Pro Pepper Spray

Last Defense

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I am angry. Angry that any person walking down the street must fear an assault they could never be prepared for. Angry that our schools are becoming hunting zones where some feel need to arm educators. Angry that homes no longer solely shelter against the harshness of nature, but against the harshness of society.

Today, I sat down to write about how we can feel safe with pepper spray, or mace, in our hands but was devastated to learn several statistics stating that we cannot. Pepper spray was supposed to be the last defense.

It’s intended to allow the hope of freedom from becoming the next victim. Unfortunately, pepper spray isn’t the saving-grace-weapon as we’ve been misled to believe.

Readers, here are the stats: Pepper spray, or mace, or Oleoresin Capsicum, is characterized as a canister that sprays a harmful liquid that causes severe irritation to respiration, eyes and skin. To some, the spray has little-to-no effect, meaning even a full bottle of spray may fail to harm some, according to

Assailants have developed ways to counter OC’s use. Those who openly carry spray will have it knapped away. Paradoxically, those who don’t carry it openly will rarely be quick enough to use it. It’s risky and downright impractical.

The chances of pepper spray helping you are getting lower and lower with these factors. This is a problem because those that do carry mace get into the mindset that they’re untouchable. In 1981, the California Ventura County Sheriff’s department created a simulation in which volunteers would need to protect themselves using pepper spray. They provided participants only with mace and an officer, in disguise, would attempt to mug them. Shockingly, not a single volunteer was able to stop the “assailant.” Would you risk it all with that product?

The reality is that the efficacy of pepper spray dwindles down to these key factors: reaction time, aim and assaulter. Will you be able to deploy your spray fast enough, dispense it accurately and effectively? Will your attacker be protected from attack by apparel? I don’t like those odds.

Despite these facts, I still carry pepper spray when appropriate. I believe that I should be allowed and encouraged to have it almost everywhere.

Pepper spray is legal to own, with varying restrictions, in all 50 US states. According to, those who are non-felons over the age of 18 are allowed to possess pepper spray at state level laws. Meaning that state law permits the ownership of it, but limitations apply in some cities. In California, pepper spray is legal to use exclusively for self-defense, but containers must be under 2.5 ounces. Any non-self defense use can be fined with $1000 and/or 3 years in prison.

Some people may be concerned that mace will be used for malicious intentions. I can’t say I’m not worried. But the benefits outweigh this concern. Some people need a last line of defense that mace supplies.

Here’s an ugly picture: A dangerous person picking on a defenseless student who’s otherwise helpless to neutralize the situation. This is not the type of occurrence we want to believe happens, but the scary truth is that it does. And we do need to be scared because denial won’t fix anything.

If pepper spray isn’t the answer to our problems, then what is? If we’re not actively combating the issues, then we’re standing still. And, as they say, the most dangerous thing we can do is nothing.

The first step to any positive action is to acknowledge the problem. As Harvey Fierstein, a playwright, wrote: “You change the world when you change your mind.” A canister of pepper spray may not change the world, but a fresh perspective backed by real action has the capacity to go a long way.

Educate yourself on the topic by reading up on legitimate sources. Be a person who inspires constructive action in others and communities, and maybe one day, future generations, will be saved the burden of carrying pepper spray.

Let me ask you now, are you angry?

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