Why make, build or sell a flamethrower? That is the question posed by the man who designed what he calls America's first hand-held flamethrower.
Chris Byars's answer: "It's awesome."
Byars says he has sold and delivered 30 of his XM42 model, costing $899 (£588). He has received orders for 400 more.
This is not something you can buy at your local store - the XM42 can propel burning napalm-like fuel 25ft (8m), igniting and scorching anything in its path.
A flamethrower could have a practical function, but that is not how Byers is marketing it.
Link to story here.
In the UK the Police have shot and killed 33 people in the last 20 years, almost all criminals, who were armed or suspected of carrying arms. There has been very few unfortunate accidents. Last time I checked the Police in the US have shot around 800 people in the last year. The Police in the UK do not carry guns, they vote every now and again and choose not to carry guns. We do have some armed Police in the UK, such as at high risk terrorist attack areas such as airports and when acting as bodyguards for VIP's. Also, each Police area can call up rapid response teams of Officers in high speed cars who do carry guns.
Gun crime in the UK is very low because 99.9% of the people want nothing to do with guns, and the penalties for carrying or owning an unlicensed gun are very severe. Serious professional criminals have guns, but most of their shootings are drug related gang wars and do not involve the ordinary law abiding man on the street.
In the US shootings are an every day occurrence, with multiple killings by a mad man with a gun now a common event. The reason is obvious, in a country where there are more guns in circulation than people. But it appears there is a new kid on the block, the flame thrower. How long before we read about a madman going ape and incinerating a bus load of people? No doubt some will be saying as they do about guns, flame throwers are not dangerous, it's the person with the flame thrower that is dangerous. Only in America eh.
Yet another thing John Brunner got right when writing back in the sixties/seventies, one of his books featured door-to-door arms salesmen
John K H Brunner (Sept 1934 – Aug 1995) was a British author of science fiction novels and stories. His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar, about an overpopulated world, won the 1969 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel, and the BSFA award the same year.
Think it is Brunners book The Jagged Orbit which won the BSFA award in 1970, that featured door to door arms salesmen.
Flamethrowers? Oh, this is nuts!
Many thanks to Chris, Anonymous at 22.47 and Linda for taking time to comment.
It's always great to read others thoughts and ideas.
All the best Jan
Also his The Sheep Look Up waa voted "best Prozac antidote"
I think you're right about Jagged Orbit, many of my books are still in boxes in the garage. Hardly worth getting them out when you can watch the TV news.
... thanks Chris, perhaps read a different author?
I do worry about our world, and do my best to spread a smile and not a worry, although we can not ignore what is happening, when was life ever easy and plain-sailing?
All the best Jan
Oh he did write one or two more optimistic books, Shockwave Rider which pretty much predicted the Internet, and The Stone That Never Came Down.
One thing he failed to predict though was the huge increase in metabolic diseases - he was more into infections and cancer - but of course he was writing at a time before high carb low fat was invented.
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