2011- The Year of the Pepper Spray

My first experience with pepper spray was a couple of years ago at an underage drinking party. It was at my friend Jake’s house and he had a bunch of people over on a Friday night for no reason other than a few cases of Miller High Life (do you call them ‘Lives” in this case?). Anyways I was sitting in an easy chair in the corner of his parents’ basement and to the right of me was a bookcase. Right next to the Book of Mormon was a strange  looking object that was black with a red top. I thought it was some sort of pocket knife but a style I had never seen before, so i picked it up and examined it. It wasn’t a knife, after further examination, but appeared to be some sort of cologne. I released the safety on accident and as I pressed the button a friend of mine ran at me and yelled “NO CALVIN! THAT’S….”, but it was too late, I had already released a small cloud of pepper spray and he ran right into it. He hit the floor in a coughing fit and puked a tiny little bit conveniently a few inches a way from the basement’s drain. I was a bit scathed by the cloud as well because I couldn’t stop sneezing for the next ten minutes. Needless to say the basement erupted with laughter.
This year has been quite a year for pepper spray as well. With all of the protests and civil unrest that has occurred, cops can’t help but get crazy with the stuff. Sure they could just beat the hell out of everybody that stands in their way but that would take effort and there are only so many doughnut eating hours in one day. So pepper spray is a more efficient method for getting rid of a crowd students or a mob of occupiers that just won’t leave. Of course this is completely legal and God knows we don’t really need excessive force to deal with civil disobedience. However there has been some backlash to the spraying and some new ethical questions about who, when, and how you spray. In Seattle a 19 year old pregnant woman and an 84 year old woman got sprayed during an Occupy protest, dramatic pictures ensued and they became instant martyrs for the movement. Also at UC Davis in California a group of student Occupiers seated somewhere on the campus lawn were doused with pepper spray by UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike. With photographers everywhere the officer’s actions went viral on the internet and John Pike’s character became a MEME. His MEME is one of my personal favorites because there is no end to what he will spray next. I especially like the ones where he is spraying figures in famous paintings or spraying extremely vulnerable individuals.  He has become the ultimate symbol of police laziness and negligence. Instead of spending all that time zip cuffing each and every one of the students, bringing them down to the station and filling out all that cumbersome paperwork, lets just spray them all in about two minutes and send them home crying. There was a lot of outrage over these incidents, as if police had never done this sort of thing before. However, I say get real, its been happening for years. They used to throw canisters of tear gas. Since the sixties protestors half way expect to get brutalized, why do you think these cases were documented so well? I really wasn’t surprised by an old woman getting bombed in the face and I wasn’t surprised either when students who were sitting down for an Occupy picnic got a mass spray. Police relish the opportunity to deal with these sorts of things, that is why they got into the business in the first place. Do you think they enjoy it when there is nobody in need of a good macing? I rest my case.

Tell me he isn't trying to hold back a huge grin.


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