We live, as the Chinese might say, in interesting times. And one of the consequences of living in interesting times is the interesting ways in which the world's police forces, armies and weaponsmiths devise new ways for hurting each other. Thus, do we have this, fresh from the laboratories of the Indian Defence Research and Development Organization: the chile grenade.
According to reports, the Indian Defence scientists are planning on replacing the traditional explosives-and-shrapnel recipe of the common hand grenade with a bump of powder from a certain variety of chile, the bhut jolokia, found in the Northeast regions of India. The plan is to use these new chile grenades to incapacitate insurgents and control rioters without actually, you know, blowing anyone the fuck up.
Which, I guess, is a good thing. But I still wouldn't want to be caught within the blast radius of one of these suckers because, on the Scoville scale, the bhut jolokia generates roughly a million units--making it about ten times hotter than a habanero and putting it just below military-grade FN 303 "irritant ammunition" -- canisters of 10% oleoresin capsaicin fired out of a grenade launcher. For the record, pure capsaicin registers roughly 15 million on the Scoville scale. And that shit'll just kill you. Seriously. The lethal dose in mice is just 50 milligrams.
According to the Indian authorities, the grenades that they're working on (and this just slays me) would be enough to "briefly startle a person." But let me tell you something. I can remember once doing some prep work, seeding a batch of banana peppers (which hit about 100,000 on the Scoville scale). I wasn't wearing gloves because my hands were fairly calloused and fucked up at the time, but when I was done, I had to take a leak and.... Yeah, you can guess what came next. Let's just say that I was more than "briefly startled."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Still, the chile grenade is an interesting development by the Indian defence forces. And while something tells me that the Indians won't be the ones inventing it, I'm still waiting for a smart little scientist somewhere to come up with some sort of pork-based ham cannon which I could use to keep vegetarians at a safe distance.