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  • Writer's pictureDean Dwyer

Is an LRAD really necessary?

In Western nations, we have become accustomed to the need for a police force in our communities. Although most citizens are law abiding, it is recognised that a growing proportion of people have no respect for either the 10 commandments or the enacted laws of their home state and country. The need for an active police force, therefore, is largely due to the effects of sin. In the past, when members of a community had a set of shared values which was based on morality, little policing was required. However, as we well know, as sin and immorality grows, so does wickedness and the need for the intervention of government to ensure the wicked are punished. This is in line with the Biblical mandate of government – to reward the good and punish the evildoers.


Throughout the history of civilisations, societies have rightly sought protection for people and possessions. In early civilisations, members of one’s own family provided this protection. However, as societies grew and changed, the concept of policing also changed, transitioning in various stages. In what we might consider the first stage, members of the community equally shared in the responsibility for providing protection and keeping order. Stage two involved the designation of certain members of the community to act informally as a police force and stage three (which describes our society today) assigned formal roles to a police organisation which assumes formal responsibility for protecting their community under the legal requirements of their government. For the most part, this has served society well, although there have been well-documented instances of corruption and violence which is not only disappointing, but it erodes community trust in the police force.


Australians have largely had a good relationship with police at both a state and federal level. I can count on one hand the number of times I have spoken with a police officer, simply because the lifestyle I lead is a quiet and peaceable life which does not require the involvement of a police officer. However, if I find myself in a serious situation, I am pleased to know that I am able to call upon them.


Unfortunately, from 2020 until the present day, the rapport between our community and its police force has become strained. With the rapid onset of new regulations which restricted freedom of movement, many people suddenly found themselves under the watchful eye of police all in the name of trying to defeat a respiratory virus. Disturbing stories of ordinary people being manhandled, abused, pepper sprayed and shot with rubber bullets continued to filter in as 14 days to flatten the curve turned into months and months of lockdowns. In February 2022, after enduring nearly two years of non-sensical rules, regulations, mask and vaccine mandates, many had seen enough. Hundreds of thousands of people descended on Australia’s capital (Canberra) in order to protest, which is one of the fundamental rights we have as citizens of free nations. However, police were also out in force, eager to keep the peace. Although we certainly expect police to carry batons, tasers, handcuffs and pepper spray, it was the presence of an LRAD which rattled the peaceful protestors.


Initially designed for military use, Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) were used to keep pirates away from ships and have been used in warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan to lure people out of buildings and into the range of snipers. The device, which looks like a satellite dish, can emit an extremely loud, piercing sound that is very disturbing to humans. Naturally, this makes them very good at dispersing crowds. University of Missouri professor Karen Piper, who attended a G20 protest in the US in 2009, said this about her experience with the LRAD: “The initial thing I felt was pain, I thought my eardrum had ruptured. Then I felt dizzy and nauseous and disoriented.” Professor Piper said that she had bad ringing in her ears for a year that drove her crazy. She has since discovered that she has permanent hearing loss. “It’s actually nerve damage….and those nerves will never recover,” she said.


Other testimonials from victims of LRADs, particularly at protests, state as follows: “For the first week, I had a migraine and just a lot of facial pressure. Since the LRAD incident, I’ve been pretty freaked out about going back. I’m worried about what damage it caused and it could cause if I went out there again.” Another person said, “It feels like your eardrums are beating out of your head. It makes the side of your body that you’ve been hit on feel numb and that your sinuses are inflamed. I felt like I had blood coming out of my orifices. I heard the ringing for about a week.”


Australian authorities, challenged on their ownership of LRADs in 2016, claimed that the intended use of LRADs was as a really powerful, expensive loudspeaker. According to one spokeswoman, it has an amplification range of between 200 metres and 3 kilometres. Before its invention, it seems the US Department of Defense had a love affair with sound warfare. The most famous victim of sound warfare was General Manuel Noriega. The repressive military leader had holed himself up in the Vatican’s embassy in Panama City in 1989 after President George Bush Snr invaded Panama. The embassy was surrounded by US troops, but he refused to give himself up. So, the US army decided to use psychological warfare – by blasting a wall of sound non-stop outside from a fleet of Humvees mounted with loudspeakers.


In February 1993, law enforcement was at it again. In February of that year, law enforcement agents and the military laid siege to a Texas compound belonging to the Branch Davidians cult, trying to arrest its leader David Koresh. During the 51-day stand-off, it is claimed they played pop music and the sound of jet planes all night. The onslaught even included Tibetan chanting and the screams of rabbits being slaughtered.


Back to the subject at hand, at the aforementioned protests in Canberra, the LRADs were clearly on display. After the protest, many people reported feeling ill, yet police at the event, although admitting LRADs were present, denied using them. According to one spokesman, the devices were simply rolled out in order to intimidate protestors. Despite the skepticism of those who came away from the event unwell, the issue had been largely forgotten until just recently.


About an hour south of our location we find the small town of Warwick (population approximately 15,500 people). Of all the places in Queensland you would expect the police to roll out an LRAD, Warwick is not one of them. Yet, in March 2023, they are reported to have done just that. Steven Harrison, 38, was reportedly seen with a gun in the backyard of his residence (something strenuously denied by his friends), which prompted police to descend on his home. During the all-night siege, it was reported that an LRAD was, in the words of one officer, “being used to provoke a response.” Had Mr Harrison been a violent criminal with a lengthy criminal history, one might accept the use of sonic weapons to disarm him. Yet, Mr Harrison was legally blind and walked with a cane. He was considered to be an expert in the area of Constitutional history, had three university degrees and thousands of books at his home. He was also a devout Christian. Now he is dead – from what we are told is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


The community is rightfully demanding answers, particularly since local police are deploying military grade weapons against ordinary citizens. What also remains troubling amongst believers in our area is that this comes after the recent declaration by Queensland Police that premillennialism is a belief now connected to domestic terrorism. Whether the incidents are connected or not, Bible-believing Christians are left to wonder – do Queensland Police seriously believe that Christians are a threat to public safety?

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