The Use of Pepper Spray on Peaceful Protests in the US
The purpose of this article is to get the information of what is going on at these protests out to at least our friends and family, in hope that they will pass on the information. Unfortunately, the network news stations have not reported in detail many of these incidents, instead leaving it at statements like "Protesters get evicted" or "Protesters are in x location and it costs city y amount", etc. Below you will find links to incidents that have occurred between police and protesters. I would also like to point out that in every clash at least so far, the police have been not only the ones who incited violence, but that protesters have yet to respond in any violent way. The amount that you as tax payers have to cover for the protests is not the fault of the protesters--Cities are choosing to spend your tax money to send large numbers of police to break up these peaceful protests. In two cities where the police have not been overbearing (Portland after November 19th, and Detroit throughout the entire movement so far), there have been no issues, no clashes between the police and protesters, and things have been respectful and organized.
This is an event that happened at UC Davis on Friday. To my knowledge, two officers and the police chief are on administrative leave, but the problem goes much deeper than that. They were asked to move and did not, but I ask you, what protest has ever simply stopped exercising their rights when asked? If the Civil Rights Movement had done this, where would we be today? What about labor unions? The big problem is that their crime is simply exercising constitutionally-protected rights. They were then sprayed with pepper spray in the way you see here.
Many people don't appreciate just how painful pepper spray is, or how damaging it is. You are all familiar with the Habanero pepper; You know not to touch your eyes after handling them because just that amount of contact would cause damage and incredible amounts of pain. The pepper spray used by police are in the area of ten to twenty times stronger than the Habanero, depending on the pepper and the strength of the pepper spray. Here's a graphic further illustrating the point:
Though that alone should be plenty to stop us from using pepper spray on peaceful protesters, consider that it is against international law to use pepper spray on enemy combatants during a war. It is considered a chemical weapon by the Geneva convention, but we can use it on our own citizens?
Among those pepper sprayed included an 84-year old woman named Dorli Rainey. Thankfully, a veteran who was among the protesters escorted her away from the scene and to safety before any more harm could be done to her.
If that isn't enough to anger you, in New York, the Occupiers had a small tent library used to educate both other protesters and the public. On the 15th of November, after removing the press from the situation, the police destroyed this library as well as books contained within.
This is the kind of scene that you would see in a fascist country like Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany. So far we have had violence to protesters and books being destroyed, but the network news corporations have yet to really report in any meaningful way on what has been happening. We are violently repressing our own people, and it is being swept under the rug. Even if you do not agree with the message behind the protests, do you really want to live in a country where you can be assaulted with chemical weaponry for exercising your constitutional rights?
Few people in this country understand what Occupy Wall Street is about, much less what has been happening at these protests. Currently, corporations are allowed to donate cash directly to political candidates to persuade them to vote in their favor on issues. This was only legalized in the last decade, and has done incredible amounts of damage to our political system. Though there are many issues that the movement is speaking out about, this is at its core. I won't go into details in this article but I would be happy to explain the details of the decision that caused this change, as well as why this has accelerated our recession to the point that it is at now. Banks, for example, are currently enjoying record-breaking profits. Until the European debt crisis caused stock prices to drop due to uncertainty, the stock market was also recovering at a rapid pace. The "job-makers" are doing just fine in the current economic situation. This has not translated to helping anyone not in this elite class. Unemployment is still incredibly high, especially when you narrow the search to minorities, the youth, and even veterans (Veteran unemployment ages 20-24 is, at the time of this article, at 30.4%.) The movement is not liberals vs. conservatives, and it supports neither political party.
If anyone wants more information on this you can message me on Facebook, or you can email me at email@example.com. To keep up to date with the movement itself, I would suggest The Daily Occupation. There is much, much more footage available on youtube of these atrocities being committed on our own people, to the extent that Egypt has actually used it to justify using similar weaponry and tactics on their own protesters, killing more than 30 people so far.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope that at least one person has learned something about what is going on.