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Humboldt Sheriff's pepper spray attack blinds collective vision

When Humboldt Sheriff deputies Q-tip swabbed chemical pepper spray into the eyes of forest defenders, the collective vision of people everywhere was blinded with searing pain. People who see the problems caused by corporate logging (Maxxam/Pacific Lumber) are using their bodies to protect the trees. The pepper spray eye swabbing response by the Sheriffs shows their fear of our collective vision, they want people to be blinded to the truth..
Something about the importance of both collective and personal vision occurred to me while heading to the Q-tip pepper spray trial in SF. Though i was unable to attend the solidarity rally on Weds at the courthouse, i had time to rest and think while waiting out the daytime heat of the valley in Cache Creek Wildlife Refuge..

Spent the day giving thanks for the ability to see and have legs to ride a bicycle. Looking at the Gray/Foothill pines (Pinus sabiana), the seductive beauty of their thin whispering threadlike needles, i really appreciate eyesight. Having vision, personal and collective, allows people to collect information and evaluate the conditions of our surroundings..

The people who had pepper spray swabbed into their eyes by Humboldt County Sheriffs were blinded for a period of time by the harsh chemicals found in the pepper spray. Long term side effects could interfere with the sensitive visual organs that enable people to see the lovely trees we try to protect. It was their vision (without blinders) that allowed them to observe the destruction caused by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber's devastating clear cut logging..

When the Humboldt Sheriff gave orders to swab pepper spray into the eyes of the forest defenders, they attacked the collective vision of people who see the problems caused by destructive corporate logging. Would law enforcement be happier if we all walked through life with blinders, engaging in mass consumption and being oblivious to the devastation caused by corporate greed..

Our collective and personal vision cannot be threatened by authority figures who wish to blind us from observing the truth..

Below is some medical info from the linx at  http://www.nopepperspray.org website. Thought these paragraphs dealing with the health effects of pepper spray's main ingredient capsicum on the cornea is important. The capsicum concentration in police pepper spray is far greater than any natural concentration in a living pepper. The concentration of capsicum can increase the severity exponentially, and this is assuming sprayed from the recommended 2-3 foot distance, NOT direct contact with the cornea via swabbing..

It is unfortunate that many of the results below are from subjecting rats to capsicum exposure. Do we really need to torture animals to learn the danger of a chemical weapon designed to hurt people?

"Oleoresin capsicum (OC) is an oily extract of pepper plants of the genus Capsicum. Each year, millions of pounds of capsicum are imported into the United States, primarily from India, Japan, Africa and Mexico. It is used as a spice in salsa, chili, curries, and hot sauces; as a pharmacologic agent in topical anesthetic and analgesic creams; and as the principal active ingredient in OC spray, or "pepper spray," used by police and others as an antipersonnel agent. OC extract consists of a complex mixture of fat soluble phenols known as capsaicinoids; capsaicin (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and dihydrocapsaicin, the most potent homologues, make up 80-90% of the total. Capsaicinoid content determines the "hotness" of the extract. The relative hotness is measured in Scoville units (the greatest dilution of pepper extract that can be detected by the human tongue).(1-3)

The capsaicinoid content of extracts used in pepper sprays varies widely among manufacturers, from 1.2% to 12.6%. Since the concentration of extract in pepper sprays also varies (5-15%), the potential risks associated with capsaicinoid exposure may vary by as much as 30-fold among brands of OC spray.

Depending on brand, an OC spray may contain water, alcohols, or organic solvents as liquid carriers; and nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or halogenated hydrocarbons (such as Freon, tetrachloroethylene, and methylene chloride) as propellants to discharge the canister contents.(3) Inhalation of high doses of some of these chemicals can produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurologic effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death. The health effects of solvents and propellants are beyond the scope of this article, but they too need to be considered in evaluating potential hazards and effects of exposure to specific brands of OC spray.

Eye symptoms. Common ocular symptoms associated with OC spray exposure include redness, swelling, severe burning pain, stinging, conjunctival inflammation, lacrimation, blepharospasm and involuntary or reflex closing of the eyelids. In the rat, application of 1% capsaicin to the eye causes neurogenic inflammation and loss of reaction to chemical and mechanical stimuli for up to a week. In humans, superficial anesthesia and loss of the blink reflex may lead to corneal abrasions from contact lenses or foreign bodies. Capsaicin disrupts the epithelial layer of the cornea, so persons with impaired corneal integrity (from exposure keratitis, keratomalacia, or recurrent corneal erosion) are more susceptible to severe ocular effects than those with normal corneas. Ocular exposure to OC should be treated by flushing for at least 15 minutes with water.(3,7,20)"


Solidaridad! An attack on one is an attack on all..

disgusted 09.Sep.2004 14:50


Very shocking. Sue their fascist asses.

This amounts to torture!!! 09.Sep.2004 16:50

Anthony Vicari anthony@stopbushseattle.com

This ammounts to torture, not self defense. Police are given these weapons for use as self defense, not torture. I am absolutely appauled! Please keep us all posted on the outcome of this case. This case is very significant. Citizens are more important than property. This country needs to get back to that standard. Torture will never be tolerated. I want to see these police officers lose their jobs, the police dept. sued for millions of dollars and the taxpayers forced to pay it. If the judge gets creative, I would also like to see a criminal sentence imposed on the police officers, whereby, an independent third party applies a q-tip swab of pepper spray to the police officers eye lids...

Self Defense 09.Sep.2004 20:48

Catalina Eddie

Why would cops use pepper spray for self defense when it's so much more gratifying to shoot someone? 'Course you can only do that once.

Pepper spray is for showing the campesenos who's boss

this just proves it. 10.Sep.2004 05:02


Cops hate trees, always have, always will!

when did this happen? 10.Sep.2004 08:26


When did this eye-swabbing happen? The image (a video clip frame?) on the front page says October 16 1997 -- which seems very long ago if this is just coming to trial now. Is the image from the event that's now on trial? Is the image is shocking, it shows torture and punishment. No different from putting the person in thumb-screws, or holding them down to whip them. Can someone point me to more facts on this case? Who were the activists, when did it happen, how many people were hurt this way, who is on trial (the sherrifs deputies?), who is leading the prosecution, etc.
This should be in the major media. If it was right-wing activists tortured this way, it would be all over the papers.
many thanks.

,, 10.Sep.2004 13:29


i am not for death penalty.ive heard there was an indian ''tribe'' in which the only thing there was a death penalty for was if you pissed in the stream.maybe death penalty should be reserved only for police and any other authority who falsely accuses somebody and ends up permanently hurting them.these police tprturers are certainly in line for someone practicing their self defense on them.

More INFO 10.Sep.2004 14:01

callingzebra3@hotmail.com callingzebra3@hotmail.com

This is outlandish form of toture
Is there more info on who ordered this ? (name)
What city is this abusive action being tried in ?
besides "Maxxam/Pacific Lumber" are their any more names involved ?
I want to write my congresman and the city & the police any numbers or address would be helpful
I can not stand this type of police treatment I am outraged

Eureka PD 11.Sep.2004 13:20

power to the peaceful

Besides the Maxxam, er Humboldt County Sheriff's, the Eureak Police Department is also involved. Follow the link to their oh so friendly website. You might also inquire why they fail to follow through on rape cases and spend some much damn money on non violent protesters when violent crimes aren't being followed through on past an initial police report. They've got statistics, but are in bed with Maxxam and their poe dunk neighbors in Scotia call Pacific Plunder Company.

Eureka P.D.
604 C Street
Eureka, CA 95501