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Pop Rocks: A Brief Cinematic History of Lachrymatory Agents

By now you've seen the photographs and videos from UC Davis last Friday, where brave campus police officers defended themselves from a group of seated and docile OWS protestors the only way their extended law enforcement training would allow: by dousing them in pepper spray.

The chancellor of the University of California, Davis, said Monday that its police chief had been placed on administrative leave, three days after two campus police officers sprayed seated protesters with pepper spray during a demonstration aligned with Occupy Wall Street.
The use of pepper spray came after students and other protesters set up tents on campus in a show of support for the Occupy movement and in solidarity with earlier protests at the University of California, Berkeley.

The reactions to it -- cries of police brutality and pledges to reconvene protesters on a larger scale -- seemed to mirror the reactions in New York, Seattle and elsewhere when the police quelled recent protests with force.

People seem genuinely shocked by this turn of events, but disproportionate responses to nonviolent demonstrations don't occur in a vacuum. You may choose to blame a law enforcement culture increasingly hostile to free expression and those without the means to defend themselves, I choose to blame Hollywood. It's what Bob Dole would have wanted.

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

If Ashton Kutcher was really capable of time travel, which would he be more likely to go into the past and do?

1) Kill Hitler. 2) Change his philandering ways in order to preserve his fairy-tale romance with Demi Moore. 3) Punch his agent in the throat for even suggesting he appear in a bomb like The Butterfly Effect.

Devil in the Flesh 2 (2000)

I'll be honest, I wanted to use a clip from Little Nicky called, unironically, "The Best of Little Nicky," which is a bit like Dachau was the "best" concentration camp. But it didn't actually have the pepper spray scene. So you'll have to settle for this.

The Hot Chick (2002)

This movie could have been nothing more than Rob Schneider getting shot in the face and groin with various chemical warfare agents for 90 minutes and it would consistently be in my top 10 films of all time.

School For Scoundrels (2006)

I was at a pretty crowded bar with a couple friends one night when someone set off a can of mace near one of the a/c vents. After several minutes of coughing that made the place sound like a plague ward, the bar cleared out. Except for us. We slid into one of the now available booths.

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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This seems a bit excessive. I mean, once you've already bitten a hole in a guy's face, I'd say he's pretty much incapacitated.

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