber bullets] should therefore not be considered a safe method of crowd control.”
The LANCET, 25 May 2002, Vol.359(9320):1795–1800
“Blunt and penetrating injuries caused by rubber bullets during the Israeli-Arab conflict in October, 2000: a retrospective study”
Authors: Ahmad Mahajna MD, Nabil Aboud MD, Prof Michael M Krausz MD, et al.
MOTHER JONES , 31 Oct 2016
Photo and article by reporter Wes Enzinna