Tuesday, August 5, 2008

That would have bought a lot of beer

It's presidential election season here in the good ol' USA (and has been for about 3 years now). In a few weeks the Republican National Convention will be held in St. Paul, MN [1]. Being a Minnesota boy, I am quite proud of the fact that my state will be hosting this national convention.

I don't care if it is the RNC or the DNC. The flavor of the politics doesn't really matter to me. This is good for the local economy and it's good for exposure to the rest of the country.
Of course, any political convention of this magnitude comes with many challenges. One obvious challenge is security. The St. Paul police have been very busy preparing.

One big security challenge is the protests and the potential that these protests can escalate into riots. All of the protesters deserve to have their safety and their first amendment rights preserved. However, the protesters do not have the right to put the public or property at risk of harm.

To be prepared for any potential riots, the St. Paul police will be spending $1.9 million on chemical irritants, or as the budget request says "public order agents."

$1,900,000 would buy a lot of beer. That would buy at least 100,000 cases of beer, though I'm sure we could get a volume discount.

I don't know how much chemical irritant/public order agent $1.9 million actually buys, but I bet it's a lot.

The most common riot control agent is what is know as CS gas (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile)
This 'tear gas' is not a gas but a solid with low water solubility. It is dispersed as an aerosol usually combined with an organic solvent such as dichloromethane. It really sucks when it gets in your eyes and on your skin. I've never experienced it. I'm just not into the riot scene.

I don't know if the St. Paul P.D. is going to have $1.9 million worth of CS gas specifically on hand, but they will have a lot of something. Incidentally, they are also going to spend $1 million on gas masks. That's probably a good idea.

Let's hope they don't need to use any of it.

[1] Not in Minneapolis as the ever intelligent Katie Couric believes.


Brendan said...

well it will be a royal pain in the arse for anyone who works in downtown saint paul. Already the republicans have commandeered several of the cheap parking lots more than a month out! The $4 lot close to my office is now off limits. I can choose to pay more or walk more.
(No sympathy or days off from the Firm!) It will be worse, since I work within their cordon of steel and many of my clients will be barred from the area. More telling is that Catholic Charities will have to curtail their activities at the Dorothy Day house. Securanoia is annoying in IT, it is beyond dehumanizing in real life.

Chill out, no one will riot if you respect their humanity. This is MN our riot would be ten upset guys at the same table in a crowded resto.

the indefatigable mjenks said...

Can we squirt Katie Couric with that stuff?

Chemgeek said...

Brendan: Yeah, that probably does suck. I hope the benefit is worth the cost.

mjenks: I think Katie Couric is *made* of that stuff. Every time I see her, I want to cry.