The Very Best of the Lt. Pike Meme People
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The Very Best of the Lt. Pike Meme

It's a photograph that has now become an iconic image of the Occupy Wall Street movement. During a protest at UC Davis, a police officer in riot gear - later identified as Lt. John Pike - was filmed walking in front of seated student protesters, blasting pepper spray into their faces. The students had interlocked arms to prevent officers from taking them away.

The incident has led to calls for University of California Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign (she said she found the images "chilling") as well as public outcry in general over the use of pepper spray by authorities on otherwise non-violent targets.

It has also led to a new Internet meme, in which the image of Lt. Pike and his pepper spray dispenser are placed in unlikely and humorous scenarios that highlight it as a violent and over-the-top reaction to something non-threatening. (The meme is alternately referred to as the "Pepper Spray Meme" or the "Scumbag Pike" meme, a reference to the ongoing "Scumbag" series of memes and again meant to ridicule Pike as craven and abusing his authority.)

This list represents the very best - thus far - of the Lt. Pike Pepper Spray meme. (With special thanks to Kwikset on Tumblr, the Google Plus feeds of Billy Galbreath and Sage Serif and @Xeni on Twitter for pointing me to some of these great entries.)

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  1. 21
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    Pike Gets High

    Pike has here been inserted into the famous photograph, "New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam," taken atop the unfinished GE Building in 1932. Back then, the penalty for pepper spraying a colleague was a night in the hoosegow and a fine of 12 haypennies.

  2. 22
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    Gandalf the Spray... That's What They Used to Call Me...

    Guess Winter is Coming for Lt. Pike, right, guys? (Am I doing this right?)

  3. 23
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    Lt. Pike meets Simon Belmont in this ode to the classic video game series "Castlevania." Does pepper spray work on the undead?

  4. 24
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    Pike the Nighthawk

    Pike invades another iconic painting. This time, it's Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks."

  5. 25
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    Lt. Pike Needs to Dance

    Just to be safe, judges, I'd give him high scores. You wouldn't like Pike when he's angry...

  6. 26
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    Lt Pike Both Denies and Betrays

    Lt. Pike attends the Last Supper in this sacrlicious entry.

  7. 27
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    Lt. Pike is at Every Wall Street

    A small rural town held their own mock Occupy Wall Street protest, and wouldn't you know, Lt. Pike still had to show up and pepper spray everyone involved. That guy is incorrigible.

    Original here:

    (via Redditor ginumginum)

  8. 28
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    Where There's Peace, There's Pike

  9. 29
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    Lt Pike is the Law

    Pike here is referencing Judge Dredd, a police officer who, in a violent f*tureworld, acted as judge, jury and even executioner upon encountering criminality.

  10. 30
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    Having a Bad Knight

    This is why Lt. Pike rarely gets invited to official state functions. (The painting is "The Accolade" by Edmund Blair Leighton, for the curious.)

    (via Sage Serif on Google+)

  11. 31
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    Is Pike Who You Gonna Call?

    I'm not sure the Ghostbusters would actually allow Lt. Pike in. He has neither the tools nor the talent.

  12. 32
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    The Circle of Pike

    How could he? That monster!

  13. 33
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    The Original Image

    This is Lt. John Pike, who in the following (graphic) video, pepper sprayed students peacefully protesting (in solidarity of the Occupy movement) at UC Davis.

    And here is video of the event:

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