If you look on any cop's belt, you'll likely find a small can of OC spray. Oleoresin capsicum, also known as pepper spray, is manufactured by several companies for use as a less-lethal chemical agent. OC attacks the mucous glands, sends them into overdrive and causes a sharp, burning sensation. Nowadays, it is part and parcel of the police experience. We've all been sprayed with it as part of our training, and we've all regretted it. It sucks. You can hear your eyelids slam shut (an interesting auditory experience) and in about 30 seconds, you have a mucus ball hanging down from your nose to your navel. After about 15 minutes, the pain begins to subside from excruciating to merely crippling.
After about 30 minutes you start to get it together, and all you want is copious amounts of water to wash the resin off your skin. When training at the academies, we normally plan the OC demonstration for the last part of the day. This allows the trainees to return to their home or dorm, jump in the shower and get the final indignity of the day. As the OC resin comes off your skin, it re-activates and runs down your body to your nether regions. Then comes the final Oh-My-God-What-Have-I-Done experience as your private parts take on a warm, tingly... lets draw the (shower) curtain on the final act of this tragedy.
The early '80s were a magical time to be a cop. Gaston Glock had just come out with his plastic pistol. Radio technology was getting better, we were getting radar units in the vehicles. PawPaw was a parole officer and we had just installed new radios in our vehicles. The new 150 Mhz High-Band radios. With newfangled repeaters, we could actually talk from one side of the parish to the other. If you were up on a high hill.
About the mid '80s, pepper spray came out and the department scheduled training for us. We suffered the indignity and were certified to use OC spray. And, I tell you all that to tell you this:
Regular readers will notice that mobile homes run through my narrative. Lots of folks in rural areas live in mobile homes. It's economical, it's fast, and it's convenient. Some trailer houses give very good value.
One sunny morning I was out seeing my caseload, working the territory, and the next stop was a guy who lived in a mobile home. My normal routine was not to climb the redwood steps, but to knock on the side of the trailer on the metal siding. This particular morning, as I knocked on the siding, I was surprised to see a large hog stand up from under those redwood steps, snort loudly, and take three steps toward me, grunting with each step.
It was a big ol' hog, I estimate about 200 lbs on the hoof. Not a cute little shoat, but a big ol' hog. PawPaw decided to test his OC spray, so I took it off my belt andn gave that rooter a snoot-full. A good one-second blast. It wasn't covered in our training, but I figured that a hog has mucous glands just like I do.
That hog squealed, turned and stampeded under the trailer.
The parolee came to the door. "What was all that racket?"
"A hog." I replied. "You own a hog?"
"No," he replied. About that time we heard running water, so he stooped and looked under the trailer. "What the hell?!?"
It appeared that the hog, in his mad flight to escape, blinded by OC spray, had become entangled in the PVC plumbing apparatus. Pipes dangled and water squirted, and it was a hell of a mess. I believe that hog had dragged most of the plumbing out from under the house in his frenzied stampede.
I stood and handed the parolee a Monthly Supervision Report. "Here, sign this before you get muddy."
I felt sorry for the fellow, but there was no escaping the fact that OC spray is very effective as a hog repellent. I reported my observations to my superiors later that day.