Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Smart Bullet Steers in Midair and Follows Target to Hit Targets a Mile Away

Gun violence has incessantly plagued the African American community. In 1996, 29,183 males were killed by guns: 12,014 in homicides, 15,808 in suicides, 1,004 in unintentional deaths, and 357 in deaths of unknown intent. During the same time period, firearms were the second leading cause of death for African-American males aged five to 14, and the leading cause of death among African- American males aged 15 to 24. In 2007, the homicide rate for black male teens was 67.1 per 100,000, nearly 20 times higher than the rate for white males (3.4 per 100,000). Now there may be a new factor on the horizon that may increase these morbid rates of violence. Just over the two weeks in Chicago, 55 people were shot of which 10 were killed by gunshot wounds withing 50 hours. This past Thursday, 13 people were shot and2 dead in an six hour period in Chicago.

Two researchers from Sandia National Laboratories have created a four-inch bullet that can hit a target a mile away. With the use of laser points at the target, and an optical sensor on the bullet, it locks in and follows its target until it hits it. The 4-inch-long bullet has guidance and control electronics to steer its fins in midflight as it homes in on a target as well as little fins on the bullet keep it from spinning and help “steer” its path.

Continual course adjustment means the bullet can hit laser-designated targets at distances of more than a mile making it in essence a 50 caliber self-guided , miniaturized, low-budget guided missile. “It’s a bullet that can change its flight path so that it can more accurately hit a target at long range,” said Red Jones, one of the two researchers, in an interview with ABC News.

According to a press released distributed by the New Mexico company, the bullet is a prototype, and “engineering issues remain. The new bullet can make course corrections 30 times per second and will hit within eight inches of its target.

Sandia is run by the U.S. Department of Energy and operated by Lockheed Martin, says it is looking for commercial partners to develop the new bullet for mass production. Potential customers include the military and law enforcement.

The concern is will these type of bullets, like most weapons be used to mow down traditional targets, African American males or even worse, seep into the streets as most weapons and technologies for African American males to used them on each other. The fact today remains that Blacks are victimized by offenders armed with guns at higher rates than other ethnic groups and continue to be disproportionately victims of firearms homicide

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