LRAD_naval LRAD stands for Long Range Acoustic Device. But it is much more than a mere ‘device’. The word ‘device’ suggests a toy, or a remote control. The LRAD is nothing like that – it is the newest stage in the weaponization of sound. According to Wikipedia,

“LRAD systems are used by maritime, law enforcement, military and commercial security companies to send instructions and warnings over distances, and to force compliance. LRAD is also used to deter wildlife from airport runways, wind and solar farms, nuclear power facilities, mining and agricultural operations and other industrial facilities.”

This machine is made in San Diego by LRADX. They have numerous videos on their website, showing how the LRAD can be used by police, military and others. Here is an animated video that shows how the LRAD works and what impact it has on people and their ears.

There has been much discussion about this ‘device’ and its use. It has been used in many situations over the past few years, mostly political demonstrations in various parts of the world. Often it is used as a powerful ‘hailing’ system, and as such is much more effective than a megaphone.  BUT – see this video for a comment from a representative of the ACLU about the presence of a LRAD at a town hall meeting in San Diego.  His point is that having such a ‘device’ present, albeit as a ‘sound system’, in fact means bringing a powerful weapon to a civic gathering.  Perhaps a little intimidating?  A little oppressive?  A little overkill?  And that is one of the key concerns. Will it be used to attack people rather than just ‘hail’ them?

Here are links to several videos about the LRAD:

Vancouver Olympics – Vancouver police have one:

Used in Pittsburgh at a G20 protest –

Used in Georgia (the country, not the state) to disperse protestors –

Used on Occupy protestors –

Scaring birds away near an airport –

Breaking up a street party –

Here it is used by Japanese whaling ships to scare off Greenpeace protestors –

And – there was at least one LRAD at the London Olympics this past summer –

I guess using an LRAD is better than shooting people. So that is a positive.  And yet?

It makes me think of the battle of Jericho, oh so many centuries ago. But that is for another post.


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