Saturday, November 26, 2011

Would You Like Pepper Spray with That?

Been lots of media about the use of pepper spray by the campus police at U. C. Davis. I’ve seen videos taken by folks right there.

One shows that the protesters were warned by the police that they’d use force if they didn’t move. A quote heard is that if they didn’t move “you are going to be subject to the use of force.”

Another shows a police officer calmly dispersing pepper spray onto the faces of those sitting quietly on the ground.

And there are others. The question to me is whether the use of pepper spray was a proper use of force against these protesters. One clue could come from the New York City’s protocol for its police:

“Patrol Guide 212-95
The NYPD’s Patrol Guide Procedure Number 212-95 governs the circumstances in which pepper spray can be used and the proper procedure for using the spray.5 The purpose of Patrol Guide 212-95 is “to inform uniformed members of the service of circumstances under which pepper spray may be intentionally discharged and to record instances where pepper spray has been discharged, intentionally or accidentally.”
Patrol Guide 212-95 lists five situations in which an officer may use pepper spray. Pepper spray may be used when a police officer “reasonably believes” that it is necessary to: 1) protect himself, or another from unlawful use of force (e.g., assault); 2) effect an arrest, or establish physical control of a subject resisting arrest; 3) establish physical control of a subject attempting to flee from arrest or custody; 4) establish physical control of an emotionally disturbed person (EDP); and 5) control a dangerous animal by deterring an attack, to prevent injury to persons or animals present. The Patrol Guide states that officers should aim and discharge pepper spray into a subject’s eyes, nose, and/or mouth in two short one-second bursts at a minimum of three feet for maximum effectiveness.
The Patrol Guide prohibits the use of pepper spray against subjects who passively resist (e.g., going limp, offering no active physical resistance). It further cautions that if possible, pepper spray should not be used against persons who appear to be in frail health, young children, women believed to be pregnant, or persons with known respiratory conditions.”

For those who think the use of pepper spray at U. C. Davis is a proper use of force, please remember that the police of another era thought the use of German Shepherds was a proper use of force against non-violent, chanting people in the civil rights era. Looking back, most Americans believe that using vicious techniques against passive, non-violent people was unwarranted, cruel, and should be punished.

Then there are the candidates in the 2012 election sweepstakes who advocate the use of water boarding on the grounds that “we got useful intelligence” (even when the intelligence professionals say we didn’t). I guess it’s not torture if we get results from its use. I guess it’s not excessive use of force if we get those sitting demonstrators to move by spraying them with noxious chemicals. Well, they were locking their arms together, right? Sounds pretty threatening to me.

If we’re going down this road, I suspect water cannons and rubber bullets and buckshot can’t be far behind.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

2011 Trip East - Part 2

October 24 – NYC to North Wales, PA: It’s only a little over 100 miles from NYC to the Joseph Ambler Inn in North Wales, PA. We left NYC around 11:00 and had an easy drive. It’s always amazing to me both driving into and out of NYC how fast one gets into the countryside and out of the suburbs.

We’re in the Allman Suite for the first four nights we’re here and then change to a room in the building where all the others coming here for the wedding will be housed. The building where the Allman Suite is contains just the suite on the first floor and what has to be a very small room upstairs. You can read in another blog about the vagaries we experienced the first couple of days here. We had nice lunch at the inn – what can be bad about a lobster club sandwich?

In the afternoon, we drove the 20+ miles south into the heart of Philadelphia to visit Yon and his daughter, Amy, at Yon’s apartment on Chestnut. We had a very nice visit with them both. We ate at a deli downstairs, Famous Fourth Street Deli, where the portions were big enough to feed four (no kidding – see the pictures). Drove home around 8:00.

October 25 – North Wales, PA: They have a breakfast buffet here that is good. In mid morning, we went to the closest laundromat to wash our NYC clothes. We then met Carol at Pumpernick’s for lunch and a visit. Back at the inn, we sat around for a while, did a walk around the grounds (which doesn’t take long over its 12 acres). Around 5:30, we went into the bar to get two free drinks and an appetizer as “rewards” for the odd stuff in our room as explained in an earlier blog. We had the lobster mac and cheese. Lordy. If we had been smart, we would have just gone somewhere for gelato and headed for bed. But no. After a stop at Walgreens, we went to the Metropolitan Diner and Bar where the food was good, but we really had little appetite. So, it was back for some TV (yes, the TV was working sort of) and a hot tub (took an hour for the water to heat up) and a climb into our very high bed.

October 26 – North Wales, PA: I went over for breakfast while Marian slept in for a little while longer. We pretty much stayed in the room until it was tie to leave for Marian to meet up with some old friends. I drove her over to the William Penn Inn where she met up with Sue Braun and Joan Stern. They had a leisurely multi-hour lunch to catch up and visit. I returned to the inn where I had lunch and ended up sitting outside for an hour on a bench by our room. Marian returned around 4:00. We made a reservation at Normandy Farm’s The Farmer’s Daughter restaurant and drove over there late. Lovely hotel/resort and excellent restaurant. We had expected to come back to watch the World Series, but saw earlier in the day that it had been postponed. So, it was TV and bed.

October 27 – North Wales, PA: I went over for breakfast while Marian slept in for a little while longer. We left around 11:00 and drove over to where Marian’s uncle Sid lives (about 40 minutes from here), saw his studio apartment, and drove him to lunch at Dawson’s, a nice place nearby. Lovely visit, good conversation. Returning to the inn, we met up with Stephanie and Chris. Had fun with the soon-to-be-married folks and did a Skype conversation with Sylvia as well. Dinner was at the inn. Lovely meal. And then … and then … Game 6 of the World Series!!! Wowie!

October 28 – North Wales, PA: I went over for breakfast while Marian slept in for a little while longer. We packed up for our move to another room/building across the property. Around 11:00, we checked out of our current room and into the new one – also very spacious. The manager was nice enough to transport all our luggage and bags and other stuff over to the new room, which is on the third floor! After settling in, we drove to have lunch at an Indian fast food/bakery, Hot Breads. Very nice. Back here, Rachelle and Ken drove in as we did and then Donna and Jeff. Since DP and Jeff hadn’t had lunch, Marian accompanied them to Pumpernick’s. Tracy called to say they had landed and I went over to the North Wales SEPTA station and picked up Tracy and Robin about 5:00. Traffic was awful. The rehearsal dinner was in the John Roberts House at the inn. Nice buffet dinner. The Hirsch clan sat with the groom’s brother, John, and Leah, a cousin (who lives in Scotland and has done so for 17 years). Great conversations. Then it was GAME SEVEN in the bar.

October 29 – North Wales, PA: Ah, the day of THE snow storm. It snowed all day. It’s October. What is this? Every time I had to get the car, I had to scrape 3 or 4 inches of new, wet snow off the windows. And driving was tough all day and night. After breakfast, I drove Tracy, Janice, Donna, and Marian to Montgomery Mall where Donna had her nails done and others of us walked and shopped. When Donna was done, we dropped Marian off nearby for her hair and nails. The rest of us returned to the inn where I ate lunch with Robin, Tracy, and Jill. Marian called to say she was ready, but there was no power at the salon. I drove over and got her. We then started preparing for the evening wedding. Marian talked to Carol who told her there was no power at the country club where the wedding was to take place. The weight of the heavy, wet snow on trees still fully covered with leaves caused many limbs and trees to fall and to sever power lines.

At the appointed hour, we drove over to the country club. Dark. Some emergency lights. What could have been a disaster turned out to be a very fun evening. The wedding started an hour late. There had been an open bar, but no food, so people were in a very happy mood. They applauded as each bridesmaid came down the aisle and as Stephanie and her parents came down. The man who “officiated,” if that is even the word since anyone can in this state, was a good friend of Chris and Steph and was terrific, lighthearted, humorous, etc.

Bob had gone out earlier and bought a generator at Lowe’s, so there was enough power for the DJ and some minimal accent lights. There was cold food (salads, cheeses) and later, pizza. The DJ kept things going until 10:30. All danced and had a wonderful time. It was probably more special overall than if it had gone on as planned. Back at the inn, the power had been off there since we left, but came back on exactly as we all arrived.

We found out later how lucky we had been to just have the power out for just a few hours. Parts of the area all the way up into Maine were still out of power days later.

October 30 – Point Pleasant Beach and Jackson, NJ: Bob and Carol hosted a nice breakfast at the inn around 9:30. Afterward, Jeff and Donna headed home. I drove Tracy and Robin to the SEPTA station, returned, packed up the car, and we headed the 70 miles east to Point Pleasant Beach and the Tower Cottage. Our hosts, Tony and Maureen Haddad, are exceptional. Tony is an engineer who works on a project at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and stays up there Monday-Thursday before returning to this wonderful B&B for the weekend. The house is beautifully restored by the Haddads from its old life as a rooming house owned by Tony’s dad. We were in the Tower Suite, the only room on the third floor. You’ll have to look at the pictures to get a real feel for the bedroom. All five rooms here are wonderful. This is a place for return visits. One of the best B&Bs we’ve been to and the hosts are out of this world. After getting settled, we went over to the boardwalk just a couple of blocks away and walked almost its length and back. Most things were shuttered, but a few places were open for trinkets or games … lots and lots of games … the claw games included one where you could try to win an iPad 2. Yeh. Bet a lot of those are awarded.

Late afternoon, we drove back westward to Carol and Bob’s for dinner with about all the kin who were still around. Carol did a terrific job with lots of good food. Fun visiting. Good people. Easy to be with. The whole crowd is very gentle. We drove back to our B&B to find baked treats awaiting us in the second floor dining area.

October 31 - Point Pleasant Beach, NJ: Got up for a 9:30 breakfast feast, and I mean feast. Maureen loves to cook and it shows. See the pix for the yummy stuff she served. Tony had to leave us to go to work for the week. We spent over an hour talking with Maureen about family, the area, etc. Then we drove out of town and north on route 71 ending up in Belmar and then Spring Lake to walk along the sea, look at the houses, etc. After a stop back at the B&B for coffee, we went to the nearby boardwalk again and walked its length – about a mile each way. This time we also walked on the beach itself. In the summer, you have to pay to get onto the beach - $8 a day a person. No “free” beaches around here. All pay.

Came back to the B&B. Later, we went to a restaurant on the inlet from the ocean that Maureen suggested, Wharfside, and had good lobster. Maureen had left in the morning to take their daughter to JFK for a flight back to her work at the Global Fund in Geneva. She didn’t get back until after we were already in our room and preparing for our second night in the two-person Jacuzzi. Maureen had picked up some pastries for us. Totally unnecessary. Totally thoughtful. We bathed, robed, and went downstairs to eat. She told us the next day that she normally would have baked us something had she been there!

November 1 - Point Pleasant Beach, NH to Belle Vernon, PA: We knew we wouldn’t be out of the B&B before noon, and that’s what happened. Breakfast was 9:30. Another feast. Way too much to even try to finish. Long conversation with Maureen. Big hugs at the door. And she gave us a bag that contained: (a) 8 scones from breakfast, (b) all the fruit she had in a basket in the dining room (pears, apples, bananas), (c) all the granola bars in that same basket, and (d) a box with two Godiva chocolates! Lordy. Well, fed and happy we headed west. We drove about 350 miles to near the PA and WV border to a Hampton Inn for the evening. We plan to drive to Indianapolis tomorrow and then to St. Louis the next day.

This has been a gentle, wonderful trip enhanced in many ways by all the people we were with in NYC, all those during the wedding week in PA, and our hosts at all the places we stayed – especially the last place in NJ.