The label "non-lethal" doesn't mean quite what it seems.
NATO policy says that "non-lethal weapons shall not be required
to have a zero probability of causing fatalities".
So says a NewScientist
article on the things. Which is fair enough from a strict probabilistic
angle - a determined security officer could get a decent fatality with a
a bit of string and a smiley helium balloon - but I doubt it's how the arms
manufacturers are interpreting it, with the British authorities
mumbling evasively about plastic-bullet ricochets in Northern
Ireland, and nobody really knowing the effects of getting a
Taser in the eye.
The solution from a victim viewpoint seems to be pregnancy, since
any of the favoured non-lethal weapons have a fair chance of
affecting your child and creating bad, bad publicity (killing adults;
feh - killing children; evil). So I guess it's just a matter of time
before activists start stuffing pillows up their shirts. Alright,
they say we're only two or three years away from robot sentry turrets,
firing rubber bullets at human-shaped heat sources with cheerful
indifference to pregnancy or surrender, but we've all seen the
director's cut of Aliens. We know what to do.