MEDIA RELEASE 1st JANUARY 2015
The Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign
LET’S MAKE 2015 THE YEAR OF COMMITTING TO NONLETHAL TECHNOLOGY IN WAR
Lethal weapons, like fossil fuels, are becoming obsolete, says Australia’s Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign in its annual New Year message.
“Lethal weapons have served a purpose, but they are yesterday’s technology and need to be replaced,” says Andrew Greig, coordinator of the campaign and author of Taming War – Culture and Technology for Peace.
“They cause huge grief and only rarely resolve conflict,” he said.
“The massive military technology of the West in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan was defeated by small arms, home-made bombs and determined local combatants.
“Huge numbers of people were killed but the resulting fury ensured the invaders did not win.
Mr Greig said that 2015 can be the year the world starts the move to devices which represent a new and nonlethal technology of war.
“Nonlethal security devices – such as stun guns and ‘area-denial’ mechanisms – have been developed by the US Army, he said. “While the industry is in its infancy, it’s slowly growing.
“Humans have formidable technical skills and we should no longer have to tolerate the current cruel and primitive machines of war.
“Until recently, lethal weapons were the ‘final resort’ but the damage caused by modern weapons is so great and the risks to innocent parties are so high, that we cannot continue down this lethal path.
“In the year of the centenary of Gallipoli, we need a commitment by nations around the world to begin the serious development of nonlethal technologies which can protect us from aggression and ensure peace and justice without death and injury.”
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DO OUR POLICE NEED TO CARRY GUNS?
Thursday’s shooting of Mr Rodney Elkass in Castle Hill confirms the need for an urgent review of firearms use by police said Andrew Greig, who is coordinator of the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign.
“This incident follows several other recent shootings by police officers” said Mr Greig. “Rodney Elkas is reported as having a gun, but Justin McMaster, shot in the stomach on 26 September, appears to have been carrying a curtain rod to deter intruders. Adam Salter, shot dead by police in November 2009, was apparently trying to cut himself with a kitchen knife”.
Andrew Greig questions whether deadly force was warranted in any of these cases. He believes that a number of people shot by police in recent years did not pose a major safety threat. Many could have been restrained by other means, such as stun-guns.
In addition to the risk of death or injury to passers-by, guns used by police are a significant occupational health risk to the police themselves. They encourage criminals to use firearms and there is the danger of police bullets striking other officers. Handguns project a culture of violence
As Andrew Greig says, “there are other effective models of police protection in countries such as the United Kingdom, where only some 10% of the police are armed”.
“NSW Police now have the protection of Taser stun-guns. We need to ask whether every police officer on general duties needs to carry a firearm.”
“These recent police shootings highlight the need to debate why and how firearms are carried and used by police.”
Andrew Greig is the author of TAMING WAR – CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR PEACE and is a spokesperson for the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
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