Pepper Spray Does Not Work as Advertised
MACE SECURITY INTERNATIONAL
The company that manufactures Mace sent this letter to consumers in April of 1994.
MACE SECURITY INTERNATIONAL
Our records indicate that you purchased Mace chemical self-protection spray from our company. This is to advise you that Mace Security International, Inc. ("MSI") and Personal Security, Inc. ("PSI") have entered into a consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") to stop making certain representations about the effectiveness of Mace with 1 CN and other chemical self- protection products unless the representations are true and adequately substantiated. The FTC alleges that the advertising for Mace made the following false and unsubstantiated representations:
(1) that one spray of Mace will stop an assailant;
(2) that any contact with the upper torso by a spray of Mace will stop an assailant; and
(3) that use of Mace will instantly stop an assailant.
The FTC also alleges that MSI and PSI, while making effectiveness claims, failed to disclose adequately that (a) it may take several seconds for the effects of Mace to begin, and (b) Mace may not be effective on many assailants including those who are armed, enraged, drugged, intoxicated, or otherwise desensitized.
Finally, the FTC alleges that MSI and PSI did not possess adequate substantiating evidence for the following representations:
that Mace will keep an assailant incapacitated or up to about 20 minutes;
that the effectiveness of Mace for civilian self-protection has been proven in use by police forces;
that four out of five police officers in the United States carry Mace;
and that over 4000 police departments in the United States use Mace for protection against assault.
The products covered by this consent agreement include Mace and other chemical self-protection products. We advise that you limit your use of Mace in accordance with these restrictions:
(1) Mace may not be effective against armed assailants;
(2) Mace may take several seconds to work; and
(3) Mace may not work on enraged, drugged, or intoxicated assailants.
Jon E. Goodrich, President, Mace Security International, Inc. and Personal Security, Inc.
Mace Is Ineffective!
Ladies, your friends are putting your life in DANGER! The pepper spray you have in your purse or on your key chain most likely WILL NOT WORK!!! Please read the following, then follow the link to our solution to this problem! Even if you are not interested in the AIR TASER®...we urge you to rid yourself of that can of mace!!!! Your life may depend on it!
"...For one thing, you can't get real Mace (a product of Smith & Wesson that has become a generic term for all incapacitating aerosols). The strong formulas are sold only to police, and watered-down stuff to civilians. Since the complaints about suspects' eye damage in the mid-Sixties, all formulas have been weakened across the board."
"The Mace-type sprays have proven to be much less effective than once believed. Many people can take several streams of the stuff square in the face with no immediate ill effects. It only works right off when it's sprayed in the eyes, which is a no-no. Even that won't work if your assailant wears glasses, or shades. Drunks are almost immune. The instructions say to spray at the chest, so he'll inhale the rising fumes. It just doesn't work that way."
"The police department to which I am attached, issues Curb 60, the most potent of such sprays. On one occasion, I was accidentally sprayed in the face with it. I had sense enough not to inhale, but wiped off as much as I could and held my breath as I walked to the nearest sink to flush the exposed skin. There was a tingling that began after a few moments, and grew to a burning sensation like very strong after-shave before I washed the stuff off. I did have some trouble breathing, but nothing incapacitating."
``Forget Mace. The only thing it's good for is to facilitate rape (sprayed into the victim's face, she can't breath enough to scream or resist), or to cope with vicious dogs (susceptible only because the mucous membranes of their tongues and noses are directly exposed to the spray)."
"`But police advise you not to buy a gun.' That's how all those [rape prevention] articles end, with an explanation that you'll shoot yourself instead of the attacker."
"It's bull, all bull. Guns are the only weapons that put a physically small or weak person at parity with a powerful, very possibly armed, criminal.'' -- Massad Ayoob, In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection, 1980, self-published, pp. 36-38.
Those who claim that Mace-type sprays are an effective substitute for handguns overlook the fact that police, almost all of whom carry such sprays, also still carry handguns. As one officer acquaintance of mine (a Sergeant in a major metropolitan police department in the Northeastern U.S.) told me, ``We are told that it's not a substitute for a gun.'' It is instead merely a means of non-lethal defense for those times when deadly force is not warranted.
If, perchance, it is a police officer ``advising'' you not to buy a gun because ``pepper spray'' is good enough, ask the officer if he trusts it enough to quit carrying his gun while on (or off) duty. I'll note with some hope and optimism that outside of political-hack police chiefs, such ``advice'' will be very rarely offered by a rank-and-file street cop.
Ayoob goes on to say that if you do not intend to shoot, or do not believe that you could ever really shoot anybody, but wish only to scare away the attacker, then ``abandon any thoughts of keeping guns,'' because, as Ayoob writes, ``A criminal can tell when a person isn't going to shoot, the way a dog can smell fear. And to pull a gun you don't intend to use is to flaunt a power you do not really command: you are inviting the opponent to take it away from you, and antagonizing him to use it against you.'' (Ibid., p. 40).