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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pepper Spray. Would ya? Could ya? Should ya?

The following is something that I posted quite a while back on one of my other blogs called "SFI".

Pepper spray is exactly what its name describes. The ingredient in chili peppers that creates the burning sensation is the active ingredient in this non-lethal weapon.

You will find different grades of pepper spray from 10% on up. The higher grades of pepper spray are sometimes only sold to law enforcement officers. The sprays come in different forms from thin stream or mist to foam. The canister itself varies from pen style to small cans like in the photo above to industrial style mega cannisters like you see Dwayne the Dog Chapman carry while chasing Hawaii's most wanted. There are some varieties that even contain dyes that color the attackers skin to facilitate later identification.

Is pepper spray effective? Lets take a closer look at the pros and cons. In a perfect world you will have the pepper spray in your hand, facing the right direction, with no wind, facing an attacker that has never been exposed to it before. As the attacker approaches, you deliver a steady stream of spray directly to his face, covering his eyes, nose, and mouth. Involuntarily he inhales drawing excess spray deep into the attackers nasal passages and throat causing a spasmodic fight for air. The attacker drops to his knees, frantically rubbing his eyes with mucous and spit running down his chin onto the ground. You are able to walk away and find help from nearby passersby. The attacker is picked up minutes later by police, easily identified by the bright blue skin caused by the marking dye in the pepper spray. In a perfect world...

In the world in which we live. You are confronted by an attacker, here are of the few possible problems you may face:

1. You do not even have the spray with you or you have to search for it under all that "stuff" you keep in your bag;

2. You are able to locate it but cannot activate the spray due to the built in safety you have to deactivate that allows you to either press the button or squeeze a trigger of some sort;

3. You start spraying only to find that the spray is going the wrong way, hopefully not into your own face;

4. There is a strong wind which blows the spray back into your own face;

5. You do hit the attacker but not in the face;

6. The attacker has been sprayed before and realizes that movement is still possible and still attacks you even with the spray on his face;

7. The attacker is so enraged that even though the attacker has never been exposed to pepper spray before, the attacker drives through the pain just to get to you;

8. The attacker takes the spray away from you and uses it on you.

I could go on and on. My point is that in order to use a weapon, the user must be trained. Part of training is practice. Perfect practice makes perfect not practice makes perfect.

A timid user makes for timid use. You must be committed to using the weapon for your personal safety. As they say in poker, ALL IN!

I do not want anybody to get a false sense of security because they are carrying something like pepper spray. A false sense of security denotes comfort with your surroundings. You might even be "braver" and take chances that you might not otherwise take. These are the ingredients for disaster. You are in control of your life. Gadgets are tools. If you do not know how to use a tool, it is useless to you, but with training, tools can be used to make works of art. It all still relies on the skill and talent of the user.

Any questions or comments? Please feel free to hit any comments button. I will reply to all personally.

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