The Facts on ‘False Sense of Security’ Self-Defense Devices
At a recent conference designed to educate professionals on personal safety, I witnessed an extraordinary phenomenon; Pepper Spray (Mace) and Tasers sold out in minutes.
You could get a mini Taser designed as a lipstick, humorously called the ‘Zapstick’, a smart cell phone stun gun, and less I forget, ‘Pretty in Pink’ pepper spray. They even threw in manly ‘looks like a flashlight and screw driver’ for good measure.
“I don’t need to know how to defend myself, I have a Taser!” or “I bought my daughter Pepper Spray, she’ll be safe at college” are statements I have heard more than I care to repeat throughout my career as a self-defense Instructor.
But here’s the real sting; Pepper Spray and Tasers will not work if you don’t know how to use them. Like any other ‘personal protection device’, they have limits and regardless of how easy it looks to use, REQUIRE AN EDUCATION NOT JUST A SALES RECEIPT.
6 STARTLING FACTS ABOUT PEPPER SPRAY YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT!
It is important to note that pepper spray and mace are actually the same thing, with the same active ingredient capsaicin; a chemical derived from the fruit of plants in the Capscium Genus variety, i.e. chilies. Mace, a name dating back to the 60’s was created from tear gas by the company of the same name. Even at low levels, it was discovered that the product was not only not effective on intoxicated individuals but extremely toxic in large quantities. Needless to say, the Mace Company quickly altered its composition and Mace Pepper Spray was borne. But, let’s explore some facts:
1.PEPPER SPRAY IS LEGAL IN ALL 50 STATES
BUT, certain jurisdictions may regulate or prohibit carrying it on one’s body. You need to take the time to call your local law enforcement to be sure.
2. YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO USE IT; THE RIGHT WAY!
If not, you could be charged with a criminal action with imprisonment up to THREE YEARS. That means if some poor fellow who appears as a ‘threat’ from, I don’t know, his attire or swagger or vocal tones approaches you in a darkened area and you spray the heck out of him when he only wanted directions, then you are in BIG TROUBLE.
3. CARRYING PEPPER SPRAY IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE ON AIRLINES
…with a hefty $25,000 fine attached so unless you plan on finding a pepper spray store everywhere you go you better hope nothing ‘bad’ happens to you on a plane or the destination you are going.
4. IT IS MOST EFFECTIVE WITHIN 10 FEET
I’m pretty good at Math but under duress cannot claim to have the ability to calculate the distance between myself and a potential attacker to ensure they get within ten feet but ‘not any closer!’ to where I cannot use it ‘as effectively’.
5. PEPPER SPRAYS HAVE A LOCKING MECHANISM
This is to prevent you from, well, spraying yourself accidentally, or I don’t know, an innocent bystander perhaps? So, let’s say someone tries to grab you and you magically have the pepper spray in hand, because after all, you made it a decision to carry it at all times in your palm, out in the open, ever ready to spray in a perps eyes from ten feet away. Do you say “Wait Mr. Badman (or woman), I must unlock the mechanism so I may calmly utilize this amazing self-protection spray in your eyes! Wait, can you back up a bit?”
6. PEPPER SPRAY DOES HAVE AN EXPIRATION
Although it states that such a product lasts forever, which may be true, it does lose its efficacy over time, approximately three years from the date it was manufactured, not when you purchased it. So, if you did not check the small date on the can designed as a foundation brush/key chain and replace it when needed, you may just have to add “and let me check the expiration date! Don’t come any closer, I’m unlocking this beast, oh, you’re in trouble now!”#PepperSpray may be legal in your state, but #Tasers may not be. Click To Tweet
TRUTHS ON TASERS THAT MAY SHOCK YOU!
1.THEY MAY NOT BE LEGAL IN YOUR STATE
Tasers, though not considered ‘firearms’ may not be legal to carry in your state or jurisdiction. Like Pepper Spray, you need to know the law.
2. TASERS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS
Even if it is legal, it is most often not allowed in state or local public buildings or open area meetings or, you guessed it, the airport. But don’t worry, nothing bad ever happens in these places! (wink)
3. TASERS NEED THE RIGHT TARGET
A Taser only works if you hit the target and is most effective between the base of the neck and waist. Need I say more?
4. A TASER HAS A SAFETY SWITCH
Like pepper spray, are you going to consistently carry it out in the open, ready to use and have the ability and timing to turn off the safety switch while your attacker waits patiently with a bulls eye tattooed on his (or her) neck?
5. A TASER IS SUPPOSED TO DISABLE AN ATTACKER NOT KILL HIM
Once you get the Taser in contact with the bad guy, you need to hold it in place for 3 seconds or longer. The longer you hold, the more effective it will be. So, pray that the individual does not attempt to thrash, hit or grab you in any way, less the Taser get knocked out of your hand.
6. KEEP THE BATTERIES FRESH!
Guess what? It won’t work if the batteries are dead. So, on your daily ‘to do’ list, make sure you add a ‘Check Taser battery life’ to it or when the day comes when you may need it: once you of course you remove it from your purse or car as it may be illegal to waltz around the store with it, unlock the safety mechanism, hit the most effective area of the body, hold it for at least three seconds, it would be awful if the batteries…were…dead.
OH NO! MY TASER’S BEEN TAKEN AND MY PEPPER SPRAY SNATCHED!
Now that all are clear on the mechanics of such devices, what happens if the assailant takes it from you? What if, while the adrenaline is surging and your ‘fight or flight’ activates, you drop the pepper spray? Or, even more conceivable, you are grabbed unsuspectingly from behind? Or, you run and trip? Or miss that ‘sweet spot’ of Taser targeting?
NOW WHAT?! I’ll tell you what; you’re in trouble. No arsenal of attractive lipstick case looking sprays will help if they are on the ground, not working correctly or in the very hands you are trying to protect yourself from.You can't buy safety off the rack. Invest in #self-defense training to protect yourself! Click To Tweet
The bottom line is you just can’t buy an off-the shelf product. You need a little training; you need to invest in the most important asset—you! You deserve the knowledge and confidence that come with understanding self-defense. Come join me for your free self-defense class at my studios in San Diego. AND< if you can’t come to my gorgeous city, I urge you to get a little training most often LESS than the price of a Taser; you’re worth it right?