The latest in unruly crowd control. In general, a rubber-coated bullet consists of a steel core, surrounded by a layer of rubber. So far, this sort of bullet comes in spherical and cylindrical forms. Rubber-coated bullets are designed to be used from a long distance and cause only superficial wounds.

In practice, this is often not the case. Lately, most of the practicing has been taking place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the autumn of 2000, a series of clashes broke out between Palestinian activists and the Israeli Army. The Israelis responded with the usual tear gas and with rubber-coated bullets. Much has been made of the fact that many Palestinians have been killed by this supposed nonlethal force. Whether this was intentional or not, I do not care to speculate. The facts are this, if a rubber-coated bullet hits you in the head, it is likely to be fatal. If a rubber-coated bullet is fired from closer than the recommended range, and hits you in a vital organ, it can possibly be fatal.

Do not confuse the rubber-coated bullet with the solid plastic or simply rubber type. The rubber-coated bullet is the result of a series of compromises on behalf of the notion of nonlethal riot suppression. When the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) first tried the use nonlethal firearms to control Palestinian demonstrations (in 1989), they used solid rubber bullets. These were found to be ineffective. A switch was made to plastic bullets, these proved to be too effective (or wrongly effective), and resulted in people getting killed. This gives way to the rubber-coated bullet. Note that any of the above can be lethal if improperly used.

Can't we just moon each other?

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