Handling Tear Gas (and Pepper Spray)
by Brian Dominick
A brief message to my heroes resisting the white supremacist police state in Ferguson, Mo. I’ve been a protest street medic since 2000. I have treated tear gas patients all over the US, Canada, and even Palestine and have cumulatively spent hours in tear gas clouds without the aid of a proper gas mask. This is how we do it, based on the collective wisdom of generations of dedicated street medics.
The #1 rule for dealing with cops firing chemical weapons: Stay calm, stay strong, stay united. Help each other out. We are invincible together.
Protection from/during exposure: If you don’t have a proper military grade gas mask, the next best thing is a chemical respirator that can handle particulates, fumes, and organic vapors, combined with swim goggles that make a good seal.
If you can’t afford or acquire a respirator, do what I do: wear a bandana soaked in apple cider vinegar plus swim goggles, with a regular paper/fabric dust mask underneath the bandana if you can (for comfort). The vinegar filters the tear gas pretty well.
When you encounter gas, stay calm. That’s the most important thing. Do not run. Help others get out of the clouds. Don’t bother crouching; the shit doesn’t rise.
Treatment after exposure: The most basic treatment for tear gas is FRESH AIR. Get out of the cloud, far enough away, breath and recover. This will do the trick for most exposures to standard CS tear gas, as many of you have already learned. You’re stronger than this shit!
Flushing eyes out water is effective for severe exposure. A slow steady stream if you have time, or a relatively hard burst if you’re in a hurry. This is a demonstration of a proper eye flush:
The other remedy we use is a 50/50 blend of liquid antacid (Maalox or generic, plain/unflavored) with water. You won’t need to carry a ton of it. Just enough to squirt in your friends eyes and your own. It can also be rubbed onto skin for some relief. And it can be used in the mouth.
All of the above works for pepper spray and tear gas mixed with pepper spray as well, which the pigs like to break out after protesters start getting used to normal CS tear gas.
Here is a more detailed resource. (I’m the medic in the lower-right corner of that page, performing a treatment we NO LONGER RECOMMEND for street use.) Everything I’ve explained above will make you 10x more effective in the streets and able to handle 99% of chemical weapons exposures and rebound to fight another day!
Stay safe, stay strong, and stand tall. The world is on your side, and you are so much stronger than the cops.
Free food for protesters prepared in front of the burnt gas station in Ferguson.
[photo credits: John Fleissner]
I hope they do realize the Spanish revolution in ‘36 put a Fascist dictator in power that was back by Adolf Hitler. Just some food for thought.
some food for thought. read a book instead of skimming a wikipedia article for 1 minute and then replying.
the 36 in question isn’t the fascist coup, but the uprising of Spanish anarchists, communists, and republicans against both the fascist coup.
I’m embarrassed for you, bruh
All the following dates were either revolutions or riots. The ‘36 revolution in Spain was against the Republicans who were already in power. Even if the leftists had sided with the Republicans it doesn’t change the fact it was a Facist revolution.
Your position being that whoever put up these dates is looking to celebrate the ‘68 anti-capitalist uprising in France and the Fascist victory in the Spanish Civil War?
Free food for protesters prepared in front of the burnt gas station in Ferguson.
[photo credits: John Fleissner]
'The colonized subject discovers reality and transforms it through his praxis, his deployment of violence and his agenda for liberation' 1
We are writing to express our unconditional support of the Rebellion in Ferguson, MO, a working class city of 67% Black residents and 94% white police force. On Saturday August 8, 2014 Michael ‘Mike Mike’ Brown, an unarmed 18 year old Black teenager, was executed by an unnamed police officer. Following the execution by multiple gunshots, the people of Ferguson— friends, neighbors, and family of Michael Brown— converged to mourn their beloved and express their rage in a uprising that began with powerful, documented analysis and agitation.1
We support the rebellion and uprising of the people of Ferguson, MO because, in the words of DeAndre Smith2, this type of response is “exactly what’s supposed to happen when injustice is happening in your community.”
We want to be perfectly clear that we believe resistance to police is always justified. The police exist to protect and serve whiteness, an ideology of supremacy that needs to be abolished in order to obtain freedom. Ferguson has given us evidence of this straight from the horse’s mouth, as police with riot gear and barking dogs yelled to demonstrators: “All you fucking animals, bring it.”
We reject the notion that the unnamed officer who shot dead Mike Brown was a bad apple, a case to be reviewed. The problem is not of a rogue police officer acting out of line; the problem is the police. The modern police force evolved from slave patrols in the 1700s and continue to systematically control, assault, and murder Black communities. As DeAndre Smith recognized, this is a problem rooted in economics. This country was built by enslaved Blacks on the plantation and made possible by the theft of Indigenous land, and continues to thrive in the neoliberal present day with more Blacks now in prison or confined in ghettos, being killed by police. Indeed, as Frantz Fanon says, ‘the colonist derives his validity, i.e., his wealth, from the colonial system.’
Furthermore, we reject the bourgeois myth of respectability that claims Michael Brown’s life is not worthy of being mourned unless he was in some way ‘innocent’, when our racist society has systematically stripped Black bodies of innocence and marked them as ‘criminal’. We celebrate each existence and mourn the death of every Black life lost. We stand against the ideology of whiteness that allows for the devaluing of Black lives.
The government response in Ferguson has been to create a barbaric, militarized police state working to sustain itself and quell the people. They have been trained by the Israeli Defense Force which maintains an Apartheid state and a genocidal program of forced removal of Palestinians from their historical land.3 Media blackout, rubber bullets and teargas deployed on assemblies of people and directly into residential neighborhoods, warzone gear, ear piercing crowd control tactics, cancelling the first day of school. These responses are the direct responsibility of the police, and we strongly reject media claims that state otherwise. Police declared a no fly zone in Ferguson for the reason of “providing a safe environment for law enforcement activities” —- they have made their interests clear. That is why the people of St. Louis and Ferguson have not backed down. They militantly retain their dignity and continue to fight back with efforts resulting in St. Louis Police having been pulled from the ground in Ferguson.
How many more black lives? — Michael Brown, shot dead by police on 8/8/14; Ezell Ford, shot dead by police 8/11/14; John Crawford, shot dead by police 8/7/14; Eric Garner, killed in a chokehold by police on 7/17/14: lives stolen, Black August.
Renisha McBride, Islan Nettles, Trayvon Martin: killed in the name of white supremacy, misogyny and transphobia. Lives stolen, Black August.*
The lines have been drawn, we refuse to turn down in the face of racist, capitalist violence. The people of St. Louis are standing up, this rebellion is part of an agenda for liberation— and through organizing, rebellions can become revolutions. Communities everywhere are working against violence, criminalization, and displacement of working class people; this is the time to build connections in struggle. Once again we look to DeAndre Smith, “I mean, I don’t think it’s over, honestly. I think they just got a taste of what fighting back means.”
1) Quote from Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”. Photo of Ferguson protestor returning a teargas canister to sender
2) Link to video of pre-riot agitation
3) Link to video of Smith’s analysis & transcription
”I’m DeAndre Smith. And this is exactly what’s supposed to happen when injustice is happening in your community. When you have kids getting killed for nothing, when they’re out here minding their business… you can lock ‘em up, you can teach them, you can mold them, at the same time, you ain’t got to kill them. He ain’t got no gun in his hands. Why you kill him? You said Trayvon had a hoodie on, you didn’t know what was going on with him. He didn’t have no hoodie on. His hands was up when you shot him! So what’s your excuse?”
“I was here, I was out here. That’s all I can say. I was out here with the community. That’s all I can say. I was out here standing side-by-side with the community. I mean, I don’t think it’s over, honestly. I think they just got a taste of what fighting back means. I think they got a taste of… (other voice inaudible) … IN St. Louis. The last state to abolish slavery. And they think they still have power over certain things? I believe so, cuz they doing stuff like this, and getting away with it. People ain’t sayin nothing! They not doing nothing, across the country. They not going for it here! Saint Louis ain’t going for it!
“This is how they eat here. This is how they receive money. Businesses. Taxes. Police stopping people. Giving ‘em tickets, taking ‘em to court, locking ‘em up. That’s how they make money in St. Louis. Right? Traffic…everything is all about money in St. Louis, right? So when you stop their flow of income. When you stop their…their, their, whole everything, their business, what they organized, they have certain things in a certain way. Right, (making quotation marks with fingers) “secret society” type of deal, right? We’re gonna eat and you guys are gonna starve. Gentrification, put you in a certain neighborhood by yourself, and see if you can starve in a proper way. It’s not gonna happen, not in St Louis.”
4) Report on St. Louis Police Department visit to Israel
5) Sentence structure referencing Marilyn Buck’s poem ‘Black August’
Stop demonizing riots.-@zellieimani
He’s talking about the Haymarket Riot of course. There were others later, but Haymarket is one of those shining moments in revolutionary history.
there will be fire
And the babies cease alarm as mothers
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open
we are the ones we have been waiting for.
poem by June Jordan
photos from Ferguson, by @Antonio_French and Robert Cohen @kodacohen
Anonymous said: what are you trying to read, out of interest :)?
"Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s" by Michael Omi and Howard Winant.
I’ve been meaning to read it for ages, now seemed like a good time. It’s very good.
This is the theory book to read on race. You’ll always see it cited within the first few pages of articles/books on race.