Holy Cow! They built a 1920's-style ray gun!

It uses directed microwave energy to induce pain in human nerve endings.

Very scary kids…

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It’s a gun that doesn’t kill or cause permanent injury. What am I supposed to be scared of?

(emphasis mine)
Not much of a 1920’s style Death Ray, then, is it?

Old news.

Been talking about it for years.

It’s a crowd control weapon. Probably much safer than tear gas or rubber bullets.

well, c’mon. Anyone who faced any kind of rays in the 1920’s is either dead already or not far from it.

Read those first few paragraphs again, and then look at the picture of the device. It’s the Gom Jabbar! What you should be afraid of are the Bene Gesserit witches, that’s what.

Wasn’t the gom jabbar the poisonous finger needle, not the pain box?

Oh, blow me.

You’re right, of course. Dammit! Did the pain box have a name? It still fits. Stick hand in. Big pain. No damage.

Dammit! Getting old ain’t for sissies. I only read the book about 40 years ago.

So. Everybody who thinks this is a good idea, raise their hands.

<raises hand>

I’m sure there are many ways in which this 2000s style Pain Ray could be misused, but I’m not going to say it’s inherently bad.

It’s a small box that causes excruciating pain and doesn’t leave a mark, but that’s ok because “you can just run away from it” if they turn it on you. The original packaging had “Abuse me!” stenciled on it in big red letters, but they painted it black for the demonstration at the tech fair because they didn’t want to be too obvious about it.

Of course, if you were really human you’d stand there and take it until they came to pick you up and then you’d chew out their throat.

I must not fear…

Nothing, providing you aren’t a “have-not” in one of these sunny destinations.

And, depending on whether you think that this counts as pain approaching that felt during organ failure, you can add the United States to that list, as well.

I just see massive opportunities for abuse. The real version of this, not the itty-bitty demonstration box, is an antenna mounted on a vehicle that can project pain for a half mile.

How long will it take the crowd to run the half-mile to escape this beam sweeping over them? How controlled must the operator be in order to not aim this a little extra long at the guy that threw a rock at him?

It has the potential to inflict invisible damage on a thousand people at once. It’s only defendable attribute is that it doesn’t kill you. This is a way to inflict disabling, intense, skin-flaying pain on somebody in a way that doesn’t leave evidence afterward.

Imaging if the Chinese had this gizmo during the Tiananmen Square riots of 1989.

How 'bout a hand-held version to replace tasers? Want the police to have one? Want your abusive husband to have one?

What if a portable one had be in Abu Ghraib prison?

The potential for abuse of this device is just so extreme, it frightens me think it could be released into the wild, so to speak.

It gets even worse. It wouldn’t even be effective for its (allegedly) intended purpose. If this thing can be stopped by 1/64 inch of skin, then it can also be stopped by a layer of cloth (at least some cloths, though a few synthetics might still be transparent). So if the rioters or whomever can cover their exposed skin (gloves and a mask, or just facing away and keeping your hands inside your sleeves), they’ll be able to continue rioting, or charge the vehicle deploying the device. The only way you can get this thing to work is if you can prevent the targets from covering up, which pretty much means they’d have to be restrained already, given how easy it is to shield.

This isn’t a crowd control device which could be abused as a torture device; this is a torture device which some folks are trying to dress up as a crowd control device to avoid negative press.

Well, if it’s NOT released into the world, abusers will continue to use tear gas, rubber bullets, electrodes, batons, abd pliers, all of which do cause damage and often do kill. Sometimes we have to choose the lesser of the evils, but resign ourselves to still having to live with evil in the world.

Technologically speaking, it should be easy enough to put a limiter on the thing so it can’t run continuously for more than 30, 45 or 60 seconds.

“Death Ray? Fiddlesticks! It doesn’t even slow them down!”

(Old Charles Addams cartoon caption.)

In defense of this wonderful little machine of torture, the pain stops immediately after you switch it off. All the other sources of pain keep hurting after stopped and cause lasting damage. Here, the minute you cry “uncle!”, the pain stops. Try to get cute, and it is back on in full force. I am thinking that even the stupidest out there would be trainable with this, and after they are trained, they are not ruined.

As for the shielding issue, well, I don’t know how much you can riot with your back turned to your opponents and your hands in your pockets. Enterprising rioters will find a way, but there are other ways to deal with those. This would be better suited for mobs gone wild, not for organized foreplanning troublemakers.