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View Full Version : California Cops Want Spiderweb Guns


Awimoway
Apr 26, 2004, 07:39 PM
Link: California Cops Want Spiderweb Guns (http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/West/04/26/odd.spidergun.reut/index.html)
Source: CNN (http://www.cnn.com)


SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- Attention Spiderman: California needs you. The state highway patrol, hoping to avoid another epic traffic jam caused by a suicide jumper on a major bridge, wants inventors to design and build a gun that can capture would-be jumpers in a spider-like web.

voicegy
Apr 26, 2004, 09:04 PM
Perfect! As soon as any such device was pointed to the would-be jumper, he'd jump! End of problem. :rolleyes:

rainman::|:|
Apr 26, 2004, 09:49 PM
i think **** like this is why california is broke. in my state, they don't let the highway patrol offer to buy things that haven't been invented yet. hmm.

snaps for thinking outside of the box, and seeking a solution to a real (if rare) problem. but, you know, stick to things that make sense, maybe.

paul

LethalWolfe
Apr 26, 2004, 10:15 PM
i think **** like this is why california is broke. in my state, they don't let the highway patrol offer to buy things that haven't been invented yet. hmm.

snaps for thinking outside of the box, and seeking a solution to a real (if rare) problem. but, you know, stick to things that make sense, maybe.

paul


They aren't buying anything. They are floating the idea to inventors to make a product.

And, from the article, the stand-off that prompted this idea cost the department $100,000 in overtime. Who knows what other businesses were effected and lost money because of the delay this 13-hour stand-off caused.

I'd say looking into a piece of equipment that could save police, and citizens, all that time and money isn't a bad idea.


Lethal

uhlawboi80
Apr 26, 2004, 11:12 PM
i offer for them a much simpler solution: next time someone is sitting there threatening to jump, either PUSH them or shoot them with the gun you already have. i gaurantee 20 minutes to clean up and traffic is going again.

besides, he either wants to die or wants attention. you either helped the process along or just taught people to not be so selfish and want so much attention ;)

agreenster
Apr 26, 2004, 11:30 PM
I do think its pretty funny how the state doesnt give a crap about the person contemplating suicide, only that traffic can resume as normal. And of course, the solution is a gun.

I can see the old men sitting around thinking: "Now only if they made a GUN that kept people FROM killing themselves. Now that'd be something."

rainman::|:|
Apr 27, 2004, 12:14 AM
They aren't buying anything. They are floating the idea to inventors to make a product.

And, from the article, the stand-off that prompted this idea cost the department $100,000 in overtime. Who knows what other businesses were effected and lost money because of the delay this 13-hour stand-off caused.

I'd say looking into a piece of equipment that could save police, and citizens, all that time and money isn't a bad idea.

Lethal

The guy quoted joked about issuing a "request for proposal"... an RFP is a technical document doing exactly what it says, requesting proposals with certain information in them. (sidenote-- as i work in corporate communications, i'd love to see that RFP hehe). While i doubt they're going to go issuing an RFP for something like this, it signifies a willingness to work with someone in building such a device (inventors rarely work for free, if they can help it)... and it'd probably be some beastly device that mounted to a pickup truck, costing tens of thousands of dollars per reload (i'm guessing a simple rope net wouldn't quite fit the bill here). Now, who's going to shoulder the cost of developing this, only to build a few (major cities)? Would these things ever get used? Would the police be ready to use one if needed?

I guess the biggest question is, how often does this happen? I don't get the impression that it's a regular weekend occurrance. Maybe i'm wrong. And, if that's the case, and we are *incredibly* optimistic about the price of said device, it's a good idea. But, more, it seems like a "cool toy" someone (a radio DJ, in fact) thought of in a weird situation. The jaws of life, that was a good idea. The web-shooting-jumper-catcher, that may be another story.

i don't have any objections to this, besides feasibility. My point was simply that they should think this through before openly commissioning it...

paul

Awimoway
Apr 27, 2004, 02:50 AM
The guy quoted joked about issuing a "request for proposal"... an RFP is a technical document doing exactly what it says, requesting proposals with certain information in them. (sidenote-- as i work in corporate communications, i'd love to see that RFP hehe). While i doubt they're going to go issuing an RFP for something like this, it signifies a willingness to work with someone in building such a device (inventors rarely work for free, if they can help it)... and it'd probably be some beastly device that mounted to a pickup truck, costing tens of thousands of dollars per reload (i'm guessing a simple rope net wouldn't quite fit the bill here). Now, who's going to shoulder the cost of developing this, only to build a few (major cities)? Would these things ever get used? Would the police be ready to use one if needed?

I guess the biggest question is, how often does this happen? I don't get the impression that it's a regular weekend occurrance. Maybe i'm wrong. And, if that's the case, and we are *incredibly* optimistic about the price of said device, it's a good idea. But, more, it seems like a "cool toy" someone (a radio DJ, in fact) thought of in a weird situation. The jaws of life, that was a good idea. The web-shooting-jumper-catcher, that may be another story.

i don't have any objections to this, besides feasibility. My point was simply that they should think this through before openly commissioning it...

paul

I guess the question is how often major traffic holdups on bridges and buildings occur. If the one that triggered this idea cost $100 grand, it wouldn't take many such incidents per year (in a state with so many big cities) to add up to the R&D cost of such a device.

Unless of course I'm way in over my head in terms of guessing how much R&D would cost.

LethalWolfe
Apr 27, 2004, 03:11 AM
The guy quoted joked about issuing a "request for proposal"... an RFP is a technical document doing exactly what it says, requesting proposals with certain information in them. (sidenote-- as i work in corporate communications, i'd love to see that RFP hehe). While i doubt they're going to go issuing an RFP for something like this, it signifies a willingness to work with someone in building such a device (inventors rarely work for free, if they can help it)... and it'd probably be some beastly device that mounted to a pickup truck, costing tens of thousands of dollars per reload (i'm guessing a simple rope net wouldn't quite fit the bill here). Now, who's going to shoulder the cost of developing this, only to build a few (major cities)? Would these things ever get used? Would the police be ready to use one if needed?

I guess the biggest question is, how often does this happen? I don't get the impression that it's a regular weekend occurrance. Maybe i'm wrong. And, if that's the case, and we are *incredibly* optimistic about the price of said device, it's a good idea. But, more, it seems like a "cool toy" someone (a radio DJ, in fact) thought of in a weird situation. The jaws of life, that was a good idea. The web-shooting-jumper-catcher, that may be another story.

i don't have any objections to this, besides feasibility. My point was simply that they should think this through before openly commissioning it...

paul


I did a quick Google and as of 1997 there were over 1200 documented (and probably many more undocumented) suicides by people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge since it was built in 1937. This number does not included attempted suicides. In 1995 alone there were 45 jumper suicides. This is one bridge in one city in CA. New anti-jumper methods have been put in place since then but they all have limitations. Obviously if people are seriously considering something like this other, more "norma,l" measures have been attempted and proven not effective enough.


Lethal

virividox
Apr 27, 2004, 05:12 AM
whats with jumping of bridges, its so messy, couldnt they do something like carbon monoxide poisoning, or air bubbles in a syringe..

but at least the cops are trying to save lives and prevent traffic, but is a spiderman gun the best way?

Awimoway
Apr 27, 2004, 05:24 AM
whats with jumping of bridges, its so messy, couldnt they do something like carbon monoxide poisoning, or air bubbles in a syringe..

IANASE (suicide expert), but as I recall, there are two kinds of suicides. The cry for attention kind that isn't serious about ending life, and the deadly serious kind done in private so no one can stop you. Clearly anyone who is willing to stop traffic for hours on end is looking for a little attention.

virividox
Apr 27, 2004, 06:16 AM
i say give the death penalty for suicide attempts :)

seriously, people who disrupt traffic and endanger motorists should be punished as well as get treatment

Mr. Anderson
Apr 27, 2004, 06:21 AM
seriously, people who disrupt traffic and endanger motorists should be punished as well as get treatment

They get both - and I don't think he was endangering motorists - the police just closed to road down so there wasn't any distraction.

Stupid, if you ask me. Now anyone else wanting to make a scene will see that this is a great place to do it :D

D

MongoTheGeek
Apr 27, 2004, 07:19 AM
The thing is that this gun has so many more practical applications. Imagine in a riot situation. Splat a half dozen people up against buildings, bundle them together. Short of phasers with stun setting this is the holy grail of non-lethal weapons.

question fear
Apr 27, 2004, 08:31 AM
heres the biggest problem i see: how are they going to get the rope around the guy without knocking him off? they'd have to shoot it directly in front of him in order to push him onto solid ground since the momentum would keep the rope going after it hit his body (my physics is a little fuzzy, if anyone can explain this please do).

LethalWolfe
Apr 27, 2004, 12:25 PM
heres the biggest problem i see: how are they going to get the rope around the guy without knocking him off? they'd have to shoot it directly in front of him in order to push him onto solid ground since the momentum would keep the rope going after it hit his body (my physics is a little fuzzy, if anyone can explain this please do).


I invisioned the "web gun" as shooting a net w/a rope attached to it. It could be used to capture would-be jumpers and, possibly, snag people who jumped before they hit the water/ground.


Lethal

virividox
Apr 27, 2004, 12:39 PM
what is the cost for making and buying a gun as opposed to the cost of cleaning up the mess left and the paperwork the coroner has to do?

LethalWolfe
Apr 27, 2004, 02:01 PM
what is the cost for making and buying a gun as opposed to the cost of cleaning up the mess left and the paperwork the coroner has to do?


Read my first post (the 4th post in the thread).


Lethal

wdlove
Apr 27, 2004, 02:02 PM
Suicide is a very serious issue. They do need treatment. I don't think that punishment would be the right way to proceed. If companies are able to invent this spider web gun, it could have other uses for rescue.

question fear
Apr 27, 2004, 02:18 PM
I invisioned the "web gun" as shooting a net w/a rope attached to it. It could be used to capture would-be jumpers and, possibly, snag people who jumped before they hit the water/ground.


Lethal

ok. but im still somewhat confused. if you shoot it at someone, how is it going to work to wrap around them instead of just knocking them to one side or pinning them against a wall (not useful if somenes on a bridge).
i guess its something for whoever invents this to solve, i would be curious to see if they use something tacky to keep the person attached to the net.

Makosuke
Apr 27, 2004, 04:58 PM
how is it going to work to wrap around them instead of just knocking them to one side or pinning them against a wall (not useful if somenes on a bridge)..
Could be as easy as this: You've got a rope with a blob of something extrordinarily sticky on the end. Fire the blob at your target, it sticks to him semi-permanantly (so he can't just pull free), and he's now attached to a rope. There'd be a little bit of kick from getting smacked with the wad of goo, but probably not enough to knock the guy off the bridge, and even if it were, if you were confident enough that it could hold him up, it wouldn't matter if he did fall.

That's perhaps an unrealistically rosy picture, but I'd imagine something along those lines would be what you'd want. And I can imagine dozens of other uses for such a device, making it a potentially very useful tool--crowd control, criminal immobilization without endangering officers, rescue in situatios where time is critical, and more.

Hey, if they can get somebody to invent one on spec, it's a win-win situation.

Awimoway
Apr 27, 2004, 05:23 PM
Could be as easy as this: You've got a rope with a blob of something extrordinarily sticky on the end. Fire the blob at your target, it sticks to him semi-permanantly (so he can't just pull free), and he's now attached to a rope. There'd be a little bit of kick from getting smacked with the wad of goo, but probably not enough to knock the guy off the bridge, and even if it were, if you were confident enough that it could hold him up, it wouldn't matter if he did fall.

That's perhaps an unrealistically rosy picture, but I'd imagine something along those lines would be what you'd want. And I can imagine dozens of other uses for such a device, making it a potentially very useful tool--crowd control, criminal immobilization without endangering officers, rescue in situatios where time is critical, and more.

Hey, if they can get somebody to invent one on spec, it's a win-win situation.

I imagined more of a net that could be fired at someone. It would have sticky gobs around the edge of the net that would adhere to whatever was below/behind the target, pinning him/her behind the net.

MongoTheGeek
Apr 27, 2004, 05:29 PM
I imagined more of a net that could be fired at someone. It would have sticky gobs around the edge of the net that would adhere to whatever was below/behind the target, pinning him/her behind the net.

I was envisioning a glob of resin that sets quickly in air impregnated with nylon fibers wrapped in a thin plastic bubble fired out of something akin to a potato gun

voicegy
Apr 27, 2004, 10:50 PM
Again, this would have to be implemented on the fly, as a surprise. Such a device would hardly be subtle and not easy to hide. If it were pointed to the would-be suicide'er, he would simply threaten to jump if the device were to be used "against" him, thus creating the time consuming stand off and negotiation nightmare that currently is so often employed.

If we were to back up a specially outfitted truck or car in place and "fire" the device to affect surprise, word would get out that such a device existed, and after one use, future would-be suicides would be "hip" to it, and place further demands during the confrontation, such as "Don't bring that car/truck any closer! Stay back, all of you!" And we're back to square one.

How to use such a device effectively, within a certain range from the target, and kept hidden as to not be perceived as a threat that would cause the jumper to, well, jump, are questions, to me, far harder to answer than whatever technology is finally employed, if any.

As unsightly as it may be, ultimately the only answer here (at least on the most "popular" jumping spots - our own Coronado-San Diego Bridge comes to mind) might be to employ safety nets under the lips of bridges (or equally unsightly fences along the sides) to discourage jumpers from considering the venue in the first place.

Previous to the opening of the Coronado bridge (which spans a bay and is quite high) the Laurel Street Bridge in our own Balboa Park was THE place to jump from. There was a busy freeway under the mid-span, and jumps would cause all sorts of havoc. It was finally resolved by putting up a high fence on either side with prison-like inward curving spikes along the top. The fence runs along either side of the bridge that spans the freeway below ONLY - the remainder of the bridge was not treated to the new fencing, thus accomplishing the following; the bridge became disfavored by would-be suicides, whose only option was now jumping into a canyon - a fatal fall, but causing no harm to others or disruption of traffic. The jumpers were no more.

To employ such a measure on bridges that are considered architecturally significant (and bridges that employ a span of 1/2 a mile or greater) would be unpopular with the citizens and expensive. But an under-the-lip netting system may not prove to be that unsightly, and may discourage jumpers forever, as suicide by jumping almost always seems to employ large and / or high bridges and traffic.