Physicist Jack Cover first became interested in developing a non-lethal type of weapon when he heard about President Lyndon Johnson’s Blue Ribbon Crime Commission back in the late ‘60s. The goal of the commission was to develop safe but effective weaponry to be utilized in suppressing riots that were occurring around the country at the time. Not long after, Cover read an article in the L.A. Times about a man who became immobilized by a high-voltage fence while hiking.
This soon led to the discovery that a low electrical current could be pulsed with high voltage to cause involuntary muscle spasms and render a person completely helpless. In 1970, Cover developed the first prototypes of his electronic control device, which he named after his childhood literary hero, Tom Swift. The popular science fiction series, authored by Victor Appleton, includes a book entitled Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle. Jack Cover’s ECD weapon fit the description of an ‘electric rifle,’ so he honored his boyhood hero by referencing the story in the acronym for the device.
19 Astonishing Facts