Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fine Art, Peace Officers, and Pepper Spray

Text: Wisdom Quarterly

In this fine piece the artist seems to be expressing the leisurely lifestyle of a middle class zeitgeist or bourgeois milieu, its serenity marred by the casual gadfly and its propensity to sting revealing the sodden underbelly of the commons. Life on the green, whether lulled into a false sense of security within the university, a public square, a dinner table, or an open park with its inviting and inclusive collective use of space is really no protection. French egalitarianism and pointillism had a profound impact on such ideals as liberty, fraternity, and equality. Those very same principles informed our own American Revolution and the words of the founders of our republic as seen in the signing of important, otherworldly-inspired documents of great import. There too, however, a fly in the ointment brings tears to the eye as art triumphs and reality pales by comparison.

That Lieutenant John Pike, he just can't get enough canvas to graffiti with his scalding, nerve-disrupting Scoville (4 million unit) paintbrush.

Pepper spray is banned from the battlefield. But it is perfectly safe for well trained officers to deploy on civilians. Worse than the Habanero or the Himalayan ghost pepper, and not available to ordinary citizens except at weak concentrations, it is dangerous to the respiratory system, more dangerous than tear gas. It leaves chemical burns, giving one the sensation of being set on fire, leading to bleeding and difficulty breathing even days later.

Knowing that, some trained peace officers force open the mouths of their victims and spray their chemicals, which contain far more than capsicum (the mild heat in peppers) down their throats, strictly in the interest of peace of course.

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