Sunday, May 26, 2013

Self-protection in Fiction - Pepper Spray - Information for Writers

Pepper spray Demonstration; U.S. Marine Corps ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.



I was alone on a moonless night, driving down the highway and rubbing sleep from my eyes. Horrifically, my pepper canister, dangling from my key-chain, had leaked. I had wiped blinding fire across my eyes and spun off the road...

Because of this incident, pepper spray and mace are not part of my EDC. But for a writer, these products in a plot line can be awesome, indeed.

Pepper spray and Mace come in canisters of varying sizes. What is Mace? Mace is a name brand for defensive sprays. The Mace canister can contain pepper spray, tear gas or both. Mace and pepper spray affect mucus membranes causing inflammation and burning sensations. The affect lasts 20-30 minutes unless washed away. Milk is effective at removing the sting of the pepper spray. Water and mild soap are also helpful.


Bush Inauguration11
Bush Inauguration11 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Writers who use this self-defense weapon in their writing can either use it to help or thwart a character's plight.

USE  - Aim for the eyes and spray left to right. If you missed, spray back from right to left.

PROS -

RSG-3
RSG-3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* It is legal in most areas (though, as always, check
  your story location's laws for accuracy).
* It is inexpensive, easy to obtain, needs little in the
  way of training.
* It is effective at 8 feet - 20 feet depending on your
  brand/container size, so there is physical distance.
* It can be used against more than one attacker at a
   time. Also, it is effective against animals, including
  werewolves. (Though double blind experiments
  shows these products to be ineffectual against
   Zombies.)
* Portable and easily carried on a daily basis.


CONS (Poor character, never gets a break!)

* The stream is visible and can be averted.
* Wind is not your friend. It can make the shot
   ineffectual. It can also blow the stream back on you. It
   can blow the stream towards your friends/helpers/pets.
* You can quickly run out of product - esp. when using
   key-chain sized canisters
* The attacker might be high, drunk, or impervious.
* It must hit mucus to be effective - eyes, nose, mouth,
   lungs. A hat, hoody, or other clothing often prevent
   this with a mere duck of the head.
* Aim is key - and this is often difficult in a high-
  adrenaline situation. Especially if the character is
  shaking.
* Most people buy the canisters and never test them out
  or practice (which is why I recommend buying 2).
* Some canisters have a protective clip - and this can
   get stuck or be difficult to manipulate when in danger.
* The spray needs to be in hand - bottom of the purse is
   not helpful.
US Navy 050511-N-3394D-007 Master-at-Arms 2nd ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Kids and pepper spray are a BAD combo.
* Not legal in some places - like courthouses.



Video

Video 1 (3:05) Basics -
Video 2 (3:10 start at 1:30 mark) Watch pharmacist use bear spray against robber.
Video 3 (1:50) Police pepper spraying a crowd.
Video 4 (2:36) Shows various sizes and uses. Also, gives considerations for choosing the proper weapon
or your character.
Video 5 (3:12) Getting sprayed.






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6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Very informative and skilfully written, there is nothing quite as satisfying as reading a well researched article. You are quite right about the mace blowing back into your face if the wind suddenly shifts. It is possible for a person to die after exposure if they are asthmatic. The capsaicin in pepper spray can also irritate the lining of the bronchi so it is very dangerous to young children. I unfortunately do not have access to research on mermaids and mermen who have very unique mucus membranes. In South Africa you are allowed to purchase pepper spray for self-defence but not teargas. One of the most challenging problems we encounter is people that have been using “Tik” similar to methamphetamine and cannabis (we call it dagga) which is crushed and then mixed with ARV (Antiretroviral) medication. These patients are a handful because they are overly aggressive and do not feel pain at all. If you do use your spray in such instances always know your exit route and wear good reliable running shoes.

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  3. Awesome information!! I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm going to spend time looking at everything else. I hit the jack pot! Have a great day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome information here!! Can't wait to look at everything. Best, Amy Kierce @WriterAmyKierce on twitter

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a great blog. Many thanks for doing all this wonderful research. I have a questions, if you have a moment: Can pepper spray make a person nauseous? I'm not seeing that anywhere - just that it can make one panicky and short of breath. Thanks again, Max (Fan and fellow author).

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    Replies
    1. Yes, especially if you can get your character gagging with a full, especially a sloshy stomach. So if he just filled up on Gatorade, got hit in the face, and had a gag reflex that could all come up.

      Cheers!

      Delete