'60 Minutes': Ray gun Video
'60 Minutes': Ray gun Video Transcript
>> It's a gun that doesn't look anything like a gun; it's that flat-dish antenna which shoots out a 100,000 watt beam at the speed of light hitting anything in it's path with an intense blast of heat.
>> Roger I'm ready for a 100% shot, 3 seconds on the CLT.
>> Watch what happens when the electromagnetic beam made up of very high frequency radio waves takes on that black board. The operator uses a joystick to zero in on his target. The affect is instant but visible only with an infrared camera and seen on this laptop.
>> The Ray Gun fires and there it is that flash of white energy.
>> We are now stepping into the Buck Rogers scenario.
>> Buck Rogers; this is a Ray Gun?
>> This is for all intensive purposes a Ray Gun.
>> Colonel Kirk Hymes [assumed spelling] is in charge of the Ray Gun which is being tested at Moody Air Force Base in South Georgia.
>> [yelling] The targets here are people military volunteers creating a scenario soldiers might encounter in Iraq. Angry protestors advancing on American troops who have to choose between backing down or opening fire. Off in the distance a half mile away the operator of the Ray Gun has the crowd in his sights.
>> Individuals this is your final warning clear the area now.
>> We will not leave, you leave.
>> Unlike the soldiers on the ground he has no qualms about firing away because his weapon won't injure anyone. He squeezes off a blast [yelling] the first shot hits like an invisible punch.
>> Get out of here we're not leaving, go.
>> Protestors regroup and he fires again, and again, finally they've had enough the Ray Gun drives them away with no harm done. Officially called the Act of Denial System it does penetrate the body but just barely. So what happens when that beam hits me?
>> It's absorbed in the top layer 164th of an inch, which is about 3 sheets of paper that you'd find in your printer.
>> And it's hitting what inside that 164th of an inch?
>> Right within that 164th of an inch is where the nerve endings are.
>> You have to feel the Ray Gun to believe it and there's only one way to do that.
>> Engage, engage. ^M00:02:28 [ Background noise ] ^M00:02:34
>> To me it felt like scolding water. What makes this a weapon like no other is that it makes you instantly stop whatever you're doing but the second you get out of the beam the pain vanishes and as long as it's been used properly there's no harm to your body.
>> Sue: Huge breakthrough, huge game changer.
>> Sue Payton [assumed spelling] is an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force and the Pentagon Official in charge of buying the Ray Gun.
>> Sue: We have war fighters that are in harms way and you know they don't want to kill innocent people. You pick between a bullet or a bullhorn not a good choice.
>> Payton's close encounter with the Ray Gun was 2 years ago. She was a bigshot from the Pentagon so they dialed down the power of the beam. Payton was having none of that.
>> Sue: Bring it on.
>> She wanted a full blast and she got it. ^M00:03:29 [ Background noise ] ^M00:03:34
>> What did you think of the system?
>> Sue: I loved it I started giggling.
>> Giggle is not the usual response to pain.
>> Sue: Well, I giggled after I got zapped and you giggle because you realize that you're okay and you realize that it had the effect that we want it to have.
>> The impulse to run the other way is so strong anyone who keeps coming has to be considered a threat.
>> Sue: It could be used to read someone's mind in affect because you immediately know what someone's intention is. If they continue to come at you then you're fairly sure they're not a tourist they're probably a terrorist or an adversary who wants to do you harm.
>> So far the Ray Gun's been tested only against make believe adversaries protestors whose rage is about as real as the placards they're carrying. You have to wonder if a more determined enemy could beat the beam. I've got several layers on but the beam is still coming through my clothes so I'm gonna try some shields here; this is a piece of plywood see how far this gets me.
>> Engage ^M00:04:44 [ Background noise ] ^M00:04:50
>> Leaves too much of your body exposed they got me down in my feet so I'm gonna try this mattress here it'll cover up more of my body, okay, let's see.
>> Engage ^M00:05:02 [ Background noise ] ^M00:05:07
>> It hurts but I -- you can keep going.
>> Engage, engage
>> That's enough. So that did protect me somewhat but that's a half mile to get to where I'm trying to go and you kind of give yourself away if you're walking around with a mattress. No one gave any thought to using the Ray Gun when the U.S. first invaded Iraq but as the invasion turning to occupation American troops started going eyeball to eyeball with Iraqis and couldn't tell who was the enemy and who was just angry. 20 civilians were killed in April 2003 when soldiers from the 82nd Airborne fired on threatening crowds in Fallujia that prompted this email to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from a Senior Military Scientist who knew what the Ray Gun could do, "I am convinced that the tragedy of Fallujia would not have occurred if an Act of Denial System had been there." Days later a 3 Star General wrote, "Having ADS, the Act of Denial System in the field today would impact operations in a very critical way." Would this save lives in Iraq?
>> Sue: It would save huge numbers of lives.
>> Do you ever look at what's happening in Iraq and say, "We got to get this thing there faster?"
>> Sue: Absolutely
>> But sending the Ray Gun to Iraq was in the words of one Pentagon report, "Not politically tenable." Not politically tenable, what does that mean?
>> Sue: Well, unfortunately we have had something called Abu Ghraib.
>> Abu Ghraib, American soldiers abusing Iraq prisoners. After these pictures surfaced there was not stomach for even the momentary pain of the Ray Gun.
>> Sue: You don't ever, ever, ever want a system like this to be thought of as a torture weapon.
>> But Sid Heel [assumed spelling] a former Marine who has followed the Ray Gun's progress for nearly a decade says the potential for abuse is not what's holding it up it's something else.
>> Sid: Cowardess
>> Sid: Yeah, there's no other way of saying it. You can try to save people's life with a non-lethal option and fail and it'll still be noble but failing to try is cowardly; that is completely unacceptable.
>> Heel was once the Marine Corps Point Man for non-lethal weapons. He took them to Somalia in 1995 after America's ill-fated attempt to relieve the famine there had degenerated into a shooting war.
>> Sid: It's very difficult to make a case for a humanitarian operation if the only way you have of imposing your will is by killing the people you're sent to protect.
>> Heel tried to teach Marines to use everything from sticky foam to lasers.
>> Sid: I was a bugle in the orchestra, I was playing the same music but it wasn't sounded the same.
>> Weren't they listening to you?
>> Sid: A Major came up to me and said that the Marine Corp wasn't overly thrilled with the whole non-lethal concept and his idea was is that -- the Marine Corp's idea of force escalation went from M16 to F16, how many people could we kill and how fast we could do it.
>> The non-lethal weapons Heel works with at the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department today are no more advanced than what he had in Somalia 13 years ago. What's you best stopper here?
>> Sid: Sponge grenade.
>> Sponge grenade.
>> Sid: It's accurate out to ranges that exceed any of our other stuff you could easily go to 50 yards with this one.
>> Is that your longest range?
>> Sid: Yeah, and matter of fact that's the longest range right now anywhere in the world.
>> 50 yards?
>> Sid: 50 yards. The stuff that we're using in the field right now is a very close range; that's one of our biggest complaints.
>> And one of the Ray Gun's biggest advantages it can stay out of harm's way yet still control a crowd. The one system we don't see out here is the Act of Denial System could you use that?
>> Sid: could we use it, absolutely.
>> Sid Heel wants to use it to control prison riots. The Navy could use it to defend off Iranians with their Go-Fast boats harassing American warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The State Department could use it to protect American Embassy's like the one attacked by protestors in Belgrade. Yet the Pentagon is spending just $13.1 on the Ray Gun this year out of a $475,000,000,000 defense budget. Around here $13.1 is peanuts.
>> Sue: Absolutely peanuts, you're right.
>> Why if this is a breakthrough technology they can change the rules.
>> Sue: Yes
>> Why peanuts?
>> Sue: Well, we don't have enough money to do the things that are the here and now so it's extremely competitive. Yes, 13,000,000 is chump change, I regret that.
>> Could you have fielded it sooner if you had more money to spend on it?
>> Sue: Yes
>> A report by the Pentagon's Defense Science Board says the military is reluctant to spend much money on Act of Denial until it has proven itself in the field. Sounds like a catch 22 you can't get real money until it's fielded but you can't field it until you get real money.
>> Sue: That's exactly the way it is.
>> Colonel Hymes who's in charge of all non-lethal weapons for the Pentagon says the Ray Gun will be ready to go to Iraq this summer but it's swimming against the tide of conventional military wisdom.
>> Colonel Hymes: The Act of Denial System being new technology is gonna have a lot of stigma around it.
>> I've never heard anybody use the word stigma with respect to a new weapon. If this system could kill people it would be easier to field.
>> Colonel Hymes: Lethal Weapons have an easier time getting into our system.
>> You're going up against the culture of your own military.
>> Colonel Hymes: Absolutely
>> The Ray Gun's been tested on humans more than 11,000 times over 10 years the early tests recorded with an infrared camera were against people in their underwear so scientists could measure skin temperature their backs were turned so their eyes would not be exposed. Out of 11,000 tests there have been 6 cases of rashes and blisters and 2 of more serious second degree burns. It's now cleared for full power on any part of the body. Some people claim they've been able to stand in the beam for 4 or 5 seconds so how long can I take the heat, here goes.
>> One one thousand, two one thousand, three one -- ^M00:11:38 [ Background noise ]
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