My eyes and pepper spray

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The ordinary kitchen knife has so many uses, it is virtually impossible to imagine preparing meals without it. And so is the cutlass for outdoor use, more so if you live in the countryside.

The handgun also has its legal usefulness in police officers’ maintenance of law and order and in private security.

Unfortunately, these devices can have their usefulness warped if fallen in the wrong hands.

Debate has already begun in parliament for the legalisation of pepper spray and barring a few minor hiccups, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes legal given the wide-ranging support from normally opposing sides.

Having long abandoned the appropriate punishment (the birch and the hangman) for physical abuse, especially against women and children, and now faced with a skyrocketing number of the same offences, we are now proposing a form of matterof-fact weaponry that, unlike a gun, many decent civilised well-mannered individuals would feel comfortable to carry around.

Think for a moment of all the sophisticated, dangerous, illegal weapons out there that the average law-abiding citizen would tremble to even touch. Now think of this readily acceptable, seemingly simple manner of defence, the pepper spray.

And even if legislation is required for the possession of it, given its presumed general acceptance by most of our respected “learned” citizens, wouldn’t it be only a matter of time before pepper spray is in the hands of every Thomas, Dickson and Harrilal? Would we have now created a Wild West situation where the quicker draw counts? Years ago, if someone lit up a tiny marijuana joint, given the then condemning nature and expensive consequences if caught, there was always a jittery lookout for respected community persons and any approaching police vehicle.

Today, the entire neighbourhood can reek of cannabis stench and no one gives two hoots.

And should legislation permit happy-go-lucky young people (who realistically are the main targets of sickos) as carriers, have we given enough consideration what this could lead to when this form of “defence” inevitably falls in the wrong hands? Quite a paradox there.

Presently, covering our mouths and nostrils for protection from COVID- 19 is the new normal. But should this legislation be passed, would it become normal to see people wearing goggles for eye protection? Even while being an independent nation, we seem permanently stuck with running back to our old law-makers for crucial decisions on criminal matters.

So tell us, “learned” ones, have they given approval on the use of pepper spray (in their land) so we are about to just follow suit? Similar to attorneys-at-law apparently being the only beneficiaries in continuously adjourned criminal matters and the resulting skyrocketing crime level, added to our abandonment of physical punishment that fits the crime, the only beneficiaries I see in the passing of this piece of legislation, are opticians.

LLOYD RAGOO
Chaguanas