QUESTION: Need a historical precedent for open letter to teargas supplier NonLethal Technologies, re: Gezi Park, protests in Turkey, Turkish police brutality

question / pregunta: 

Hi RR,

I'm writing on an open letter to the Pennsylvania-based supplier of tear gas that the Turkish police are currently using in extreme quantities, and as projectiles, against thousands of protesters as well as non-protesting citizens in Turkey. I thought I'd make the case in the letter that their product is being misused, kind of how a U.S. middle school teacher made the same case in his letter to Defense Technologies in 2012, excerpted from his blog at the bottom of this email.

Then, I want to find some case examples to add to the open letter. Either A) cases where a company has learned its product was being used to hurt people and publicly stopped supplying it to those who were doing the misusing, and/or B) cases where a company was asked to stop supplying a product that was being used harmfully, didn't stop, and then was subsequently condemned by history for their reticence.

Maybe a weapons company, computers, something...? My sister mentioned a case involving IBM computers in wartime, but didn't know how this situation had turned out.

Please let me know if you have ideas for case examples for this letter. (Also any other data that could help the letter be convincing and strong.)

Also, I think NonLethal Technologies is the name of the main company supplying tear gas to Turkish government police right now this week, but I'd love to have help confirming this, and help finding out how to contact them and also contact the pepper spray supplier.

Thank you very much for all that you do. I hope this question is answerable.

All best,


"I have no doubt that the millions of dollars worth of tear gas cannisters you produce have their place—a non-lethal and usually harmless method of dispersing mobs who have gone out of control, but this is not how the Republic of Turkey uses your product. The police break up every manner of gathering in a similar way that they did ours—whether it is a group of secular nationalist on Indepence Day, a gathering of Kurdish mothers in a tent, townspeople protesting the building of a dam or students objecting to tuition hikes. They attack teachers, church goers (a sizeable Christian community lives in Istanbul), democrats, rock musicians, children and housewives. And the gas cannisters are certainly not always harmless—a Google image search on ‘tear gas cannisters’ is enough to yield some pictures of injuries from these things that turns your stomach. There are rumors sometimes that the police are deliberately targeting people.

I am writing to ask you to be more judicial in who you select as your customers, to not sell your product who regularly use it to attack their own people."



My earlier answer was focused more towards academic libraries, which could be expected to be less enthusiastic about collecting video games, especially because of frequent shortage of funds for what are perceived as more "core" academic subjects.

For more focus on public libraries, try databases such as Masterfile (Ebscohost). Masterfile Premier gets 56 hits for the search (in full text): video games and public libraries and oppos*, and 42 hits for TX(video games AND public libraries AND censor*), for example.

You might also approach this from a psychological research perspective - TX (video games AND attention deficit) gets 8 hits in PsycInfo and 13 hits in PsycArticles, for example. Both of these commercial databases would be available at most large university libraries, and at some larger public libraries.

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