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View Diary: To Those I Care About Who Have Never Been Tear-Gassed (65 comments)

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  •  It's not really that terrible. (31+ / 0-)

    Beign exposed to tear gas is a vital part of training for anyone who might wind up deploying tear gas or operating in such an environment.  Why?  Not because it might increase empathy for anyone you're gassing (though one would hope it would,) but because it reveals something about tear gas: that it's temporary, that you will recover, that you can indeed operate while under the effects.  This is particularly important since anyone deploying tear gas is fairly likely to get a face full of it themselves, at some point, whether because the wind changed or because some protestor winged a canister back at you.  

    The main thing that makes tear gas an effective weapon is that it causes panic and fear.  When you're in pain, when you feel like you're choking, the natural reaction is to flee from it, because you feel like you're being damaged.  But (in most cases,) tear-gas exposure is something that doesn't cause any lasting effects.  

    When you really -know- that pain you're feeling isn't a signal that you're being damaged/gonna die, and that it's going to go away eventually, it becomes much easier to -- well, 'ignore' is a strong word, but to operate under the influence of those signals, if at reduced capacity.  Most people have never really fought through situations like this.  Buf if you grit your teeth and know what's going to happen when you're going in, it's possible.

    •  That's another reason cops should think twice (28+ / 0-)

      That's exactly how we know so many mayors and police captains must not really be thinking things through:

      You realize that the worst the police were ever able to do was break your body and, when you no longer fear that, you are free from their power. The night you were tear-gassed liberated you.

      I wouldn't guess that was quite the lesson they were hoping to teach you.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 04:25:08 PM PDT

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    •  Tear gas can cause blindness (6+ / 0-)

      Many people in the 60s were blinded by long-term exposure to tear gas, particularly in enclosed spaces.


      A "moderate" in this environment is a person who splits the difference between half-assed government and a total shitpile.

      by Dinclusin on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 05:20:50 PM PDT

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    •  In other words... (12+ / 0-)

      it's a weapon of mass terror.

      "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

      by ogre on Mon Oct 31, 2011 at 06:14:10 PM PDT

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      •  Yep. (4+ / 0-)

        But the secret there is that you can make a choice to not be terrified.

        Fear is the mind-killer, etc. ;)

      •  Most crowd-control weapons are (0+ / 0-)

        or mass disruption, as in firehoses.

        "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

        by Shaviv on Tue Nov 01, 2011 at 05:24:44 AM PDT

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        •  I actually think firehoses... (0+ / 0-)

          ...Are much more reasonable of a crowd-control device.  They're much less indiscriminate and they're not a device made to inspire fear.  I've never seen a crowd stampede just because a hose was turned on them.  

          It's also better at, well, controlling the crowd.  You can sweep an area and pretty much keep people out of it without doing much more than knocking them on their ass or blasting their feet out from under them.  If you don't want to damage people, but still need to defend a position, firehoses are a great answer.

          •  I thought firehoses routinely caused injuries (0+ / 0-)

            to eyes, ears, and of course overall bones and bodies of anyone knocked off their feet.

            "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

            by Shaviv on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 12:50:00 PM PDT

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            •  They certainly can... (0+ / 0-)

              ...Particularly if you unleash them from too close to your target or if you aim for the head instead of the feet.  Plus, of course, if you get knocked down you don't necessarily go down gracefully.  It's not unlike being taken down by a flying tackle from a 250-lb cop.

              ...At the same time, there's less "Boom.  Headshot" potential, and the force they deliver drops significantly as you get further away.  They're also much more predictable if the operators are using a continuous stream; someone getting hit by it will know it's coming if they're paying attention.  And if you get on the ground in a kowtow, butt up and head down facing towards the firehose, it's hard for the stream to knock you over.  There's a great pic of a bunch of muslims praying on a bridge and just taking the firehose like it's nothing.  Of course, this hose was also being deployed at what I'd consider a reasonable distance to open up on someone with.

              ...And I just realised this might be in response to the "don't want to damage them" line.  Yeah, that should have been clearer.  More like "If you want to damage them as little as possible."  I'm also talking about when they're used properly -- which shouldn't be unless the situation has degenerated to the point where the cops would be justified pulling out the nightsticks and breaking heads, unless you're using them in a constant "keep away from this area" mode, in which case anyone who manages to get too close to the hoses knew what they were getting into long before the force of the hose became damaging.

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