A video posted by Morton County Police Department on December 6th showcases why the crowd control means at their disposal are difficult if not impossible to have caused the injury of Sophia Wilansky.
At first they fire a sponge round. These are a 40mm less than lethal ammo that has a foam nose made specifically to cause pain but not in any way to puncture skin. The officer specifically states that these means are aimed at the lower extremities. This is a precaution, as even with a foam nose, if you get hit in your eyes with this projectile, there is a small possibility of injury.
The second munition we see is a 40mm CS gas round that is propelled at low speeds and breaks apart to disperse CS gas, a chemical agent that causes irritation to the eyes and nose. Again, the key word here is low speed, and breaking apart of the round disqualifies it as a possible cause of such injury as we saw on Sophia Wilansky.
Fellow SOFREP writer and former 18D Derek Gannon said after viewing the photo: “This is a blast injury.” And since what we are having here is not a philosophical argument, but a discussion of facts, expert opinions do count. It is not a case of argument from authority and thus a logical fallacy.
The third munition is a CS gas grenade that has pre-cut (weakened) sections that after VERY SMALL charge (approximately the same that propels the 40mm sponge round) ignites, open and disperse the CS agent. Again, an unlikely candidate for bone-revealing injury.
The last device being shown is the infamous flash bang. It is the object that has been most under fire from the protestors as the device most probable to have caused the injury of Sophia Wilansky. We have heard claims that there were fragments created from such a device. Here, the video of the Morton county PD clearly showcases that flash bangs DON’T create fragments but simply sound and flash. The officers have such trust in their equipment and their knowledge of their capabilities and limitations that they throw it at close range.
In conclusion, less than lethal munitions are designed to be what their name suggests: less than lethal. Sure, there are some of them that come with a warning and dictate proper use, or else there could be a possibility of injury, but there isn’t one designed to cause a blast injury of that kind.
Featured image courtesy of NBC News.