I was having a discussion with a co-worker, who is VERY hawkish, pro-Fox News and ultra-libertarian. In his favor, he's not racist, and has no problem with other religions that I'm aware of. But the first three make for sparks between us.
We got into it about the use of pepper spray, and I tried to explain that the way pepper spray is being used, it is illegal. Officers are supposed to use coercion first, baton next. They are NOT allowed to use pepper spray unless they are under threat of violence, such as brandishing a weapon like a club or making threats of physical violence. If they're in immediate danger, such as faced with a gun or knife, they can use lethal force.
The baton, I explained, can be used as a control device. When applied in a control hold, the baton causes extreme pain unless the perp moves in the direction you want them to. Ergo, up off your butt, and towards the cruiser or paddy wagon. If you comply, it's merely uncomfortable. If you resist, it's pure agony. However, the key point is that compliance means NO PAIN, or cessation of pain upon compliance.
I pointed out that the 9th Circuit decided in Lundberg vs Humboldt County, where officers used pepper spray against non-violent, non-cooperative protesters, officers were found to be both liable-both civil and criminal-for prosecution and lawsuit by the protesters. The previous, lower-court decision to grant immunity to the officers was vacated under the premise that application of pepper spray, in such a manner, constituted excessive use of force AND torture.
At which point, my co-worker says, "Oh, I bet you think waterboarding is torture!"
Oh God. I'd hit gold. Gold, diamonds and a death-by-chocolate cake with a bacon sandwich on the side.
My heart started fluttering in excitement, but I kept my composure. I knew I had him on this one. We went back and forth for a bit, discussing the finer points of how torture is effective (his idea), and how it's not (mine). I said, "You give me five minutes, and I will get you to renounce God and embrace Satan as your Lord and Master." He scoffed at that, and said, "That's bullshit."
I asked, "So do you embrace Satan as your Lord and Master?"
He shouted, "If I were being waterboarded, I'd tell them whatever they wanted!"
blink-blink "Wait, what?"
He said it again. "I said if I were being pepper-sprayed or waterboarded, I'd do or tell them whatever they want to make it stop!"
I'd gotten the gold, diamonds, cake, bacon, and NOW I had sex on top of it! "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. One more time, please?"
The rest of the crew knew I'd scored a direct hit and sunk his battleship. They started laughing. And he paused as he realized what he'd said.
His shoved the throttle to OVERDRIVE and...I kid you not...he pulled Jack Bauer out of his ass.
No, really. He did. "Look, when you're on a timeline, you need to use techniques that work!"
By now, I was tripping on endorphins. I called him on it, said "I'm sorry, but this is reality, not '24'. There are no ticking timebombs. What works is treating the suspect like a human being and taking TIME to get what you need from them."
"But we need the intel now!"
"What if they don't have the intel?" I asked. "What if they just don't have the information we're asking for?"
"Well, they can check that..." he replied.
I paused for a moment and just stared. "I love your circular logic," I said, and went to wash out my coffee mug.
God, I need a cigarette.