I was having a conversation recently with a good friend and a solid dude. We were discussing “what if’s” in todays’ volatile environment we are all living through.
Adapt & Overcome
The conversation got me thinking about my load out and how I have adapted to the new situation. Nothing too dramatic, but I can tell you I have gone of over my gear several times to ensure it is at the highest state of readiness. When you take the time to address the worst case you typically rely on negative visualization to help solve the problem. One of the problems I discovered was one of my tools I have come to rely on may not perform to my expectations. With everyone wearing masks I have to wonder how effective OC spray would be in this situation. There are a lot of unknowns.
The Outcome You Want
OC spray works by causing inflammation and immediate expansion of capillaries when in contact. If the spray does not contact the mouth and nose areas as a result of wearing a mask does it have the same effect. I’m well aware of how effective OC spray is when it contacts the mucus areas of the nose, mouth, throat and lungs. It can be intense depending on the dosage and duration. When the nose, mouth, throat and lungs are burning and will probably burn for 30 minutes or more it has an effect. You tend to get the outcome you want; which is to break contact or an immediate cessation to hostilities.
Worst Case Scenario
If you are in a large crowd of people these days lets face it, you have a higher chance of being in a violent riot than peaceful protest. We no longer can take liberties at least not at this moment in time. Instead, we must be hyper vigilante and expect bad things to happen. When you dissect these riots you can see how quickly you can become a victim of serious injury even death. You are looking at the most dangerous situation imaginable. Multiple threats from different directions wearing masks to obscure their identity. Now, there would have been a time wearing a mask would be a huge red flag. I doubt we will recover from this new norm. There is probably a good chance we can expect the general public to wear masks for the next foreseeable future. Making it all that much more difficult to distinguish good guys and bad guys.
Aim For The Eyes
Luckily, OC spray can be extremely effective against the eyes. Causing intense pain and at times involuntary closure or blindness. Hugely advantageous during a critical incident, you render your attacker blind. However, it was the cumulative effective of the inflammation of the mucus membrane in the nose, mouth, throat, lungs and eyes that makes OC such a potent tool. Will it have the same effect when the eyes are the only target available. The point to this blog was to force you to think about this new situation and how it affects your planning, your contingencies and selection of your equipment.
I doubt it will stop people from carrying OC spray and it shouldn’t since it is such a viable self defense tool. What it should do is give you better insight into how best to get the most effective outcome and avoid being surprised by a less than expected outcome.