Thursday, March 22, 2007

Safety Proposition: Tactical Use of Pepper Spray

I usually carry pepper spray and I think it's an excellent tool in the arsenal should I ever be attacked by dogs, people, or even bears.

But if the wind is against you, pepper spray isn't very helpful. Similarly, in very crowded situations (like a fight in a crowded subway's happened to me before) the pepper spray isn't a good idea because you'd end up spraying everyone in the car.

Also, if attack seems imminent, but hasn't occured yet, then I'm not justified in spraying someone. Spraying someone without good cause is definitely aggravated battery (unwanted touching with a weapon essentially).*

One defensive strategy that I've considered (but never implemented) is to spray my left palm. That way, I keep the spray down and to a minimum, but all I have to do is get my left hand near their nose and my odds of being victorious increase.

I may just want to defuse the situation, but I may also feel the need to put the other person down for the count for my own safety or the safety of others.

Spraying my hand will ultimately be painful and if I'm not careful, I'll get it in my mouth or eyes and be a crying mess. But I've sprayed myself before (once intentionally and once accidentally) and pepper spray isn't bad unless you get it near your face.

*If I felt threatened by an animal, I would just spray it... I'm unlikely to be charged with battery on an animal you perceive as threatening.


dr said...

All the real fights I've been in have ended up on the ground with both of us covered in the other's sweat and blood. So I think that if the pepper spray doesn't avert the fight then it's going to end up hurting both of you.

On the whole I'd say that brass knuckles or one of those extendable clubs is the way to go.

But I'd also say that the only fights I've ever been in were directly attributable to my being (at the time) the sort of asshole who gets into fights.

Jason said...

Bears? What's going on in St. Paul!?

Safety Neal said...

Some Minnesota counties have more bears than people! According to the DNR, Minnesota has 23,000 bears.

I plan to do some camping this summer and bears are an issue.