Slade Sohmer asks at HyperVocal:
What started out as a joke has become an increasingly real proposition: Even though it’s not a “person,” we must now begin to debate whether Pepper Spray should grace TIME’s most discussed cover.
No person, place or thing has come to define the absurdity of 2011 more than the “food product, essentially,” this suddenly ubiquitous lachrymatory agent/chemical weapon.
Pepper spray, essentially, gave birth to the national media’s recognition of the Occupy Wall Street movement when NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna cowardly pepper-sprayed some unwitting young women. Without his depraved indifference to the freedom to assemble and the freedom of speech, the national media, and by extension the nation, might never have begun to discuss income inequality in earnest.
The pepper-spraying incidents then moved west: The notoriously corrupt Tulsa police department doused some eyes while evicting the Occupy protesters in that city, then Seattle police sprayed 84-year-old Dorli Rainey as she checked out the protests there. Portland police continued the Pacific Northwest trend, and the instantly iconic image of a young woman taking it in the face went viral …
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