(Roughly) Daily

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually”*…

 

Law enforcement officers across the United States are using a variety of weapons on protesters during demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality. George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. The fatal encounter has triggered a wave of protests across the country and around the world. Many of the events have been peaceful but some have turned violent, with scenes of arson, looting and clashes with police.

Authorities have imposed curfews on dozens of cities across the country, the most since the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968…

weapons

Often described as non-lethal, these weapons can seriously injure, disable and even kill. Police have used them against peaceful protesters as well as members of the press during the demonstrations.

Chemical Irritants

Chemical irritants include tear gas and pepper spray, which cause sensations of burning, pain and inflammation of the airways.

Public health and infectious diseases experts have opposed the use of chemical irritants such as tear gas, saying in an online petition that they could increase risk for COVID-19 by “making the respiratory tract more susceptible to infection.”

Because chemical irritants can spread widely, bystanders and individuals other than the intended targets can be exposed to the chemicals…

Reuters unpacks what U.S. police are using to corral, subdue and disperse demonstrators: “Weapons of Control.”

Attorney General Barr insists that pepper spray is “not a chemical”; but of course it is (as its manufacturer brags and the CDC agrees)– and a particularly dangerous one during the coronavirus pandemic.

See also “Crocodile Tears,” a history of tear gas and its use, and “The Power of Crowds,” a historical consideration of attempts through time to manage or constrain mass gatherings and of the resilience of the crowd.

* James Baldwin

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As we come together, we might recall that it was on this date in 1872 that Samuel Butler‘s Erewhon was published.  A satirical utopian novel, it skewers Victorian society in a manner reminiscent of Swift’s dismantling of 18th century society in Gulliver’s Travels.  Butler meant the title, which refers to the “country” he describes, to be understood as the word “nowhere” backwards (though the letters “h” and “w” are of course transposed).

220px-Erewhon_Cover source

 

Written by LW

June 9, 2020 at 1:01 am

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