Citizen Critic is the podcast where we critique the critics and review the reviews of movies and television like Tiger King, The Shining and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the movie should have been reduced to 90 minutes. Even then, it would have sucked because there is no tie in with the characters. Really, because you can count on something to make a movie and I can edit my own head and have it make sense. Listen to citizen critic on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
What if you can learn from one of the world's most inspiring women? Now you can. Introducing Senecas One hundred women to hear a new podcast brought to you by Seneca Women and I Heart Radio in partnership with PNG. I'm Kim Mazzarelli. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of American women getting the vote, we're bringing you the voices of a hundred groundbreaking and history making women. Starting August 18th. You can listen to Senecas one hundred women to hear on the radio, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy Wilson. And I'm Holly Fry. I was feeling like the episodes I had picked for the podcast, not all of them, but a lot of them were trending toward the heavier side. I went on a hunt to try to find something that would be more fun.
And I really felt like I had seen something recently at J-Star Daily that had been that magical blend of just like really interesting and really fun sounding. And I went over there. So look for it, and that is where everything went awry, because what I clicked on instead was an article about the use of tear gas against the 1932 bonus army. We are approaching the end of July 2020 as we record this, and tear gas has been in use and in the news a whole lot.
So that is not a fun topic, but that is what wound up completely commandeering my attention.
I have been conscious that we've been doing a lot of dark things, so I keep trying to pick light things and then we were like, I'm doing so they light it like the next day you were like, tear gas is like, well, yeah. And you're you're the one that we're going to be recording next.
And this session is also not one of the happier topics we. We just went down a path this week, it's a mix, it's a mix of kooky and serious, there's for sure some kookiness in year one, but here we are on tear gas.
So tear gases or lachrymose or agents are named for the lacrimal glands, which secrete tears. But tears are really just one small part of it. Exposure to most here gases affects the mucous membranes and the respiratory system, and it also activates one of two payam receptors in the body. In addition to causing the eyes to tear up, tear gas can cause burning of the skin, eyes, mouth and nose. I think sometimes people don't realize that when they just see it reported on the news.
It also causes blurred vision, drooling and difficulty swallowing, wheezing, shortness of breath, choking and chest tightness, rashes as well as nausea and vomiting. Tear gas exposure is also associated with miscarriages, and in some cases it can be lethal, especially in babies, elders and people with conditions like asthma. The devices that are used to deploy tear gas can also cause injuries and deaths if they or their pieces hit someone. Yeah, even when that does not happen, it's it's like it's immediately incapacitating.
It's it's not just something that like, oh, your eyes are tearing up and maybe you want to move to fresh air. I'm uncomfortable. I should walk away. It's like, no, you're downed. Right. Right. So all all of these substances are grouped together and they're called tear gas. They're not really gases. One of the ones that's most commonly used today is six or two chloro benzyl adding Moner Nitrile and it is solid at room temperature.
There's also C.N. or Chloro Acetophenone, and that's also known as Mays'. That's a crystalline substance that is propelled as a liquid or as a very fine powder pepper spray or olia resin capsicum is an oily resin that's extracted from hot peppers. To be clear, it is not food. It's usually propelled as the pressurized liquid. And then there are other ones as well, including S.R. or Dimond's toxins. That and also refined versions, of course, known as CFT or C X.
There are also various canisters and grenades and other devices that disperse you substances not as gases, but as aerosolized liquids or powders. And those liquids and powders can remain on the skin, clothing and surfaces long after they have dispersed from the air. Tear gases that are used for things like riot control and crowd suppression today trace back to chemical warfare in World War One, which is something that was controversial from the beginning. Societies have made various efforts to establish rules for warfare throughout history.
In terms of what we're talking about today, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a series of multinational conventions led to treaties that outlined various rules of war. One of the first of these was in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1868, resulting in a declaration that started with the idea, quote, that the progress of civilization should have the effect of alleviating as much as possible the calamities of war. More specifically, a declaration that was issued during The Hague Convention of 1899 nodded back to the sentiments that Holly just read from the declaration of St.
Petersburg. From there, this new declaration required signatories to, quote, agree to abstain from the use of projectiles, the object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases. Then on October 18th of 1987, another Hague Convention stated that it was forbidden to, quote, employ poison or poisoned weapons.
These directives grew out of a fear of chemical warfare that had grown in tandem with the industrial revolution and an overall really long lasting taboo against poison and other chemical weapons as basically unfair and uncivilized.
These treaties didn't stop nations from researching chemicals that could be used as some kind of weapon, though France in particular had signed The Hague declarations but also developed tear gases for use in riot control.
Then in World War One, France used tear gas grenades to try to drive German troops out of the trenches at the Battle of Frontiers in 1914. Germany, which was also a signatory to these treaties, also tried something similar against allied troops that October. Neither of these efforts was particularly effective, though, with targeted troops not even realizing that they were under attack. So some sources do not count these as the first use of chemical warfare in World War One.
So these and other early efforts sort of danced around The Hague Convention. The gases in question were. To temporarily incapacitate people, not to permanently injure or kill them, on the other hand, the whole point of that temporary incapacitation was to leave the targets vulnerable to attacks with more conventional weapons. In April of 1915, at the second battle of EPROM, Germany moved in a different direction based on a strategy by chemist Fritz Haber. We just rereleased our episode on Hober from the archive as a Saturday classic.
This attack used a gas that was definitely deadly but without projectiles involved, so it was technically still within the limits of at least the first Hague Convention. German troops waited until the wind was blowing in the right direction and then released nearly 200 tons of chlorine gas to be blown into allied trenches. More than 1000 Algerian, Moroccan and French soldiers were killed. Thousands more were wounded.
Both sides were just totally unprepared for this gas attack. The allied troops had no gas masks, no other defenses prepared. I mean, why would they really there had been some knowledge that something was going on, but still, like not not something of this scale. The German troops also were not ready to take advantage of how effective this attack had been. So while the allied death toll was high, they didn't actually lose a lot of ground after this attack.
The international community reacted to this use of gas without rage. The attack, combined with Germany sinking of the passenger ship HMS Lusitania and its invasions of Belgium and Luxembourg, which had been neutral to solidify the idea that Germany's approach to the war was particularly brutal.
In spite of that outrage and the overall perception that Germany's strategy was particularly nefarious in this war. Britain and France each started working on chemical weapons of their own, and in tandem, the warring nations in Europe developed new poison gas weapons, new gas masks and other protective strategies, new methods for deploying chemical weapons so that the targets would not be able to don that protective gear and new treatment protocols for gas exposure in spite of early efforts to sidestep The Hague Conventions with some of these weapons.
Pretty soon the armies are just totally ignoring it. They were developing projectiles for deploying gas, specifically deploying deadly gas, including artillery shells, mortars and Levon's projectors, which remotely launched drums of gas.
In addition to the injuries and deaths that came from gas exposure, the use of chemical warfare in World War One was demoralizing and also disorienting. Troops had to remain in a perpetual state of fear and readiness. Gas masks were uncomfortable and they were not always effective, and they blocked the wearer's peripheral vision. Sometimes the lenses fogged over as well. The gases themselves were also terrifying to experience, as well as just to witness by the end of the war, attacks with chlorine, phosgene and mustard gases had caused at least 90000 deaths and more than a million casualties.
That's a small number compared to the estimated 20 million civilian and military deaths in the war total. But the deaths from the gas attacks were particularly horrifying.
The United States was really a latecomer to all of this, although the US did start doing some chemical warfare research before becoming directly involved in the war, that was really a cobbled together effort. Much of the nation's expertise with gas came from the Department of Mines, which had experience dealing with poison gases. A chemical service section was also established under the U.S. Corps of Engineers and a gas service section was established with the American Expeditionary Forces.
But in general, when American troops arrived in Europe, they just had very little knowledge or experience with chemical weapons. They had to rely on the other allies for information, training and protective equipment. It's not really clear how much of this lack of preparedness stemmed from this overall taboo against chemical weapons and how much of it was because news out of Europe was being censored before arriving in the US. So American authorities might not have realized just how much chemical warfare was really going on.
In June of 1918, the Chemical Service section became the Chemical Warfare Service and the Chemical Warfare Service played a huge role in the development of tear gas for use in peacetime.
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After the end of World War One, the U.S. started scaling back its military to peacetime levels, as, of course, other nations did as well. And at first the plan was to disband the chemical warfare service entirely. There was a perception or maybe kind of a hope that chemical warfare had been developed for this specific war and that it was going to disappear now that the war was over. And that would make the CWC unnecessary. This general perception even went so far as to include soldiers abandoning or kind of fake losing their gas masks rather than turning them in as they were released from service.
This wasn't just a matter of wishful thinking, even though both the allied and central powers had used chemical weapons in the war, their use was still really taboo in much of the world. And then these taboos were bolstered by firsthand accounts from veterans about what the gas attacks during the war were like.
Not everyone agreed with the idea that chemical warfare was inhumane or uncivilized, though one supporter of chemical warfare was General Amos Free's of the Chemical Warfare Service. He had served with the gas service section during the war and he had been awarded the French Legion of Honor, the British Companion of St. Michael and St. George and the American Distinguished Service Medal for his thought that chemical weapons could be more humane than conventional weapons. And he believed that the United States would be unprepared again if it didn't continue to research and develop them.
Of course, he also wanted to protect the service that he was working for. He thought that if he could convince the public that chemical weapons had peacetime uses and that they were safe and effective for those uses, that then it would destigmatize their use in war. He hoped that with that stigma removed, the public would allow and even encourage chemical warfare. That would mean that the chemical warfare service would not just survive the postwar downsizing of the military. It would also allow for chemical weapons and the CWC to become a really central part of American military strategy.
He imagined a military in which every unit had its own dedicated chemical squad with the most up to date advanced chemical weapons, as well as tactics and protective equipment all at their disposal. So Free's successfully lobbied for the military to keep the CWC. The CWC started a trade publication called Chemical Warfare, which published articles arguing that chemical weapons were less traumatic to the body and less lethal than conventional weapons. But of course, this all glossed over the fact that many of the chemical weapons that had been developed for use in World War One were formulated specifically to kill people.
Free's rallied support from the American Chemical Society, professional chemistry journals and various chemistry programs. He and his supporters also pushed the idea that all war was terrible, but that a lot of the resistance to chemical warfare specifically was just that. People were not used to it yet, the way that they were used to things like guns, artillery and bombs.
The CWC also looked for other uses for the gases that had been developed for the war, like home security systems that released a toxic gas when they were activated, or the use of chemical weapons to fight agricultural pests. After someone noticed that workers at a chlorine gas plant had fewer cases of the 1918 pandemic flu, they explored whether chlorine gas could prevent illness, especially lung infections. This involved intentionally exposing people to low doses of chlorine gas. One of the test cases was President Calvin Coolidge, who underwent three consecutive treatments from May 20th to 22nd, 1924.
The president said that his cold got better as a result, although it should be noted that colds typically get better on their own. None of these proposed peacetime uses for chemical weapons really took off. What did take off, though, was tear gas. As we've talked about in several other episodes of the show, the US and other places went through major social and economic upheaval after World War One strikes and other labor disputes were widespread, which we've covered on several previous episodes.
So was mob violence especially targeted against black people and their communities, which we have also talked about in several episodes, including our episode on Red Summer starting in early 1919, Freeze and the Chemical Warfare Service started framing tear gas as the ideal solution for these types of unrest. However, the Department of War, which had been planning to dismantle the CWC, was not in favor of this. In February of 1919, the War Department ordered the CWC not to provide any type of chemical weapon, including.
Tear gas to any civilian or military law enforcement personnel, but at the same time, people and departments were petitioning the Department of War to be allowed to use tear gas on civilians. This included an October 19 19 request to use chemical devices on striking steel workers in Gary, Indiana, and various requests from law enforcement who wanted to use it or have it on hand for so-called race riots.
We've talked about why that phrase is problematic many times before, even as the Department of War maintained that it would not allow chemical weapons to be used against residents of the United States, the Chemical Warfare Service was designing and testing devices to use chemical agents for crowd control.
In 1920, the National Defense Act, which was also known as the Second Army reorganization bill, established a new organizational structure for the U.S. Army. And in addition to other things, this act formalized the chemical warfare service as part of the Army, CWC director William L. Siebert was reassigned and he retired shortly after that. This is something that a lot of people interpreted as a punishment for the CWC, having pushed back so hard against the Department of War's efforts to dismantle it.
Taking his place was General Amos. For you to be clear, the CWC was still doing military work, including advocating for training supplies and a gas company for each overseas garrison. Frese also continued to advocate for chemical warfare to be a standard part of every unit.
But there was still a lot of focus on peacetime use of chemical weapons, as we said earlier, to try to sway public opinion on chemical weapons in general and to protect the CWC from being declared irrelevant in the face of that ongoing stigma and the potential for international treaties banning their use. This was in spite of the fact that the Department of War still wouldn't approve the use of chemical weapons on civilians.
That last part changed in 1921, after Warren G. Harding was sworn in as president of the U.S. He appointed John W. Weeks as secretary of war. John Jay Pershing became chief of staff that July, and Pershing was the person who had appointed Free's to the gas service. Back during the war, Free started advocating for changes to how the Department of War was approaching chemical warfare, specifically with civilians. And as part of this freeze arranged for a demonstration outside of Philadelphia in which about 200 police officers tried and failed to make their way through a cloud of tear gas.
In August of nineteen twenty one, Freeze conducted another demonstration, this time on a group of Girl Scouts from nearby Camp Bradley, one of whom was his daughter, Elizabeth. The scouts took a tour of Edgewood Arsenal during which they were exposed to tear gas. This visit was written up in The Washington Post in an article that read, quote, The girls found that the name tear gas was no misnomer as all cried copiously for a few seconds when the gas was released.
They greatly enjoyed the trip and put it down as one of the Red-letter events of the camp. There is a lot that's not clear about this whole outing, but the general sense seems to be that tear gas was both effective and that it was safe enough to use on Girl Scouts.
This is the weirdest PR stunt. There's this whole thing, so much ick in that I know I tweeted about it. People were like that. Excuse me. What what what what were they even thinking? And I was like, I they were thinking that they were trying to show the public that, like, yeah, it's totally OK to tear gas little girls. Anyway, the war department lifted its prohibition on the use of chemical weapons against civilians, but only for agents like tear gases that were not considered poisonous in August of 1921.
This is in response to a request from the governor of West Virginia for help restoring order during an ongoing series of labor disputes in its mining industry. These series of disputes are something that we have covered previously in our episode on The Battle of Blair Mountain. During the first week of September 1921, the Chemical Warfare Service deployed soldiers and prepared an assortment of sea gas devices from Edgewood Arsenal, including a thousand grenades, three hundred and fifty mortar shells and one hundred ninety one aerial drop bombs by this point.
Tear gas was also available from private manufacturers. The first of these was called Chemical Protection and was established in 1921. So while tear gas was used against the miners in the battle of Blair Mountain, it wasn't by these federal troops. It was by a force rallied by mine operators and the local sheriff. The miners mostly surrendered after the federal troops arrived before the weapons from Edgewood Arsenal were used. Freeze did take the opportunity to test some of their tear gas weapons after this.
And the CWC used the results of those tests to publish provisional instructions for the control of mobs by chemical warfare, which came out in 1921.
The Department of War reinstated that prohibition on tear gas against civilians not long after this freeze. And the CWC and various trade publications kept on with their PR efforts to try to sway opinions about tear gas. This included a November 26 nineteen twenty one article in Gas Age record, which described freeze as, quote, firmly convinced that as soon as officers of the law and colonial administrators have familiarized themselves with gas as a means of maintaining order and power, there will be such a diminution of violent social disorders and savage uprisings to amount to their disappearance.
A lot of the language in these PR efforts was racist, like a lot of it was about maintaining the power of colonial authorities over the people who had been colonized with the colonized people being like savage barbarians, it was gross. The Chemical Warfare Service also cooperated with private businesses, giving chemical manufacturers samples of gases the CWC had developed and allowing these manufacturers to test their products at Edgewood Arsenal. The CWC also lobbied against international treaties that jeopardized its work, including the 1922 treaty relating to the use of submarines and noxious gases, which was signed by five nations but did not become binding because France didn't ratify it.
Yeah, I think we've mentioned on the show before that with treaties there's usually this two step process where like nations sign the treaty, but then their individual governments have to ratify the treaty. And so this had been signed but not ratified, although that 1922 treaty was worded in a way that seems to prohibit all chemical weapons, then public opinion continued to be on the side of an outright ban on all chemical weapons freeze. And the CWC kept on making a case that tear gas and other so-called non toxic gases were an exception.
In August of 1922, the War Department again lifted the prohibition on the use of tear gas by federal troops and civil disturbances. By this point, tear gas was also becoming way more common in civilian law enforcement as well. As we mentioned earlier, the first private tear gas manufacturer had started operations in nineteen twenty one. By nineteen twenty three, police were equipped with tear gas and more than 600 cities around the United States.
The chemical warfare services, ongoing efforts to frame chemical weapons as humane also had another totally different outcome.
During these years, the U.S. saw its first execution by gas chamber on February 8th, 1924 and 1925, the Geneva Gas Protocol prohibited the use of chemical and biological weapons in war. The U.S. signed the protocol but didn't actually ratify it until 1975. It wasn't long before nations outside of the US were also using tear gas to disperse mobs and suppress dissent. We'll talk more about that after. Response sponsor break. It was an unimaginable crime, we couldn't believe something like that would happen here, three people dead, all from the same family.
It would become the largest criminal investigation in Ohio's history. Pike County sheriffs requested state help immediately after they got word.
Nobody had a clue about who or why. And that's really scary.
You're trying to piece together a puzzle that seems to not have any pieces to it. I mean, where do you go with this?
Could it be a cover up? And would another family be next? Got eight people and things like that don't usually happen in a small town. I mean, they don't usually happen anywhere. This is the Pickton massacre. Listen to the pectin massacre on the I Heart radio app, on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. My name is Langston Kerman, and I love black people. I love them short, I love them tall. I love them thick.
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Ladies and gentlemen, I don't want to be your president, but if you want to hear where the president is hiding that AIDS vaccine, then listen to my mama told me available on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or anywhere else that pods are cast. Word of American efforts with tear gas quickly spread to other parts of the world in other parts of the world, had also been developing tear gases. But the U.S. effort on this was was large.
In 1920, British authorities in India started lobbying to be allowed to use tear gas against the Indian independence movement. They cited the Jullian Wallabadah massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, which took place on April 13th, 1919. At least 379 unarmed demonstrators were killed and more than a thousand were injured after forces under Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on them. Advocates for tear gas use in India framed this as a tragedy that might not have happened if British colonial forces had less lethal weapons available to them as an option.
The India office, on the other hand, insisted that since gas could not be used in war, it could not be used in peace either. Colonial authorities continued to request permission to use tear gas in the India office, continued to refuse into the early 1930s, at which point it allowed the use of tear gas, often called tear smoke, because of the ongoing associations with gas warfare in World War One.
That was only after announcements were made that it would be used if the crowd didn't disperse. From there, the use of tear gas started to spread to other British territories as well. At this point, Palestine was under British control under a mandate from the League of Nations. British authorities there started requesting tear gas in 1929 after riots and massacres that were connected to disputes over control of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Finally, the high commissioner of Palestine got permission to use tear gas to control riots, but only when it seemed as though the only other choice would be firearms.
At first, this continued to be the mindset as other countries adopted the use of tear gas, that gas should only be used in circumstances where without it, the only choice would be lethal weapons. But over time, authorities began thinking of tear gas as the first response that it should be used to disperse crowds earlier rather than later to return to the U.S. for a moment. By the 1930s, tear gas was part of the arsenal of police departments all over the country.
But one of the earliest uses of tear gas by federal troops domestically in peacetime was on July 29th of 1932. And that's the bonus army that I mentioned up at the top of the episode. Congress had passed the World War Adjusted Compensation Act in 1924, and that act would allow World War One veterans to be compensated for wages that they had lost while serving in the war. They were supposed to be paid a dollar per day of stateside service and a dollar and 25 cents per day overseas.
People who were owed less than fifty dollars were paid immediately. And then for everybody else, that payout was scheduled with interest in 1945. However, the Great Depression meant that people needed their money a lot sooner than that. The bonus army, also called the Bonus Expeditionary Force, was a group of about 20000 veterans, many with their wives and children, who went to Washington to demand immediate payout when a measure to do so was defeated in the Senate, many of the bonus army went home.
Those who didn't held increasingly vocal protests over the next few weeks until federal troops dispersed them using tanks and tear gas burning down their encampment. In the process, two of the demonstrators were killed and a baby reportedly died from tear gas exposure.
This incident was a blow to the reputation of then President Herbert Hoover, and it's been cited as one of the reasons he lost the election against Franklin D. Roosevelt. But the Chemical Weapons Service and Edgewood Arsenal called this clearing of the demonstrators a practical field test, something that showed the power of tear gas to disperse even the most dedicated dissenters with, at least in their view, minimal harm. Lake Erie Chemical even used photos of the clearing of the bonus army as part of its marketing materials.
The popularity of tear gas really spread from their sales reps from American chemical manufacturers, visited places both domestically and internationally that were experiencing unrest to sell tear gas to private citizens, business owners and law enforcement. Various governments, businesses and organizations also started stockpiling tear gas in case of future need. For example, between 1933 and 1937, one point twenty five million dollars worth of teir and sickening gas had been bought in the U.S. in A.. Creation of labor strikes, of course, there were certainly times that tear gas was used because of actual crime or violence that was happening, but often it was really just focused on suppressing dissent.
Yeah, also that one point eighty five million dollars, that is the 1930s dollars that is not adjusted for modern currency. Chemical warfare didn't see nearly the kind of use during World War Two that it had during World War One, although chemical weapons were used in death camps under the Nazi regime in terms of combat use, it just was not present in the same way. But after the war, teargassed continued to be a primary tool for suppressing protests, dispersing strikers and the like over the years.
It also shifted again in how it was used back in the 1930s, tear gas had started out mainly perceived as a last resort, when the only other option might be firearms or other more lethal weapons. And then, as we noted, it became more of a first line of defense used early to disperse and demoralize a mob or other crowd. But by the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, it was being used as a precursor to other violence.
For example, on Bloody Sunday, during the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965, state troopers deployed 40 canisters of tear gas, 12 smoke canisters and eight canisters of Najia Gas before then beating the marchers with their nightsticks and other weapons. This included fracturing the skull of the late John Lewis. The 1960s also saw some of the first uses of tear gas as more of an offensive weapon, including the use of a National Guard helicopter to spray demonstrators at Berkeley with tear gas in 1969.
This, of course, also allowed the gas to drift to adjacent areas and affect people that had nothing to do with the demonstration, including children at a nearby preschool and people who were swimming in a university swimming pool.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of every time tear gas has ever been used or every nuance and how it has shifted like that's impossible in the scope of one podcast. But in the book, Tear Gas from the battlefields of World War One to the Streets of Today, it describes the most recent shift in tear gas history as the year 2011, thanks to the combination of several things happening simultaneously, including the Occupy movement in North America, the Chilean student protests that started that year, the Egyptian revolution of 2011 and the Arab Spring.
All of this included what was described as the weaponized use of tear gas in Bahrain, which led to at least 34 gas related deaths and numerous injuries from people being struck with the tear gas canister. Tear gas sales have tripled since 2011, with other high profile uses since then being Turkey's Occupy Gezi protests in 2013, the umbrella movement in Hong Kong in 2014. The protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown also in 2014.
And the ongoing protests against police brutality and racism in the United States in some parts of the world today, people also describe tear gas as an almost ever present fact of life, including in occupied Palestine and parts of Uganda and Nigeria.
Proponents of tear gas generally maintain that it is safe when used correctly and that it's less deadly than other weapons, including firearms.
But a lot of research to back up its safety is spotty at best. A lot of it was conducted by the military and the results of that research are classified. Some of this research has also come from experiments that were done on people without their consent, including experiments that were conducted at Edgewood Arsenal in the U.S. and at Portland down in England. One of the most cited reports on the safety of tear gas is the Hemsworth report, which followed an investigation led by London doctor Sir Harold Hemsworth.
This followed the battle of the Bogside, which took place during the troubles in Northern Ireland in 1969. During this incident, the Royal Ulster Constabulary fired more than 1000 canisters of tear gas and other gas weapons into a densely populated Catholic neighborhood over the span of 36 hours. Residents fought back by throwing things like stones and Molotov cocktails, and they also threw back the tear gas when they were able to.
After all this, a lot of people reported things like vomiting and diarrhea and other physical effects, some of them long lasting. But Hemsworth really dismissed this testimony. He relied mostly on hospital records, and he didn't really take into account that most people would not fight their way through tear gas to get to a hospital for something like diarrhoea or vomiting. He also didn't really factor in the fact that the nearest hospital staff were primarily unionists. While the neighborhood's residents were primarily nationalists, they were on the opposite side of the troubles.
That seems like such a stupid thing to leave out of a data set like. It's really frustrating. No, I don't know, nobody came in well, because they'd probably be arrested, among other things.
But there's so many reasons not to go to the hospital while your neighborhood is being, like, assaulted with tear gas. Yeah.
In addition to these shortcomings in this research and the lack of research into how tear gas affects people who are exposed to it over a prolonged period, there is so much footage from the last few years showing tear gas being used incorrectly. This includes firing tear gas projectiles directly at people using large amounts of tear gas in a small space and firing tear gas at people who do not have a path to escape from it.
Yet, literally, just this morning before coming in here, I saw video from last night from like a bunch of officers in protective gear restraining a protester in the cloud of tear gas. In addition to all of those things not being researched a lot, there's also just not a lot of research into the environmental effects of all of these things, especially when they're being used over a prolonged amount of time, like it's not a gas that just vanishes away. Even if it were.
I mean, there's a long term cumulative effect of using a lot of it. Like it's a it's a powder or a liquid that's landing on surfaces and washing into the, you know, the the storm drain system. Like all of that. There's just not a lot of research into the effect of any of that. To circle back around, though, to freeze and the chemical warfare surface today, that service is the chemical core. It is charged with protection from weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological and radiological and nuclear threats.
And in spite of all of his PR work, freeze was really not successful in shifting the general global opinion on chemical weapons. Chemical weapons and warfare are still banned. They're still regarded as uncivilized or barbaric. They're associated with terrorism. The 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction has one hundred and sixty five signatories. So far, it's been ratified by 65 states, which was the number needed for it to become binding.
The agents that are used in tear gas are not included in its list of prohibited toxic chemicals and their precursors, though.
Another nice, uplifting topic, thanks. I know, I know, I keep I keep doing it. I'm sorry.
I know a lot of people there are a lot of people that have been like I always I always want to learn for your podcast. Whatever you want to talk about, it's fine with me. And then we also hear from people who are like, I listen to your podcast for fun. So, like, if you listen to our podcast for fun and you have been really brought down by my choice of topics lately, I'm sorry.
I don't I, I feel like the stuff we've talked about is really important. But I also totally understand when you're leisure listening takes the turn into the more serious.
I you know, here's what I keep reminding myself when I'm like, wow, we talk about a lot of heavy stuff lately because it is important. Listen, Octobers on the horizon, people, and I promise there's tons.
So yeah. Holovaty goodness. Go. Yeah. Some of the podcast I listen to for fun have understandably like I mean so many shows are like they have been talking more about things that are related to the pandemic or the protests. And I know that like if it's my fun, pleasure listening, sometimes I will just like leave that one for a little bit and come back to it later. Yeah. Which we are not going to be offended if folks do that.
Not even a little note. Do do what you do. I mean I have mentioned before, I feel like I have so many advantages and privileges in this moment that we are in, and it is still incredibly hard for me to concentrate and get through my day. So whatever people need to do to keep themselves going in the midst of all that. And I don't judge you for it. Yeah, I have listener mail, it is from Kate and Kate has written us about something that a lot of people have written to us about because I made a mistake and I'm sorry.
Kate says, hi, Tracey and Holly, I'm sure by now you're aware that you made the classic Idaho, Ohio, Iowa mix up in your COINTELPRO Part two episode. Senator Frank Church, who led the church committee investigating abuses by the intelligence community, was a senator from the great state of Idaho, not Ohio. I apologize if you have received more spirited responses informing you of the classic mix up. Idahoans are very proud of our history and Frank Church in particular.
During Senator Church's long tenure in the Senate, he was a vocal advocate for preserving America's wilderness. We played a pivotal role in creating several protected wilderness areas across America, and Idaho in particular, helped lobby for and establish the Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area, a canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon and straddling the Idaho Oregon border. He also helped establish the Sawtooth Wilderness and National Recreation Areas, a sharp and jagged topped mountainous area located close to Sun Valley, Idaho's World-Famous Ski Resort.
Finally, one of his biggest projects was establishing the River of No Return Wilderness area. It was later renamed the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area in his honor. The area is the largest wilderness area in the continental U.S., spanning two point three six seven million acres in east central Idaho. Growing up in Idaho, I was so blessed to have the ability to explore all the public, state and federal land open and available to me. I went to summer camps in the Sawtooth whitewater rafting in the Frank Church wilderness area and stayed very far away from the edge of the cliffs and hills canyon.
It wasn't until I was older that I realized how incredibly lucky I was and that many other states and their citizens didn't have this kind of access to the great outdoors because the lands are private and visitors are prohibited in many other states. Idaho is special and unique. At least we think so. Idaho is so lucky to have advocates like Senator Church who fought to keep public lands public for the enjoyment of all Idahoans. Admiration for this may likely explain, and he strongly pointed corrections.
You may have received I'm sorry, on behalf of my fellow citizens, they are just as passionate and uncontrolled. Kate has gone on to send some classic Idaho pronunciation mix ups.
I'm just going to gloss over there because there's because I feel like if we read them now than three years from now and I have forgotten this exchange ever even happened and we do it wrong. People will like you like, didn't you read a thing about that before, it's tough. So, uh, Katsas, thanks for all the fun, sad, thoughtful and interesting podcast we produced. They've brought me so much joy and learning over the years. Feel free to do an Idaho inspired podcast any time in your future.
Sincerely, Kate. Thank you so much for this note, Kate. We did get lots of notes about this. Thankfully, most of them have not been spirited or unkind.
I did just. Mess up the word in my head, I guess, I don't know, I, I, I messed it up in the outline. It wasn't even a case where it was right in the outline and it just came about out of our mouths wrong. Which also happens on just a continual basis. So anyway, I am sorry I messed that up for what it's worth. Like we discussed this, Tracy and I had this come up in a completely different way on a like a very casual chat call we were on a few days ago where there are just words people's brains flip.
I will say April when I mean August almost every single time. Oh, yeah. That's like the two months just flipped for me. And sometimes this causes very startled and panicked faces in meetings. But it's just because I never my brain is really struggles with stuff like that. So there are always instances of that for everybody. I always try to just cut people slack because I know everyone's brain has a weird little peccadillo that sometimes does stuff like that.
I also cut people slack on like the local pronunciations of things because like, oh yeah, I like the way those pronunciations work is they sort of they signal to everybody, whether you're from around here or not. And if somebody is not from around here, I just let it go. If somebody has just moved to around here, I might very delicately let them know the right way to say it so that they're not embarrassed in the future.
Well, and then there's a third category for me, which is that particularly in Italy, am I right?
We have a street named after an explorer, which in Atlanta we call Ponce de Leon. And when visitors come and they say Ponce de Leon is sounds so much prettier that I don't want to correcto. Yeah.
Yeah. Recently I was listening to one of my favorite other podcasts. I'm not going to say which podcast because I don't want anybody to, like, go give them a hard time. But they said the name of a Massachusetts town as it is spelled, which is Haverhill. But the way that Massachusetts town is pronounced is Haverhill. And when I heard them say it, I was like, oh, no, they're Twitter mentions. I think I even went to look their Twitter mentions were not too bad.
So anyway, I only know that because I live here. Anyway, thank you again, Kate. I am sorry for just like my total mess up in that particular thing. Oh, one other note I just wanted to note, because I feel like we've talked about our website a few times, but one thing we have not specifically said is we don't get any type of notification about comments that are left on the website. So if you leave us a comment on the website, there is a good chance we will never see it in a timely manner.
We might never see it.
E-mail is a much better way to to get in touch with us. And our email address is history podcast I heart radio dot com. If you're going to email us and say, why don't you just turn the comments off, it's not in our power to do it. Fortunately, we did ask you some history podcast that I heart radio dotcom. We're also all over social media at in history. And that's where you'll find our Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram.
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My name is Langston Karmen, and I'm a black man who loves conspiracy theories, that's why I, along with the beautiful oppressor's that I heart radio and big money players, have a brand new podcast called My Mama Told Me where each week me and a special guest will explore all the twisted conspiracies that the white man is keeping secret.
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