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Nov 22 2011

Good to know in case you’re on the #OWS lines

I’ve heard of the Scoville scale, which measures the potency of spicy peppers. Those boring green bell peppers get a 0; habaneros get a score of 350,000.

The stuff those UC Davis police officers so casually hosed into the faces of peacefully demonstrating students? between 2,000,000 and 5,300,000 Scoville units.

But we’ve taken to calling it pepper spray, I think, because that makes it sound so much more benign than it really is, like something just a grade or so above what we might mix up in a home kitchen. The description hints maybe at that eye-stinging effect that the cook occasionally experiences when making something like a jalapeno-based salsa, a little burn, nothing too serious.

Until you look it up on the Scoville scale and remember, as toxicologists love to point out, that the dose makes the poison. That we’re not talking about cookery but a potent blast of chemistry. So that if OC spray is the U.S. police response of choice – and certainly, it’s been used with dismaying enthusiasm during the Occupy protests nationwide, as documented in this excellent Atlantic roundup – it may be time to demand a more serious look at the risks involved.

Their goal is to cause intense pain. Where has the police gotten this bizarre idea that somehow inducing agony in protesters is somehow humane or reasonable?

(Also on Sb)

159 comments

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  1. 1
    WithinthisMind

    There is a part of me, a part of me I don’t like, that would cheer if a sniper headshotted every cop that brandished pepper spray at protesters.

    But then, that’s one of the major reasons I’m not at the protests.

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    It is worth knowing that the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the U.S. has signed, prohibits the use of “riot control agents” in warfare.

    Imagine: weapons considered too heinous to use in combat are allowed to be used on peaceful protesters whose only “crime” was to sit down.

  3. 3
    Glen Davidson

    It’s natural, so clearly it can’t be too bad.

    That does seem to be the notion behind this pepper-spray-happy hosing. Mace, well, that’s poison gas.

    Torture is the new humaneness.

    Glen Davidson

  4. 4
    Dhorvath, OM

    Police departments, enabling bullies for centuries. This is not serving or protecting, that much is sure.

  5. 5
    littlejohn

    When I was living in South Carolina, the local cops killed a guy with pepper spray. The guy was familiar to local cops and was picked up frequently for drunk and disorderly. He weighed 300 pounds as was a handful when drinking. The cops apparently held him down and sprayed pepper directly up his nose. The guy had asthma and died. BTW, he was already cuffed and in police custody at the time. They were just using the spray to punish him. When I was working as a security guard in the same area, the local cops told me that when I called them to transport anyone I arrested, they wanted the perp to be “fucked up,” i.e., beaten up, when they arrived. It pisses cops off when people arrested for trivial offenses get off with a slap on the wrist, so cops like to administer their own punishment. I think it takes a certain type of bully to even want to be a cop.

  6. 6
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    What Gregory said. Unarmed, unarmoured, peaceful civilians getting repeated, and excessive even by the rules for the weapon’s own rules hosings of shit you can’t use in fucking war.

  7. 7
    Fukuda

    So much capsaicin… Good thing no one suffered a shock from the inflammation(or did they?).

    Imagine: weapons considered too heinous to use in combat are allowed to be used on peaceful protesters whose only “crime” was to sit down.

    But that’s for combatants, who cares about non-combatants… especially in modern wars? As long as the media is there to clean during and afterwards, like what’s happening right now with the media coverage of OWS…

  8. 8
    Marianne

    Martin’s written a good thing on the subject:
    http://bit.ly/t320Gx

  9. 9
    Sili

    What’s with the scaremongering? “It’s a food product, essentially.”

  10. 10
    AtheistAlabamanian

    I know Radley Balko has done some interesting research into the topic of police militarization. It seems that the likelihood of police brutality is strongly associated with the fancy new weaponry they’re allowed to have (and are never actually trained in).

  11. 11
    Anthony K

    Where has the police gotten this bizarre idea that somehow inducing agony in protesters is somehow humane or reasonable?

    Well, sure. See, their bigger brothers in the military have all of these fancy guns and tanks and so on. With a lot of pretty pleasing to city councils, and if they’re really good, local police departments can get some of these toys for their S.W.A.T. and tactical units (and they need them to deal with all those crazy drug dealers: did you see what Tony Montoya was packing?)

    Compared to the weapons they could be using, holding down and hosing a hippie is practically a favour—scares ‘em straight, you see, and sets ‘em on the right path.

    The innocent have nothing to fear, and if those protesters would be working a damn job if they weren’t thinking of fomenting trouble, deep down inside.

  12. 12
    Ichthyic

    There is a part of me, a part of me I don’t like, that would cheer if a sniper headshotted every cop that brandished pepper spray at protesters.

    whoah.

    and here I was thinking it would be fitting for every cop who thought it important to use pepper spray on a protester to use it on themselves at the same time.

    I mean, if it isn’t dangerous, and they REALLY think it’s necessary…

  13. 13
    Carlie

    What’s with the scaremongering? “It’s a food product, essentially.”

    And water is essential for human life, so waterboarding is a-ok?
    Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

  14. 14
    Ichthyic

    Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

    just to be clear, before someone misinterprets (I realize you aren’t) what Sili is saying…

    check the link Sili provided.

    …guess who!

    Pepper spray goes in eyes, tears and mucous and burned epithelials come out.

    you can’t explain that!

  15. 15
    Anthony K

    …guess who!

    Now there is a man whose very breath is a crime against humanity.

    Insomnia researchers really need to thin slice the lump of dough he’s got between his ears and find out how that piece of shit sleeps at night.

  16. 16
    Ichthyic

    “It’s a food product, essentially.”

    …so is:

    -cyanide
    -tetrodotoxin
    -mycotoxins
    -glycoalkaloids

    it’s a near endless list, really.

    in fact, MOST plants contain some toxin of some sort as a deterrent to herbivores, and many animals also contain toxins, either stored from the things they eat, or used as chemical defenses themselves.

    strangely, I don’t see cyanide being commonly recommended for use in crowd control because it is a “natural product in our food.”

  17. 17
    Carlie

    Ichthyic – yes, thanks for clarifying. I meant BillO, not Sili.

  18. 18
    Ichthyic

    find out how that piece of shit sleeps at night.

    Oxycontin.

  19. 19
    Dhorvath, OM

    Oxycontin

    Smug self satisfaction.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Anthony K
    Oxycontin

    Smug self satisfaction.

    I’m gonna go with Ichthyic’s guess, Dhorvath. He is a conservative, after all. They don’t have ethical stances—just secret and hypocritical addictions.

  22. 22
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Smug self satisfaction.

    The knowledge that his wealth grows from the simple and rewarding act of fucking over people who aren’t rich.

  23. 23
    Quodlibet

    Using a weapon like pepper spray allows police to “subdue” people without touching them, and without even swinging a club and so making physical contact through that item. Pepper spray, like those drone aircraft used by the military, allows police and military personnel to inflict pain and death remotely without having to make human contact. Use of remote weapons removes the human element. It dehumanizes the victims and allows the brutish cops to behave inhumanely without having to face their victims or themselves. I know that’s redundant but I’m having a hard time typing with tears in my eyes. (That’s not intended to be ironic. I guess it’s a cruel irony.)

  24. 24
    StarStuff! Is on her phone

    The pregnant woman who was pepper sprayed at Occupy Seattle last week has had a miscarriage. Her and her doctors think it was because of how the police treated her (you know, with pepper spray and beating, like any normal human being would do to a pregnant woman trying to flee from danger).

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/pregnant-seattle-protester-miscarries-after-

    (you’re getting a naked link because I’m on my phone and commenting is a huge pain in the ass)

  25. 25
    shouldbeworking

    Pepper spray is natural, therefore non harmful
    It is non lethal normally
    it’s quieter than gunfire
    It’s almost as much fun as a taser
    Bullets are expensive?
    The cop doesn’t have to clean his gun that night after the shift

    /sarcasm off

  26. 26
    bacalao

    I was once pepper sprayed by the riot police in Madison Wisconsin during a Halloween parade. I was just out of high school, and grew up on military bases my whole life (read brainwashed to 100% naively trust authorities.) I was in a line at a hot dog stand and not at all taking part and far enough away from the property damaging crowd. I thought the riot police would at least give a warning to me, telling me to just move on. I was just trying eat a hot dog. The fucker sprayed with a ghost-busters style back pack of pepper spray completely frying my contact lenses and leaving a red stripe from the bottom of my chest up to my hair. I had my mouth open explaining in a normal conversational voice that I was just hungry. They didn’t teach me in school the police were assholes.
    It was a really shitty night.

  27. 27
    Ichthyic

    The cop doesn’t have to clean his gun that night after the shift

    ..though I’m sure the cop will be “polishing his gun” as he thinks back on pepper-spraying “hippies”.

  28. 28
    Ichthyic

    completely frying my contact lenses

    interesting.

    are you saying the pepper spray chemically interacted with the material in your contact lenses?

    that would be worth following up on.

    I’m serious here. Pepper spray is sold as having no lasting effects on humans or property.

    if your personal property is destroyed by it…

    that’s grounds for civil suit, right there.

  29. 29
    Ichthyic

    Famous Oxycontin addicts.

  30. 30
    Tualha

    @WithinthisMind:

    There is a part of me, a part of me I don’t like, that would cheer if a sniper headshotted every cop that brandished pepper spray at protesters.

    GOOMH.

  31. 31
    Sour Tomato Sand

    I have in the past few days been seriously weighing the pros and cons of calling for violent retaliation against police officers who do this.
    We don’t seem to view this in the United States as an abuse of power by the state, and that is a problem. The supporters of the Occupy movement seem to be viewing it as an abuse of power by individual officers, and those opposed to the movement are viewing it as just deserts.
    Meanwhile when it happened on the Arab peninsula and in northern Africa, everyone rightly decried the abuses of police power by those governments, and the citizens of those states viewed there government as no longer having a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. In short: they fought back.

    And we aren’t.

  32. 32
    Ichthyic

    In short: they fought back.
    And we aren’t.

    agreed.

    If this was treated correctly, the use of pepper spray would be viewed rightly as assault.

    If you are assaulted, what should your response be?

    -to contact the police.

    and if the police themselves are doing the assaulting?

    If you look at the middle east, what did it take to create any kind of change there?

    If you look at Ghandi’s civil protest movements… what did it take to create change there?

    people have to be at least WILLING to escalate.

    to respond in kind.

    it’s just the way it is. People that USE fear to manipulate, like the current US government mostly appears to utilize, are rationally only going to respond in the way you wish when they themselves experience fear.

    They do not fear protesters.

    they BARELY feared the protesters during the 60s, and so far it hasn’t come close to that level yet.

    still have a lot of work to do.

  33. 33
    Gregory Greenwood

    From Sili’s link @ 9;

    On Monday night, O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News host Megyn Kelly sat down to discuss what really happened at UC Davis on Friday and whether campus police acted appropriately in showering a group of sitting students with pepper spray. Their conclusion? No big deal.

    “Pepper spray, that just burns your eyes, right?” O’Reilly asked Kelly.

    “Right,” Kelly said. “I mean, its like a derivative of actual pepper. It’s a food product, essentially.”

    Now, if we asked them to sit still while we sprayed something that was ‘a food product, essentially’ into their eyes and down their throat, why do I get the strangest feeling that they wouldn’t agree?

    Why, it is almost as though Fox News is staffed exclusively by mendacious hypocrits…

    Also, as the doubtless wise, dashing and handsome Gregory* says @ 2;

    It is worth knowing that the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the U.S. has signed, prohibits the use of “riot control agents” in warfare.

    Imagine: weapons considered too heinous to use in combat are allowed to be used on peaceful protesters whose only “crime” was to sit down.

    In a world where waterboarding ‘isn’t really torture’ when it suits the purpose of the fascists in office government, I suppose that the deployment of a chemical weapon outlawed in combat against peaceable protesters should not really come as a surprise. It’s just the mask of government slipping – so long as people accept their bread and circuses and toe the line without thinking too much about how badly their freedoms are being eroded, the government is all about rights, the sanctity of the democratic process and the protection of the citizen.

    But if you buck the trend, challenge authority, then the pretence of democratic accountability goes straight out the window as the bully boys in uniform are sent in to crack heads and remind the plebs that they exist to service the interests of the powers-that-be, not the other way around.

    The difference between the West and places like Syria? We aren’t using assault rifles on our protesters… yet.

    * Now that, right there, is a proper nym.

  34. 34
    steveclark

    - Mustard gas is essentially a condiment.
    - Essentially, a photon is just a particle
    - Waterboarding is essentially a Nettie pot for sinuses.

    https://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23MegynKellyEssentially

    Great Twitter fun today :)

  35. 35
    raven

    I have in the past few days been seriously weighing the pros and cons of calling for violent retaliation against police officers who do this.

    Don’t. Violence is always counterproductive.

    As one who grew up an anti-Vietnam war protester, I know from close observation.

    It does your cause a zillion times more harm than good. It’s also a favorite tactic of agents provacateurs to cause problems and up the arrest rate. And these do exist. I’ve dealt with them before up close many times. It’s guaranteed that there are informers and police agents in the OWS movement by now. That is what police departments and the FBI do, routine, predictable, guaranteed.

    It’s not only counterproductive, you will end up in jail with an arrest record. The cops have been doing this far longer than any of us have been alive and it’s routine.

  36. 36
    Ichthyic

    If you look at Ghandi’s civil protest movements… what did it take to create change there?

    I’d clarify that it wasn’t violent RESPONSE that created the change, but the willingness to sacrifice life and limb.

    the reason things changed is because people died, sadly.

    not just because people protested.

    How much are you willing to risk to create change in the US?

    Because you will indeed have to risk a tremendous amount to create change there.

    MORE than the protesters did in the 60s and 70s.

    MORE than even was risked in the Civil War.

    this is *fundamental* change you are talking about here.

    I don’t really think Americans are truly ready to see what they must risk to accomplish such change, if they think they will accomplish it by protests alone.

    still, I do believe there is another route that must also be taken.

    While it’s necessary to cause fear to create top-down change, it is also just as necessary, and a big part of what was missing in the 60s protests, that you take personal responsibility for the voids you wish to create.

    want a better government?

    you’ll not only have to get rid of the old one, BUT YOU MUST BE WILING TO TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for creating a new one, from the ground up.

    The risk of THIS; of taking daily, personal responsibility for one’s own governance, and the governance of your community, is what I think really Americans are unready for.

    It’s why I think this will, in the end, fail just like it did in the 60s.

    Because, in the end, most people are not willing to take personal responsibility for participating in their own governance, beyond voting every couple of years.

  37. 37
    Ichthyic

    Violence is always counterproductive.

    Many would disagree with you.

    it takes violence to escalate to the point where peaceful response becomes meaningful.

    ask Malcom.

  38. 38
    A3Kr0n

    Pepper spray is chemical warfare, and there is no other way I can think about it.

  39. 39
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    “Right,” Kelly said. “I mean, its like a derivative of actual pepper. It’s a food product, essentially.”

    So is cyanide.

  40. 40
    raven

    Don’t. Violence is always counterproductive.

    This works both way too. It is counterproductive for the police and the people who support their gratuitious violence.

    A lot of people who ordinarily might not care or pay attention get repulsed by watching heavily decked out uniformed thugs beating up unarmed civilians.

    Especially if they are college kids. All of us were children at one time and many of us have children. Those kids the cops are beating up and spraying down could be yours.

  41. 41
    KG

    Violence is always counterproductive. – raven

    No, it isn’t. I agree with you in this case, but the generalisation is ridiculous.

  42. 42
    bacalao

    They dried up fast, one immediately fell out and the other had to be removed by a doctor. Told the doctor to send the bill to the cops, I wasn’t paying a dime. The doctor put saline drops in my eyes and then sent me on my way in 10 minutes. Bill was like $300!

  43. 43
    Ichthyic

    This works both way too.

    ask yourself:

    which protests, historically, do you recall most readily?

    why?

  44. 44
    Sour Tomato Sand

    It’s why I think this will, in the end, fail just like it did in the 60s.

    Of course it’ll fail. I don’ think anyone involved even knows what victory should look like. I think to me there is a bigger issue of abuse of police power, and that there seems to be no way to redress such abuses.
    What we are being told indirectly is that if you want to be heard, you should expect to be injured, and that you are not allowed to defend yourself. That is pure madness.

  45. 45
    Ichthyic

    I don’ think anyone involved even knows what victory should look like.

    you’re absolutely right.

    In fact, thinking back on it…

    I can’t recall a single historical example of success myself.

    I can only imagine what it should look like.

  46. 46
    Nick Gisburne

    Possible practical solution: everyone should start wearing the ‘Anonymous’ (from V for Vendetta) masks, modified so that the eyes are perspex, rather than just holes. Not perfect protection but better than a direct blast in the face. Failing that, if you suspect that pepper spray will be deployed, wear an actual gas mask. A large group of masked faces will certainly make an impact. And as far as I know it’s not illegal to wear one in public.

  47. 47
    Ichthyic

    What we are being told indirectly is that if you want to be heard, you should expect to be injured, and that you are not allowed to defend yourself.
    That is pure madness.

    ayup.

    the same as it has always been.

    A new generation realizes the American Dream is a fiction.

    A good fiction, but a fiction nonetheless.

    I still think the government represented in the Constitution of the US is a good one; perhaps the best one yet devised in a single document, anyway.

    It COULD work. If people would actually take responsibility for MAKING it work.

  48. 48
    Ichthyic

    Not perfect protection but better than a direct blast in the face.

    what stops a police officer from removing the mask before spraying?

  49. 49
    raven

    If you are a member of an advocacy group and someone proposes violence, usually against property:

    chances are they are a police informer, an undercover agent, or an agent provacateur.

    I saw this a few times back in the Dark Ages. They all turned out to be working for the police/FBI except one who was just a nutcase lunatic. Every single one of them.

    Knowing that can save a lot of people a huge amount of trouble.

  50. 50
    ibyea

    @Nick Gisburne
    It may not be illegal, but cops will say it is illegal anyways and beat the crap out of you. Also, are gas masks cheap?

  51. 51
    eNeMeE

    Told the doctor to send the bill to the cops

    I keep forgetting that aspect – I wonder how much the treatments for the students cost. And whether or not any costs covered by insurance will be sought from the police from the insurance company(ies).

  52. 52
    ibyea

    @icthyic
    It is about time people began realizing that the American dream is just that, a dream.

  53. 53
    Kevin

    It’s actionable. Those who were sprayed can sue, and will probably win, judging from a previous case in California decided by the Ninth District Court and refused to be heard by the US Supreme Court.

    UC Davis is in a world of hurt from a liability perspective.

  54. 54
    VikingWarriorPrincess

    So the police don’t have any sort of certification to be able to use the pepperspray?
    Here they have to go through training to use it and part of the graduation is being pepper sprayed in the face and eyes. If you don’t know what it feels like you will not have permission to use it. I think that’s fair enough but then I’m a pinkcommieNorthEuropean so what do I know.

  55. 55
    Ichthyic

    So the police don’t have any sort of certification to be able to use the pepperspray?

    they do not require, nor does anyone for that matter (in most places) a certificate of professional training in order to wield and use pepper spray.

    there IS departmental policy on how and when it should be used, and it’s only this which officers can be held to account for violating.

    if the departmental policy is vaguely defined (as most are), then…

  56. 56
    Agonistes

    @24

    I don’t know that the key element in pepper spray usage is some sort of non-contact disconnect scheme, so much as another tool in promoting compliance. I would argue that the results of pepper spray force the officer deploying said weapon to see precisely the amount of physical discomfort they are inflicting: people choking, gasping, writhing in pain. It’s not really in the same ballpark as military drones, where you are sitting in a secure location, remotely deploying weapons; you’re there, and you’re physically pointing the can at people and pulling the trigger, seeing the results in person.

    Poor decisions at particular protests aside, the djembe-beating left shouldn’t rock the boat too hard on pepper spray; it beats the hell out of a great many alternative compliance methods. Pepper spray is in the tool belt of the vast majority of North American police officers, alongside the baton, and the sidearm. Add to these tools, training in takedowns, lateral neck restraints and the like; you’re probably going to be better off with pepper spray. Every officer I know was sprayed with it during their training, and then forced to run a course, doing activities along the way. They have to be able to do this, because transfer contamination often occurs. Pepper spray generally takes the fight out of most people, and usually they’re totally fine within a few hours. I doubt this is as often the case with someone who is tackled to the ground, or clubbed.

    -Ag.

  57. 57
    J_Brisby

    You know what would be funny? If a hundred Christian fundamentalists set up a tent city on PZ’s front yard. Bet he’d change his tune pretty quick about peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech.

  58. 58
    Inaji

    Jesus fuckin’ wept. Then he threw up. This is sickening.

  59. 59
    Jadehawk

    what stops a police officer from removing the mask before spraying?

    the answer is, of course, “nothing”. We’re talking about the people who’ve forced students’ mouths open to spray down their throats, after all.

  60. 60
    Jadehawk

    You know what would be funny? If a hundred Christian fundamentalists set up a tent city on PZ’s front yard. Bet he’d change his tune pretty quick about peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech.

    Projection, hallowed be Thy name

  61. 61
    raven

    Below is an example of DHS/FBI infiltration. This kid’s terrorist cell consisted of him and a bunch of FBI agents.

    A lot of these terrorist cells end up being one or two people and a bunch of police and FBI agents.

    Not sorry he was stopped but he had to be one of the most clueless idiots on the planet. The whole thing screamed “POLICE”. Some people say the FBI managed to stop a terrorist plot that they thought up themselves.

    wikipedia:

    Prior to Mohamud’s arrest, an undercover FBI agent, posing as a terrorist, had been in contact with him since June 2010. The FBI put him on a no-fly list, preventing him from traveling to Kodiak, Alaska from Portland International Airport on June 10, 2010.[14][15] Prosecutors said he was instead interviewed by the FBI, whom he told he wanted to earn money fishing and then travel to join “the brothers,” and that he had earlier hoped to travel to Yemen but had not obtained a ticket or visa.[15][16]

    In preparation for the planned bombing of a public gathering, Mohamud and undercover FBI operatives drove to a remote area of Lincoln County, Oregon, where they conducted a test run on November 4 by detonating a real bomb Mohamud believed to have been hidden inside a backpack.

  62. 62
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Agonistes @57
    What you’ve said is EXACTLY the problem with pepper spray, tasers, etc.

    By giving the police these tools to take down, with very little effort, people who are in many cases completely within their rights, it gives the police less incentive to listen to them. It is a problem when the first response of a cop is to reach for his/her taser rather than to listen.

    Oh, and pepper spray and tasters CAN kill. They are not non-lethal.

  63. 63
    Ichthyic

    You know what would be funny? If a hundred Christian fundamentalists set up a tent city on PZ’s front yard.

    you know what already is amusing?

    idiots like yourself that think you have half a clue as to what’s going on.

    PZ property…

    public or private?

    idiot.

  64. 64
    Ragutis

    That police grade stuff they used is stronger than Bear Spray. Yes, the stuff that will deter a charging Grizzly is exactly what a dozen passive kids deserved.

    And what the fuck are campus cops doing with this stuff, riot gear and rifles anyway? And how are they trained?

  65. 65
    Coragyps

    Failing that, if you suspect that pepper spray will be deployed, wear an actual gas mask.

    We tended to avoid that back in them ol’ Dark Ages, too. Tear gas or bullets? Tear gas is always my choice, if the two is what you have to pick from.

    Not that I remember any mask-wearers actually getting shot back in ’69, you understand.

  66. 66
    raven

    dumb troll:

    You know what would be funny? If a hundred Christian fundamentalists set up a tent city on PZ’s front yard. Bet he’d change his tune pretty quick about peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech.

    Naw. He would think it very funny.

    Especially since Minnesota is near the arctic and it is snowing right now. It gets down way below 0 degrees F.

    If the fundies are dumb enough to camp out in subzero weather and snow, let them. Hopefully there won’t be any frozen bodies showing up when the snow melts next June.

  67. 67
    Ichthyic

    tasters CAN kill

    especially if they are immune to Iocane.

  68. 68
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]
    tasters CAN kill

    especially if they are immune to Iocane.

    Fucking autocorrect.

  69. 69
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You know what would be funny? If a hundred Christian fundamentalists set up a tent city on PZ’s front yard.

    Hmm…Somebody doesn’t understand the difference between private property, and public land/parks/colleges. Analogy fail…

  70. 70
    Zerple

    The occupy protesters need to start openly carrying guns. Sergeant Dickbutt may be big and tough when he gets to beat unarmed teen girls with his baton and soak peacefully chanting men with chemical weapons, but I bet his behavior will change when he sees some of the protesters walking around with AR-15s and shotguns.

  71. 71
    Olav

    1312.

    Also, you don’t need a full gas mask to protect yourself against mace or pepper spray. These are NOT gases. Swimming goggles and cheap dust masks (from the hardware shop) are not perfect but they go a long way to prevent incapacitation.

  72. 72
    Ichthyic

    Not that I remember any mask-wearers actually getting shot back in ’69, you understand.

    right, because it happened a year earlier.

    Kent State University, 1968.

    twenty-five Guardsmen fired sixty-one shots within thirteen seconds, killing four students and wounding nine.

    http://yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/2/79.02.03.x.html

  73. 73
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Zerple,
    You’re stupid.
    Yeah, the behavior of the cops would change if the protesters were carrying AR-15′s – they’d call the National Guard. People would die.

    Idiot.

  74. 74
    Ichthyic

    The news from Kent State, when added to the announced exPansion of the Vietnam War,brought on a nationwide student strike with over seven hundred colleges participating. Americans everywhere discussed students actions and the guardsmen reactions. A polarization developed between those supporting the students’ rights to protest and those defending the Guardsmen’s orders to maintain law and order.

    sound familiar?

    if not, it soon will.

  75. 75
    Ichthyic

    Yeah, the behavior of the cops would change if the protesters were carrying AR-15′s – they’d call the National Guard. People would die.

    look at the post just above yours.

    do you think those students had AR15s?

  76. 76
    Ichthyic

    Fucking autocorrect.

    heh.

    amusing though.

  77. 77
    KG

    Below is an example of DHS/FBI infiltration. This kid’s terrorist cell consisted of him and a bunch of FBI agents.

    In Tom Sharpe’s Indecent Exposure, set in apartheid South Africa, there’s a communist cell consisting entirely of special branch officers. They egg each other on to commit a terrorist attack, eventually getting the zoo’s ostriches to swallow condoms full of gelignite, then releasing them, so the town is filled with exploding ostriches.

  78. 78
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    No, Ichthyic, I know they didn’t. I posted that before I saw your reply @73.

  79. 79
    Ichthyic

    We’re talking about the people who’ve forced students’ mouths open to spray down their throats, after all.

    don’t forget that they also felt justified in holding open people’s eyelids forcefully so they could swab concentrated capsaicin directly on exposed eyeballs.

    took 13 years and 3 separate hearings to finally get a result that said the cops were wrong for doing that.

    13 years.

  80. 80
    Olav

    Zerple says:

    The occupy protesters need to start openly carrying guns. Sergeant Dickbutt may be big and tough when he gets to beat unarmed teen girls with his baton and soak peacefully chanting men with chemical weapons, but I bet his behavior will change when he sees some of the protesters walking around with AR-15s and shotguns.

    Are you one of those agent provocateurs?

    If protesters do what you propose, Sergeant Dickbutt and his fascist bosses will just take the opportunity to field even more & heavier guns. And helicopters, armoured vehicles, and whatever else they have.

  81. 81
    Ichthyic

    I know they didn’t

    my point being, you’re both wrong in a way.

    zerple for saying they should bring guns to begin with, and you for saying it would be the thing that ends up causing the authorities to respond with lethal force.

    in short:

    no, don’t bother bringing guns. It simply is not necessary to provoke such a response to begin with.

    maybe I’m just cynical, but to me, so far this looks like a complete re-enactment of the 60s.

    I hope both sides truly understand what will happen as the protests escalate.

    I hope both sides truly understand what will happen if they don’t, too.

  82. 82
    eigenperson

    #71 Zerple:

    Damn right their behavior would change. They would switch from the pepper-spray-using behavior to the shooting-bullets behavior.

    Then they would point at the people with rifles and say that they had no choice but to shoot, because they were being fired upon.

    Your idea is terrible.

  83. 83
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Zerple, agent provocateur.

  84. 84
    Sour Tomato Sand

    AR-15′s? Seriously? There is actually a Neo-Nazi group that has tagged along in Phoenix with the Occupy protest to do that: http://www.infowars.com/occupy-phoenix-with-ar-15s/

    They haven’t met with any police resistance yet, but Christ, is this what we want to be associated with? Those of us who support OWS may as well join the Tea Party if that’s what we’re going to do.

    As I posted up there, I was weighing the “pros and cons” of self-defense against these asshole cops. I find it absolutely appalling that these officers are allowed to assault protesters with impunity. However, the police have all the power and are trained to use it responsibly, and are failing terribly to do so. I’m not too keen on what would happen if a lot of college kids with no training started carrying small arms. I am willing to bet someone would start using them.

    Also: just like everyone else who’s ever been in the Army since Vietnam, I’ve been exposed to CS gas (not exactly the same thing as pepper spray/capsaicin, but it’s comparable). It’s part of training. It fucking sucks, but it’s a lot better than being shot. Here’s the thing though: whether it’s better than being beaten with a baton or being shot isn’t the damn point. It’s still a form of assault when a civilian does it to another civilian unprovoked.

    Which brings me to my next point: I don’t understand those saying it’s okay because civil charges can be brought against the officers. Civil charges end with a monetary compensation to the victim, which comes out of tax money. So essentially taxpayers are paying someone off so that the police can continue to abuse their power.

    It’s wrong that CRIMINAL charges aren’t possible.

  85. 85
    alkaloid

    What do you think happens if things continue on as they have, though?

    Even if most people are repulsed by violence and justifications for such done by police and politicians respectively, repulsion by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that any power is taken back from them and given back to us.

  86. 86
    Kevin

    Again, the cops are not allowed to attack protesters “with impunity”.

    This has already been adjudicated in California through the federal court system, and the cops lost.

    See Headwaters Forest Defense v County of Humbolt (9th Cir. 2000) 240 F.3d 1185. Use of pepper spray against unarmed, non-threatening protesters. The cops lost. The courts upheld the verdict; the Supremes refused to hear the case.

    The actions of the police are actionable. Those injured can sue. And most likely will win. (Actually, chances are that a settlement will be reached long before a trial is held on the merits.)

    Seriously, can we stop with this nonsense about poor pitiful us against the big bad cops? We have weapons and they’re powerful. They’re called subpoenas.

  87. 87
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Ichythic,
    I agree that they’re likely to start deliberately using lethal force even if the protesters remain unarmed and nonviolent.
    My point is, they will DEFINITELY use lethal force if protesters start carrying guns.

  88. 88
    raven

    There is one thing that will turn heavily armored, heavily armed police into quivering, shaking piles of jello.

    Cameras. Both still and videotape.

    Get the pictures and upload them to Youtube, facebook, and everywhere.

    But be careful. They will try to get your cameras and film any way they can. It just looks bad when Daddy the cop is spraying down kids laying on the ground doing nothing much.

    And it may be of great help in any civil lawsuits directed their way.

  89. 89
    eigenperson

    #87 Kevin:

    They also have weapons. They’re called qualified immunity and jury trial.

    Sometimes, these weapons jam. Sometimes they aren’t loaded. But even if they’re not loaded, they can brandish the hell out of them and make any litigation an extremely expensive and unreliable process.

  90. 90
    Ichthyic

    My point is, they will DEFINITELY use lethal force if protesters start carrying guns.

    of course.

    now answer me this:

    what if protesters carry pepper spray themselves, and respond with it in kind if it is used on them first?

    pepper spray is perfectly legal, does not require a permit to use…

    many many points could be made with a such an action.

    questions that will inevitably arise:

    if it’s assault for someone to use pepper spray on a cop in response to being attacked with pepper spray, how is it not assault for the cops to use it first?

    I mean, it’s just a food additive, right?

    this happened with the firehose incidents during the civil rights movement too.

    same question arose then.

    Is it justifiable for someone to protect themselves from assault?

    Isn’t this pretty much the entire argument of the NRA, that it IS justifiable to carry even FIREARMS to protect one’s life and property from damage?

  91. 91
    Ichthyic

    …where is the NRA to protect the rights of the protesters?

  92. 92
    Sour Tomato Sand

    They also have weapons. They’re called qualified immunity and jury trial.

    Exactly. Qualified immunity prevents a criminal trial. Even if a person is able to file a civil suit (that is, if they have the money, knowledge and will to be able to do so) victory in a civil case isn’t exactly satisfying when nothing happens to the perpetrator. And who ends up paying your damages? Almost always the city. Where does that money come from? Ultimately, the people. So how does that amount to justice being done?

  93. 93
    Cerus

    Hey!

    I like bell peppers.

    Power-tripping police on the other hand, not so much.

  94. 94
    I'mthegenie!Icandoanything!

    “Where has the police gotten this bizarre idea that somehow inducing agony in protesters is somehow humane or reasonable?”

    Is that a rhetorical question?

    Like Tazers, they may generally use it, in the only positive way, for what it was likely designed for: as a choice better than a gun in situations they were in real physical danger.

    In OWS and many other instances, this has likely never been the case. They use it beause they wish to issue extra-judicial punishment in the name of their evil (and usually stupid and rich) masters, and – the UC Davis case seems a clear case of this especially ugly abuse – to mete out pain to people peacefully refusing to acknowledge the authority and power of the police, as well as having the nerve to have a different, obviously effective, political opinion.

    Nothing has been more unpleasant in my mild, peaceful life than my few encounters with bored police officers when I had non-standard hairstyles and clothing. I never gave them any reason to assault me, but they bullied and bent the “law” to cause trouble where there was none, because they could.

    In the reaction to OWS, we again see that “the police” – however good they may be individually or away from central authority (and dogma) – are exclusively in the business of serving authority, and that many officers delight – or feel guilty enough – to abuse that authority in the knowledge that they will be backed by their “comrades” and superiors to whatever degree in “good for the force” (“Public opinion”? FUCK THAT!)

  95. 95
    raven

    Where does that money come from? Ultimately, the people. So how does that amount to justice being done?

    It’s better than nothing. A lot better.

  96. 96
    Kevin

    @90…

    Again, I invite you to look at the case law, adjudicated all the way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.

    The cops lost.

    Quit fomenting a mistaken belief that the protesters are powerless. Stop it. It’s wrong. Literally wrong. As in “we’ve already had a similar case work it’s way through the courts and the cops lost” wrong.

    Please educate yourself further.

  97. 97
    Ichthyic

    In the reaction to OWS, we again see that “the police” – however good they may be individually or away from central authority (and dogma) – are exclusively in the business of serving authority

    except when they aren’t.

    We don’t see this shit here in New Zealand by our police.

    In fact, when the city council of Dunedin asked the police to remove peaceful protesters, the police simply refused, and many of them joined in the protest.

    I hear something similar happened in Albany, NY?

  98. 98
    Ichthyic

    Quit fomenting a mistaken belief that the protesters are powerless

    13 years, Kevin.

    13.

    and in all that time, was that police department put under injunction to not use peppper spray in that fashion?

    no.

    was the department notified by the state controlling agencies that it needed to immediately modify its policies when the first lawsuit was filed?

    nope.

    Yes, the lawsuit is right and proper. However, to think that it will have an immediate, or even LASTING effect on behavior is not nearly as clear.

    more is needed.

  99. 99
    alkaloid

    Again, I invite you to look at the case law, adjudicated all the way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.

    The cops lost.

    Quit fomenting a mistaken belief that the protesters are powerless. Stop it. It’s wrong. Literally wrong. As in “we’ve already had a similar case work it’s way through the courts and the cops lost” wrong.

    Please educate yourself further.

    So how is it taking 13 years before the police get a ruling against them-and the damages probably being taken out on the public by closing libraries and parks, but never by cutting police funding-any real power, though? If the same speed at which the justice system dealt with that case held, that would make it 2024 before a decision came down. That also doesn’t take into account that during that period there would still be 13 more years of unjustified police force and for all we know, the court system could pull another Citizens United and state that Americans really have no meaningful rights of redress against the police.

  100. 100
    Zerple

    @85

    AR-15′s? Seriously? There is actually a Neo-Nazi group that has tagged along in Phoenix with the Occupy protest to do that: http://www.infowars.com/occupy-phoenix-with-ar-15s/

    I can’t take any source that goes back to Alex Jones or one of his websites seriously. Anyone who thinks that 9/11 was an inside job is completely retarded.

    They haven’t met with any police resistance yet, but Christ, is this what we want to be associated with?

    Even if there are Neo-Nazis walking around with the same guns, so what? They’re also breathing oxygen and wearing clothing. Should the protesters stop doing that too, just to differentiate themselves from some undesirables?

    Those of us who support OWS may as well join the Tea Party if that’s what we’re going to do.”

    Well, if you have a common enemy, I see no harm in it. I don’t have to agree with you on everything, or even most things, if we have a single common goal, to work towards that goal.

  101. 101
    Anri

    J_Brisby:

    You know what would be funny? If a hundred Christian fundamentalists set up a tent city on PZ’s front yard. Bet he’d change his tune pretty quick about peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech.

    You know what would be funny?
    If this happened, and then PZ set about trying to have the protesters beaten, pepper sprayed, and generally brutalized.
    It would be funny because then you’d almost (difference between private and public property, among other things) have a point.

    Please speak up when you have a point.
    Please remain quiet until you do.

    raven:

    There is one thing that will turn heavily armored, heavily armed police into quivering, shaking piles of jello.

    Cameras. Both still and videotape.

    Good point.
    Cameras tend to prevent police brutality. That’s why we don’t have any incedents of police brutality on cam-

    Oh.

    Bring your cameras to record the brutality – but never let yourself think they prevent it.
    PR is only negative if people are reacting negatively to it. It seems that a fair percentage of the population believes what the police are doing in these cases is right and proper. Cameras won’t deter someone who thinks he might get a commendation for his actions.

  102. 102
    Kemist
    If you look at Ghandi’s civil protest movements… what did it take to create change there?

    I’d clarify that it wasn’t violent RESPONSE that created the change, but the willingness to sacrifice life and limb.

    the reason things changed is because people died, sadly.

    not just because people protested.

    Don’t let an Indian hear this western perception of Gandhi’s movement – you’ll be in for a hearful.

    In case people haven’t heard, Indians had an actual war for independance (that we ironically would call terrorism now), and many of them have people in their families whom were killed fighting for freedom.

    There was lots and lots of violence, followed by attrition from WWII, before Gandhi’s movement could have even a slight chance of making the British relinquish their hold on India.

    The western emphasis on Gandhi’s movement is often taken as an insult by those Indians whose relatives were Freedom Fighters. And that’s not even touching the subject of the secession of Pakistan, in which Gandhi’s ultra-hindu movement held no small role.

  103. 103
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Word, Anri.

    There is one thing that will turn heavily armored, heavily armed police into quivering, shaking piles of jello.

    Cameras. Both still and videotape.

    Evidence indicates otherwise.

  104. 104
    Bronze Dog

    My view on how to handle this stuff:

    OWS’ers should practice maximum restraint. Don’t even touch the officers when it’s avoidable. Let them come to you. Let them make the first violent move.

    If you think someone in your group has violent tendencies, find a way to get them away from the cops before they do something stupid.

    Let the cops show their savage, barbaric nature. The police system is broken. There WILL be plenty of sadists who cannot help but reveal their true nature. Record it. Post it online. Mirror it. Let the world see how undisciplined, unprincipled, and untrustworthy the police are.

    Dress your best. Practice good hygene. The more “upstanding” “regular citizens” are seen being brutalized, the clearer it will be who is on the side of civilized society and who is on the side of barbarism and tyranny.

    Even if you don’t get to influence the economy through protests, these rules should at least help motivate the public to crack down on the criminal elements who happen to wear badges.

  105. 105
    Anthony K

    Bring your cameras to record the brutality – but never let yourself think they prevent it.

    Bring more than one, and be prepared to have one confiscated or destroyed. Many cops don’t like cameras when they’re pointed at them. They may not prevent brutality, but the police know they increase the amount of paperwork and weaken the Blue Wall.

  106. 106
    Ichthyic

    Well, if you have a common enemy, I see no harm in it

    then you’re blind.

    you don’t know, or understand the history of civil disobedience, or why it has succeeded or failed in any given instance.

    Raven gave a good example of why we should treat offers of extremists with skepticism.

    There were indeed movements by the FBI and CIA in the 60s to sabotage protests from within, in just that fashion.

    not saying turn down help from other groups.

    AM saying: be skeptical of what those groups motivations actually ARE before you invite them under your tent.

  107. 107
    Anthony K

    Please speak up when you have a point.
    Please remain quiet until you do.

    You’d be better off asking a dog to stop licking his balls until he learns to balance a chequebook. J_Brisby can’t help being what he is.

  108. 108
    Ichthyic

    , these rules should at least help motivate the public to crack down on the criminal elements who happen to wear badges.

    because it sure worked when they tried it in the 60s.

    oh wait…

  109. 109
    Gregory Greenwood

    Kevin @ 97;

    Remember all that police brutality during the protests of the ’60s and ’70s? Of course, after those terrible events, the judicial system clamped down to make sure that such abuses could never happen again, which is why the OWS movement has encountered no instances of excessive use of force by the police…

    Oh, wait, that’s not right…

    Winning a civil action matters not at all if the taxpayer foots the bill and the perpetrator is then free to go right back to brutalising anyone who looks sideways at him.

    Ichthyic is right @ 99, this isn’t enough. It is not an effective deterant to the excessive use of force.

    I wonder how much settlement money the various state and federal authorities (and their corporate paymasters) consider a swift crushing of the OWS movement worth? I guarantee that they would happily live with a few out of court settlements for the misuse of ‘pepper spray’ if that was all it took to make the protesters (and their agenda for undermining vested interest) go away.

    Remember, it is just ‘a food product, essentially’, and I doubt that this moronic rationalisation is limited to the shills at Fox News.

  110. 110
    Ichthyic

    Oh, wait, that’s not right…

    seems we have a confluence of sarcasm.

    :)

  111. 111
    Ichthyic

    for those wanting to actually change how the police function, take lessons from what happened in LA:

    start with protesting police brutality.

    this will inevitably turn into riots eventually, triggered by the police in all probability.

    file lawsuits.

    demand public action to change departmental policy, and demand current department head(s) fall on their fucking swords immediately.

    lather, rinse repeat.

    then, after that is done, YOU MUST PARTICIPATE DIRECTLY in community meetings, town hall meetings, etc., that are involved in setting police departmental policy for the community you live in.

    how this shit happens, is that people take it all for granted until it literally shoots them in the face.

    Rise up, make an issue of it, but then, you simply have to bite the bullet (heh), and spend the time needed to involve yourselves directly in changing policy.

    what’s more, you have to KEEP doing it, and teach your kids to do it, and their kids, and ad infinitum till the heat death of the fucking universe.

    Freedom requires ETERNAL vigilance.

    to paraphrase Jefferson.

  112. 112
    Inaji

    Gregory:

    Remember, it is just ‘a food product, essentially’

    Oh yes, just like tomato catsup is a vegetable. Idiot rationale abounds.

    Gregory, I know you didn’t say that, just using your post as a convenient jump point.

  113. 113
    Anthony K

    seems we have a confluence of sarcasm.

    Ooh! Simultaneous sargasms! It’s mockakke!

  114. 114
    Ichthyic

    Gregory, I know you didn’t say that

    just to be clear, do we get to slap that idiocy on the back of Oreilly, or that person Kelly he was interviewing?

  115. 115
    Ichthyic

    It’s mockakke!

    ROFLMAO!

    *blows kiss*

  116. 116
    Inaji

    Ichthyic:

    do we get to slap that idiocy on the back of Oreilly, or that person Kelly he was interviewing?

    Both? One for saying it, one for giving it credence?

  117. 117
    eigenperson

    Kevin #97:

    Do you not understand that the judge will find it very easy to distinguish Headwater Forest Defense and dismiss the case? Then, you might not win your appeal (if you draw a bad panel from the 9th circuit, for example), and you will have to wait for the case to be taken en banc. Then you will have to go back to the trial court and win a jury trial in which the police will say that you were fighting them and therefore they had to pepper spray you, and it will come down to the jury’s determination of the credibility of the police witnesses versus your witnesses, and you can bet there will be jury members who automatically credit the police version of the story above yours.

    Good luck with that.

  118. 118
    raven

    Bring more than one, and be prepared to have one confiscated or destroyed. Many cops don’t like cameras when they’re pointed at them.

    They hate and fear cameras, especially when they are pointed at them and on. Tells you all you need to know.

    Of course they aren’t magic. If you want magic, find another world and send me the address.

    They may not prevent brutality, but the police know they increase the amount of paperwork and weaken the Blue Wall.

    You do what you can. Do you realize how hard it can be to make up stuff after the fact? “Those kids on the ground were really creeping up on us at .001 mph. We were all just terrified.”

  119. 119
    Anthony K

    just to be clear, do we get to slap that idiocy on the back of Oreilly, or that person Kelly he was interviewing?

    We shoot ‘em both point blank with potato guns, just to be sure.

  120. 120
    Ichthyic

    In case people haven’t heard, Indians had an actual war for independance (that we ironically would call terrorism now), and many of them have people in their families whom were killed fighting for freedom.
    There was lots and lots of violence, followed by attrition from WWII, before Gandhi’s movement could have even a slight chance of making the British relinquish their hold on India.

    just to be clear, this is EXACTLY why I said what I did.

    read again:

    it wasn’t the protests that got shit done.

    it was the fact that people died.

    many.

    scroll up a bit too, where I was talking about how peaceful protest is only useful in CONTRAST to violence.

    otherwise, it is not noteworthy enough to create change.

    Malcom X knew this, and frankly so did King.

    Figureheads are important, regardless of the number of people fighting for the same cause.

    To suggest Ghandi had NOTHING to do with Indian independence is just as shortsighted as saying he had EVERYTHING to do with it.

  121. 121
    Anthony K

    Do you realize how hard it can be to make up stuff after the fact?

    I agree with you, raven. Well, it’s easy to make up stuff after the fact (and have your partner back you up), but much less so if there’s footage.

    If there was none of the UC Davis spraying, the Chief of Police wouldn’t have even bothered to spin it. That’s what I meant by weakening the Blue Wall.

  122. 122
    Ichthyic

    Both? One for saying it, one for giving it credence?

    yeah, but do i really have to watch the video to see who actually said it?

    *sigh*

    *holds nose*

    here goes…

  123. 123
    Anthony K

    “We were all just terrified.”

    By the way, does anyone have a source wherein the UC Davis police claimed they were afraid of the cops? Because it’s not been in any of the media I’ve seen (almost all of which show Pike calmly spraying the kids as if they were begonias with mites.)

  124. 124
    Ichthyic

    …yeah, it was Kelly.

    who also said:

    “I don’t know that the cops did anything wrong.”

    *sigh*

  125. 125
    Anthony K

    “I don’t know that the cops did anything wrong.”

    “Look, we have cops and we have college kids. How is there a controversy about who was doing the wrongdoing? It’s like beating a Jew for saying ‘Happy Holid—’”

    “—for saying ‘Happy Holidays’. I was just gonna say that.”

    “Thanks for having me on, Bill.”

    “Cut her mike.”

  126. 126
    raven

    By the way, does anyone have a source wherein the UC Davis police claimed they were afraid of the cops? Because it’s not been in any of the media I’ve seen (almost all of which show Pike calmly spraying the kids as if they were begonias with mites.)

    No, but they could, might, or will. It’s probably just a temporary failure of imagination.

    Yeah, I saw that picture. The cop spraying the pepper mixture looked bored out of his skull. I’ve seen people look more animated picking aphids off their rose bushes.

  127. 127
    Dr. Strabismus (WGP) of Utrecht

    @78 KG
    I love Tom Sharpe, but the meme is older than that. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton, first published in 1908, is about an anarchist organization whose leadership is almost all secret policemen.

  128. 128
    Marcus Ranum

    Meanwhile when it happened on the Arab peninsula and in northern Africa, everyone rightly decried the abuses of police power by those governments, and the citizens of those states viewed there government as no longer having a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. In short: they fought back.

    And we aren’t.

    The thing to do would be to start pepper spraying off-duty cops. If you haven’t already got a felony conviction you can buy a taser. I wonder how a cop would like a good tasering?

  129. 129
    Ichthyic

    I still say you should offer your services as a part time writer to the Onion, Brownian.

    You should get paid for that wit.

  130. 130
    Marcus Ranum

    There is one thing that will turn heavily armored, heavily armed police into quivering, shaking piles of jello.

    A .308 or a .50bmg?

  131. 131
    Revyloution

    Just imagine a 6c homeopathic preparation of that pepper spray! It would eat through steel like the acid blood from the critters in Alien!!

  132. 132
    Monado, Incompetent cut-&-paster

    Pepper spray, formerly known as bear spray, is a prohibited weapon in Canada if you’re going to carry it around. If you’re say you’re going hiking in bear country, you can apparently purchase it. So is Mace. So is tear gas if you’re not a police officer.

  133. 133
    Monado, Incompetent cut-&-paster

    “If you’re going hiking” –> “If you say you’re going hiking” + incompetent cutting and pasting = the mess above.

  134. 134
    Monado, Incompetent cut-&-paster

    Unforunatelty, it appears that this vile and abusive behaviour is SOP for police departments, where curling up in a ball is labelled “actively resisting” and can trigger beating or pepper-spraying.

  135. 135
    Monado, Incompetent cut-&-paster

    Gas masks aren’t particularly cheap but swim goggles might be a good half-way measure.

  136. 136
    Monado, Incompetent cut-&-paster

    Where does that money come from? Ultimately, the people. So how does that amount to justice being done?

    If its police force costs a city enough money, it will eventually rein in the cops to prevent further lawsuits from working their way up the pipeline.

  137. 137
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Raven, as is not unusual, is quite right in every way.

    Anyone seriously advocating violence against police (not just, as I’m sure everyone here is, letting off steam), etc., is almost surely an infiltrator, with a very few simply mentally deranged or a career anarchist and unfit for inclusion. In fact, were I in such a group and some clown kept saying we needed to arm ourselves in any way, I would take some time and effort and fucking spy on them to see if they were reporting to “law enforcement”.

    The best and only weapon we have, until real and unwanted civil war has broken out, is the humanity carried within even the most damaged police officer, etc.

    AND NUMBERS.

    The police need excuses to act brutally, just as all humans do (that’s what “military training” is – it is entirely NOT training in any martial art, but submersion into a group mentality that removes basic human moraity and exploits it). And when confronted unarmed by anything but courage, good faith, and the power of shame, any individual officer, soldier, etc. can be quickly reverted to being another simple human being.

    They only can manage it in groups as well. So cameras and publicity – the simple exposure of THAT police officer – neutralizes not only him or her, but dozens of others.

    THEY’RE THE ONES WHO MUST HIDE BEHIND MASKS.

    The era when even the Chinese Army could drive tanks over citizens is dead. Even in Syria, where the government can block almost all media, they are losing what wouldn’t have even been a battle twenty years ago.

    OWS has started what can be a reshaping of the basic failures of the USA today (but “just enough” at best – I expect no workable utopia).

    No violence, but plenty of outrage and courage!

    These forces, powerful and well-armed, have nothing inside. They truly WISH to fail, as long as they can save face (sad little vain & greedy bullies that they are!)

  138. 138
    elronxenu

    St Louis police were able to disperse OWS protestors without use of violence, let alone excessive violence:

    Gods Help Us, St. Louis Did it Right #OWS

    One thing #OWS protestors must not do is use or threaten violence toward the police, because that causes an escalation, and the police have bigger/more weapons.

    To the extent that #OWS wishes to eliminate police brutality, it must unfortunately submit itself to same, and document the results so that ordinary citizens like myself are sickened and call for change. We could also benefit from an evidence-based approach to policing, by noting what worked (apparently St Louis’ tactics) and also that a brutal, violent response enrages the citizenry, who join in, and the next day the police have an even bigger protest on their hands.

  139. 139
    Robert Thille

    Just recently re-read “Stranger in a Strange Land”, where the main character, being raised by Martians, can cause “bad things” to disappear. Coverage of all the #OWS police actions have made me very much long for that power. I expect the police would be very sorry for me to have it though. They might prefer it to the sniper the first commenter imagined though.

  140. 140
    DLC

    #73 Ichthyic :
    Kent State University, 1968.
    The Kent State shootings occurred May 4, 1970.
    You probably conflated the shooting of Martin Luther King Jr on April 4 1968 with the Kent State event.
    /Pedant (because I lived 30 minutes from KSU in 1970 )

  141. 141
    Carlie

    where the main character, being raised by Martians, can cause “bad things” to disappear.

    That’s fine, Anthony. Real fine. That’s a real good thing you done. And tomorrow’s going to be a real good day.

  142. 142
    Jafafa Hots

    Of course violence can work.

    It just can’t work if it’s use is only sporadic. That only gives oppressors more power.

    Violence will only work if you escalate to all-out warfare, and then manage to win that war.

    There are enough citizens in this country to successfully revolt. They would just have to be willing to die by the hundreds of thousands if not millions to do it – and be willing to kill hundreds of thousands of others.

    It’s not that bad yet, I don’t think. There must be a few things we can try before massive carnage.

  143. 143
    Gregory Greenwood

    Ichthyic @ 111;

    seems we have a confluence of sarcasm.

    Great minds, Ichthyic, Great minds…

    ;-)

    —————————————————————-

    Caine, Fleur du Mal @ 113;

    Gregory, I know you didn’t say that, just using your post as a convenient jump point.

    I like to think that, if I actually did say something so stupid with a straight face, my head would explode before I finished the sentence…

    —————————————————————-

    Brownian @ 144;

    Ooh! Simultaneous sargasms! It’s mockakke!

    Rule 34 strikes again!

  144. 144
    djfav

    Anybody else see this yet? (via fark) (not that many people here seem to need it explained to them by a muppet)

    “Yes, there always going to be rich and poor. But we used to live in country where rich owned factory and make 30 times what factory worker make. Now we live in country where rich make money by lying about value of derivative bonds and make 3000 times what factory worker would make if factories hadn’t all moved to China.

    Capitalism great system. We won Cold War because people behind Iron Curtain look over wall, and see how much more plentiful and delicious cookies are in West, and how we have choice of different bakeries, not just state-owned one. It great system. It got us out of Depression, won WWII, built middle class, built country’s infrastructure from highways to Hoover Dam to Oreo factory to electrifying rural South. It system that reward hard work and fair play, and everyone do fair share and everyone benefit. Rich get richer, poor get richer, everyone happy. It great system.

    Then after Reagan, Republicans decide to make number one priority destroying that system. Now we have system where richest Americans ones who find ways to game system — your friends on Wall Street — and poorest Americans ones who thought working hard would get them American dream, when in fact it get them pink slip when job outsourced to 10-year-old in Mumbai slum. And corporations have more influence over government than people (or monsters).

    It not about rich people having more money. It about how they got money. It about how they take opportunity away from rest of us, for sake of having more money. It how they willing to take risks that destroy economy — knowing full well what could and would happen — putting millions out of work, while creating nothing of value, and all the while crowing that they John Galt, creating wealth for everyone.

    That what the soul-searching about. When Liberals run country for 30 years following New Deal, American economy double in size, and wages double along with it. That fair. When Conservatives run country for 30 years following Reagan, American economy double again, and wages stay flat. What happen to our share of money? All of it go to richest 1%. That not “there always going to be rich people”. That unfair system. That why we upset. That what Occupy Sesame Street about.” – Cookie Monster

  145. 145
    SallyStrange

    Thanks for pointing that out, djfav. That is pure awesome. I am imagining how it sounds in Cookie Monster’s growly voice for extra awesomeness, too.

  146. 146
    Ichthyic

    Thanks for pointing that out, djfav.

    agreed, cookies good.

    the comments there were less appetizing, though.

  147. 147
    djfav

    “the comments there were less appetizing, though.”

    Neither are the ones on any thread at fark about OWS. So I came here.

  148. 148
    Skepgineer

    Most “non-lethal weapons” that cops use are torture by any reasonable definition of torture (tasers, pepper spray, LRADs, clubs, and rubber bullets). Sedatives would be less evil. These torture devices amount to cruel and unusual punishment without a trial when they’re used as frivolously as cops have been documented to use them in OWS. The cops in the UC Davis video from 4 days ago should go to jail.

    The PD even tried in vain to cover up the identity of the cops involved because they’re too ashamed and afraid to take responsibility for such monstrous actions.

  149. 149
    ischemgeek

    There are a few apps out there that let you record video and immediately back it up on an off-site server or your home computer. From there, I don’t think it would be very hard to have it set up so that your videos are then automatically uploaded to a video hosting service, where you can put your settings such that everyone has public access… If the cops swipe your phone, it’s backed up and by the time they find it on the computer or server, it’s probably already been mirrored a couple dozen times so strong-arming the server would be pointless. There may even be an app that does all that for you already, but I don’t have a smartphone so I’m not on the bleeding edge as far as that tech’s concerned.

    At any rate, I think setting up something like that would be a very good idea for anybody at an Occupy protest. Get video, get it backed up, get it distributed. Hopefully, the more examples of this sort of brutality and sadism that end up online, the bigger the public outcry will be.

    Saner heads seem to have prevailed for the time being in my city – or you could just assume our mayor is being politically expedient. There’s a huge public support for the movement here, plus my city as a whole is very encouraging of protests in general, we’ve had a few police brutality scandals in the past year that have the public feeling not entirely kind to the police force and municipal government that administrates it, and 2012 is a municipal election year for us. In any event, the result is the same: Our mayor has decided that actually talking to the protestors is a better approach than breaking heads. Whether that will continue remains to be seen.

  150. 150
    Bill

    The pepper spray used at UC Davis is available on Amazon. It’s getting rave reviews.
    http://www.amazon.com/Defense-Technology-56895-Stream-Pepper/dp/B0058EOAUE/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

  151. 151
    KG

    Dr. Strabismus (WGP) of Utrecht,

    I think Sharpe’s two novels about South Africa are by far his best: apartheid was a suitable target for his OTT satire, and Commandant van Heerden and Konstabel Els are wonderful comic grotesques. I haven’t read Chesterton – too put off by his unpleasant politics and religion, although I admit Sharpe also makes me a bit queasy at times.

    There’s a scandal running in the UK at present about police infiltration of entirely peaceful, although sometimes civilly disobedient environmentalist groups. This has included officers acting as agents provocateur, having sexual relationships and even in one case marrying as part of their cover, lying on oath in court, and interfering in the internal affairs of other European countries. I’ll eat my hat if any of them – let alone the senior officers responsible for their conduct – are ever convicted of the offences they have undoubtedly committed.

  152. 152
    Zerple

    I hate making posts just for linking stuff, but this is super relevant.

  153. 153
    nazani14

    Next time your local police department hits you up for a donation to one of their causes, tell them you will be doing your donating without a middleman. It’s not as if we have to look hard to find needy people.
    We should be asking every police officer, even rent-a-cops, to sign a pledge that they will never use physical force, including tear gas, pepper spray, etc. against people who are not engaged in violence or vandalism. If murderers and blue-collar criminals can be routinely arrested without getting a scratch, then people engaged in sit-ins should be dealt with peacefully.

  154. 154
    greame

    I’ve been wondering, what about hidden cameras? I just thought of it the other day, but was thinking, what if we could set up, across the street, or if sufficiently high up, a street or two away, strapping a camera to a binocular or telescope. The cops would be of course less likely to abuse their power if there are 10 cameras on them, but if they don’t see any…

    I’m not sure if that’s really legal… and you wouldn’t get any audio of course.

    Thankfully so far the Toronto eviction has been none violent…so far.

  155. 155
    David Green

    I have been repeatedly tear-gassed. In the 1980′s by the apartheid police and can confirm that it is really nasty stuff. We used to have to take people to hospital after a few canisters were shot into our midst. Brought people to the ground as surely as rubber bullets did.

  156. 156
    The Sailor

    “Former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has been tapped to lead the official outside panel investigating last week’s pepper-spray incident during an Occupy event on a California campus.”

    Fox, meet hen house.

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Bill-Bratton-Police-Chief-Pepper-Spray-UC-Davis-California-Investigate-Probe-134393118.html

  157. 157
    David Marjanović, OM

    I still think the government represented in the Constitution of the US is a good one; perhaps the best one yet devised in a single document, anyway.

    It COULD work. If people would actually take responsibility for MAKING it work.

    Well said.

    In Tom Sharpe’s Indecent Exposure, set in apartheid South Africa, there’s a communist cell consisting entirely of special branch officers.

    In Germany, lots of militant and would-be militant neo-Nazis are being paid by the intelligence agency because the agency thinks they’re informants.

    However, the police have all the power

    So far, so good…

    and are trained to use it responsibly

    LOL. Over here maybe*, but evidently not in the US.

    * Against protesters. Not against illegal immigrants that are about to be deported and look foreign, for example.

    AM saying: be skeptical of what those groups motivations actually ARE before you invite them under your tent.

    Yep. To pick a very different example, communists always try to portray themselves as the only people who can effect change. Over here, whenever there’s a protest, they march in front and make very sure their flags are very visible.

    Either they’re too stupid to see how counterproductive this is to the goal of the protest, or they simply don’t care. Probably it’s both.

    what’s more, you have to KEEP doing it, and teach your kids to do it, and their kids, and ad infinitum till the heat death of the fucking universe.

    Freedom requires ETERNAL vigilance.

    to paraphrase Jefferson.

    Well said.

    Ooh! Simultaneous sargasms! It’s mockakke!

    Thread won.

    Next time your local police department hits you up for a donation to one of their causes

    *culture shock*

    What are you, a failed state?

  158. 158
    anchor

    A long time ago when i was 10 or 11, an older friend dared me to eat one of his father’s favorites: a completely innocent-looking and unimposing little segment, an otherwise unidentified dried ‘hot pepper’ that looked something like a deeply dark brown appendix polished to a lustrous shine. Within 5 seconds the heat commenced. By 30 seconds the sensation was past alarming and soaring rapidly and uncontrollably into completely unbearable territory. Within a minute I knew I was in big trouble and thought I was surely going to die when I vomited all over the kitchen floor. My friend’s mother rushed in screaming at her son, “What have you done!” and she gave me a glass of water, then milk, then a spoonful of honey, then a chunk of some cheese. It didn’t help. I threw up again. That burning sensation didn’t abate to a tolerable level for a few hours. That episode today would probably prompt an urgent call to 911 with the paramedics thinking in terms of serious poisoning. To this day I can get seriously nauseous whenever I eat anything that has a detectable amount of capsaicin in it. I can’t imagine having anything remotely as noxious as what I ate all those decades ago sprayed into my EYES. If what I ate had a Scoville rating comparable to an Habenero, surely stuff in concentrated liquid form over 10 times as intense applied copiously to the eyes and face so that one can’t avoid inhaling the vapor must be considered potentially lethal. It can kill. The consequences of a serious asthmatic or allergic reaction – anaphalaxis – or in use against a person with a weak heart or respiratory condition or an otherwise infirm or elderly person, could all too easily lead to a fatal result. Its use must be considered to be potentially “deadly force”.

  159. 159
    P Smith

    The goal of putting cops in identical and unmarked uniforms with faces covered is to create a mob mentality.

    Mobs that appear and grow after sporting events become violent when the individuals feel a sense of anonymity and become more willing to commit violence.

    In the same way, the cops are given uniforms and anonymity – deliberately – to encourage them to commit violence. If the cops had their names and badge numbers on those uniforms and their faces visible, they wouldn’t be so quick to spray the peaceful protesters.

    .

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