ALL PARTS
PART I
Scott Olsen — "I Didn't Realize How Bad It Was."

PART I - Scott Olsen“I DIDN'T REALIZE HOW BAD IT WAS.”

Thumbnail part I

Shot in the head by police firing bean-bag rounds at demonstrators, this veteran awoke from a coma, returned to protesting, and became a symbol to the Occupy movement. Ten years later, he represents a life shattered by the misuse of less-lethal munitions.

READ PART I
 
PART II
Andre Miller — What Is a Rubber Bullet?

PART II - Andre MillerWhat is a rubber bullet?

Andre Miller, who was shot in the head with a tear-gas canister in July 2020, is photographed at his home in Portland, Ore., in June 2022.

Less-lethal munitions come in all shapes and sizes and can leave behind devastating wounds. Victims of KIPs often don’t know what hit them, unless — like this Black Lives Matter protester — there’s shrapnel left behind.

READ PART II
 
PART III
Richard Moore — The Original Rubber Bullet

PART III - Richard MooreThe original rubber bullet

Thumbnail part III

This 10-year-old from Derry, Northern Ireland was shot in the face with a rubber bullet while running home from school, an attack that blinded him for life. In the decades since, the U.K. has turned away from less-lethal munitions while U.S. law enforcement has increasingly embraced them. Why?

READ PART III
 
PART IV
Victoria Snelgrove — When Things Go Wrong

PART IV - Victoria SnelgroveWhen Things Go Wrong

Thumbnail part IV

Everyone knew if the Red Sox ever beat the Yankees, Boston would burst. But what actually happened when they finally won exceeded people's worst fears. How a euphoric riot, a lack of police training, and an untested less-lethal weapon left a woman dead and city leaders searching for answers.

READ PART IV
 
PART V
Minneapolis
PART VI
Austin
TIMELINE
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
 
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
THE PEOPLE VS. RUBBER BULLETSPART III

Richard MooreThe original rubber bullet

BY
Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Richard Moore, dressed for his First Holy Communion, May 1970.

Courtesy of Richard Moore

Free Derry Corner in Derry's Bogside neighborhood in 1972.
Free Derry Corner in Derry's Bogside neighborhood in 1972.
Christine Spengler / Sygma / Getty Images
Richard Moore plays soccer with his brother Noel in their yard..
Moore (left) was a soccer fanatic early on. Here he plays with his brother Noel (right) in their yard in Malin Gardens, Derry in 1968.
Courtesy of Richard Moore
A surveillance Land Rover carrying soldiers patrols the Creggan Estate in Derry, Northern Ireland, 1970.
A surveillance Land Rover carrying soldiers patrols the Creggan Estate in Derry, Northern Ireland, 1970.
David Bagnall / Alamy
Moore with his parents in Boston, Mass., where they traveled in the hope of restoring his eyesight in January 1973. The rubber bullet that blinded him sits on the table in front of them.
Moore with his parents in Boston, Mass., where they traveled in the hope of restoring his eyesight in January 1973. The rubber bullet that blinded him sits on the table in front of them.
Courtesy of Richard Moore
Plastic and rubber bullets on display in a museum in Belfast.
Plastic and rubber bullets on display in a museum in Belfast.
Liam McBurney / Associated Press

The first KIPs  

A 38mm rubber bullet gun on display at Littledean Jail in Littledean, U.K.
A 38mm rubber bullet gun on display at Littledean Jail in Littledean, U.K.
Jules Annan / Alamy
A portrait of Emma Groves after she was blinded by a rubber bullet, taken for a poster produced by the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets.
A portrait of Emma Groves after she was blinded by a rubber bullet, taken for a poster produced by the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets.

A soldier outside came forward and said, “Turn the record off and close the window.” I went to the window and said, “Well, I’m in my own home.” Just then a paratrooper came up and, out of the blue, shot me. — Emma Groves

British Army soldiers stand off with a crowd in the streets of Derry in the 1970s.
British Army soldiers stand off with a crowd in the streets of Derry in the 1970s.
Alain Le Garsmeur / Alamy
A circa-1981 poster titled "The Republican Movement" commemorates the plastic bullet deaths of Julie Livingstone and Carol-Ann Kelly.
A circa-1981 poster titled "The Republican Movement" commemorates the plastic bullet deaths of Julie Livingstone and Carol-Ann Kelly.
Courtesy Museum of Free Derry
Two boys walk past the wall with the painted slogan "Twenty years on and still killing our children" on Ballymoney Street in Belfast in 1989.
Two boys walk past the wall with the painted slogan "Twenty years on and still killing our children" on Ballymoney Street in Belfast in 1989. Seamus Duffy, a 15-year-old who was killed by a plastic bullet, lived nearby.
Tony Harris / PA Images / Getty

American impact  

A pall of smoke pours from a burning building during race riots in the Detroit in 1967.
A pall of smoke pours from a burning building during race riots in the Detroit in 1967.
Rolls Press / Popperfoto / Getty
Pallbearers carry the tiny casket of four-year-old Tanya Blanding, a victim of Detroit's riots on August 1, 1967.
Pallbearers carry the tiny casket of four-year-old Tanya Blanding, a victim of Detroit's riots on August 1, 1967. Blanding was killed when a hail of police and National Guard bullets swept an apartment building where she huddled on the floor.
Associated Press
National Guard in the streets after the 1967 Detroit riots.
National Guard in the streets after the 1967 Detroit riots.
Associated Press
A law enforcement officer holding a prototype MB Associates Stun-Gun stands watch during anti-war demonstrations on December 1, 1970 in San Francisco.
Above: A law enforcement officer stands watch during anti-war demonstrations on December 1, 1970 in San Francisco. Below: The officer holds a prototype MB Associates Stun-Gun, the first time the weapon was used in a law enforcement setting.
MBA Photos Courtesy of Mel Carpenter
A page from the 1976 U.S. Army report titled "Riot Control Without Bloodshed."
A page from the 1976 U.S. Army report titled "Riot Control Without Bloodshed."
U.S. Army

The war at home  

In December 1992, following the Rodney King riots in April and May of that year, the Los Angeles Police Department began using 37mm foam rubber bullets made by Defense Technology.

A heavily-armored officer points a large gun at a protester while kicking them.
Demonstrators at 1999's World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle were met with heavily armored police armed with less-lethal weapons.
Dan Krauss / Associated Press
Protesters demonstrate following the shooting of Aaron Campbell in Portland, Ore. in 2010.
Protesters demonstrate following the shooting death of Aaron Campbell in Portland, Ore. in 2010.
Sam Esse

“Highly impractical for police work”

The pastor of St. Johns Church hugs Victoria Snelgroves parents, Richard and Diane Snelgrove, after their daughter's funeral service in October 2004.
The pastor of St. Johns Church hugs Victoria Snelgroves parents, Richard and Diane Snelgrove, after their daughter's funeral service in East Bridgewater, Mass. in October 2004.
Suzanne Kreiter / The Boston Globe / Getty
Boston Police officers outside of Fenway Park after Boston won the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.
Boston Police officers outside of Fenway Park after Boston won the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. The officers are armed with FN303 pepper ball guns, less-lethal weapons that killed bystander Victoria Snelgrove that night.
Michael Seamans / Boston Herald / Getty
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams holds up a rubber bullet during a speech to the American Irish Historical Society in New York, May 1998.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams holds up a rubber bullet during a speech to the American Irish Historical Society in New York, May 1998.
Timothy Clary / AFP / Getty

Forgiving, but not forgetting  

Richard Moore, photographed in the summer of 1972, soon after he was blinded.
Richard Moore, photographed in the summer of 1972, soon after he was blinded.
Courtesy of Richard Moore
Moore with his wife, Rita, and their daughters, Naoimh and Enya, at his 40th birthday party in Derry, July 2001.
Moore with his wife, Rita, and their daughters, Naoimh and Enya, at his 40th birthday party in Derry, July 2001.
Courtesy of Richard Moore
The Dali Lama, Richard Moore, and Charles Innes meeting in Derry in 2007.
The Dali Lama, Richard Moore, and Charles Innes meeting in Derry in 2007.
Courtesy of Richard Moore
The Dalai Lama holds Richard Moore's hand as he gives a talk about compassion to celebrate 20 years of Moore's Children in Crossfire initiative on September 10, 2017 in Derry, Northern Ireland.
The Dalai Lama holds Richard Moore's hand as he gives a talk about compassion to celebrate 20 years of Moore's Children in Crossfire initiative on September 10, 2017 in Derry, Northern Ireland.
Charles McQuillan / Getty
PART I
Scott Olsen — "I Didn't Realize How Bad It Was."

PART I - Scott Olsen“I DIDN'T REALIZE HOW BAD IT WAS.”

Thumbnail part I

Shot in the head by police firing bean-bag rounds at demonstrators, this veteran awoke from a coma, returned to protesting, and became a symbol to the Occupy movement. Ten years later, he represents a life shattered by the misuse of less-lethal munitions.

READ PART I
 
PART II
Andre Miller — What Is a Rubber Bullet?

PART II - Andre MillerWhat is a rubber bullet?

Andre Miller, who was shot in the head with a tear-gas canister in July 2020, is photographed at his home in Portland, Ore., in June 2022.

Less-lethal munitions come in all shapes and sizes and can leave behind devastating wounds. Victims of KIPs often don’t know what hit them, unless — like this Black Lives Matter protester — there’s shrapnel left behind.

READ PART II
 
PART III
Richard Moore — The Original Rubber Bullet

PART III - Richard MooreThe original rubber bullet

Thumbnail part III

This 10-year-old from Derry, Northern Ireland was shot in the face with a rubber bullet while running home from school, an attack that blinded him for life. In the decades since, the U.K. has turned away from less-lethal munitions while U.S. law enforcement has increasingly embraced them. Why?

READ PART III
 
PART IV
Victoria Snelgrove — When Things Go Wrong

PART IV - Victoria SnelgroveWhen Things Go Wrong

Thumbnail part IV

Everyone knew if the Red Sox ever beat the Yankees, Boston would burst. But what actually happened when they finally won exceeded people's worst fears. How a euphoric riot, a lack of police training, and an untested less-lethal weapon left a woman dead and city leaders searching for answers.

READ PART IV
 
PART V
Minneapolis
PART VI
Austin
TIMELINE
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
 
WARNING

This website contains graphic images of violence that some people may find disturbing.