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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Saturday, December 11, 2004
You know what else? How 'bout we arm CHP helicopters with small air to surface missiles and institute a policy of taking out with extreme prejudice people who lead police on high-speed chases through our public streets?

Is there anything qualitatively different between a guy driving recklessly at 100 miles per hour through streets filled with families and a guy pointing an automatic weapon at those same families? In the latter case, none of us would have a problem with a sniper taking the guy out. But, for some reason, we continue to let criminals risk the lives of our friends and family while the police make futile efforts to stop them.

Apparently, it makes for high cable news ratings. One fugitive can bring a global news organization to a standstill, while some anchor attempts to fill time endlessly repeating the same tripe in commentary. And, we also apparently understand the danger, as I've heard it suggested that the police call off such pursuits in the interest of public safety. Of course, the public safety to be gained is only temporary, as the action would result in LETTING A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL GO FREE.

Think about it. One Stinger Hellfire missile through the driver's side window, caught on TV news cameras, would not only prevent unnecessary loss of innocent life on the day (via the vaporization of the perp and his car), but would serve as a memorable deterrant to future would-be fugitives. Fox News could bring in Norman Schwarzkopf to revise his Gulf War I performances narrating the elimination from a helicopter-mounted camera.

Sure, once the pursuits stopped, Spike TV would have to replace some of their high speed pursuit footage with some other testosterone-friendly programming. But, I think the net result would be a positive one.
I completely agree with your analysis. I only take issue with your use of the wrong missle name.

Stingers are shoulder-fired heat-seeking surface to air missles. They would be appropriately used in your scenario if the fleeing bad guy pulled his car over, pulled a missle out of his trunk, and tried to shoot down the CHP helicopter. US supplied Stingers were featured prominently in the successful Afghan rebellion against the Soviets.

What you want on the CHP helicopter is a Hellfire missle. Those are typically on attack helicopters and are designed as anti-tank weapons. They have armor piercing shells and are laser guided. The helicopter pilot aims a laser beam on the target, fires the missle, and then continues to follow the target with his laser. The missle warhead is about the right design to incinerate the indide of a tank.

The IDF Air Force has on its attack helicopters Hellfire missles modified for urban warfare. The warhead is smaller, and it penetrates less before detonating, so as to incinerate the contents of a car without injuring too many passers-by. It has been featured prominently in ending the lives of many a former Hamas leader, while leaving varios miscreants on the sidewalk alive and well. That's what you want on CHP helicopters.
I know this is a little late on this topic, but I wanted to say that missles are becoming so accurate that explosives are not necessary (my brother works on GPS guided bombs). It would be just as effective and far less dangerous to fire non-explosive steel rods into the engine compartment and/or front seat of the car.
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