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Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (13)

We know that the police used MK-9 ― because the citizen-journalism stills and videos of the events of November 18, 2011 at UC Davis document it. But how did these cops get their hands on military-grade pepper spray that they were not authorized to carry or trained to use, and that their department had no authority to purchase or supply to its officers? […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (12)

Were it not for all that still and video documentation, in the late afternoon of November 18, 2011 we’d have found ourselves in a protesters’-word-vs.-police-officers’-word situation, with the cops’ version most likely prevailing in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary. And, since the protesters would probably not have the ability to differentiate between MK-4 and MK-9, Pike and his “troops,” as he liked to militarize them semantically, would only have had to rustle up a few cans of authorized MK-4 while hiding the MK-9 in order to appear to have followed the rules. I doubt that it would have lasted more than two news cycles. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (10)

To fully exploit his global name recognition and the free visual branding that he achieved with the help of hundreds of volunteer photo collagists (including yours truly), I suggest that John Pike should consider a career in politics. He may be a liberal goat, but he became an overnight conservative hero. The right wing loved him for unleashing their ’60s-vintage fury at college students in general. […]

Lt. John Pike Goes Viral (2)

Without the videos and still photographs of Lt. John Pike, the campus policeman at UC Davis who was documented on Friday, November 18, pepper-spraying peacefully seated Occupy-movement protesters, we’d have had none of the international uproar that ensued, nor the pandemic photocollage response to his act. So lens-derived imagery has played a crucial dual role here: first by providing undeniable evidence of an event, and then by enabling spiraling critical commentary on that event and its instigator, plus satire thereof. […]