Sun. May 19th, 2024

By Donna Westfall – February 14, 2024

What a topic to write about on Valentine’s Day. But, last night I got a call from a friend disturbed by being bothered while in line at Jack-in-the-Box when a man came up to her car window asking for money This happened during the day and she said it wasn’t the first time.

She couldn’t quite make out what he was saying at first, but she said he looked like someone from a homeless encampment. Finally he put his hands on her door and then she felt threatened so she yelled at him with enough expletives for him to go away. Fortunately, he left.

We discussed what could be done. I suggested talking to law enforcement which she did. She called former Sheriff Dean Wilson (current Chair of the Board of Supervisors) that said pepper spray and mace are effective deterrents. Not everyone wants to carry a gun or should.

Research on these two products revealed the reason why they are so effective. First of all, they are both legal. They both contain some of the same ingredients. Sprayed in the eyes, mace is similar to tear gas in that it’s an irritant. Pepper spray works as an inflammatory and is effective against people under the influence. Plus it’s less likely to cause harm.

In California, you must be 16 years old to carry it and you can’t have more than 2.5 ounces.

It would be wise to watch video’s on how to use these products. Don’t just buy it and assume you’ll be ready in a dangerous situation. Mace apparently is less effective against violent attackers because it can take from 3 to 30 seconds. Pepper Spray containing the extract of the cayenne pepper plant, works quickly temporarily blinding the assailant. It creates a burning sensation in the eyes and skin.

Research lists it takes from 15-30 minutes to a few hours for pepper spray to wear off. It’s not lethal, but if pain persists a trip to the ER may be in order.

The do’s and don’ts of using spray:

  • Do keep in on your belt or purse
  • Don’t keep it in the bottom of your purse or console of your car
  • Do become familiar with the top. Is it a click top or flip top or twist top
  • If it’s windy, be aware that some could blow back into your face
  • Do use your thumb rather than your finger
  • Do practice with practice sprays first
  • Do NOT use this for anything other than self defense or you may be liable in a lawsuit
  • Don’t use expired pepper spray
  • Don’t get close or turn your back on your assailant

What does it cost?

Between $10 and $22 and up. Big 5 has Pepper Spray in stock while WalMart offers on line purchases with most arriving the next day.

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