By Thomas J. Edwards –
There is a solution to bring riot and looting to an immediate halt. But collateral fallout, while harmless, makes its use highly selective. It was devised by the Israelis more than a decade ago as an extremely effective and physically harmless method to disperse crowds and force participants to carefully weigh future actions. But its use here is yet to be considered because of its lingering effect on the surrounding nonviolent population.
The solution: Skunk Water. The collateral effect: Dreadful lingering smell. While the odor is perfect to identify rioters after the fact — although it’s possible the rioters and anarchists may not find the smell much different than their natural body odor — its lifespan as the oder fades is inconvenient for residents of a riot-torn area.
That is the dilemma facing government officials who would authorize its application. It is a collective punishment, affecting everyone within its range — more so the rioters and anarchists as it soaks them and their clothing. And that is why the federal government is more apt than municipal governments to use skunk water. The feds would bear the brunt of criticism for the smell. The scent can linger on skin and in the environment for days, making its use more applicable around less populated government building area which protesters mostly target.
But the rapid increase in rioting, looting, killings, wanton racial assaults, and assorted acts of pre-planned coordinated violence has reached a point where the federal government may be prompted to apply skunk water to end the clamor and answer critics later. The spray would be applied by armored vehicles equipped with water cannons. U.S. riot control experts recommend its use at demonstrations, sit-ins, correctional facilities and border crossings.
Some police departments in the United States have already purchased skunk water to repel protesters. The liquid was invented by an Israeli firm and first used on the West Bank in 2008 to repel Palestinian protesters, who described the spray as smelling worst than raw sewage, “like a mixture of excrement, noxious gas and a decomposing donkey.”
The inventor, Odortec, describes the skunk water as made of *100% food-grade ingredients” and is “100% eco-friendly – harmless to both nature and people.” The ingredients are mostly water, baking power and yeast. While there is a special soap to neutralize the smell, it is not publicly available for obvious reasons. Yet there is one effective antidote commercially available — tomato ketchup. Rubbed on and washed off of an exposed surface, it supposedly reduces the odor considerably.