Pepper-spray inventor: "It's fashionable to use chemical agents on people who have an opinion"

Amy Goodman interviews Kamran Loghman, inventor of modern pepper spray and developer of police procedures for its use. Loghman regrets his work today, and says it's "fashionable" to use chemical agents on "people who have an opinion":

It is becoming more and more fashionable right now, this day and age, to use chemical on people who have an opinion. And that to me is a complete lack of leadership both in the police department and other people who cannot really deal with the root of the problem and they want to spray people to quiet them down. And it’s really not supposed to be that. It’s not a thing that solves any problem nor is it something that quiets people down.”

Pepper Spray Developer: It Has Become Fashionable to Use Chemicals on People with Opinions (via Naked Capitalism)


  1. Silly hand-wringing civil rights advocates. Pepper-spray is just a food product! Just like waterboarding is a kind of beverage service!

    1. It’s easy to read the title and rattle off something sarcastic but if you read the article, he says this isn’t why he invented the stuff. 

      1. (Sarcasm off)

        Yes, I know pepper spray was never actually intended as a food product. I was making fun of a recent statement by a Fox News anchor who has apparently never been assaulted with a painful, blinding chemical.

        1. My roommate’s friend in college didn’t believe that pepper spray was just weaponized hot sauce. So we microwaved up some taquitos and sprayed them with the stuff. Spicy, and tasted just like (slightly foamy) tabasco sauce. I’m sure the name brand stuff is more potent (hers was some stocking stuffer device for paranoid parents) but it stands to reason that you can eat it. After cutting jalapenos and rubbing my eye, I can say I wouldn’t want to be sprayed with the stuff though :)

          1. Yep.  Ain’t that neat?  Do bear in mind that mace is not the same thing.  You do not want to eat it.

  2. Cory, thank you so much for posting this.  I read something about this yesterday elsewhere and just thought it was so fitting that the inventor of pepper-spray would be disturbed to see how it’s being abused to stifle freedom of assembly, speech, etc.

    And thank you Kamran Loghman for bravely putting your proverbial foot down… and love and respect to Amy Goodman who I consider one of the greatest journalists of all time.

      1. And in breaking news, the inventor of the “severe tire damage” device died yesterday after suffering a massive heart attack, and the ambulance that was transporting him to the hospital accidentally drove the wrong way out of his apartment driveway and got all of its tires slashed.

        From the poetic justice department.

  3. Here’s former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper saying pretty much the same thing:

    tl;dr: It was created with good intentions and it surely has it’s place in law enforcement, but disbursing peaceful protestors is not that place.

  4. So, the original plan for pepper spray was just like the taser, to give police a less injurious/lethal  alternative for exactly those same situations where injurious or lethal force is justified. I would have no objection to the use of tasers, pepper spray, tear gas, or even rubber bullets if they were only used in those situations where more injurious or lethal force would be justified.

    Thank you Ms. Goodman for giving Mr. Loghman a chance to tell us the truth about how less than lethal weapons, and please note that he called pepper spray a weapon, are being used contrary to their intended purposes.

    1. Thompson had it right. Give the cops peppers spray instead of guns and train them to use it only in the case a firearm would be used. Anyone dumb enough to mess with the cops would be met with massive and overwhelming retaliation of any and all available weapons including guns, tanks, firebombs, crotch shredding K9’s, EVERYTHING. Show no mercy. Cops have a bad habit of escalating situations. See the WTO and OWS protests for an example. People tend to turn violent once the pigs start mercilessly beating and stomping people. Im a Conservative and I support OWS right to protest. May not agree with all of what they say but I will fight for their right to say it without harm from the Storm trooping thugs.

      1. The only Thompson with which I’m familiar invented an almost comically powerful sub-machinegun that came to define the 1920’s.

        It was also designed to spray crowds.

        1. Not quite- it was designed to spray trenches as a “trench broom”, which tended to be full of armed and not so peaceful men, who tend to become unhappy when sprayed with said device. It just gained notoriety for spraying people during the Prohibition.

          It’s a lead supplement, essentially!

    1. Probably because Grizzlys don’t often use drugs or carry firearms.

      Not that any of the OWS recipients were, either. But if we go back to the original rationale of a less-lethal option where firearms would otherwise be used, then it does start to make some sense. The way it’s /actually/ being used, though, makes no sense at all.

      1. Well it disorients and distracts, and i guess that was the reason for its use that has gone memetic. It distracted the demonstrators so that the uniforms could get in and break them up with little effective resistance.

      2. It’s kind of disingenuous to claim that nobody in OWS was doing drugs. Not that it would justify the police’s behavior, but let’s keep ourselves honest, okay?

    2. It’s definitely not “twice the strength of the product used to stop grizzly bears.” Bear spray is usually around 8 million on the Scoville scale. Twice that would be 16 million, which is as high as the scale goes: pure capsaicin. Law enforcement pepper spray is, at the very upper bound, 2 million Scovilles.

  5. Tin soldiers and Nixon coming
    We’re finally on our own
    This summer, I hear the drumming, four dead in Ohio

    Hopefully Neil Young was not being prophetic for 2012,
    but it sure feels very deja vu.

    or as George Carlin said
    deja vu= been here before
    vuja de= never been here before
    vu ja doo doo
    never been in sh&t this deep before

    1. vuja de= never been here before

      I know this is just a quote of a joke, but if I may wax pedantic for a moment — this is the ‘net, after all — there is actually a term for this: jamais vu, the feeling that everything is totally unfamiliar, despite being in totally familiar surroundings (sort of the opposite of deja vu).

      I can’t say that I’m normally prone to deja vu experiences, but I have experienced jamais vu on occasion (usually when I’m deep in thought and something distracts me out of it). It’s really a strange feeling, to be sitting in someplace familiar (like your office at work) and, for a moment, have no idea where you are, or even who you are.

      1. I’ve had that happen on at least two occasions while driving my car. Suddenly I realized I had missed my exit half an hour ago. And I was neither on drugs nor distracted by a cell phone, listening to NPR or anything else, I just zoned out.

  6. Does this mean they’re going to pepper spray the models at next year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion show?  (It would be a lot more entertaining.)

      1. If you lick them before and after they’ve been pepper sprayed, you will indeed find that they have become… “hotter.”

  7. I bet you’re a bot, aren’t you? I don’t know… maybe it’s because we were talking about comment-spam the other day, but you really sound like a bot.

    Now, I hope this isn’t like that old Twilight-Zone episode where the girl didn’t know she was a robot that her childless parents had built, because I just couldn’t deal with that kind of responsibility.

  8. “It saved 100s of thousands of lives in the last twenty years?”

    You mean US cops and a couple of armed citizens  would have shot 27 people each day, if they hadn’t opted to use pepper spray?

    I kinda doubt these numbers.

    1. You mean US cops and a couple of armed citizens would have shot 27 people each day, if they hadn’t opted to use pepper spray? I kinda doubt these numbers.

      That figure is just for LA.

  9. I don’t agree it’s used against people who have an opinion. It’s used against people who refuse to listen to authority. Of course, that’s the larger, stickier issue: what should be the rights or consequences of civil disobedience. 

  10. If there weren’t pepper spray for cops to use, then some Occupiers would be doing the Taser breakdance instead, or having their compliance gained with a baton prod. The intent to enrage the people rather than contain the violent doesn’t rest on Mr. Loghran’s shoulders. As always, intent and guilt belongs in the hand that pulls the trigger.

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