Saturday, 7 August 2010
Continuing the theme of the modern fascist state (while also - at the end - providing the long-awaited answers to my capital cities teaser) I must report that I witnessed a terrible thing today.
The title of this post (reliably as ever ripped straight out of Wikipedia) is the chemical formula for the substance commonly known as CS gas. It will be instructive, I think, to rip (from the link above) in a bit more detail the effects of this chemical on a human being:
"The chemical reacts with moisture on the skin and in the eyes, causing a burning sensation and the immediate forceful and uncontrollable shutting of the eyes. Effects usually include tears streaming from the eyes, coughing, running nose full of mucus, burning in the nose and throat areas, disorientation, dizziness and restricted breathing.It will also burn the skin where sweaty and or sunburned. In highly concentrated doses it can also induce severe coughing and vomiting. Almost all of the immediate effects wear off in a matter of minutes."
I saw this stuff deployed straight into the eyes of a guy today by an undercover policeman, who was part of a group of initially 3 police, which rapidly became 5 and quite soon as many as 10. I was waiting for a bus, carrying three bags of shopping, and listening to AIOTM (AIOTM...) on my iPod, and at first I thought I was watching an argument between some guys take that sudden turn towards physical violence. And sudden it was. In just a few moments, as I walked along, a little bit of a scuffle just erupted before me into a flurry of flailing arms and legs. One of the men turned as if to run away, and then suddenly turned back and squirted a good quantity of liquid into the eyes of one of the others, while what I later knew to be his colleagues, took advantage of his reflexive grasp at his eyes to grapple him to the ground. He struggled quite ferociously, but at last cuffs were applied and his legs were twisted and sat on.
The reinforcements in the squad car had pulled right in front of my bus, and the driver could go nowhere, and everyone in the vicinity was watching what was going on. The police were going through the guy's pockets, telling him to calm down (I had by now switched off the iPod) and then I noticed one of them walk towards an old lady and ask her if she had seen what had happened. She simply shook her head. The policeman then came towards me.
"Did you see what happened?" He asked me. I studied him carefully. He could have been Greek or Turkish, mid 30s with cropped hair, acne pocks on his face, and an amount of stubble. He was wearing track suit bottoms and a hooded jumper, but there were phones, radios and all kinds of technology stuffed into every pocket.
"I only saw the last bit," I said, "When you... brought him down."
"What? You saw the CS and all that, yeah?"
"Yeah... Kind of... It all happened really quick."
"Would you mind if I took some details, then?"
"Sure..." I hesitated. At the very least, I didn't want to have to deal with my shopping at the police station, and at the very worst I definitely did not want to get involved in any sort of dispute over police brutality.
"Did you think we treated him fairly? Used a bit too much force. Or was he having a go at us - putting up a struggle?" he went on.
"I really couldn't say. At first, I didn't even realise you were, er, police. Just thought it was a bit of aggro, and I was waiting for my bus (which was pulling away even as I spoke, thanks to the squad car being moved out of the way by one of the now many officers now on the scene) which I've just missed..."
He seemed to change his mind, and nodded at me before moving away. Another bus pulled up and I lugged my shopping bags to the door.
All very grim, so I will now share the current rundown of the capital cities playlist as mentioned in a previous post.
It's too long to write out here, so please visit this link for a spreadsheet.
I thank yew.