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Old August 30, 2010, 12:27 AM   #26
csmsss
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Pepper spray is not reliable enough for me to consider using it in defense of my own life or others'. It is not necessarily easy to deploy and use accurately, and there is absolutely no guarantee (not even, really, a reasonable assurance) that it will have the desired effect on your opponent. Frankly, I don't understand the notion of carrying a firearm AND pepper spray, unless I was in an area where I might run across unfriendly (but not terribly dangerous) wildlife.
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Old August 30, 2010, 01:07 AM   #27
maestro pistolero
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CSMSSS,
Read post 11, 14, and 19 of this thread. Familiarize yourself with the concept of escalation and disparity of force, and then get back to us.
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Old August 30, 2010, 01:09 AM   #28
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Quote:
Read post 11, 14, and 19 of this thread. Familiarize yourself with the concept of escalation and disparity of force, and then get back to us.
Please do not insult my intelligence by patronizing me. I am well aware of those concepts, and stand by my remarks. I will not place my own life at risk by dependence upon a weapon which I consider to be highly unreliable and ineffective.
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Old August 30, 2010, 01:23 AM   #29
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Fiddletown,

You are correct, I did misunderstand your point. And your point is best summed up in this paragraph (emphasis added).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddletown
The thing is that IME many people don't realize the deficiencies of pepper spray. So if you resort to lethal force instead of relying on pepper spray, and assuming it was the proper choice, which it certainly can be, you will need to be able to articulate why you understand that pepper spray could not have been relied upon to stop the attack and how you had reason to know that. You will need to do that because your knowledge is inconsistent with the unfortunate, but IME common, misunderstanding regarding the effectiveness of pepper spray.
The alternative to articulating why pepper spray was not used is to articulate why your believed lethal force was a necessary option -- either through training or simple observation.

lizziedog1 - I was also in the same job back before CA reqiured 4 or 5 different permits. And I had the mace & baton cards. The general rule for Mace/spray use was if you had time to deploy it and sufficient distance from the subject. In closer quarters, the baton was usually faster and just as effective (when used properly). A guy 20 feet away with a wrench would get sprayed. But like our LAPD trainers said, "We're not here to play fair. If he uses his fists or a broken bottle, baptize him or stick him. If he comes at you with a club or a knife, shoot him to the ground."

csmsss - Pepper spray is a fair 1st-line defense if you have time to slide it into your weak hand and have it ready. It can be used to gain time to move away from an assault and/or deter the incident entirely. But PS is not what I would call a "fast deployment" tool.
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Old August 30, 2010, 05:55 AM   #30
roy reali
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re:lizziedog1

Quote:
I don't know if I have helped. I was just trying to remind you that any defensive response might up in court, if not criminal, then civil.
Good point. I have also often heard that a civil suit is likely to follow a shooting. That is one reason that you are not suppose to use reloaded ammo is a SD situation.
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Old August 30, 2010, 11:37 AM   #31
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Quote:
Read post 11, 14, and 19 of this thread. Familiarize yourself with the concept of escalation and disparity of force, and then get back to us.
Quote:
Please do not insult my intelligence by patronizing me. I am well aware of those concepts, and stand by my remarks. I will not place my own life at risk by dependence upon a weapon which I consider to be highly unreliable and ineffective.
If your life is at risk then pepper spray wouldn't be an option, would it? So, tell me again how well you understand the concepts of escalation and disparity of force?

But, let's say, you were being threatened with less than lethal force, and it wasn't a robbery. Say, you took someone's intended parking space by mistake, and now they are trying to punch you in the face.

Ok, then what would you use? You can't carry a police baton, nunchakus, (or a taser, in many states). Since more altercations call for less than lethal force, what, if you don't mind, IS your plan besides pulling a gun? Or do you want to fight them, tear up your nice slacks, bloody your knuckles, be late for dinner, plus other potential untenable consequences possibly including getting your ass kicked.

Because if lethal force is not called for, drawing will likely get you charged with brandishing a firearm in a rude and threatening manner, or whatever the charge would be in your state.

So what are YOUR alternatives to pulling a gun?

Last edited by maestro pistolero; August 30, 2010 at 03:07 PM.
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Old August 30, 2010, 03:39 PM   #32
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My brother is a police lieutenant in a major LE agency in Southern CA. He has used OC on hundreds and hundreds of people.

I ask him this question: What percentage of people that you sprayed with OC remained combative?

Here is his response:
"Maybe 5%, but they were at a serious operational disadvantage. And of the 5 percent, there were often other factors like drugs or failure to get a good, direct hit.

And of that same 5 percent, they were generally not aggressing but trying to get away. It (arresting someone) is an entirely different dynamic. As a tool for protection it is highly effective.
"


Even if used only as a distraction to facilitate your escape, I fail to see a downside. It only takes a second, and it doesn't limit other defensive moves subsequent to deploying the OC.

If you need a gun, you need a gun, But WAY more often, you won't need a gun. What's in your lunchbox?

Last edited by maestro pistolero; August 30, 2010 at 05:05 PM.
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Old August 30, 2010, 04:16 PM   #33
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My brother-in-law is a police officer in the suburban Los Angeles, California area, and has been one for almost two decades. He routinely carries both a gun and pepper spray both on and off the job. When I asked him why he carried both, he said that he has found pepper spray useful in three situations: to disable a suspect in a situation where the suspect's own behavior did not justify using lethal force, to do the same in situations where the suspect's behavior justified lethal force but using a gun would have put innocent third parties at risk, and to help distract or disable a suspect in situations where he also used his gun. He also taught my husband/his brother and me how to use pepper spray.

I've only talked with a few police officers and county sheriffs about the stuff, but my BIL's opinion seems widespread among them.
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Old August 30, 2010, 05:07 PM   #34
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Frankly, I don't understand the notion of carrying a firearm AND pepper spray, unless I was in an area where I might run across unfriendly (but not terribly dangerous) wildlife.
Not every encounter warrants lethal force, morally or legally. Again, if your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail.
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Old August 30, 2010, 05:19 PM   #35
maestro pistolero
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Not every encounter warrants lethal force, morally or legally. Again, if your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail.
Interesting, isn't it, how few grasp that concept? I have been carrying pepper spray as long as I have carried a weapon (20 years). I see it as my responsibility to have an alternative, even if only from the standpoint of weapons retention.

If I am armed, I get assaulted, and get in a fight which I lose, I have just put a gun in the hand of my previously unarmed attacker.

The reasons for less-lethal alternatives are endless, and there is no downside to having them available.
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Old August 30, 2010, 06:59 PM   #36
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Wow...so pepper spray is the ONLY non-lethal option?
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Old August 30, 2010, 07:10 PM   #37
maestro pistolero
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Wow...so pepper spray is the ONLY non-lethal option?
CSMSSS, you are the only one I have ever heard suggest such a thing, let alone in this thread. You have rather selective comprehension. The subject matter of the thread, however, is "Pepper Spray + Gun". And it's as good a combo as I have found.

I carry OC, and a defensive/tactical flashlight (a surefire), in addition to a firearm, and an assisted opener folding knife for lethal backup. As a civilian, carrying a large impact weapon would be either illegal, impractical, or just downright strange.

I do have a very large mag-light in my car should that be the right tool for the job, and should I have time to retrieve it, which is doubtful as I could likely retreat in less time.

Yet again, I invite you to share YOUR non-lethal alternatives.

Last edited by maestro pistolero; August 30, 2010 at 07:25 PM.
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Old August 30, 2010, 10:20 PM   #38
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Wow...so pepper spray is the ONLY non-lethal option?
Aside from avoidance or possibly a taser gun it is the only one I know of that does NOT involve me going hand to hand with a belligerent drunk or kid who I am being forced into an altercation with but which does not meet the level of violence for which lethal force would be justified (at least in all the jurisdictions I currently travel in).

I would wager most LEOs would rather avoid rolling around on the ground with someone as well.

Nobody here has said OC is the response to lethal force.

Nobody has said it is 100% effective (hint hint, neither is your handgun).

If you choose to wrestle with some drunk who just might get the upperhand on you and escalate the situation to a whole new level should your gun get grabbed then by all means feel free to do so. OC though is an EFFECTIVE and PROVEN non-lethal alternative to a very large range of non-lethal threats. You may not like that but it is the truth as many many departments will attest to.
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Old August 30, 2010, 10:41 PM   #39
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Thanks, but...

Great replies and I thank all of you. However, my question is about having both pepper spray and a gun on you at the same time from legal point of view. Mainly, if a thug comes at you with a blade, and for whatever reason you shoot and kill the person, will having pepper spray have a legal effect on you.

Could a DA or a civil jury question why the nonlethal option wasn't utilized. It seems illogical, but so does the warning not to use reloaded ammo.

I wonder if someone is better off, in a legal sense, just carrying a gun?
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Old August 30, 2010, 11:15 PM   #40
maestro pistolero
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The answer is no, legally, morally, and civilly. It's been answered pretty well in this thread. The only possible reason a CCW'r would have pepper spray would be because not all threats are lethal. If your attorney can't sell that to judge or jury, fire him. It's the responsible thing to do, and difficult to misinterpret.

I am curious, though, was there some scenario you imagined where it would be frowned upon? What do you think the reason would be to suspect the motivations of a lawful CCW'r to carry OC spray? I can't think of a single reason why anyone would question it.
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Old August 30, 2010, 11:38 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmsss
Wow...so pepper spray is the ONLY non-lethal option?
Not unless you want to be deliberately obtuse.
A number of folks carry a folding knife for close quarters fights, however that can still be charged as ADW depending on how it's used.

Considering most states frown upon civilians walking about with batons, saps, blackjacks and in some states, even tasers and stunguns, that doesn't leave a large number of non-lethal weapons available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy reali
Could a DA or a civil jury question why the nonlethal option wasn't utilized. It seems illogical, but so does the warning not to use reloaded ammo.
They can always question why you didn't try "A" before "B" or why you didn't retreat instead of stand your ground. The real basis for filing charges is if the victim of the assault or attack had a reasonable belief he was going to receive great bodily harm or at risk of death.
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Old August 31, 2010, 06:35 AM   #42
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Logic?

I recently completed a CCW class. Great instructor with a lot of war stories. He was telling us about a recent case here. Some guy shot and killed an attacker in a parking ot. He used a handgun in 10mm. The DA decided to prosecute, her reasoning was that the size of his handgun caliber indicated he was out looking to kill someone. If he had used a 9mm, she wouldn't have pursued the case. The jury sided with the shooter.

I could see how having pepper spray and using a gun could get you into trouble. Does it make sense? Is it logical? No more then using a big gun versus a little gun.
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Old August 31, 2010, 10:22 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillCA
Quote:
Originally Posted by roy reali
Could a DA or a civil jury question why the nonlethal option wasn't utilized. It seems illogical, but so does the warning not to use reloaded ammo.
They can always question why you didn't try "A" before "B" or why you didn't retreat instead of stand your ground. The real basis for filing charges is if the victim of the assault or attack had a reasonable belief he was going to receive great bodily harm or at risk of death.
And this goes back to the point I was making before. If you don't try the pepper spray first, and instead go directly to the gun, you will need to be able to articulate why you reasonably concluded that pepper spray under the circumstances would not have effectively stopped the threat.
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Old August 31, 2010, 10:31 AM   #44
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Bella, do you have a real reference for that story. It almost sounds like a version of the Fish case.

Sometimes, instructors 'refine' war stories for the class' amusement.

Or would you share the instructor, so I could check it out. PM me if you want.

As far as the issue, we know that DAs can bring up such issues and some jurors are affected.

You need to be able to justify your actions and have an attorney knowledgeable about such issues.
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Old August 31, 2010, 10:54 AM   #45
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
I could see how having pepper spray and using a gun could get you into trouble. Does it make sense? Is it logical? No more then using a big gun versus a little gun.
I'm just curious, Bella, how do you see that argument being constructed?
Quote:
If you don't try the pepper spray first, and instead go directly to the gun, you will need to be able to articulate why you reasonably concluded that pepper spray under the circumstances would not have effectively stopped the threat.
Of course, you always need to be able to articulate why a reasonable person would do what you did. And that's just as true whether you have pepper spray or chicken wings in your pocket.
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Old August 31, 2010, 12:44 PM   #46
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You will ALWAYS have to justify your decision, lethal or non-lethal force should the police become involved. In most jurisdictions you will have to articulate why you were unable to flee if you were outside the home without placing yourself at greater risk.

Remember, if you attack someone with a knife the DA will charge you with assault with a DEADLY WEAPON.

The DA could try to make up any reason to try to convict you. The best way to avoid being charged with an unwarranted homicide is to not be involved in a homicide. If my OC can stop a situation before it escalates to lethal force or give me a more defensible option in court than engaging in a steel cage match with a nut twice mu size where the jury will be told he was unarmed then great.
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Old September 1, 2010, 02:14 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillCA
Examples:
a) Some guy gets in your face, screaming and pushing you against your car, claiming you "took" his parking space (or some equally trival upset). He refuses to back off and keeps shoving you against the car, jabbing his finger into your chest, shouting how he's gonna kick your fanny into next Tuesday.
Lethal Force: NO - Not warranted.
Pepper Spray: YES - appropriate for misdemeanor assaults/battery.
Even without the physical contact, his threatening statements and close proximity are sufficient threats that a reasonable person would likely believe an assault was soon to occur.
I disagree.

I'm a senior citizen with a bad back and high blood pressure. He's in his 20s or 30s, outweighs me by 30 pounds, and appears to be in pretty "solid" condition. In a situation like that, I would most definitely fear for my life, or at least that I was about to get a severe beating. And if I have that fear, I am entitled to use lethal force to defend myself. And I would very much consider the use of lethal force "warranted." Legally, ethically, and morally.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; September 2, 2010 at 12:31 AM. Reason: Typo ("Bad back" not "back back")
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Old September 1, 2010, 05:36 PM   #48
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Aguila Blanca

Quote:
I disagree.

I'm a senior citizen with a back back and high blood pressure. He's in his 20s or 30s, outweighs me by 30 pounds, and appears to be in pretty "solid" condition. In a situation like that, I would most definitely fear for my life, or at least that I was about to get a severe beating. And if I have that fear, I am entitled to use lethal force to defend myself. And I would very much consider the use of lethal force "warranted." Legally, ethically, and morally.
I'm not sure were you live, but good luck telling that to the judge.
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Old September 1, 2010, 06:41 PM   #49
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Elvis, look up disparity of force.

The situation that Aguila states, is a text book example.
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Old September 1, 2010, 11:44 PM   #50
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Agulia -- Thanks for pointing out the disparity of force issue. I should have added a footnote about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvishead
I'm not sure were you live, but good luck telling that to the judge.
Agulia is spot-on.

In legal circles, disparity of force plays a significant role in justifiable homicide and cases of self-defense. Any time the aggressor can bring to bear an amount of force likely to rapidly overwhelm and/or cause death or great bodily harm, the victim is entitled to use lethal-force.

Examples include...
- An elderly victim versus a much younger attacker
- A child vs. an adult
- A small statured person vs. a much taller person. (e.g. female vs. male)
- A disabled person vs. a one with no disabilities
- A person who is temporarily ill/disabled vs. a fit person

But it's not limited to those cases. For instance, let's take a 5'10", 185 lb male of 62 years. We can recognize that at 62 years, even if he is in "good shape for his age" his older bones are probably easier to break than those of a 22 year old. Plus a lifetime of various foods, diets, etc. puts him at higher risk of heart-attack or a stroke in a physical encounter. A single blow to the face is very likely to result in shattered facial bones. But if this 62 year-old's physical condition is average-to-poor, he may not be able to engage in any physical altercation beyond several seconds.

Reverse that -- a fit, able-bodied girl, 9-14 years old vs. a 32 year old adult male. The male has height, weight and size (reach, length-of-stride) advantages. The young girl is not sufficiently strong enough to land physical blows that will dissuade his attack on her.

In these cases, courts have held that the weaker victim has the right to resort to lethal-force for self-defense when there exists a reasonable fear of great bodily injury or death by virtue of the size and overwhelming power of the aggressor.

Agulia can be 6'9" tall, but if he's a senior citizen in frail health (i.e. a bad back that can be seriously injured and high blood pressure) then engaging in a physical confrontation at all might risk great bodily injury. This entitles him to use lethal force even against a smaller, but much more able opponent.

Disparity of force also applies to multiple attackers vs. a single defender. If Elvishead is a 29 year old physically-fit male standing 5'11" at 180 lbs, is confronted by 3 or more physically aggressive males of various sizes, lethal force may be a suitable option. Especially when all three are actively participating in harrassment, physical contact or the threat of a physical beating. Even if the "leader" (aggressor) makes the threat that his buddies are there to back him up, lethal force may be justifiable.
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