If you haven’t heard of Lt. John Pike (aka. the pepper-spraying cop), then you clearly live under a rock. Or just have never heard of the internet. The infamous police lieutenant, who used pepper spray on students holding a peaceful sit-in at UC Davis, has inspired an entire tumblr of memes (tumblr here), a video response from the group of hackers known as “Anonymous” (video here), and some rather entertaining Amazon reviews for pepper spray (reviews here). Numerous good Samaritans after viewing these atrocities have been vocal to call for the resignation of Lt. Pike as well as UC David Chancellor Linda Katehi.
Internet sensationalism is nothing new, but can it be used to bring about justice or is it just, well, entertainment? Is the widespread attention to the pepper spraying cop the populace’s outcry at the abuse of power of a law enforcement officer, or is it just a chance to laugh at a rotund, red-bearded guy in a cop uniform pepper spraying God’s son at the last supper? Or is it both? Does the humor of the jokes and internet memes at all diminish the seriousness of the man’s crime? What do you think?
PS. Sorry for the short post, but I’m in the lull between Thanksgiving dinner and Black Friday Shopping. Too full from dinner, and too excited to shop to write anything too thoughtful, so I’ll leave this as an open ended question. Comment your answer below.