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Old October 15, 2001, 06:51 PM   #1
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To spray or not to spray

A friend of mine asked me this morning why I don't carry pepper spray to go along with my pistol. I answered that personally, anything that I cosider to be a serious enough threat to use pepper spray on is going to be a big enough threat to warrent the use of my pistol. Quite the lively discussion followed, ending up with about a dozen participants, all of whom were questioning the sanity of every other member. I'm still of the same mind on pepper spray, but I did come away with one new question. If faced by an attacker and you were to decide to use your pistol instead of your pepper spray, what kind of legal problem would this cause. A good lawyer would ask the question, "You had non-lethal means, why didn't you use them first?" I'm sure my buns would be safe in a criminal trial, but as always I'm not sure about a civil case.
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Old October 15, 2001, 07:40 PM   #2
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That one could be tough in civil or criminal court.

I lean toward no defense unless I feel that my life is at risk, then STOP the bad guy. I have seen a rather wide spectrum of reactions to pepper spray. It can be rapidly fatal to one with asthma, conjestive heart failure and other ills. It can work properly and promplty stop an attack, the effects are delayed on some and there are a few who would have time to skin you before getting upset about the spray.

Same various reactions in dogs also. I know one guard dog that likes pepper spray......after trying to eat the person that sprayed her, she was munching on the can.

If in an offensive situation, such as law officer, nice to have as an alternate to shooting. But there the situation is usually more controlled.

Nutshell, I don't carry both.

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Old October 15, 2001, 09:32 PM   #3
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I think CR Sam hit it...for civilians its an 'all-or-nothing' deal in the eyes of the law. If someone's life isn't at stake, you should be calling for the police. If someone's life IS at stake, well- front sight, press.

As a nice wrinkle, as a LEO I am required, by department policy, to carry my sidearm off-duty. We recently had an addition to our rules and regs that states that we should have an intermediate weapon and physical restraint device with us as well.

It seems the use of force continuum is following us off-duty.

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Old October 15, 2001, 10:30 PM   #4
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Here in MA, law satates that I may only use a firearm for LETHAL force.If I am being jumped by 2 BG's in the mall parking lot I cannot draw my weapon.If they see my weapon and then try to grab it that's a different story.Lethal force is also justified if 3 or more are attacking me.I don't carry pepper spray because it's not effective on all assailants and I could probably run away from the situation instead.I'd rather leave with a hurt ego than go to jail or lose my license for illegally drawing my weapon.
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Old October 16, 2001, 12:03 AM   #5
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I used to carry a can of spray but stopped doing it some years ago. I took a job working the front door of big nightclub a few years ago and had the wonderfull experiance of being sprayed on more than one occasion. Not one did it incapasitate me enough where whomever sprayed me didn't get at LEAST a smack in the mouth for doing so. That's not to say it wasn't effective on some people, it just wasn't overly so on me. I just don't trust the stuff enough to put my safety or that of my families in it's care. A number of years studieing ju-jutsu and modern arnis (not to mention a 21 inch asp) seems to have better results for me.
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Old October 16, 2001, 04:19 AM   #6
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OC is not the tool to be relied on in a lethal force encounter, however, it has the potential to stop a situation escalating that far.

As soon as someone becomes verbally abusive and threatening, spray them once (spraying more only increases the duration of the symptoms, possibly at a detrimental effect on severity; drawing a pistol at this time would surely be regarded excessive). It will probably work, but no two people will react the same.

Try getting sprayed yourself, then doing some "combat excercises" (like shoot your gun, move to cover, call the cops), and decontamination; have it recorded on video for later use in court "OC is harmless, I tried it myself; see how I could still fight after being sprayed; see how easy it is to wash off".

If the other guy is determined, on drugs or shows no effect, more force may be necessary; or at least you will have the possibility to escape (first one to call cops wins in court...).

If you wait until the other guy produces a weapon, it may be too late to avoid injury and could be viewed as mutual combat in court, meaning you lose your CCW license, gun rights, home, etc.
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Old October 16, 2001, 05:34 AM   #7
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Sorry soCAl

Sorry, Gunter,
In soCal, the situation that you recommended about spraying the verbal abuser? Can't'd open yourself up to sriminal and civil suit.
There's already been many cases all ending the same...bad for the person using any means to defend him/herself.
It's weird to me that the gun grabbers want our guns but they are also removing all alternate means to defend yourself in dangerous, life threatening situations.
Pretty soon, harsh words will be banned.

Can't wait to retirement to escape this loony bin.
proud to be an American.
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Old October 16, 2001, 06:30 AM   #8
David Blinder
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I think the way to properly view pepper spray is that it's one of the more benign choices on the force continuum and falls just one notch above verbal commands but below soft hands. It's not permanent and if you follow the Farnam theory of "spray early and often", it gives you a choice that will generally not lead to serious charges if you handle a perceived threat incorrectly. It's not lethal force and I'd think that if you can vocalize that although you did have a non-lethal method of self-defense available, you had to resort to lethal force to effectively deal with a threat, your position in court would be improved.

David Blinder
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Old October 18, 2001, 03:25 AM   #9
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My use of the OC is based on the perception that the subject is a) issuing threats of bodily harm, b) aggressively pointing at me specifically and c) closing distance or already close by, causing me to fear that a physical assault is immediately imminent and making retreat impossible. Therefore I chose the minimum level of force both available to me and capable of averting the threat, rather than risk causing permanent injury or even death.
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Old October 18, 2001, 06:27 AM   #10
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Only time I'd use OC spray

The only circumstance that I can see myself using pepper spray is if I was in my car stopped for some reason and someone aggressively came up to the drivers window (which was open) and I couldn't drive off right away. Here's one reason not to keep it on your keys. I think that it's perfect for this situation.

In any other case, if I can't handle the situation with my hands (or possibly ASP), then I want my .40 caliber.

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Old October 18, 2001, 03:55 PM   #11
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Pretty soon, harsh words will be banned.
Already are, some places and some words.

How prosecuted do you think you'd get for yelling the "N" word in some black person's face in Kali?

HINT: A bunch.

MANDATORY DISCLAIMER: I'm not suggesting that it's just fine to use racial epithets. It's not. I am just pointing out that the curtailment of the 1A is proceeding along with the fight against the 2A. And the rest of the Constitution.

As for the spray - taking a human life is serious business. We kid about it rather callously here, me included. But it IS serious. I'd rather know I did all I reasonably could to avoid that. Some people do need killing, and some who don't usually might leave you no choice in a particular situation, but it's not something to take lightly. Kids usually love their Daddy even if Daddy is a scumbag.

Better to know what you don't know than to think you know what you don't know.
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