A copper armed with a gun cannot shoot you if he/she doesn't like you, because there will be blood and a bullet hole.
But with a ray gun they can zap you, cause you great pain, and then walk away.
Taser guns were introduced as a non-lethal alternative to guns. They are now being used on people asking awkward questions to senators.
How long will it take before ray guns are used in similar and less threatening circumstances?
Its makers [Raytheon] claim this infernal machine is the modern face of warfare. It has a nice, friendly sounding name, Silent Guardian.
I am told not to call it a ray-gun, though that is precisely what it is (the term "pain gun" is maybe better, but I suppose they would like that even less).
And, to be fair, the machine is not designed to vaporise, shred, atomise, dismember or otherwise cause permanent harm.
But it is a horrible device nonetheless, and you are forced to wonder what the world has come to when human ingenuity is pressed into service to make a thing like this.
Silent Guardian is making waves in defence circles. Built by the U.S. firm Raytheon, it is part of its "Directed Energy Solutions" programme.