In an effort to combat the gun problem in New York City the NYPD is set to begin testing a new, high tech scanner that can detect a gun carried by a criminal without the need for a pat down.
The department just received a machine that reads terahertz — the natural energy emitted by people and inanimate objects — and allows police to view concealed weapons from a distance.
“If something is obstructing the flow of that radiation, for example a weapon, the device will highlight that object,” Kelly said.
A video image aired at a Police Foundation breakfast Wednesday showed an officer, clad in a New York Jets jersey and jeans, with the shape of a hidden gun clearly visible under his clothing when viewed through the device.
The department will begin testing the high-tech device for use on the street. The device is small enough to be placed in a police vehicle or stationed at a street corner where gunplay has occurred in the past.
Given the government’s record on such things in the past does anyone at all believe the NYPD will refrain from using this tool on anyone they deem “suspicious”, regardless of whether there is any probable cause or not? This will quickly slide into major 4th Amendment violations.
Aside from that problem is another, even more serious problem: safety. The scanner can detect terahertz waves, which do naturally occur in the environment, but the scanner will also bombard the area being scanned with more high energy radiation in order to get a clear picture. Terahertz radiation is damaging to DNA and the use of these scanners by the NYPD presents a clear health and safety hazard to the citizens of New York City.
“Some studies reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, showed none,” say Boian Alexandrov at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and a few buddies. Now these guys think they know why.
Alexandrov and co have created a model to investigate how THz fields interact with double-stranded DNA and what they’ve found is remarkable. They say that although the forces generated are tiny, resonant effects allow THz waves to unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. That’s a jaw dropping conclusion.
And it also explains why the evidence has been so hard to garner. Ordinary resonant effects are not powerful enough to do do this kind of damage but nonlinear resonances can. These nonlinear instabilities are much less likely to form which explains why the character of THz genotoxic
effects are probabilistic rather than deterministic, say the team.