pepper spray

When I was in the military, during my advanced training in preparation for being an MP (and on riot squads) we went through a special certification on how to use pepper spray. There was the obligatory 6-hour class aimed at a 7th grade reading level, a multiple-choice test, and then we were taken out for the field-training portion.


First, we partnered up and alternated who pretended to be sprayed and the other person then had to go through a routine of immediately helping them to wash their eyes clean. That was one of the regulations of using pepper spray. Once sprayed you had five minutes to give first aid assistance or you were in deep doo-doo. If you could not do it directly (because oh say hey there was a riot going on, there was a special snatch and grab team that would take them and help them).


The second part of the field training required that we all stand in a single line at attention and the drill sergeant walked down the line and pepper sprayed each of us in the eyes. To make sure we understood what it meant to use a weapon such as this.


I am not sure if that is how they train civilian police, but I do know that where I was stationed – with riots every Friday that included Molotov cocktails and physical attacks, that spray was never used. And I highly doubt that the holiday shopper who had seen fit to arm herself with the spray had even been taught how to remove the cap. It is interesting, this mythos we have about weapons being a deterrent. All they are is a weapon that has not been put into use yet, trying to project how the sight of them will affect another is like trying to mind read. Their presence in our hands is all about our being willing to take.


I have had a really rough few weeks medically. It culminated with me trying to get a little calm and rest by taking some Valerian. Something I have done before with no issue only this time, it would appear to have been a bad batch and I had an allergic reaction. So bad, I landed in the ER twice because of the hives. One visit was a prolonged stay while hooked up to heart monitors and having all manner of steroids and etc pumped into my body because the hives had joined and they were afraid they were entering my breathing passages. I cannot even tell you the threatened madness of the pain and itching.


Now, they are getting better. I look a bit like a sunburned leopard and am on eight different medications to reduce the hives, stop the itching and pain and keep me from losing my mind. Needless to say, it was a wakeup call for me about using all natural remedies. Many of them do work well but few have a regulated manufacturing process. The ER nurse explained that if even the smallest part of the wrong end of the root made it into the capsule then POOF! Instant human balloon.


So I am stumbling around in this semi narcotic state – most of the eight things they gave me are pharmaceutical grade anti-histamines, which do nothing but put you to sleep. What is surprising to me is the amount of work I have gotten done at the same time. And good work too. What I was doing as work dried up and went away so in the middle of this I have had to scramble. Don’t think, just scramble and the end result is opportunity. I have sold feature articles to print magazines, signed on to write ebooks, create courses, you name it.


So we shall see where all this brings me, once – that is, I can stay awake for longer than three hours at a time.


But I opened up the news this AM and saw that woman pepper spraying another shopper at a black Friday sale and thought, “oh come on.”


Oh, come on.


c.2011. Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.


About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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