My Choice for Person of the Year: Pepper Spray

With Time magazine set to announce its Person of the Year this week, we asked Yahoo! Voices contributors for their picks.

COMMENTARY | Since 1927, Time magazine has selected a “Person of the Year” that has included respected political figures and captains of industry as well as notorious individuals such as Adolf Hitler in 1938 and Iran’s Ayatullah Kohmeini in 1979. But the award, which is set to be unveiled live on “The Today Show” Wednesday, Dec. 14, does not have to go to a single individual or even a human as the 1982 cover proclaimed The Computer as “Machine of the Year.”

2011 has proven to be a year of extreme upheaval which I feel would be appropriately encapsulated with a single item: pepper spray. The argument could be made that this is the food product of the year, you know, essentially. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly equated the chemical weapon as nothing more than something you might put on a salad.

Pepper spray ended up catapulting the nation’s attention on the Occupy Wall Street movement. When NYPD deputy inspector Anthony Bologna used pepper spray on young women who had assembled to make a public point, not only did the OWS movement gain more exposure, pepper spray itself began to make its own mark on the year.

The news of other police departments using this chemical weapon on Occupy protestors spread across the country including the Seattle police officer who sprayed 84-year-old Dorli Rainey and then Portland police made headlines with the iconic image of a young lady taking pepper spray in the face. Lt. John Pike really took pepper spray to another level when he nonchalantly sprayed nonviolent protesters on the campus of UC Davis. The image of Pike using pepper spray spun off into a wide variety of Pike spraying people throughout history and other random items.

Pepper spray was not limited to the Occupy protests though, civilians have decided pepper spray could give them an advantage. Black Friday shoppers decided pepper spray would help garner the discount they deserve, and schools across the country are experiencing a new found appreciation for pepper spray.

With a list of Time contenders for the 2011 title that include worthy entities such as the Occupy Wall Street movement itself, Steve Jobs and The Fukushima 50, pepper spray has a way of really defining who we are as a country, for better or, in this case, worse. The apathy shown by both the police department and the civilians who have turned to this chemical is a sad commentary, but accurate enough to be named “Person of the Year.”

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *