Author Topic: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray  (Read 14506 times)

Offline KYdoomer

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I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« on: October 28, 2009, 12:37:14 PM »
But it is a big one.  I guess every man/woman has to decide for themselves. 

If you carry pepper spray and a handgun you can never use the handgun first.  Here's why I say that. 

If (with your pepper spray within reach) you shoot someone with a handgun and he isn't shooting you or continually stabbing you there is a very high likelihood that when you are prosecuted, that will be used against you (in a court of law).  I.e.  "Why didn't you use the pepper spray instead of killing my client," the attorney asks.

If you can't carry a gun I think you can't justify NOT carrying pepper spray.  And I am absolutely not a shoot first and ask questions later kind of guy.  I believe in the power of pepper spray to stop an assaillant. 

This is all assuming that just the sight of the gun doesn't stop the attacker before he/she proceeds but you never know.

Just my thoughts.  Can anyone assuage my fears before I buy a few cans of pepper spray?

J

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 01:23:39 PM »
It sounds like you are comparing apples to oranges. You can use non deadly force against non deadly force. You don't have to escalate up from pepper spray to deadly force if some one is using or about to use deadly force on you.
I'm not saying pepper spray is bad, it has its uses but it has its limitations also. Its a pain compliance weapon. If the person doesn't feel the pain then it wont effect them. I have gone thru training where I was sprayed with pepper spray in the face and then I was still able to attack my target. If a subject is wielding a knive and coming at you pepper spray wont stop him and you will get cut or stabbed. That's when going straight to a firearm is the better choice.

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2009, 01:42:36 PM »
It sounds like you are comparing apples to oranges. You can use non deadly force against non deadly force. You don't have to escalate up from pepper spray to deadly force if some one is using or about to use deadly force on you.
I'm not saying pepper spray is bad, it has its uses but it has its limitations also. Its a pain compliance weapon. If the person doesn't feel the pain then it wont effect them. I have gone thru training where I was sprayed with pepper spray in the face and then I was still able to attack my target. If a subject is wielding a knive and coming at you pepper spray wont stop him and you will get cut or stabbed. That's when going straight to a firearm is the better choice.

Two questions:

1.  If someone comes at you with a knife and you shoot him/her while you have pepper spray on your person, do you not believe that it would be used (wrongly) against you in court?
2.  What brings that decision on which to bear?  For me, it would equate to distance mostly.  If they are far away maybe I draw both and fire the pepper spray with the left hand, discard it, then fire the handgun if the attack continues. 

I don't think I was comparing apples to oranges, maybe I explained myself wrong.  If someone was attacking, then the counterattack must be directly proportionate to the type of attack. 

J

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2009, 01:59:25 PM »
I hear what you're saying, but I have to agree with ncjeeper that you can't compare drastically different threats.  A knife is a deadly weapon.  You have the right to defend yourself with whatever force is necessary to fend off the attack in most parts of this country.  If you can run behind a door and lock it and protect yourself from the man with the knife, you're not going to win the argument for the use of deadly force very easily (unless you are protecting someone else that is in immenent danger).  However, if you have no means to place a barrier between you and the man with the knife, lethal forces seems justified if he's within 20-ish feet and his behavior and actions seem like his use against you are inevitable.  If you can put a car between you and the person with the knife (which would take several seconds for him to get around/over) then pepper spray might be a viable option.  Without that, the delay for the pepper spray to take effect, the fact that it is not 100% effective, and the fact that he could cause lethal harm to you in a manner of less than a second if he reaches you, an expert witness could articulate that your use of force was justifies.

Nothing is perfect, including the perfect defense.  When I was a cop, my department wanted us to carry cuffs even when off duty because there had been some stupid case where an off-duty officer shot a suspect because he was fighting to get away after being apprehended but before back up arrived.  The attorney for the suspect who was shot argued that had the off-duty officer had handcuffs, he wouldn't have had to shoot his client.  The officer felt in fear for his life, feeling the suspect was stronger than him and he was afraid the suspect was trying to take his gun from him.  It all gets pretty silly and you really do have to decide for yourself, but I opt to carry three things for my protection on my evening walks: a high power flashlight, a small can of pepper spray, and my Kahr PM9.  I'd much rather have it available for just the situations Jack described (less than lethal threat against you or a neighbor's dog that's closing in fast), than try to explain to my neighbor why I shot his dog or have my weapon taken and used against me because an unarmed thug decided to strong arm me and I couldn't justify shooting him until it was too late.  It's a lot easier to deal with the consequences of macing someone than shooting someone, especially if they're unarmed.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2009, 02:57:15 PM »
Rules of play:

1. Anyone with a knife attacking you, if they get within 21 feet - guess what, you will get cut. Pepper spray will not stop the attack within 21 feet and a 1st year out of law school lawyer can make the case that a knife is a deadly weapon.

2. A pistol is not a guaranteed attack stopper - why do you think pepper spray is?

3. Pepper spray - even though sprayed highly directionally - is an area weapon and can just as likely incapacitate you as the BG.

4. Pepper spray does not bother everyone, see rule #2

Just a few of the reasons why pepper spray is a much less desirable SD weapon than a pistol. I carry one, not the other.

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2009, 04:40:49 PM »
Thanks for the responses guys.

J

Offline bsmith_shoot

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2009, 07:13:14 PM »
I have worked in law enforcement and corrections for a while, and I can tell you that I have never seen a person that didn't go down with a shot of spray. Heres the thing though, I have always seen it used by well trained and and very educated professionals. These are people that have sprayed gallons of this stuff, and have been sprayed dozens of times. They know how and where to use this stuff. 

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2009, 11:07:43 PM »
Two questions:

1.  If someone comes at you with a knife and you shoot him/her while you have pepper spray on your person, do you not believe that it would be used (wrongly) against you in court?
2.  What brings that decision on which to bear?  For me, it would equate to distance mostly.  If they are far away maybe I draw both and fire the pepper spray with the left hand, discard it, then fire the handgun if the attack continues. 

I don't think I was comparing apples to oranges, maybe I explained myself wrong.  If someone was attacking, then the counterattack must be directly proportionate to the type of attack. 

J

Answer to question #1. No
Answer to question #2. If the suspect with the knife is close enough to you for you to spray him then he is going to cut you and stab you way before you get a chance to discard the spray and defend youself with a hand gun. We are taught the 7 yard rule. Have a friend of yours get 21 ft away from you. Say GO and have the friend run at you. Your friend will be able to reach you before you could draw a firearm and get a center mass shot off.

endurance

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2009, 11:25:29 PM »
We are taught the 7 yard rule. Have a friend of yours get 21 ft away from you. Say GO and have the friend run at you. Your friend will be able to reach you before you could draw a firearm and get a center mass shot off.
Better still, give him a red sharpie pen and run at you and see what damage he can inflict. 

Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2009, 05:40:53 AM »
This is why I have the firm belief that in a incident where you have to use force in self defence it is best to tell the police that " Due to the severity of the incident you would feel best with your council answering the questions" call your lawyer.
 

Offline cartpusher

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2009, 08:32:46 AM »
Somebody needs start making a pepper spray mounts to your firearm, the way a tactical flashlight would.  Then you have your less than lethal option, while still having your lethal option trained on the BG.

endurance

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2009, 08:37:49 AM »
Somebody needs start making a pepper spray mounts to your firearm, the way a tactical flashlight would.  Then you have your less than lethal option, while still having your lethal option trained on the BG.
That's actually a very cool idea.

Offline cartpusher

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2009, 09:04:11 AM »
I have been kicking it around for a while....   My brother in-law who is an engineer, and I, are going to take a crack at building this over the winter.

Anybody want to pre-order one??  ;D

Offline donaldj

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2009, 10:09:22 AM »
KYdoomer I agree with your assessment.

To a DA that is attempting to prosecute someone who acted defensively, no answer they give is correct, and no action they took was the right one.

Michigan just went through some major reforms in self defense. Before these reforms, a person could shoot to stop a life threatening attack, in self defense. It was not permissible to shoot to kill. In the CCW class, we were taught that you must aim for the center of mass only, as that is the physics-proven method to maximize the force applied to an object. When grilled on the bench, DA's would regularly try to make the defendant slip up and inadvertently admit that they were shooting to kill. No hit location was ever the correct one, and no amount of shots taken were correct.

One defendant had a lawyer that searched the DA's court transcripts, and showed that the DA always said the intent was to kill, regardless of shots taken. They had case summaries where the DA attempted to prosecute from 1 discharge, all the way to emptying a clip. That defendant was let off easily by the jury based on this, and that DA had a harder time prosecuting after that.

The point of all of this is that, according to a DA, no action YOU take to defend yourself with the firearm will have been the correct one. By carrying pepper spray and a CCW firearm, a zealous DA will likely seek to portray you as a murderer as opposed to trying to save yourself with a less lethal option.

Fortunately, Michigan's law revamp has had some great effects. We have had Duty to Flee removed, and are shielded from civil suits should the defense action be justified.

endurance

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2009, 10:24:17 AM »
How about one of these or these.  Seems like you're just a flick of the wrist from a less than lethal option while you're lighting up your target (obviously with your handgun in the other hand).

I just found them while doing a google search.  Haven't tried one yet, but might give it a go.  I like having options.


Offline BlazerGuy

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2009, 08:34:14 PM »
Are there any cases where a da has succesfully convicted someone who used their sidearm instead of spray? I doubt it but I'm not sure.


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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2009, 12:17:24 PM »
I have worked in law enforcement and corrections for a while, and I can tell you that I have never seen a person that didn't go down with a shot of spray. Heres the thing though, I have always seen it used by well trained and and very educated professionals. These are people that have sprayed gallons of this stuff, and have been sprayed dozens of times. They know how and where to use this stuff. 

I've seen more than a few people shake off the effects of paperspray. While it can be effective you must always be ready for it to fail.

Also I don't see an issue with carrying spray and a firearm. They are two seperate tools with seperate functions 

endurance

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2010, 10:52:13 AM »
I've seen more than a few people shake off the effects of paperspray. While it can be effective you must always be ready for it to fail.

Also I don't see an issue with carrying spray and a firearm. They are two seperate tools with seperate functions 
While my experience has been positive with pepper spray, I just watched an episode of Operation Repo (on "truTV" channel).  The tow truck driver got nailed in the face, shook it off, finished his job and drove away.  He said he'd been hit so many times he hardly noticed anymore.  While I think it may have been bravado that got him through because he was in front of the cameras, no doubt, whatever product it was (and we will never know) was not a fight stopper.  It was a good thing to see since there are times I cannot carry a gun (at work) but rely on pepper spray as my primary physical protection.  Every tool has its limitations.

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2010, 10:57:28 AM »
On the OP, the argument is not valid.  If god forbid you even use a gun to defend yourself the only thing you need to report is what happened, why you did it and how you followed the law.  Pepper spray is not designed to stop all lethal attacks it is designed to do only two things.

1.  For LEOs to help subdue a subject

2.  For civilians to create an opportunity for escape

Last the only person who would end up telling a responder that spray was an option would be YOU, so just keep you mouth shut about having the option.  There is a reason for the 5th amendment,  ;)

Offline Cool Blue

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2010, 02:18:41 PM »
While my experience has been positive with pepper spray, I just watched an episode of Operation Repo (on "truTV" channel).  The tow truck driver got nailed in the face, shook it off, finished his job and drove away.  He said he'd been hit so many times he hardly noticed anymore.  While I think it may have been bravado that got him through because he was in front of the cameras, no doubt, whatever product it was (and we will never know) was not a fight stopper.  It was a good thing to see since there are times I cannot carry a gun (at work) but rely on pepper spray as my primary physical protection.  Every tool has its limitations.


Pepper spray will expire after a while and it loses it's potency.  That might explain why the driver shook it off.

FYI: Can you friggin believe that it is against the law to own pepper spray in Canada?  Tazers too.  Only police can have them!

Offline jpommer

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2010, 02:57:33 PM »
Let's forget about the knife-wielding assailant for now. If someone pulls a knife, you draw on them, period. But what if it's just an unarmed, aggressive panhandler that puts his hands on you? That's when the pepper spray comes out, and you don't have to talk to the grand jury afterward. In my state it's clearly spelled out when you can and cannot respond with deadly force, and in non life-threatening situations if you draw your gun you'll have to answer for it and be painted as the bad guy. But if the guy has a weapon, be it a knife, a gun, a bat or a screwdriver and you think he'll use it, you're justified in doing whatever you have to. But hey, this is Texas. I think pepper spray is a good option for saying "NO" to someone that won't take "NO" for an answer.

Offline donaldj

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2010, 08:40:00 PM »
On the OP, the argument is not valid.  If god forbid you even use a gun to defend yourself the only thing you need to report is what happened, why you did it and how you followed the law.  Pepper spray is not designed to stop all lethal attacks it is designed to do only two things.

1.  For LEOs to help subdue a subject

2.  For civilians to create an opportunity for escape

Last the only person who would end up telling a responder that spray was an option would be YOU, so just keep you mouth shut about having the option.  There is a reason for the 5th amendment,  ;)

It would be an awesome society if everywhere it worked like this. Please be advised that not every state treats Self Defense the same, and while righteously declaring your innocence would be ideal and should be acceptable, in many places it is less than ideal.

To respectfully either counterpoint or add to this statement, know your state, your county, etc, and its attitude on these things. If you don't know it, I beg you, make NO STATEMENT to the Law Enforcement Officers regarding the incident until your attorney is present. "Officer, I want to cooperate, but to protect my interests in this matter I respectfully require that I speak to my attorney before making a statement".

Memorize that, use that.

You will likely spend the night, or a few days in jail. The police know this. Many will dangle the possibility of going home to your own bed like a carrot and stick in front of you. Don't fall for it. They are looking to solve the crime, finish the report, etc, and get the details so THEY can go home and go to bed. Offering information to them and running your mouth with the hope of going home that night fills the District Attorney's head with all kinds of angles he may try to use against you. Don't be a DA's wet dream.

This all leads me to my point:  You will be frisked to get a firearm away from you. They will find your pepper spray because you will likely be under arrest. The DA will have an inventory of what you had on you. He will know there were other possibilities you may have used. He may try to play those angles in court.

(Please don't say someone can ditch the pepper spray after the shooting. That's stupid. Forensic scientists who do this 40+ hours a week are FAR smarter than someone in the 2 panicked minutes after an altercation they're in, likely for the first time....)

It comes back to knowing the attitude of the area you're in regarding Self Defense, and knowing what your rights are. It is my belief that the OP's post may have significant merit, no matter how righteous we may want to feel about having options and being able to choose the right tool for the job at hand.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 08:45:40 PM by donaldj »

Offline Who...me?

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2010, 10:30:21 PM »
Quote
To respectfully either counterpoint or add to this statement, know your state, your county, etc, and its attitude on these things. If you don't know it, I beg you, make NO STATEMENT to the Law Enforcement Officers regarding the incident until your attorney is present. "Officer, I want to cooperate, but to protect my interests in this matter I respectfully require that I speak to my attorney before making a statement".

With all due respect to any officers reading this.  No offense is intended.
No matter what...if you have to defend yourself DO NOT MAKE A STATEMENT TO THE POLICE.  Period.  Their job is to put someone in jail.

If you have any questions watch these two videos.

Don't Talk to Cops, Part 1  Mr. James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and a former defense attorney, tells you why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police.   

Don't Talk to Cops, Part 2   Officer George Bruch, An experienced police officer tells you why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police

Offline chrisdfw

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2010, 12:29:58 AM »
Last the only person who would end up telling a responder that spray was an option would be YOU, so just keep you mouth shut about having the option.  There is a reason for the 5th amendment,  ;)

As I've heard before

Its important not to confuse your right to free speech with your right to remain silent!  :-X

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2010, 08:18:44 AM »
Everyone makes really good points.  I guess I should not have requested information in such an incendiary way.  I didn't mean to tell anyone that their method was wrong; just wrong for my particular form of OCD.   :o

One of my goals this year is to make decisions only based on justifications instead of making a decision and attempting to justify it later. 

I guess I knew the answer when I went I made the original post (justified before I decided), I just wondered if there was any insight into why people went with this method and if they saw something I didn't.  Like Rush (the band) says:  "If you choose not to choose, you still have made a choice".  I guess I made mine.

I look at every potential situation and the worst thing that could happen, not out of fear but out of caution.

In this scenario--attack by party A against party B armed with pepper spray and firearm, I see the following worst case scenarios in this priority.

1.  Party A is armed, kills Party B and/or Party B's family.
2.  Party A is unarmed, wrongly shot, Party B goes to jail.
3.  Party A is armed, justly shot, Party B goes to jail anyway.

Scenario 1 could happen with firearm or pepper spray but I think we all agree pepper spray makes it more likely if that option is chosen.  Therefore, I believe it best to remove the pepper spray from this scenario.  Barring a RPG, the gun is the option more likely to stop the attack.

Scenario 2 could only happen with firearm, there is no pepper spray option.  This is not the fault of what you carry but poor choices that have to be negated with training and cool-headedness.  Pepper spray gives you another option but if you don't know how to restrain force, what's to make you choose the better option?

Scenario 3 could happen with either but in my opinion (and I agree actually with both Jack and Donald here) the pepper spray complicates things IF THEY FIND IT OR ASK!  But this scenario assumes they find it and they don't do things the way we'd like. 

My conclusion is that 2 or the worst 3 things that could happen all happen because pepper spray is involved.
The third occurs due to lack of training, knowledge or ability.

All these scenarios are low probability, high impact but they still could happen.  Those are my thoughts on the subject.  I don't think lesser of anyone for carrying both.  In fact I believe you are probably a kinder and smarter person than me.  I guess you should know your limits.

J

Offline Serellan

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2010, 01:16:05 AM »
I have worked in law enforcement and corrections for a while, and I can tell you that I have never seen a person that didn't go down with a shot of spray. Heres the thing though, I have always seen it used by well trained and and very educated professionals. These are people that have sprayed gallons of this stuff, and have been sprayed dozens of times. They know how and where to use this stuff.  

I have.  A guy I went to MP school with was totally immune.  Noel would spray it in his mouth for a joke.  Our OC instructor put half a bottle in his face and he laughed it off.

Now in the times I used OC in the field against people I needed to take down, never had it fail, but I have seen someone who was completely immune to it.

Offline Stein

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2010, 11:07:05 PM »
Keep in mind pepper spray isn't the only weapon.  You could punch them or kick them.  You could throw whatever you are carrying at them, trip them, tackle them, stab them with a pen, rake your keys across their eyes.  Pepper spray gives you a much better option (in my opinion) than all of those.  As many said, it is a matter of what you believe at the time.  Is your life in danger or not?

Regarding statements to police, I will post an article under a separate thread for discussion.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2010, 01:45:24 PM »
If I am in a situation that someone is going to get sprayed, that person is getting drawn on. If I did not or could not carry a gun, I would look into spray.

I disengage if possible. If that is not possible, I am engaging. I do not fist fight when carrying a gun. I draw and end the conflict. This may or not involve a shooting. I hope I never find out.

I agree do not be interviewed by the cops without an attorney. I do not agree with not giving them a statement.

Offline Stein

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2010, 09:52:12 AM »

I agree do not be interviewed by the cops without an attorney. I do not agree with not giving them a statement.

I agree.  With pepper spray, the guy isn't going to be dead.  Thus, you have a 99.9% chance he is going to be talking to the police and a very good chance the story he is going to tell will paint him as the victim.

Remember, the police have no idea what happened when they show up.  If you don't make the 911 call and tell your story, at least in brevity, you are going to be playing catch-up.

Say a guy gets in your face during a road rage incident and you spray him.  His wife calls 911 and says "my husband was attacked by a maniac on the side of the road."  Cops arrive to hear the story from the victim and his wife about how you instigated the attack.  You then say - I need an attorney.  Cops then arrest you and begin gathering evidence to support the arrest.  Bad guys have a day or two to perfect their story.

Rewind.  You spray the hoser then call 911 and say "I was just attacked by a guy who forced me to pull over and then prevented me from leaving.  I was afraid of getting beaten and had no choice but to spray him.  Please send the police quickly to help me."  Then, when they arrive they will get the same story from the couple, BUT they will also get your side.  The guy was tailgating me, I tried to get out of his way but he would not leave me alone.  He forced me to pull over and blocked my exit with his vehicle.  He charged my vehicle and I felt my life was in danger so I acted to protect myself.

It is still your story against his, but at the scene, you will have critical details while they will be scrambling to make something up. 

I'm not an attorney, but it makes good sense to me.  There is a big difference between a simple statement at the scene and the hours of grilling done during an interview - which is what the above video shows.  One of the videos also shows a kid with pot who faces a maximum penalty of a speeding ticket.  Both are very different situations than a self defense investigation.

Offline sledgehammer

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Re: I Can Only Think of One Disadvantage to Carrying Pepper Spray
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2010, 03:02:30 PM »
These kind of laws and their execution vary from state to state. But being charged by a man with a knife is an immediate threat to life and limb.

I know I'm repeating what has already been said, but I think that it is worth emphasizing. The Ohio Police Academy teaches that, at 20 ft, a bad guys can draw a knife and stab you before you can draw a sidearm and shoot the bad guy.

My thoughts go towards the idea that drawing the weapon could end the situation. I've never heard of a bad guy running away because someone pulled pepper spray out of their pocket.

Sledgehammer