Pepper spray, batons and microwave beams: Are these ethical to use on occupy protestors

Riot control (Nicole Bullard)

David Gutman


Starting in early September the occupy movement has become a world-wide phenomena, with hundreds of arrests seemingly daily, and hundreds more injured by the methods used by the police.

When the average person thinks about a police officer they typically think of somebody in a blue or green uniform, usually with a baton, a taser, and a firearm on their belts. The law enforcement should be ready but not eager to use them unless a situation rises.

Another aspect of their gear that many people look over usually is pepper spray.

The active ingredient in Pepper spray is the chemical Capsaicin, this is what makes some peppers hot to the taste. One pepper in particular has such a large concentration of Capsaisin that it can burn somebody if placed on the skin.

Isolated and put into a can, it can have dramatic effects on people. With the amount of power at their fingertips, police officers can cross the line between defending and repressing.

On Nov. 18 University of California Davis, proved how pepper spray can be abused. Campus police officer for UC Davis, John Pike, was caught on video dowsing a line of students with orange pepper spray.

The pepper spray as seen in videos covered the faces of the students, with the bright orange spray going down the throats of some protesters. Two of them had to be hospitalized while the others became violently ill.

Pepper spray is not the only riot prevention weaponry around. The Active Denial System is a truck mounted emitter that emits microwave particles and can be aimed at people to disperse crowds.

When the ADS is activated, the people in the cross-hairs will start burning up as if their skin is on fire. According to the ADS was in development for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect from small arms fire.

However, the ADS is supposedly nonlethal and why is something that is supposedly nonlethal being used in a war zone?

The question that should be on people’s minds is the ADS being developed for purely military use, or is it being developed to quell American riots or maybe a protest that is protesting a bit too loudly?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and with these weapons at the disposal of the police, it is only a phone call away for a mayor of a city to strip our freedoms of speech and assembly with excessive force.  

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