Pepper Spray and the Police State

in Life Beyond Medicine by

This macabre image by Louise Macabitas has brought to us an event that has triggered off a massive knee jerk response in what is considered to be one of the most moderate police force in one of the most free nations of the world.


The casual stance with which the police officer is spraying the peaceful protesters, in full public view is indeed a little disconcerting. It reflects the vicious cycle of repression-protest-more repression that the Occupy movement seems to have triggered in the so-called land of dreams.

I usually refrain from writing about political stuff on this blog mainly because I feel out of place discussing it and I want to keep things politically neutral and pleasant. However, this image somehow makes my insides boil up in a rage so primal in nature, that I am forced to express it in this post.

While a lot of economists and politicians have been beating around the bush, it seems that Marx’s predictions about the fall of capitalism, as written in Das Capital have come to fruition in some form in the European Union and the Americas as well. The sudden deflation of the credit bubble and the loss of financial stability thereafter has set off a chain of events that the world will take years to recover from. While I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of the financial world is minimum, and mostly limited to the day-to-day drudgery of staying alive, the situation in our present society needs no Amartya Sen to be analysed.

The Occupy Movement will gain more momentum with such repressive events. It seems that the US powers that be have not learnt from Syria, Libya or Egypt, where despite a dictatorial rule, people rose up in arms and brought down the military tyrants to restore democracy.

The voice of the people will find its way out. As much as I feel like a commie saying this, it remains true that repression will only fuel more such protests.

My heart goes out to these UC Davis students and the other students/researchers/protesters who are trying to make their voices heard in a peaceful and law-abiding fashion.

Skeptic Oslerphile, Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!


  1. Modern day governments, particularly democracies, are really an inseparable mish-mash of capitalist and socialist components. One can argue that it is the socialist components of the state which usually cause ‘atrocities’ like this. I mean, had the police been a ‘capitalist’ force, would they have treated their ‘customers’ so badly 🙂
    And Mr. Marx has been known to be spectacularly wrong at times, so don’t feel too bad when his prophesy of demise of capitalism also turns out to be wrong.

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