Image of the day: 84-year-old woman hit with pepper spray, Occupy Seattle

Image at left: "Seattle activist Dorli Rainey, 84, reacts after being hit with pepper spray during an Occupy Seattle protest on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at Westlake Park." photographer Joshua Trujillo captured this shot, along with other shots of Seattle Police officers using pepper spray to disperse a crowd.

One woman at the scene said she was two months pregnant, and was rushed to a waiting ambulance after being hit with pepper spray.

Did you see Rachel Maddow's moving monologue last night about this image? You should.

(via Dangerous Minds)


        1. And that, by the way, was NOT internet sarcasm. It’s because there usually is NOT an Exxon ad with the commentary. 

    1. ChicagoD: I watch Maddow nearly every night, that ad is on several times each show… on the one hand, yes, it’s incredibly annoying… on the other, I smile a little thinking it’s Exxon’s money well wasted trying to influence my opinion (and likely, like-minded opinions of other liberals who watch Maddow).  Also, there was a natural gas ad immediately following Rachel’s story on fracking and  flammable water… d’oh!

      Let them waste their advertising budget.  I won’t be swayed.

  1. “We’re human beings!…There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” –Mario Savio

  2. Wow, so police really think veterans and and elderly ladies are dangerous enough to warrant this response of force?

    1. imagine if it was an elderly lady veteran (as the categories are not mutually exclusive!) They’d have to bring out the big guns, then!

    2. I was at the Bush protests in Portland back in the day, when families and little kids got this kind of treatment from police.

      I wonder if anyone still thinks the extreme ills in American society magically go away once you elect anything that’s Not The Bush Family.

  3. I’d love to see the cops get pepper sprayed in retaliation…you wouldn’t get caught, they’d just turn their heads and you could get away…just saying.

  4. And what will be the financial cost for the police force and lawsuits in the end? Seems like a lot of expense (and free PR to OWS) for peaceful citizens exercising their Constitutional rights. I bet as soon as the TPers and Rove hear about this they’ll be doing what they can to help to speak out for our freedoms.

    1. I am thinking you mean that last part sarcastically since the TBers…I mean the TPers think the OWS people are actually harming the economy.  As for Rove…well..I have nothing to say about that.

  5. Some cops must think they’re protecting something. Some must go home, put their heads in their hands and wonder what they’ve done. Some are just in it for th brawl.

  6. I’m happy to divert some of Exxon’s cash to funding the Rachel Maddow program by logging a view of their commercial. But the video that came up for me was about the Cal protest, not the Seattle one.

  7. I hear people around me regularly saying things to the effect that Occupy protesters–even the 84-year old women–are just getting what they deserve for trespassing, or refusing to comply with police orders.

    And as appalling as these statements are I think in some cases they’re made by people who are merely misinformed and who, if they had a better understanding of the issues and the specific situations, would be much more sympathetic–would, probably, even be outraged.

    This occurred to me this morning while listening to NPR–that supposed bastion of liberalism–on the way to work. I’ve heard repeated stories of Occupy protesters being ousted from various places by police, but I’ve never heard NPR reporters interview a protester or explain what the Occupy movement hopes to achieve. For those who get most, if not all, of their news from NPR–and I know people like that–it seems like the Occupy movement really is nothing but a bunch of homeless troublemakers with no real purpose. And it occurred to me that, for most corporate media outlets, there is real value in maintaining that belief.

    I wonder, though, if things will eventually reach a tipping point, if there will finally be enough outrage that sources like NPR will finally start reporting what’s really going on.

    1. And as appalling as these statements are I think in some cases they’re made by people who are merely misinformed and who, if they had a better understanding of the issues and the specific situations, would be much more sympathetic–would, probably, even be outraged.

      I agree that the people making these sorts of statements are often normal, reasonable sort of people in most situations but I’m not so sure they’re opposed to OWS because they’re misinformed and I’m not so sure that a better understanding would make them more sympathetic.  My impression is that many people opposed to OWS are essentially good people who want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend everything is hunky dory and the world is headed in a good direction.  What upsets them about OWS is exactly what OWS is about in the first place: that things aren’t hunky dory or going in the right direction.

      Wishful thinking is one of the most powerful forces in human affairs.  People will fight OWS simply to have an opportunity to pretend the status quo is all right.

    2.  Look at who pays most of NPR’s bills. (Hint: It’s not “Listerners Like You™.)  Then their routine cowardice regarding Occupy will start to make a bit more sense.

    3. Don’t hold your breath waiting for NPR to do that. Ask anyone who works behind the scenes, that place is as corporate as the rest of the MSM. You all just haven’t caught on to the fact…..yet.

  8. Head over to and read some of the comments from bystanders who actually saw this happen. Several of them are talking about how the police properly handled a very small group of aggressive protesters who were directly standing in the middle of traffic while being careful not to involve or pepper spray bystanders or people simply looking on.

        1. I very much don’t want to know what those geniuses would consider to be “not careful” handling.

          Great Dog Almighty.

        2. If you can’t vouch for the commenters, why are you citing them?  Cite people with evidence of their presence at the site and who are willing to put their real names on their accounts.  I.e. journalists.  (Including amateur journalist bloggers, I don’t think you should need “professional credentials” to be considered a journalist.)

          1. Or priests?

            Rev. Rich Lang, pastor of the University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle was pepper sprayed in Tuesday’s march. (…)

            Lang said he broke up a series of altercations between protesters and police before he was pepper sprayed in the face by six officers. (…)

            Lang wrote a letter to explain what happened and to urge his fellow clergy members to get involved in the movement.

            “I walked between the lines, I was alone, I was in full clergy dress, everyone knew who I was and what I was…six officers turned their spray on me thoroughly soaking my alb and then one officer hit me full throttle in the face,” he wrote.

            “My question to my clergy colleagues is this: Where are you?”

            Toronto Star

        3. Were they perhaps aggressive because they were protecting the little old lady who was in the middle there perhaps?

  9. I would think a more effective way to protest would be for everyone, and I mean ALL the OWS movements, to pay a visit to Congress.  That’s where the problem is.  The Wall Street excess was enabled by Congress.  Businesses are greedy by nature, that’s why they survive and that’s capitalism in action.  But societies are not businesses and need to be protected from abuse and that is the job of Congress.

    1. I would think a more effective way to protest would be for everyone, and I mean ALL the OWS movements, to pay a visit to Congress.  That’s where the problem is.

      If it’s wrong for the government to give away tax payers money, then it’s wrong for corporations to take it.


      We can vote out our politicians.  Who holds the corporations responsible?  Not you, apparently.

      1. “If it’s wrong for the government to give away tax payers money, then it’s wrong for corporations to take it.”
        Corporations have no soul or empathy, they don’t care except about the bottom line.  Expecting them to “do the right thing” is futile.  It will never happen. Period.This is why we have a government.  You can complain all you want but the nature of corporations is about money.Congress is the problem.  Congress can change things. Corporations will only do what is necessary to make money.  The only way to change their actions is by electing people to congress who will work for the people and not the corporations.  Face it, if Congress had the balls, they wouldn’t have bailed out the banks.  Corporations didn’t take the bailouts, it was given to them…by Congress.  Complaining that corporations are greedy is like complaining that the rain is wet.

        1. “Corporations have no soul or empathy, they don’t care except about the bottom line. Expecting them to “do the right thing” is futile.  ”

          Then I shall begin my life of crime forthwith.  I shall rob and steal and plunder everything I can get my hands on.  And when I’m arrested and brought before a judge, I will say “But your honor, I’m naturally greedy.  All  care about is money.  Expecting me to do the right thing is futile!”

          It’s bulletproof, I tell you!

          1.  B of A’s board of directors just called.  You’re hired.

            Please report to work at 9 AM Monday.  Dress is business formal.

        2. Corporations aren’t greedy: they don’t have any emotions at all. People are greedy, and they use excuses like “corporations are greedy” to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. I am not required to buy their excuse, and I’m certainly not required to repeat it on their behalf.

    2. You have that exactly backwards. Congress works for the rich, period. If you want to influence Congress, go to their managers.

    3. Congress are the servants of Wall St.  You’ve got it backwards.  Surely you can google “campaign finance” and “lobbying”?

    4. Businesses are greedy by nature, that’s why they survive and that’s capitalism in action.  But societies are not businesses and need to be protected from abuse and that is the job of Congress.

      They’re not “greedy by nature.”  They’re not ANYTHING by nature.  Corporations are not natural.  They are artifacts, constructs, figments, they are artificial.  That means that there’s no laws of nature dictating how corporations behave, corporations act on the orders of human beings.

      Henry Ford could have paid lower wages — MUCH lower wages — than he did.  Because he knew that by paying his employees more they would buy his own cars and advertise them all over the country.  The higher wages allowed employees of Ford Motor Company to, in many cases, rise from the working class into the middle class.  Their disposable income they could spend on better houses, the new-fangled kitchen appliances, and all the rest making others rich in the process, rich enough to buy new cars.  A rising tide lifts all boats; giving more money to people who want to spend it enriches and enlivens the whole economy.

      Henry Ford was a long-term view capitalist.  He could have paid his employees as little as possible for the sake of maximizing profit but he didn’t see his role as a profiteer, he saw his role as an industrialist*.  He wanted to add value to society and he did so by explicitly NOT adhering to the principles of market fundamentalism.  Contrast to the more modern focus on short-term profits and stock gains which puts us in an inevitable race to the bottom: for a company to win the short game it has to hamstring its long game, and benefits and harms to society barely factor into the short game at all.

      We deserve a better kind of capitalism and it’s entirely realizable.  Human greed is the only thing standing in the way.

      *OK, he also saw himself as the scourge of the world-wide Jewish banking conspiracy, so he clearly wasn’t perfect.

      1. I beg to differ.  Corporations answer to the bottom line.  You may not call it greed but it’s the same effect.  Yes, it would be nice if all corporations were run by forward thinking benevolent owners but that’s not the case.  If it was, then we wouldn’t need laws governing them.

        Yes, you can find benevolent corporate owners here and there but in the minority.  The rest are not going to change just because you don’t like it.  They will only change if leadership in our government demands it.

        This anger towards corporations has me baffled.  The anger should be directed towards the politicians and corporate boards, and ultimately towards the masses who stand by and allow themselves to be screwed.

        1. You’re not making any sense.  “Corporate boards” are the ones making decisions on behalf of corporations.  If people should be mad at corporate boards then ipso facto they should be mad at corporations.

          And “answering to the bottom line” is a fairly recent development in history.  Bell Labs, despite their monopoly status, spent a huge amount of money over the 20th century doing basic research that benefits everyone — even though it didn’t directly profit them.  Warren Buffett has maintained his long-view strategy of buying stock in undervalued companies (undervalued compared to Berkshire Hathaway’s analyses of how much the companies are worth in the real economy) and holding it forever, not until it bumps off half a point.  Ford was one example, here are two more, and I’m not out I just don’t have space to do a history of the 20th century U.S. economy.

          The relentless focus on short-term profits as opposed to building long-term value is a recent phenomenon.  Think the 1980’s, think the movie “Wall Street.”  There are no laws of nature dictating that corporations must operate in unethical, anti-human ways.  That takes human greed.

          When you respond, do me a favor. Any time you’re think of saying “corporations do this” or “corporations do that” stop and think for a moment. Corporations are not agents, they are abstractions. They cannot do anything. So when you’re about to say “corporations respond to the bottom line” for God’s sake stop and think: who is it that actually responds to the bottom line?

        2. The politicians who are paid by lobbyists and then make policies with a mind toward which company is going to pay them a fortune to lobby once they leave the public sector?  C’mon…yeesh.

      2. Henry Ford was a confusing fucking guy.  He believed he was creating a worker’s utopia even as he was simultaneously being socially forward and oppressive at the SAME TIME.  Dare to try and Unionize?  Ford’s men will beat you ON THE PREMISES and throw you into the street and then beat you some more.  Sure, he hired black workers and paid them a high wage…but he also did it to squeeze out other workers, not necessarily for equality purposes.  And if you lived on one of his sites where he was trying to enforce his utopic view of a tranquil village, well you’d better be buying from the company store if you know what’s good for you.

        The book ‘Fordlandia’ details a lot of Ford’s bizarre quirks.  On the one hand, he was very smart and forward thinking.  In other ways, he was batshit insane.  He’s not a villain, he’s not a hero…he was a complex actor in history that I find fascinating, though I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted to work for him…or worse, have been his son.

  10. for some reason, the link to maddow’s commentary takes me to a different video on the site, and i can’t seem to find it by digging around, either. anyone got a better link? thank you.

  11. As a non-USian I’m not a bit suprised that something like that happens in the US to peaceful protesters.  People around the world get the impression that the citizens of the USA and their government think that violence is a viable solution for most of their problems – just look at the US foreign policy. Does anyone wonder that similar strategies get used for domestic problems?

  12. “Service, Pride, Dedication.”  That is the Seattle Police Department Motto.  I don’t see “Don’t Attack the Defenseless” in there, so really, what choice did they have?


    I’m not saying that the woman did not get hit with pepper spray, or that she should have or anything like that.

    The serious protestors carry bottles of water mixed with Maalox with them to counteract pepper spray.  You can see the spray bottle in the guy’s hand.  If you look at the woman’s face it is obvious that he just sprayed a ton of it in her eyes.  I bet if you sprayed me in the face with that I’d look pretty bad too.

    1. So because someone who was prepared to be pepper sprayed decided to show human compassion we should ignore the fact the police pepper sprayed an 84 yr old woman.

      As more and more people are being pepper sprayed, because police have decided to use up what they have in stock to get fresh supplies, you will find more people with the home made antidote. 

      Let me pepper spray you, then we’ll talk about if the antidote is what makes it look bad or not.

  14. I’m so glad those heroic Seattle cops were there to protect us from this horrible, vicious, 84 year old woman.  Why, who knows what sort of malfeasance she might have gotten up to had the thin blue line not been there to stanch the grey wave of doom!

  15. The people who rise to power in large organizations of any kind, whether government or business, tend to have fewer moral qualms about doing what it takes to have their way. Unless the more “moral” leader is that much more capable than the ruthless one, or the rules of the game are set up to prevent some kinds of behavior, the ruthless one will win in the battle for power. Ruthless leaders will make ruthless decisions to benefit their organization, unless they are somehow restricted in the actions they can take. And once in power, the ruthless sociopaths work to change the rules so there are fewer restrictions on their behavior. The corporations themselves are not evil, but the scope of power they give to evil individuals is dangerous to society.

    1.  The city council really thinks they’re in charge of the city, and they aren’t. So I say the cunning plan has been the SPDs doing.

  16. 96 year old Barbara Fritchie to Stonewall Jackson as she hung the Union flag from her window as he passed by, “Shoot if you must my old gray head, but spare my country’s flag” she said.
    Dorli Rainey is the 21st century Barbara Fritchie. I just hope the American people get to see this face of OWS.

  17. I wish to echo this statement:

    That means that there’s no laws of nature dictating how corporations behave, corporations act on the orders of human beings.

    We had a revolution, incomplete though it was, and it was significantly about restraining the rapaciousness of corporations that had been answerable only to a sovereign, and to that sovereign’s deity. The result was the demotion of corporations to the status of creatures answerable explicitly, via the grant or revocation of charters, to the people, in the form of parliaments. Corporations are legal fictions created by legislatures, in the U.S., not by god.

    One might say that most of capitalism in the U.S. is also a creation of the people, via law. Patents are little fiefdoms, manufactured out of thin air. Copyrights gain the status of United States Code via treaty, as is the US Senate’s privilege. We patent techniques, not ideas, in general, as Mr. Jefferson inveighed, and much of precedent and law echoes similar ideas. Copyrights were established with a reasonable length, once renewable, so to encourage “the useful arts.” These are all compromises, between public benefit and private gain, between individual rights and the general good.

    I agree with Occupy Wall Street in this sense: much of this legal tradition has been overturned, either juridically, or in effect. The Santa Clara decision made corporations into persons. Copyright has been extended so greatly as to pose a threat to all of culture and creativity, in the most absurd ways, and at the behest of a few corporations. The US patent system is patently broken. Salaries of high officials have become obscene. The SEC has yet to utter even a timorous sound in response to the looting that seems mundane on Wall Street. The only word to describe the crony capitalism that is everywhere is kleptocracy.

    Protestors in San Francisco yesterday occupied a Bank of America office at 50 California Street. Good. It’s high time.

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