Pepper spray is also known by the name of OC spray, with 'OC' standing for oleoresin
capsicum. It is a lachrymatory agent - a chemical which irritates the eyes, causing
tears, pain, disorientation, and even short-term blindness and blistering. It is
often used in crowd control as well as self-defense, and can be used upon bears or
OC Spray Uses
As with dum dum bullets, OC spray is banned for use in war, but can be used during
internal security operations. It is favored when subjects are under the influence
of drink or drugs, mentally ill, or simply agitated, and they may not feel the effects
of tear gas. It can reduce injuries not only to law enforcement officers, but to
arrestees. This latter reduces complaints of assault or excessive force.
OC Spray Legal Stuff
The laws applying to OC spray vary by state. In Washington, D.C., possession must
be registered with the police. In Massachusetts, it can be sold only to holders of
In Wisconsin, containers must weigh no more than 2.12 ounces (60 grams) with an active
ingredient of no more than ten percent and without dyes.
In Michigan, it is legal if the active ingredient is less than two percent. In many
states but not all it can be purchased from various stores and legally carried by
anybody over the age of 18.
OC Spray Controversy
OC spray is mostly non-lethal, but can cause death in rare cases. The American Civil
Liberties Union has documented fourteen deaths from the use of OC spray. In 1997,
Amnesty International declared that the use of OC spray by police against peaceful
protesters was tantamount to torture.
The active ingredient of OC spray is capsaicin,
an oily chemical obtained from fruit of the capsicum genus, such as chilies. It is
employed as a spice in hot sauces, curries, chili, and salsa. These have been used
to abuse children. It can be found in topical anesthetic and analgesic creams. The
hotness of the substance is measure in Scoville units.
OC Spray Effects
People who handled chili peppers in Mexico have been found to experience severe dermatitis,
known as Human hand. The Department of Labor warned in 1993 that OC spray represented
a significant health risk to employees. Law enforcement officers challenged policies
which saw them sprayed in the face with OC spray. It was argued that people did not
have to be shot to appreciate what a bullet does.
The longer term effects of OC spray
have not been properly researched, but the Chemical Research and Development Center
has not found any long-term health risks to be associated with its use. It is, at
least, environmentally friendly and easy to clean up. It need not be inhaled: exposure
can be from skin or eye contact.
OC Spray Reviews
OC spray usually comes in the form of a canister, which can be sufficiently small
to be concealed in a purse or pocket and whipped out in the event of a street fight.
Delivery mechanisms can be fitted unobtrusively to rings. Projectiles are available,
which are delivered using a paintball gun.
OC spray will cause a victim to close
their eyes and experience difficulty breathing, a runny nose, and coughing. The duration
of the effect is dependent on the amount used, however the average effect lasts for
30 to 45 minutes, with some effects being felt for hours.
The self-defense techniques
applicable to OC spray are to hold the can upright and ensure that the thumb (or
index finger, if preferred) is on the button and not on the safety lid, which could
happen if the user is under stress. OC spray should be used at a distance of three
to twelve feet, in short bursts, while aiming for the eyes: these are the most vulnerable
An NYPD deputy inspector lost vacation time after using OC spray
at an Occupy Wall Street protest. Anthony Bologna lost 10 days of vacation because
of the incident, which was reported by ABC news. He had used the spray upon a group
of young women. He was unhappy with the decision, claiming he prevented further injury
and progression of unruly conduct.