Right now there’s unrest all across the United States as people protest the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a racist Minneapolis police officer. Police are clashing with mostly peaceful protesters using rubber bullets, which weren’t designed to be shot directly at people from point-blank range, and tear gas, which is banned in warfare — but hey, what are standards when you've got a peaceful protest to squash, right? Luckily, we have our friends in Hong Kong to thank for a few lifehacks on how to deal with these “non-lethal” weapons used to violate our human and constitutional rights. Case-in-point: using a leaf blower to manage and mitigate the use of tear gas.
Here we can see a man using a small, handheld leaf blower to first redirect the tear gas until a fellow protester runs up and extinguishes the canister with a water bottle. Then, once it’s out, the man uses the leaf blower to disperse and diffuse the tear gas away from the protesters behind him. Absolute genius.
So we asked ourselves in this trying time — what are some good leaf blowers that you can probably get right now? We emphasize that last part because, obviously, waiting for an Amazon shipment isn’t exactly ideal. Also, Amazon sells facial recognition software to the police 👀.
The Ryobi One+ cordless electric leaf blower has a few things going for it: first, there are over 30 of them in stock at our local Home Depot in Brooklyn and several in stock in the small town in Tennessee where my parents live, so chances are good that there are some in stock near you as well. Second, it’s small, lightweight, and pretty affordable. In any situation I find it best to be as discreet as possible when dealing with the police, so going with a slightly quieter electric leaf blower is helpful.
This Dewalt electric leaf blower is the big daddy of leaf blowers. We’ve got a similar one at home that I used to blow all the dust out of my car after a trip through the desert and, can confirm; it rips. It is fairly large and fairly heavy, though, so only pick up this bad boy if you’re intent on sending that tear gas back from whence it came.
Here we have a small and affordable gas blower. This one will be a bit louder, a bit hotter, and definitely has a less tech-y look, but think of how much fun you'll have doing classic gas-powered maintenance like priming its pump and changing the oil. It does have a two-year warranty, so you'll presumably be able to get it repaired after you're illegally detained for exercising your right to free speech and peaceful assembly.
Here we have a backpack style leaf blower that will send tear gas into the next dimension with ease. At 760 CFM (a measure of how much air it moves) this thing has almost twice the blowing power of the Dewalt leaf blower above. Now, because it’s gas powered, you’re not going to be even remotely subtle or low-key. You’ll be a ghost buster, basically. This thing costs north of $200, so if you live in a city (which you probably do if you’re reading this) then blowing (pun absolutely intended) this much money on something you’ll use a couple of times (hopefully?) isn’t the best idea. Still, I live for gear maximalism, so more power to you.
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