The blogosphere has been in an uproar over what appears to be a growing trend of violence toward Occupy Wall Street participants, perhaps most notably with the pepper spraying of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey at Occupy Seattle and the arrest of former Philadelphia police Captain Ray Lewis in New York.
An image macro that powerfully places an Obama quote about the Egyptian protestors next to an image of an American being pinned to the ground was passed around quite a bit, but it's decidedly harder to stay mad at "the man" in general than it is to react to specific examples of injustice.
So when UC Davis police officer John Pike pepper sprayed a line of peacefully seated protestors Friday, he was met by an Internet poised and waiting for just such a catastrophic f*ck-up. Much like Tony Bologna back in October, Pike's nonchalant and needless use of force was caught on camera and promptly uploaded to YouTube. And as was the case with Bologna, Pike's home address, phone number, and other contact information were quickly passed around forums like 4chan and Reddit once he was identified.
Though it was a weekend on a campus full of protestors, the subsequent outpouring of horrified reactions from "alumni, staff, students and faculty" prompted UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to suspend Lt. Pike from his position Sunday.
The events are nothing short of serious and the subject matter reflects the exact reasons many people feel the need to protest in the first place, but one of the ways Pike's story has disseminated across the web so quickly is via a photo meme called Pepper Spraying Cop.
This guy just doesn't like to see people being happy. Quietly sitting? Not anymore. Having a tender Thanksgiving moment? Pass the Mace.
The meme started as simply editing Pike into famous paintings and having him disrupt the scene, but has since evolved into a more broad-sweeping party crasher sentiment. It even got its own single-topic Tumblr Monday afternoon, so you know it's bound to grow.
We've gathered some of the best examples below to give you a feel for what the meme is about.