Use of "&" kills rails -- redux

I see someone else mentioned this below, but the answer was just “use
&&”, which isn’t what I’m looking for.

I’m using acts_as_ferret in my web app, but if the user inputs certain
symbols, like &, it kills his/her browser. I’m running everything
locally on OS X. I had to reboot OS X because the crash was so bad.
Is there a way to screen out all these user queries that will crash the

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