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Pepper-oil teen deterrent
Kilkenny, Ireland, 7 July 2007 —

This morning I followed up on an idea that had occurred to me last week — an idea that might help fix a neighborhood that is a natural magnet for teen loitering.

It occurred to me that if I spread some of this pepper oil — from a proper jar of these hot little red peppers — upon the steps where kids like to sit, it might serve as an incremental deterrent to their presence.

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(And I must add, at this point, that I understand that my idea will seem curmudgeonly and unkind, from a certain few perspectives. I accept any such criticism.)

I don't like the kids coming to this neighborhood to loiter. I used to have a much more-generous and more-tolerant attitude — but a few of the kids themselves changed my way of thinking about the whole phenomenon of this area as a popular teen hangout spot.

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I found an unused spray-bottle under the kitchen sink. I poured into it a bit of used cooking oil that a housemate had left in a pan on the stovetop. I emptied the last half of the jar of pepper oil into the spray-bottle, and went out into the neighborhood. I spritzed a bit upon the step of the mosoleum just downstairs, and a bit on the stoop of the abandoned house just across Chapel Lane.

Later in the morning, I noticed two girls down by the abandoned house. One of them sat, for a while, upon the pavement stones in front of the stoop — obviously wanting to avoid the mere fact that the thing was oily. I suppose anyone with a sense of pride and self-worth would avoid sitting on an oily surface in the first place. I'm glad she didn't chance it — she seemed a decent-enough "young one."


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