I, Dr. Juniper L. Simonis (they/them/theirs), am a 36-year-old middle-class, white, non-binary, queer, physically and psychologically disabled person. I come to the study of the history of chemical weapons use in America via my personal experience being the recipient of law enforcement’s chemical weapons and my ensuing scientific research into its impacts on the environment.
I have a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell, where I studied aquatic ecology and biogeochemistry – disciplines I have put to use to studying the impact of chemical weapons. Through my ecological research, I have uncovered historical and current information into the impacts of chemical weapons that I was not seeing being represented in the present day broad cultural discourse.
From this need to share historical information came this book, a way for me to pass along a window into the racist, classist, capitalistic, and colonialistic throughline of the thermal fogger.
I am an abolitionist in multiple senses: I believe that the use of chemical weapons, police, and the carceral system should all be abolished, full-stop.
Through this work, I have discovered an extensive history that makes me feel a deep connection to my protest elders who experienced thermal foggers decades ago. I hope that my work will bring light to their stories. We are but the most recent chapter in a long history of United States Law Enforcement using chemical weapons against its own people.