You Really Shouldn’t Fear the Jalapeno Pepper

Conflict is a part of life.

It’s always been that way. And, you can more or less chalk it all up to economics… or religion. But, let’s not get into that. Let’s just leave it at the fact that violence exists in the world as a result of the conflict.

And, there are probably more violent outbursts than you might imagine erupting all over the globe.

One such conflict is occurring in the Kashmir area which straddles India and Pakistan. (And, by this point, we expect you to wonder why this is the subject of a hot sauce blog, but we’ll get there. Promise.)

The short story of this conflict is relatively easy to understand. England had colonized the Indian subcontinent. At that time, Pakistan was part of India – and it was an incredibly rich and diverse region.

By the 1940s, England was ready to hand over the reins, but the conflict was already brewing between the Hindus (which primarily lived in the area that is now India) and the Muslims (which primarily lived in the area that’s now Pakistan).

In 1947, England resigned rule and divided the British Indian Empire into India and Pakistan. Except, the cartographer failed to account for the Kashmir region properly. It’s split between India and Pakistan. And, plenty of people there believe they should be part of Pakistan; their beliefs and families are there.

Redrawing borders, ceding territory, and governing people aren’t as easy as a game of Risk. And the Indian military faces huge problems gaining and maintaining control over the Kashmiri area under their jurisdiction.

Enter the Non-Lethal Means of Crowd Control

The police and military forces in just about every country are trained to use non-lethal means of crowd control when possible. It doesn’t always work. Consider the Kent State Vietnam protests (four dead in O-hi-o) and what is happening in Milwaukee today.

Crowds are dangerous to governments, innocent bystanders, and the crowds themselves. And the aim is to employ non-violent control methods before killing anyone. Different governments, however, have their own ideas about what is an acceptable use of non-lethal control. In the Kashmiri region of India, the police have been allowed to use pellet guns to break crowds.

Yes, pellet guns.

Apparently, these are less lethal than what we might consider real guns. Except, people are still killed or permanently maimed as a result of pellet guns. And, really, could anyone expect a different outcome? Probably not.

So now, as fresh violence has emerged in the region and more people are grievously wounded, the Indian army has made a call for the military to turn towards chili grenades and pepper shotguns in place of pellet guns.

Why are we interested in this development?

It simply demonstrates the power of chili peppers. If they can diffuse a crowd without killing anyone, it should show people just how potent these little fruits really are. And, that you don’t really need to be afraid of a tiny little jalapeño. That, and how happy are you that you pick up a bottle of hot sauce to enjoy on your food rather than dealing with chili grenades… and pellet guns.

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