Way back in June of 2013 around the Albany, NY area, two men were accused of constructing a portable X-ray weapon. These two knuckleheads (I refuse to call them evil geniuses) were trying to build a low-budget death weapon. Diabolical — except that their “engineering” seems to be the stuff comic books are made of.
If you somehow missed this news story, these characters built a remote control switch that they were going to attach to an industrial X-ray machine. This X-ray unit was to be mounted in a van, and with the all-important remote on/off switch, these guys would secretly radiate people at a distance and make them sick or die days later. Or at least, that's what they had planned.
X-ray photons carry enough energy to ionize atoms and disrupt molecular bonds. This sort of ionizing radiation is harmful to living tissue. The ionizing capability of X-rays can be used in cancer treatment to kill malignant cells. However, the effect of ionizing radiation on matter — such as human tissue — is more closely related to the amount of energy deposited into the tissue rather than the charge generated. The measurement of energy absorbed is called “absorbed dose.”
Eric J. Feight and Glendon Scott Crawford are the two perpetrators of this well thought-out crime. This pair is currently being held without bail because “they pose a threat to public safety.”
The FBI put a confidential source in touch with Crawford before their arrest. Crawford allegedly gave the confidential source a webpage printout of the specifications of a radiation emitting device, a printout of the Wikipedia page on Acute Radiation Sickness, and a two page, hand-written sketch of a radiation emitting device. I did not know that there were engineers on Angie's List.
The essence of Crawford's scheme was the creation of a mobile, remotely operated, radiation-emitting device capable of killing human targets silently and from a distance with lethal doses of radiation. Let's be honest, the weight load of the batteries to power the system would more than likely break the frame of a van. As far as the actual industrial X-ray machine, it consisted only of catalog pages and printouts from several online sources. Of course, there is that remote control on/off switch (very high-tech).
I have very little fear of death ray devices being developed in someone's backyard. From the government, perhaps. Keep in mind that a death ray developed under a secretive DARPA contract would probably earn bonuses and praise for those involved, but outside the agency, no one can talk about it.
What I want to know is, is there anyone doing this design work surreptitiously? Who? I realize if it's surreptitious, we probably won't know that answer. It's just a rhetorical question.
Now, just a few more points to consider. Where is the American spirit and the inventor's soul as it relates to this project? Is our government searching for this device? Did it already try to build one? And the important legal question: If this device did or does not have a workable design, should the dynamic duo (above) be prosecuted?
I guess if they could have made a digital switch versus an analog switch, maybe they could have gotten away with it. The digital switch would have had several other uses, so you could disguise it. The analog switch (also known as the remote initiation device) is a simple on/off switch. In this context, you cannot hide its purpose. Its purpose is on/off.
Have you worked on any death-ray projects? Did they work? At what range? What was the power source? Are you allowed to talk about them?