Here’s the full exchange between Barr and interviewer Margaret
BRENNAN: There were chemical irritants, the Park Police has
BARR: No, there were not chemical irritants. Pepper spray is not
a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.
BRENNAN: Pepper spray, you’re saying is what was used —
BARR: Pepper balls. Pepper balls.
But this is simply wrong. PepperBall’s website declares: “With
multiple payload options and a proprietary chemical irritant
that’s proven more effective from even greater distances,
PepperBall projectiles offer the protection and versatility for
any situation.” (The company did not respond to a request for
What’s that ingredient? It’s called pelargonic acid vanillylamide,
or PAVA, a “synthetic” form of capsaicin, the active ingredient
in hot peppers. Anyone who’s tried to insert contacts in their
eyes after cutting hot peppers knows what that feels like. PAVA is
mostly derived from synthesis rather than extraction from natural
plant sources, according to the “Handbook of Toxicology of
Chemical Warfare Agents.”
So basically Barr is trying to use “chemical” to mean “synthetic” or “artificial”, as opposed to “natural”. As if attacking peaceful protesters with natural hot pepper irritants would be OK. But that’s not even the case. They can’t even get their bullshit straight.