About Me

So, being a pop culture junkie and a full on geek, I grew up with sci-fi, cartoons, giant robots, and all that jazz.  It seems to me like everyone has this take on lasers, or laser guns as being the future of modern warfare.  That’s all well and good, but how come the argument that plagues lightsabers is hardly ever brought up about laser guns.  Most non sci-fi, or just outright Star Wars haters ask: “Why do the lightsabers only go to a certain length?”  Well, my question, or the first of my questions, are: “What makes the laser stop moving?”  After all, we are talking about a concentrated beam of light that can burn through just about anything, right?  Well, what makes it stop moving, or just dissipate after so many feet?  Granted, I don’t have a degree in science or physics, but we are still talking about a beam of light.  

Do the guns have a particular intensity?  What would stop it from continuously bouncing around the room indefinitely?  Yes, these are the things that float through my regular stream of conscious thought.  But, that’s what we always hear, right?  In every futuristic sci-fi movie they always have laser guns.  Star Wars.  Star Trek.  Terminator.  Flash Gordon.  “Go, Flash, go!”  Laser guns.  Even in movies where people go to the future, what are the first three things they ask?  Where are the flying cars?  Where are the jetpacks?  Where are the laserguns?  Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man – remember when he was in the hall of weapons?  What did he say?  “This is the future, right?  So where are all the rayguns?”  See.  My question is, are rayguns really the way to go?  I’d think that even in the future they’d be expensive to make.  How do you charge one?  Are the cheaper models non-rechargeable?  Can you have a disposable lasergun?  Like you and a buddy are going someplace you’re not sure of, would you says: “Hey, man.  Stop over at Walgreens so I can grab a disposable lasergun.” 

Here’s my biggest beef with laserguns – they’re not very effective.    Let’s look at what we’re talking about.  LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  A beam of light that burns through things.  I guess if your plan is to cut someone in half – “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” – then lasers would be the way to go.  But if your plan is to shoot someone and kill them, I think not.  Let’s compare them to our current guns: 

About fifty percent of the people shot with conventional guns don’t die immediately.  They either bleed to death, or suffer from infection and blood poisoning.  You won’t get that with laserguns.  The beam would cauterize the wound as it passes through.  This means that unless you shot someone in the head, heart, or spine they’re still capable of fighting.  Sure it would hurt getting hit, whether it’s the stomach or arm, but you wouldn’t die from it.  That would make fighting kinda tough, wouldn’t it?  Wounding someone would have all the effect of giving them a papercut.  Painful, yes, but it won’t take them out of the battle. 

So, are lasers really the way to go?  I don’t think so.  On top of being unconventional, it just wouldn’t do the job we’d need.  “Lee, I’m tryin ta kill somebody, man!” 

Flying cars and jetpacks are still a possibility, but we may just want to give up on the laserguns.