- Chicago police and federal officials have provided some of their most candid comments to date on how they expect to handle potentially violent protests surrounding the upcoming G-8 and NATO summits here in the spring, urging the local business community to remain calm as the events approach.
A law enforcement panel addressed downtown property managers and other professionals Wednesday night at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, touching on topics from moving boats from Burnham Harbor near McCormick Place to whether tear gas will be used on demonstrators.
More than likely, it’s a ‘no’ on the tear gas, said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, despite the likelihood of some protesters coming to town to cause trouble.
“I’m trying to figure out how tear gas helps you control a crowd,” McCarthy said with a hint of incredulity. “It’s never really become clear to me.”
Well Gar, aside from the fact that Chicago hasn't used tear gas in 20 or more years, CS agents causes the mucous membranes to go into overdrive. Here's a scientific explanation:
- The chemical reacts with moisture on the skin and in the eyes, causing a burning sensation and the immediate forceful and uncontrollable shutting of the eyes. Effects usually include tears streaming from the eyes, profuse coughing, exceptional nasal discharge that is full of mucus, burning in the eyes, eyelids, nose and throat areas, disorientation, dizziness and restricted breathing. It will also burn the skin where sweaty and or sunburned. In highly concentrated doses it can also induce severe coughing and vomiting. Almost all of the immediate effects wear off within an hour (such as exceptional nasal discharge and profuse coughing), although the feeling of burning and highly irritated skin may persist for hours. Affected clothing will need to be washed several times or thrown away.
But as we stated, Chicago hasn't used CS as a riot control agent in decades. We've used OC-based agents with varying degrees of effectiveness. While use of an gas is a cause for concern due to air intakes on buildings being located near ground level, the absolute restriction of their use in a riot situation is troubling to say the least.