MISSOURI — A military sound weapon called the LRAD is trickling its way into domestic agencies across the country. Its latest application will be for use against drivers on Missouri’s highways.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has purchased two Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) with the intent of deploying them near work zones. The idea is to penetrate nearby vehicles with an overwhelmingly shrill sound to supposedly get them to slow down.
Called a “safety device” by the local media, the LRAD is most famous for use against civilians overseas during military operations. Its 153 dB sound waves are so powerful that they cause bystanders to reel in pain, clutch their ears, and run away.
Carl Gruenler, a former Vice President of American Technology Corporation (which later became LRAD Corporation) said that the device will produce instant headaches, permanent hearing damage, and that “you definitely don’t want to be” within 100 meters of the device. Of course, that was said in 2004, before the company began marketing its weapons to domestic government agencies.
Since then, the LRAD was being delivered to local law enforcement agencies throughout the USA; many through federal grants aimed at militarizing police. By 2009, the LRAD was dramatically used for the first time against Americans, when police mounted it on their armored vehicles and used it to disperse unwelcome protesters in Pittsburgh during the G-20 Summit.
MoDOT employee Michele Compton elaborates: “The sound easily penetrates the windshield and well-insulated cab of a car, even overriding the vehicle’s engine sounds and a radio turned up loud enough to jam to tunes at highway speeds.”