A Conversation for Julia 'Butterfly' Hill

Pepper Spray Incident

Post 1

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

"in a rally protesting the use of pepper spray by local police, who swab the eyes of demonstrators picketing logging operations2. "

They weren't picketing; they had their arms locked together in metal tubes. They were trespassing in the office of a public official. They were violating the law. The only way to get these criminals out of these tubes was to get them to release their grip or to cut them out. They were order to do so. The protestors refused to comply with verbal commands.

Pepper spray will not only affect the person sprayed, but those in the area will generally catch a little of it as well. These officers would have been better off in the long run to have just hosed the whole group down with pepper spray. Instead, they tried to apply it in a much more limited way. After specifically warning each individual violator of what was about to happen, and after they refused to comply, the officers applied it to the eyelids of the criminal. They would have been in a lot more pain if they had just been sprayed with it.

I think the officers used a lot of restraint in this case. I would have probably done things differently, and used a pain compliance technique. The one I have in mind causes a lot of pain and a lingering headache. If the person doesn't comply within three to five seconds, they lose consciousness, and they would have released their hands.

"Amnesty International has condemned American police forces for swabbing the eyes of peaceful demonstrators with what are euphemistically referred to as 'nonlethal neutralizing agents'. ... Although their use in warfare is considered illegal under international law, they are an increasingly popular way of dealing with civil rights protesters, prisoners, and psychiatric patients."

Let's be specific, this was one sheriff's office that employed this technique. They may have been peaceful, but they were breaking the law. They refused to comply with commands, which is a further violation of law. The police can use force to effect arrest, and in this case, they used a very low level of force.

Most police departments deploy pepper spray because it is effective, and even though it does cause pain, it is harmless. If the police were denied the use of this tool, they would be forced to use greater force such as batons. Or they could engage violent suspects in hand to hand fights which increases the risk of injury to the officer and the suspects.

The fact that riot control agents are illegal when used against combatants in warfare is totally irrelevant to their use by law enforcement.

Pepper Spray Incident

Post 2

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

As an alternative to having to shoot someone, pepper spray is great. Anything that diffuses a dangerous situation with a minimum of violence is great. Time often does that.

Pepper Spray Incident

Post 3

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Sorry. That was a little glib. smiley - blush

You make an interesting point. But the use of the stuff is subject to abuse, just like anything else. Our beloved PM had the mounties spray a bunch of embarrassing protestors just to get them off the street, for example. That's not right. People do have the right to peaceful dissent in a democratic society. The question of how much to allow is a thorny one.

JTG smiley - cheers

Pepper Spray Incident

Post 4


just want to say that I am against the use of pepper spray
save our trees!

Pepper Spray Incident

Post 5

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Good for you, Zap! Have you seen Butterfly's website?


JTG smiley - peacesign

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