Rank-and-file police officers feel nervous about the upcoming G8 and NATO summit protests. But the protesters—they’re the ones who are unarmed—have reason to be leery, too, at least if the Chicago Police Department ends up actually going into the protests as ill-prepared as some officers fear. Fran Spielman wrote recently in the Sun-Times on plans for both the cops and their horses to be outfitted with riot gear, and one imagines that more will follow. Usually cops will bring a gun—also a Taser, bean bag rounds, stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, and the occasional armored personnel carrier—to a street fight.
Last year, in a blog post, the Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal wrote that he felt bad for John Pike, the UC-Davis police officer who sprayed a seated group of protesters. Pike was simply the product of a tradition of policing that preceded him, Madrigal wrote.