Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[flagged] US Park Police denies using tear gas on peaceful protesters (vox.com)
63 points by hhs 34 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

Pretty consistent with what we know of Park Police in and around DC. The shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, in this case, went unpunished by the feds:


Though props to Fairfax for seeking indictments and for releasing the footage in the face of Park Police silence.


Why did Bijan keep driving away from the officers? The officers definitely should have to wear body cams

Very weird case

My understanding is that Bijan was a flighty and somewhat anxious person (we shared mutual friends). I don't think that justifies unloading a magazine into him while he's in his car.

Which is why Fairfax appears to be pushing for indictments. Regardless of whether Bijan was guilty of anything, we'll never know because he was robbed of both his right to due process as well as his life.

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

They want to say it was just smoke grenades and pepper balls... Which the CDC defines as "tear gas".

Where does the CDC define pepper balls as "tear gas"? It defines them as "riot control agents" in this document https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/riotcontrol/factsheet.asp saying that these are "sometimes referred to as “tear gas”"

The CDC defines chloroacetophenone (CN) as tear gas https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ershdb/emergencyresponsecard_29750...

Pepper balls contain oleoresin capsicum (OC) which is different in terms of its chemical composition but produces similar symptoms.

Depending on your definition, it may or may not be the same thing because "tear gas" is an unscientific term.

Yes I referring to the CDC [0] page that says:

> Riot control agents (sometimes referred to as “tear gas”) are chemical compounds that temporarily make people unable to function by causing irritation to the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, and skin.

I think we all agree that "gas/chemicals that cause tears" is "tear gas". Anyone saying that tear gas was not used is splitting hairs and their motivations should be questioned. This is not the time to be "technically correct" when police are using things like this on peaceful protesters.

[0] https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/riotcontrol/factsheet.asp

I think the relevant question is, when arguing semantics with the US Executive Branch, is the statement more or less precisely accurate than the common use of language by the Executive Branch's leader and commander-in-chief?

By that standard, it's tear gas.

The police seemingly operate with impunity. If you accuse them, they will deny wrongdoing. Trying to gaslight people about their tactics seems like par for the course.

The question is: who will police the police? They can't be trusted to police themselves as we're seeing.


there are a couple of criminological issues too which are important with regards to UK and USA.

Concept of punishment - in the USA punishment is most often about vengeance, retribution and restitution. It's why victims families can watch the criminal get executed when on death row. In many other countries and the UK there is no death penalty, and punishment is more about the deprivation of liberty of the criminal and less or not at all about restitution of the victim. Victims in the UK don't really get much of a look in outside of a victim statement in court after sentencing. Criminals are prosecuted by the Crown and not on behalf of the victim. In the USA it's common for civil cases to be used to get more restitution against criminals. A stronger example would be looking at Scandinavian countries and their approach to prison and punishment and rehabilitation.

Police self defence - in the USA, the police are allowed to use deadly force to defend themselves and their buddies against danger, which explains the more liberal use of guns. Literally "shoot first and ask questions later" is allowed if the officer feels their life is in danger. But mainly the protection of the police is the most important thing, above the protection of the public. In the UK and someplaces elsewhere, the police consider pro-active self defence as not automatically allowed. They will often not engage and retreat and get backup in numbers if under danger. They do not rank self protection as the most important thing.

"They will often not engage and retreat and get backup in numbers if under danger."

That's extremely common in the US as well

Step 1 is disarm the police..

UK police aren't armed, which means that they are well trained in de-escalation because it's the main thing that's protecting them.

One of the biggest worries of introducing tasers is that it diminishes that aspect. Why try to calm someone down if you can reach for your taser instead.

In the US they reach for a handgun instead.

Disarm the police. That might require disarming the population too.

So step 1 is ban the guns.

Which tragically means the USA will likely stay at step 0 for a very long time, because it seems the second amendment is held to a higher regard than the first.

Some of the most calm Americans I know have a gun or two, it's so normal. Given America is where it is, I can't see how you take that first step. That's the deadlock.

@dang why was the parent comment flagged? I read it before it was flagged, and it didn't seem inflammatory in any way. Can you please comment?

If you want to talk to dang, send him an email instead of hoping he randomly sees your comment. Also, flagging is something users do, he also can just guess why they might have done so

I prefer to do it in an open forum. I think he watches comments for "@dang" because I see people do it all the time with a follow-up from him.

Yeah (commenter) I thought it was reasonable - what could I have done better?

> Disarm the police. That might require disarming the population too.

I totally agree -- As long as I am last in line to turn in my gun. And many civilian and government gun owners agree with me. Remember that the military has guns too, which shoot just as straight domestically and abroad, so we also need to disarm the army, which requires disarming all foreign nations. Now what? I think we'll need a Paxos or Raft cluster or something.

This argument is a purposeful distraction by the administration's supporters. The focus should be on the fact that a protest was cleared so the president could do a silly photo op. A blasphemous photo op.

This "tear gas" argument is a red herring meant to distract from the real issue. And the media is falling for it.

You're slipping into the "4D chess" trap a bit. The "not tear gas" is merely banal grasping at straws to find any way they can to defend their behavior. Thoughtful observers will see that the defense incriminates more than it exonerates

I think we're saying the same thing. Vox ruminating on the finer points of canister markings distracts from the true issue here.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact