25.11.11

Woman uses pepper spray on other shoppers in L.A. - 20 injured.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/police-10-injured-at-wal-mart-as-woman-pepper-sprays-customers-seeking-black-friday-deals/2011/11/25/gIQAiqjcuN_story.html?tid=pm_pop
Police said the suspect shot the pepper spray when the coverings over the items she wanted were removed.
“Somehow she was trying to use it to gain an upper hand,” police Lt. Abel Parga told The Associated Press early Friday. He said she was apparently after some electronics and used the pepper spray to keep other shoppers at bay.
Parga said police were still looking for the woman. The store remained open and those not affected by the pepper spray continued shopping.
So, other than throwing our hands up in the air and saying "R.I.P. society," what is there to say? Here's a few hints:

The increasing saturation of very small, easily concealable and multi-purpose video cameras. The last part is key, as people don't really think about the fact that their cellphone or smartphone has video capability until all of a sudden "OMG I have to get this on film!"

Increasing reliance on non-lethal use of force by various police and military forces is caught on tape.

Our society becomes used to, and more or less apathetic to the use of non-lethal crowd control measures and irritants. That are widely available in stores and online and even commonly carried by people worried about getting raped or kidnapped or harassed.

So what's going to happen now?

Pepper spraying will become more prevalent, more people will know about it, think about it and buy the devices. More cities and states will call for its regulation. Cops will continue to use it. The public will get used to seeing cops using it - and the excuse will be, "Well, they didn't have a permit, we have to clean them out somehow, and it's better than hitting them with potentially lethal force like clubs - and using force and dragging/carrying them away is too risky."

How do we deal with this? John Q. Public is going to have to watch out, and keep some situational awareness. Crowds and unruly behaviour are the danger-signs. Cops will face increasing regulation on the use of pepper spray, and for good reason. Protesters will learn to expect it, bring masks and cover their faces.

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