Posts Tagged ‘pepper spray’

There’s always a lot of news coverage for Black Friday (*shudder*), and any incidents that crop up are trumpeted, but other than a few isolated idiots (see other posts) there wasn’t really much going on. Considering how many shoppers were out yesterday (millions nationwide) it could have been much worse. Just one crazy woman with a loaded can of pepper spray, an over-enthusiastic off-duty cop, and a few robbery/shootings outside retail stores. Check this story.  This one says there were only 15 people caught in the woman’s spray-for-all. Then there were the robberies, or attempted robberies might be a better description. I hesitate to call those specifically related to Black Friday (*shudder*) other than they happened to occur on that day. Other than that the average shopper got to pack themselves into box stores like sardines and push and shove their way to awesome (or are they?) deals. I still don’t understand the appeal, but hey – I hate shopping anyway.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if pepper spray keeps popping up in the news lately. The most infamous incident, of course, is the protest at UC Davis when the campus police doused a group of peaceful protestors. I know, I know, they were told to move and refused, but c’mon people. They were just kids and they weren’t hurting anyone. Was the pepper spray really necessary? I’d have to say no, but that’s just my personal opinion.

There is also the incident in North Carolina where an off-duty officer sprayed a crowd. You can read the story in another post here at Anonymous Artichoke that specifically addresses it. Anyway, the officer claimed the crowd was getting out of hand and that he only sprayed a little “puff” in the air to regain control. That worked beautifully, of course. What better way to calm people down than to shoot a horrendously painful irritant at them?

Also, there’s the story about the elderly lady, the priest, and the pregnant woman who got sprayed at an Occupy protest in Seattle. Sounds like the opening line for a joke, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t. Read about it here. The police spokesman claimed that “Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers” (www.seatlepi.com). Wow, so this 84-year-old woman must have been a hellcat I guess. Add in the priest and the pregnant woman and you’ve got a trio of major offenders there.

There were also several people arrested during the incident. A young girl who swung a stick at an officer, several individuals suspected of pedestrian interference, and a man who threw an unknown liquid on an officer. Hmm, it’s enough to make you think twice about visiting Seattle isn’t it? With all those dangerous people on the loose and all.

On a side note, I had to look up “pedestrian interference” because it sounded so damned stupid I just had to know what it was describing. Here is the definition straight from the Seattle Municipal Code*:
SMC 12A.12.015 Pedestrian interference.

A. The following definitions apply in this section:

1. “Aggressively beg” means to beg with the intent to intimidate another person into giving money or goods.

2. “Intimidate” means to engage in conduct which would make a reasonable person fearful or feel compelled.

3. “Beg” means to ask for money or goods as a charity, whether by words, bodily gestures, signs, or other means.

4. “Obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic” means to walk, stand, sit, lie, or place an object in such a manner as to block passage by another person or a vehicle, or to require another person or a driver of a vehicle to take evasive action to avoid physical contact. Acts authorized as an exercise of one’s constitutional right to picket or to legally protest, and acts authorized by a permit issued pursuant to the Street Use Ordinance, Chapters 15.02 through 15.50 of the Seattle Municipal Code, shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

5. “Public place” means an area generally visible to public view and includes alleys, bridges, buildings, driveways, parking lots, parks, plazas, sidewalks and streets open to the general public, including those that serve food or drink or provide entertainment, and the doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings and the grounds enclosing them.

B. A person is guilty of pedestrian interference if, in a public place, he or she intentionally:

1. Obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic; or

2. Aggressively begs.

C. Pedestrian interference is a misdemeanor.

Legislative history/notes:

(Ord. 117104 Section 1, 1994: Ord. 116897 Section 1, 1993: Ord. 113697 Section 1, 1987.)

Cases: Subsection B 1 was upheld as constitutional in a challenge based on breadth and vagueness and does not deny equal protection of the laws. Seattle v. Webster, 115 Wn.2d 635, 802 P.2d 1333 (1990).

*Here is the site if you want to look for yourself.

A man who apparently styles himself as a “superhero”, complete with costume and mask, used pepper spray to disperse a fight outside a bar in Seattle. Read the story here. I’m not sure what to make of this one. On the one hand, dressing up in a body suit, wearing a mask, and acting out your fantasies as an “alter ego” is definite therapy territory. On the other hand, stepping in to break up a fight could be seen as the action of a good Samaritan. You’ll have to read the story and judge for yourself. There just isn’t enough information there for me to say, but I couldn’t help posting it here because of the reference to pepper spray . . . and the superhero bit. *Chuckles* Anyone see that movie Kick Ass?

This time it was the security at a Wal-Mart who used the pepper spray. Check out the story here. One man had to take his granddaughter to the emergency room for treatment when the spray triggered her asthma (msnbc.com).

Apparently a woman shopping at a Wal-Mart  this Black Friday blatantly doused the surrounding crowd with pepper spray so that she could have first access to the items on sale. More than twenty people were injured in the resulting melee. The woman fled the scene, but police are searching for her now. Read the full story here.

Can you see why my first reaction was “What the f*ck?” I mean, come on, who in their right mind thinks it’s a good idea to use pepper spray on a crowd of shoppers just so you get first dibs? There were even children present. Children. It makes you wonder what in the world was going through that person’s head at the time. To make it even more unbelievable one person was quoted saying “I don’t care, I’m still getting my TV” (www.nydailynews.com). Wow, you must really need that TV lady. Good luck with that.

Seems to me that both of those people need to re-examine their priorities a little. The one who used the pepper spray consciously and intentionally did physical harm to others for no better reason than she wanted a deal on a video game. The other one apparently just doesn’t give a shit.

How’s that for Holiday Spirit and Human Empathy folks?

Nov. 26, 2011 – Update

Here’s another version of this story. Some repetition here, but a few things the other story doesn’t have. Namely, that the woman who used the pepper spray did it more than once to get several different types of merchandise.

Nov. 26, 2011 – Another Update

Well, the lady who wielded pepper spray against her fellow shoppers on Black Friday has turned herself in. Check out the story here. There’s also an added story about a fight over some towels at another Wal-Mart.  Here’s a link to a clip on YouTube.com – Wal-Mart Towel Fight. Holy Shit, it’s INSANITY! Look at the little girl caught in the middle of the melee. You can hear someone screaming in the video. An officer quoted in the story said they were fighting over towels priced at $1.88. Wow, a towel at just under two bucks? Give me a baseball bat! I’ll get those people out of the way. No! Wait! I can use PEPPER SPRAY! Yeah, like that woman in California! That’s the ticket. Cheap towels here I come!