A case for Pepper Spray and other Self Defense products
Recently in the central Florida area, a man attacked two women outside their apartment. He hit them multiple times. One woman was actually knocked out and had her purse stolen, according to reports.
The attacker was about 30 years old, medium build, and wearing a blue shirt, black pants, and a tie.
As I said in my “About” page, many women (and men) don’t really think about buying a self defense product until something drastic happens to themselves or one of their friends.
In this situation where the two women were attacked, if they sprayed him with pepper spray, he would have at least been incapacitated, which means:
- They would have been able to call the police quicker while he was struggling.
- The police would have an easier time catching him, since he couldn’t run as far or as fast under the influence of the spray.
I will cover Stun Guns, Tasers and other Self Defense products on future posts, but Pepper Spray is a inexpensive, non-lethal product that can be easily carried in a purse or on a keychain.
Facts about Pepper Spray:
Pepper Spray is one of the most commonly bought and used self-defense products. It is also known as OC spray (from “Oleoresin Capsicum”), OC gas, and capsicum spray, and is a lachrymatory agent (a chemical compound that irritates the eyes to cause tears, pain, and even temporary blindness).
It has been used in riot control and crowd control, for personal self-defense, and defense against dogs and bears.
OC Spray has proven to be more effective that CN (choloroactophenone, a lachrymal agent that causes tearing of the eyes) or CS (ortho/cholorbenzalmalonitrile, which causes tearing and burning of the skin) sprays that were used by the police and military. CN and CS take longer to take effect and do not always have a completely disabling effect – attackers were able to function regardless of the discomfort.
The active ingredient in the spray is capsaicin, which is a chemical derived from the fruit of plants in the Capsicum genus, including chilis.
So, the “OC” (Oleoresin Capsicum) that Pepper Gas is made from is basically crushed red pepper that is made into a pepper oil concentrate, and put into various sized aerosol containers in solutions ranging from 3 to 10%.
About 5-6% of people may not be affected by the spray. Police have reported that some people “strung out” on drugs only complained (after finally being restrained) the spray burned their eyes a little.
However, it is an inflammatory agent and most people will experience immediate closing of the eyes, difficulty in breathing, runny nose, and coughing.
The vision loss from the spray will last for about 30 minutes, but breathing difficulty may only last for about five minutes. Breathing is labored because the mucous membranes in your sinuses and esophagus swell and restrict your breathing.
Rubbing your face and eyes only increases the discomfort. Since Capsaicin is not soluble in water, even large amounts of water will not wash it off. Victims are usually encouraged to blink vigorously in order to produce tears, which will help flush the irritant from the eyes.
There are wipes manufactured for the purpose of decontaminating someone who has received a dose of pepper spray. Baby shampoo has also been used to remove the spray with generally good effect.
Since this spray is available in several forms and sizes (canisters, pens, rings, etc.), you should test the “spray pattern” of whatever item you buy by holding it well away from your face and pointing out with a short test spray. Note how far out the item you bought sprays, and whether it sprays in a stream, mist or wide angle. This way you will know what to expect, should you ever need to use it in a self-defense situation.
Pepper Spray also comes with UltraViolet Identifying Dye to help police identify the Subject.
If you want to buy or use pepper spray, check you local laws. It’s use and sale is restricted in some states and countries.
If you are leery about using pepper spray, an item I really like is called Personal Alarm Attack DVR.
This doesn’t shoot pepper spray, but will emit a blinding LED light and sounds a 90 decibel alarm.
At the same time it does that, it also records audio and a color video of your attacker. The audio/video is recorded on SD Cards, and you can use up to a 32 GB SD Card.
If you have ever been attacked and/or used pepper spray, click the Comment link below and share your experience.