The study that shows Fox News viewers know less than people who watch no news at all might have something to do with conversations like this, where Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly go to absurd lengths to prove what authoritarian tools they are.
Kelly called the pepper spray “a food product, essentially,” but both wondered whether the particular mix the campus police used to repeatedly spray student protesters had been diluted. “A lot of experts are looking at that and saying, is this the real deal?” Kelly said, though she added that the spray was “obviously abrasive and intrusive.”
She then said that it was not clear that the police had overstepped their boundaries, since they were trying to disperse a crowd practicing civil disobedience.
“I know that the tape looks bad,” she said. “I agree it looks bad. All I’m saying is from a legal standpoint, I don’t know that the cops did anything wrong.”
O’Reilly was a tad less nuanced in his comments. “I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police,” he said.
It’s just food, ya know!
As the paper and this Speakeasy Science blog post by Deborah Blum (which cites the paper) point out, pepper spray is far more potent than even the hottest of hot peppers. Blum writes that commercial-grade pepper spray is listed at between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units — a measure of “hotness” that hinges on capsaicin content. Compare that to between 200,000 and 350,000 Scoville units for habanero peppers.
The NCMJ paper notes that when the skin is exposed to OC spray, people can experience “tingling, intense burning pain, swelling, redness, and, occasionally, blistering.” If it gets in the eyes, it can cause pain and stinging — and temporary blindness that lasts 30 minutes or so. According to this paper from 2000, published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the “immediate changes in mechanical and chemical sensitivity” can persist for up for a week but that a single exposure doesn’t appear to harm the eye tissues.
Respiratory exposure can be more dangerous, with responses including “burning of the throat, wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping, inability to breathe or speak .. and rarely, cyanosis [blue or purple skin or mucous membranes], apnea and respiratory arrest,” the NCMJ paper says.
Blum writes that the sprays “pose a genuine risk to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.”
At least one of the protesters went to the hospital with chemical burns. You see, they weren’t Tea Partiers so all’s well.
But the flaming zeppelin of depravity here is, “I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police,” quoth Bill O’Reilly. We don’t, Bill?
There’s also the fact that the students were passive, just sitting there. So what was the pepper spray, but punishment?
So since when did our justice system devolve to the point where police officers are now dispensers of punishment?