Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not to Beat A Dead Horse or Anything... 

...but I'd like to see if anyone can reasonably justify this.

Or this:

I'm sure that one guy was just trying to make a scene, as no-good rabble-rousing ruffians are prone to doing. EDIT: I stand corrected, apparently he was.

I, for one, am glad that those are the people protecting me while I sleep. I know I can count on them. Protest really brings out the best of humanity.


By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sat Nov 19, 04:04:00 PM:

Possibly abusive, unfair, and un-American.

But you weren't there, don't know the context, and just believe what someone who carefully bookends his clip on youTube wants you to believe. And you're absolutely sure.


Step it up, son. Think instead of react. Does the policeman look like someone who has lost his temper? Hmm, no. It looks rather calculated. Which may be a good thing or a bad thing, but it suggests there's a prelude to this, which we know nothing about.

When outrage seems obvious, that is when your antennae should go up. This is the filmmaker's and playwright's art you are observing, relying on the brief suggestion to make you fill in the whole story on your own, while deluding yourself that you are thinking for yourself.

See, for example, "The Crucible." A masterful work of dishonest manipulation.  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sat Nov 19, 04:54:00 PM:

You're absolutely right to say that I should be suspicious. I looked it up, and the incident is under investigation, since someone told The Dean. Apparently they were just the last people officially "Occupying" the place, and decided to lock arms.

It's obvious that they were told to leave, disperse, whatever, and were disobeying the police. Fine, maybe an appropriate response should be to rough them up a bit. Maybe even beat them with an industrial-strength flashlight (it's not a weapon, after all).

Pepper spray has a time and place. Specifically, the only time chemicals are authorized is when there's an assailant or a potentially harmful encounter. Spraying people sitting on the ground is inexcusable.

If everyone else has followed their orders and has "dispersed" (even if it's kind of a technicality), why bother with the 15 or so douchebags that are left? What disruption to public order could they be causing? What's it for anyway? To scare everyone else? It clearly only emboldens them, and if you can stand to listen to 8 minutes of "Shame on you!", the situation only gets more orderly and peaceful when the POLICE leave.

I've been watching videos like these all afternoon because I'm a masochist, and the last minute and a half of the video at the top is the only positive thing I've seen (and I admit, that's a fairly liberal, relative use of the word "positive"). If you feel like losing some faith in humanity, look up some of the Oakland videos. What happened in NYC two days ago was downright orderly and civilized in comparison.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Sat Nov 19, 05:12:00 PM:

"I'm sure that one guy was just trying to make a scene"

I assume you were being sarcastic.

Echoing AVI.

The guy in the second video actually did want to make a scene. It was in today's New York Post. He's been arrested several times during OWS. In this incident he provoked cops by stealing one of their hats, and then throwing batteries at them, etc, etc. "You don't tug on Superman's cape."

If I did what he did I'd expect to get a serious beat down from police. A head cut like that looks worse than it really is. I've had bouncers do worse to me, and I didn't throw batteries at them.

You want to be *outraged*. It's right out the Holy Grail skit: "Now we see the violence inherent in the system!"  

By Blogger Lionel, at Sat Nov 19, 05:41:00 PM:

Much ado about nothing. The cop thought he was spraying them with delouser. He grabbed the wrong can by mistake. These thing happen all the time.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Nov 19, 06:09:00 PM:

You can't be serious.

This is the coercive power of the state. It doesn't require justification.

And these people are perfect targets: idiots, filthy, non-contributors to public well being and inarticulate. They sort of pathetic, yes, but the state feels pretty free to abuse people like these.

Don't like that? Join the Tea Party, or become a libertarian. Even, perhaps, a Republican on those odd days when Republicans wake up to the threat to liberty and well being that expansive government can present.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Sat Nov 19, 11:39:00 PM:

More to AVI's opening remark. I've been tear-gassed, although not pepper-sprayed. The ones using the gas wore actual gas protection equipment; they didn't apply the gas with their own faces completely unprotected, like the cops in your video were doing with the "pepper spray."

Second, look again at the "victims," and see how they react to being pepper-sprayed in the face. Tear gas or pepper spray, the response is instantaneous. These "victims" didn't respond to the spray until their compatriots behind them began yelling. And then the response was astonishingly mild for having been sprayed with a strong eye irritant.


Eric Hines  

By Anonymous SR, at Sun Nov 20, 02:21:00 AM:

This cannot be pepper spray at all. In 1965 Helicopters delivered pepper fog to demonstrators in Sproul Plaza.
Ley me tell you, one windborne speck in the eye at 400yds. was enough to make my eyes water for 20 min.
Maybe this was EPA approved pepper spray, looking a lot worse than it actually was. Shame on the rabble.  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sun Nov 20, 04:57:00 AM:

I'm 90% sure they HAVE watered it down sometime in the last 46 years. And if it's not pepper spray, what the hell is it? That girl like 2-3 minutes in is crying for water because she's thirsty?  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sun Nov 20, 06:52:00 AM:

Oh and I heard people asking for situational context:


That gives it about 5 min before, and the same guy has another 20 min of video taking place before THAT on his channel.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 20, 08:36:00 AM:

Pepper spray and water boarding are torture. Should have dropped a missile from a drone, that is good, gentle and humane!!  

By Anonymous Tom, at Sun Nov 20, 11:58:00 AM:

Pepper spray (AKA, Mace, etc.) is sold at Wal-Mart. One of its intended uses is for civilian self-defense. It doesn't and shouldn't require protective gear to use.

It is intended to spray into someone's eyes. Look at the protesters: heads down, many wearing hoods, some wearing glasses. The cop doesn't bother to spray directly into their faces.

The effect is pretty much what I would expect.

I agree with AVI and others calling for more context. For one thing, this seems almost a casual use of pepper spray, as if it were routine in these situations. The cop obviously doesn't feel like he's in any danger, and there's no apparent urgency. This suggests that, rather than this particular cop, maybe we should be talking about department policies.

That said, pepper spray may simply be the best way to break up sitting protesters who have locked arms. On that point, the protesters are committing a crime in this video and the police are doing their jobs.

Even so, on the face of it this looks excessive to me. Whether this was one cop's judgment call or some kind of policy, I'd like to hear the official justification for it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 20, 12:24:00 PM:

Aegon, you are young and soft both in body and mind. Thanks to TH, you have spent your life comfortably ensconced in the privileged shelter of upper middle class America, bouncing from private school to college like a character in a John Irving novel--and from what I can tell playing a lot of video games. I would wager that you don't know know a single cop or uniformed soldier. The real world is going to be quite a shock for you, son.

Cops on riot control duty are almost always vastly outnumbered, nervous as hell, and just want to clear the crowd and go home. Many are ex-military MPs and yes, they have precious little patience for protesters who refuse to follow lawful orders. Refuse and resist an order to disburse and you are may get the beat-down you so richly deserve.

I thought the UC Davis cops were remarkably restrained, professional, and even cordial. I did not see a single person get hurt. They did an excellent job and my hat is off to them.

--Anon Attorney  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Sun Nov 20, 12:59:00 PM:

Anon Attorney at 12:24, I think you're a bit overboard.

There is much about which to disagree with Aegon, and often, as I have done. But soft? I disagree. At least he's on here speaking his piece and answering our opprobrium. That doesn't seem especially soft to me.

And it's a whole lot more than the OWS crowd, who are taking the easy way out--yes, easy--by sitting around complaining and otherwise copping out, rather than engaging with the system. Or by getting serious educations, getting actual jobs, and by working their way up the system, as TH has done, and so many of us evil conservatives have done, working to change that system from within--to greater and longer-lasting effect.

Too few Americans, of any stripe, have been, or are willing today, to do the hard work of effecting change.

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Sun Nov 20, 01:51:00 PM:

There's a story in today's New York Post about where the leaders of OWS are actually spending their nights -- these are the people who control the donations that have been coming in to support the cause. One guy is a regular at the "$700 night and up" hip W Hotel, which invites you to stay there so you can "release your inner Gordon Gekko".

I had suspected that a lot of OWSers were rotating their nights at Zuccotti with nights in Manhattan apartments. It's a great way to get laid.

But I couldn't have imagined this.

Seriously, OWS is a tale told by an idiot. There is no message. It's just divisive, which is it's real point. e.g., we have folks posting here who might have common cause getting divided over the stupid antics of a relative handful of shitheads.  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sun Nov 20, 02:13:00 PM:

Attorney, actually one of my friends from the Quaker school is a paratrooper now. He was mocked a bit for his gung-ho attitude towards terrorists, I thought it was awesome.

But honestly, calling it a riot is going overboard, and bringing in police with riot equipment was going REALLY overboard. If you look around on the web a little bit, it's nothing even remotely resembling a riot UNTIL the police show up. Up to that point it is, at worst, a bunch of squatters.
(pretty idiotic squatters, I think #Occupy University XYZ is a pretty dumb concept. It's dumb because students ALREADY #Occupy it, and they're given prepaid meals, and have indoor plumbing. And they have no bankers to harass, so what's the point?)

I think it might have actually went better if they just sent one guy down there. They wouldn't have done anything to him, since doing something would instantly provoke a show of force. And he could tell the protesters: "Hey, what you're doing is against school policy, and amounts to trespassing, which is illegal, and illegal things aren't protected by the Constitution." If you tell them they're being irritating, a pain in the ass, kind of a nuisance, that's a lot more demotivating than validating their 'hurr durr, we're so hardcore, this is totally punk rock' attitude.

It's pretty clear that lots of them want to be made into martyrs, which is dumb and self-centered, but the cops aren't being particularly bright by playing into it. I still don't really think they *deserve* pepper spray; they aren't THAT hardcore.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Sun Nov 20, 05:51:00 PM:

Would be nice to get a Jack Dunphy article on this on PJmedia. (hint, hint Jack, if you're reading...)

From what I understand, the CA police are *very* limited in their Rules of Engagement (ROE) in conditions such as this. Years of lawsuits and civilians Robocop-ing the rulebook have almost eliminated the "laying on of hands". Taking a guess, it appears the current UCD police manual reads like this.

Chap 14: Unarmed idiot sitting in the middle of traffic.
1) Inform citizen they need to move.
2) As 1), but add they will be arrested if they remain.
3) As above. Inform idiot he is under arrest, and they are to place their hands behind their heads to be cuffed.
8) Spray idiot with tracking stain and irritant.
9) Forcibly cuff and remove from site (made much easier by the irritant). Tracking stain ensures the arrested idiot is unable to claim they were not present. Charge with obstructing traffic and resisting arrest.

Seriously, they just don't pay police enough to endure that kind of crap. And with only paintball guns? Amazing restraint from UC Davis police, with amazingly small amount of force and pepper spray.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 20, 07:17:00 PM:

We should beat these folks with truncheons. Knock out a few teeth. Break some bones. I would hazard a guess half those folks are "veterans" of previous gas.

Consider the alternatives... Pepper spray only hurts for a couple minutes.

We do worse to Marines on an annual basis, Gas chamber anyone?

So Aegon since this is so inhumane. What is your alternative?

The Colonel.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sun Nov 20, 07:56:00 PM:

Hmm, switching sides a bit, here. Aegon01 may have jumped to conclusions, but jumping to the opposite one is no better. The information he dug up does provide context. While some are trying to sell this as a horrendous police-state abuse - which it clearly isn't - it still may have been unnecessary.

I would be equally rejecting of those who seem to have assumed that the protestors can't possibly be right because they are, you know, protestors, so pushing them around must be justified.

And I do give Aegon01 credit for standing up and entering the arena on these things. It's emotionally expensive to enter discussions where you know going in you are going to be a minority opinion.  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sun Nov 20, 07:56:00 PM:

Bring a school bus or two the next time they want to arrest people, so they can get all of them without giving the douchebags the chance to make them look like monsters. Showing up in full Armor and just arresting a couple jerks says you're here to start a confrontation.

The BEST way for the situation to be handled would be to leave the police out of it entirely, and the Chancellor should come out and personally talk to the crowd with a magaphone, and tell them that their concerns are valid and will be addressed, but right now they're breaking rules and making life a pain in the butt for lots of people. I know the idea of giving these pricks any kind of acknowledgement is antithetical to anyone over 40, but honestly all they want is validation, and if someone tells them their opinions are being heard, a lot of people will leave.  

By Blogger Roy Lofquist, at Sun Nov 20, 10:21:00 PM:

From a comment on a post at "Legal Insurrection":

Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department’s use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a “compliance tool” that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.

“When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them,” Kelly said. “Bodies don’t have handles on them.”

After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of “active resistance” from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Sun Nov 20, 10:52:00 PM:

The BEST way for the situation to be handled would be...the Chancellor should come out and personally talk to the crowd...tell them that their concerns are valid and will be addressed, but right now they're breaking rules....

You and I must have gone to different schools; plainly we did so in different times. At my college, had the admin come out with such supercilious, condescending patronization, they would have been booed off the stage.

Eric Hines  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sun Nov 20, 11:12:00 PM:

Might have happened, I admit. We'll never know because she didn't come out, she just sent the police in. Who knows, maybe if she was booed off the quad, she'd have another justification to bring police in (as if she needed another one).

Quakers are so patronizing in general I guess I just stopped noticing it.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Mon Nov 21, 08:50:00 AM:

Quakers are so patronizing in general I guess I just stopped noticing it.

This kind of blithe, broad slur adds to your reputation as surely as objective, fact-informed argument. It does not add to your credibility.

I've known a number of Quakers in my life (still do, come to that), including my grandfather (about whom I'm not at all objective, perhaps especially all these decades after his passing). The group of them are no more patronizing than any other group I've known or still know, across the political or social spectrum.

The only routinely patronizing group I've encountered are the Know Betters. But these aren't sortable into other groupings....

Eric Hines  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Mon Nov 21, 12:46:00 PM:

"are the Know Betters."

Ironically, a category into which the author of this post snugly fits.

For my two cents, I think that anyone who taunts, provokes, or otherwise harasses uniformed officers in the context of a "protest" deserves what they get. Kids and hippies are often surprised and outraged when they discover that violence is at the root of all social order, and that they receive some when they violate the rules; obviously, they were not spanked enough as children to internalize that fact or taught it in school. But it is a fact, a sociological fact, and seeing it in action should be reassuring, not a cause for alarm.

People behave within the limits of society for one of two reasons: moral compulsion, and physical compulsion. When you get a bunch of atheist or otherwise irreligious wannabe "revolutionaries" who spit upon the morals of society as "regressive," which do you think is going to have to be applied?  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Mon Nov 21, 03:46:00 PM:

I was mostly kidding about the Quaker thing. They're really lovely people, very kindhearted and generous. It's just sometimes when they start preaching a cause of some kind I roll my eyes a bit with the way they talk about it. I was subjected to two lectures of that nature every week for four years.

Dawn, I put my ideas out here to test them, because I know the demographic that reads this blog (or at least the demographic of regular commenters) is probably an average of 10-15 years older than I am. If I want to see what people my own age think of something, I put it on Facebook. I don't think I actually Know Better than anyone here, it's just how I talk because it's how my Dad talks.

"violence is at the heart of social order"

I'll agree that people who directly disobey the police or resist arrest deserve to get beaten around a little bit, and they shouldn't be surprised when that happens.

But trying to silence dissent with force IS "regressive." It is NOT a reassuring fact that the only reason people behave themselves is because they're coerced.

You know what also would have worked to get the kids to leave the quad? If all the people who were pissed off at the student's presence got together to tell them so. "You dicks make tons of noise at night and it's impossible to sleep. You're clearly violating rules because it strokes your ego and you WANT to force a confrontation like this. You're making life difficult for everyone else for your own selfish reasons. Gather here in the daytime to have a rally, fine. Just leave when night comes."

Moral compulsion is CLEARLY the way to go and violence or the threat of it should only be used as a LAST resort.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Mon Nov 21, 04:55:00 PM:

You know what also would have worked to get the kids to leave the quad? If all the people who were pissed off at the student's presence got together to tell them so.

Yeah, that'll work. Set one mob against another.

Actually, "the people who were pissed off at the student's presence" did get together--and sent out a group who have a modicum of training in the task to do the task. That group is called "cops."

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Mon Nov 21, 05:10:00 PM:

Moral compulsion is CLEARLY the way to go and violence or the threat of it should only be used as a LAST resort.

Various OWS groups are building and throwing Molotov cocktails, telling rape victims not to report the rapes, experiencing serious theft, and so on. There's your moral compulsion.

Now here is an OWS group that in many other important ways are acting like those. Is it really useful to wait until this group gets into fire, rape, and theft, too, or is, perhaps, a bit of preemption, of nipping in the bud before such stuff and nonsense gets started, perhaps appropriate?

I'll agree that people who directly disobey the police or resist arrest deserve to get beaten around a little bit

Hmm.... That sounds a bit harsher than what we saw in the videos presented: a canister of reddish powder (stipulate pepper spray, for now) freely brandished in warning, then loosely sprayed down at the "protestors," more at their laps than into their faces. Would it have been appropriate, then, with these worthies who plainly were "resisting arrest," to have dispensed with the spray and instead apply the night sticks?

Eric Hines  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Mon Nov 21, 05:34:00 PM:

I dunno, I guess I'd rather get hit in the face with a stick or industrial flashlight than get sprayed, but I know other people feel differently. I heard testimonials from Davis students that the cops held couple of them down and sprayed it into their mouths too, which is outrageous if true, but I'd say the chances of that are pretty slim (like under 15%). None of the videos at that protest got a really good view when the cops held them down, so there isn't a lot of objective evidence for that.

When I posted this thing originally, it was because I had spent the afternoon looking up this stuff while having a really long Facebook argument with a friend of mine, because he posted "Nazis were just following orders too" or something of that nature, and I responded with "Comparing the NYPD to Nazis is probably a bad idea, just sayin'" and it kinda snowballed from there.

So I started looking up videos of the Zucotti eviction, and aside from the thing about banning the press (which I think should never happen in America. It's normal for, say, China to put down a protest while banning the press, it's not something we should do), it actually looked like a fairly civil operation. It sucks it happened at 1 in the morning without much notice, but the cops gave them a good 10 or 15 minutes to get out before they started to evict people, and most people I could see decided to obstruct.

Then I looked up what they did to people's possessions and got angry again, because they confiscated the "Library", and somewhere between 2,000 to 4,000 books were destroyed, many of which were taken out of real libraries, and that's just a tragedy. 5 or 6 laptops from that were also taken and looked like they had been beaten with baseball bats.

Then I looked up some videos of protester violence (it was a REALLY cheerful afternoon, lemme tell ya) and found the Davis stuff, and various other pretty ugly affairs. I posted this because I had a knee-jerk reaction to it, and I admit I got carried away without thinking about it very much first, but that's why I didn't post a whole lot to accompany the videos before I got your input.

As to Molotovs, that was probably Oakland if it was anywhere. That was a real crapstorm, and NOBODY really carried themselves with dignity there. As for the rape thing, without excusing it ('cause it's disgusting that that incident happened at all), the issue was pretty swiftly addressed at General Assemblies across the country, and they ALL decided that if people get hurt the only thing that makes sense is to bring in the cops to deal with it and to enact a sort of "if you see something, say something" policy. As to theft -- OBVIOUSLY. I don't feel any kind of remorse for victims of theft within the camp, because you're an idiot if you bring expensive electronics and valuables to a protest with THAT many people in close proximity and leave them unattended. I have no doubt that there were some starry-eyed individuals in the College Student area who were pissed their new iPad got swiped by some rube from the Poor People area, but come on. Tent cities and Hoovervilles aren't as romantic as The Grapes of Wrath makes it out to be.  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Mon Nov 21, 05:53:00 PM:

And while I can appreciate the idea of a preemptive strike, so to speak, I will note two things:

1) That idea, if it was a policy or something, is very easy to go overboard with. I could see it being used to stop pretty much any kind of sit-in or other kind of strike, for example.

2) It's not going to win anybody over, since the left is pretty against preemptive strikes in general.

And I met someone on YouTube who used to work for UCPD, and this is what he told me about the general MO:

"The UCPD SOP (by the book at least) would be to attempt to physically remove them by picking them up. Then, if they resist violently -- kicks, punches, or weapons -- the elevated response (pepper spray, batons) is appropriate. The key is "violently" -- going limp or locking arms or sitting down is nonviolent"

Whether or not it was possible to deal with the protesters nonviolently is going to be a matter of opinion, and is probably going to come up once or twice in the investigations. I suspect that the verdict will be mostly in the police's favor, but the cop who did the spraying is probably going to get in trouble for helping spread bad publicity and such.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Mon Nov 21, 06:33:00 PM:

I dunno, I guess I'd rather get hit in the face with a stick or industrial flashlight than get sprayed....

Interesting. The pepper spray causes some discomfort to the eyes and then clears after a bit; the night stick can chip, or knock out, a tooth--even with honorable intent, it's a lot easier to misapply a club than it is a spray.

"The UCPD SOP (by the book at least) would be to attempt to physically remove them by picking them up...."

This would seem to be an unsettled paradigm. Here's another take, from a former Baltimore police Lt, Charles Kelly (http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/national/outcry-after-calif.-police-pepper-spray-students , among others): pepper spray is a "compliance tool" that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters. "When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them," Kelly said. "Bodies don't have handles on them."

That idea [the preemption], if it was a policy or something, is very easy to go overboard with.

And yet these cops didn't. Nor do most cops. The idea isn't to try to write a rule against every conceivable boundary. That just leaves the cops helpless to do their jobs. Instead, focus on training and equipage, so the cops can use a measure of judgment and we can trust to that judgment, and to deal with--within existing law--those few who will violate any set of rules.

It's not going to win anybody over....

Nor is it intended to. It's intended (assuming this intent in the first place) to prevent a devolution here into the fire-bombing, rape, and theft extant elsewhere. It's all well and good to catch the miscreants (and they did get the Oakland fire-bomber and one of the Zuccotti Park rapists) after they've done their deeds. But the building and people are still burned, and the ladies still raped. Catching their assaulters can never undo that.

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Nov 22, 11:33:00 AM:


Happy now?

As part of my duties I have both been hit with objects and pepper sprayed. Much prefer the gas actually. I once had a NBC training CWO who would take his mask off and eat a Sandwich, (Subway 6") Just to show us we were nancies... gagging and carrying on and such.

This here coddled generation will get them some learning... which is unfortunate as it is an indicator that we can no longer afford such silliness.

The Colonel  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Nov 22, 02:11:00 PM:

I'm very late to this party, I know, but here is a bit of additional context:


The students are told - one by one - that they need to leave or be "subject to the use of force". They each choose to stay - and get pepper sprayed in the face.

From a purely logical point of view, if you have "passive" protestors that are blocking access to something (as they appear to be doing in the video) you have three options - 1) let them block access until they decide to stop blocking access, 2) find some other route of access (not always possible), 3) break up the protest somehow - this would range from giving them "what they want", on the really nice end of the spectrum, to killing them all (and then killing their families), on the evil dictator end of the spectrum.

If #2 wasn't an option (I don't know), and the powers that be decided that #1 wasn't an option, that leaves the police with #3. Since the police can't give the protestors "what they want" (and the protestors probably don't even know what they want), I think pepper spray is not a bad option. If I were protesting I would not like the pepper spray, but I think I would prefer that to dog bites and broken bones from baton hits (notwithstanding the authors apparent preference for being beaten as opposed to pepper spray).  

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