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Women Who Cache Alone


FlygURL
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I live in Metro Atlanta and I occasionally cache alone. I prefer to go with someone, but sometimes, I do only have the option to cache alone. I think that my father and husband have convinced me to be very paranoid to the point that if the cache is not in an open space, say it is in urban woods, I am less likely to search for it, or if I do choose to search for it, less likely to find it becasue I am nervous.

 

Comments? Experiences?

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I live in Metro Atlanta and I occasionally cache alone. I prefer to go with someone, but sometimes, I do only have the option to cache alone. I think that my father and husband have convinced me to be very paranoid to the point that if the cache is not in an open space, say it is in urban woods, I am less likely to search for it, or if I do choose to search for it, less likely to find it becasue I am nervous.

 

Comments? Experiences?

This is a good start. Get some good training too.

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I am going caching alone very often, more than half of my finds are by myself. I think there is no big problem for a woman to go caching alone as long as you use common sense. When there are hikers, people walking the dogs, families with kids, I feel very safe entering urban woods alone. I even hunt caches in lonely woods in the country by myself, knowing that nobody else is around (no car in the parking spot, no house nearby). Though I only do it in daylight and wouldn't enter an area if I feel to be watched. For example, I was a few weeks ago in a rest area and wanted to find a cache after dark which is probably 100 - 200 ft into the woods. As I was walking towards the trees I had the feeling to be watched by all the truckers. So I turned around and left the area without finding the cache.

Maybe I am naive, too, but I think the main part is to be self-confident with what you are doing. The only persons who scared me in the woods were geocachers itself, when the suddenly appeared at the same spot far of the trail ;)

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I have camped all of my life and I was never afraid of being in the woods by myself until I attempted a trip up 1000 steps. I usually cache alone because my husband is a corrections officer and works second shift. I decided on a Saturday to attempt the 1000 steps cache. I live in a country town. I was on step 300 when someone came up behind me. I stepped onto a side trail to allow the man to go up the steps. As I did so, he followed. He was bigger than I and attempted to talk to me about his wife being in the car and climbing the steps was good exercise for him. I attempted to move past him to go down the steps when he stepped in front of me. I stepped back and he started to talk again. He turned and started to play with himself ( I won’t go into details.) This took place for several minutes and finally I was able to get around him and down the steps.

 

Approximately one year later, I made plans to look for a cache in a nearby State Park. I decided not to and ended up doing something else that day. On Monday, I learned that a woman was murdered in the park by an acquaintance.

 

The point is that you always have to be prepared to protect yourself. I have since taken steps to carry mace and certain other products with me to protect myself from harm and no it has not stopped me from caching.

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Preparation is the key, training, training, training, practice, practice, practice, and most importantly trying to avoid situations that can become troublesome in the first place. Also, running away is your best option, always. It's very easy to sort of casually recommend defending yourself, but when the stress hits, and it will if you are placed in a threatening situation, your fine motor skills go out the window and your ability to process and do what you need to do can be severely compromised. For example, you may have some pepper spray clipped to the side of your pack, but will you be able to get to it if someone is attacking you? Will you be able to remove the clip, etc to be able to use it? Have a friend/spouse attack you a few times while you're in your gear and see how you do. Then imagine someone who doesn't care about you doing the same thing.

 

Luckily, most people are the recipients of violent crime from those they know, and the chances that something bad will happen while out on a hike are incredibly slim, but it pays, big time, to be well prepared and also know what to do and how (i.e. thinking you're safe because you have a pocket knife on you, without training and practice in deploying and using it, is a grave, grave error). Easily accessible pepper spray and fast legs is the best defense I can think of.

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If I were female I'd be armed to the teeth all the time.

 

Wait, I'm male yet armed to the teeth.

 

hmmm...

 

A criminal (no, not our Criminal here in the forum) always chooses the time and place and method of the attack. You'll never know when or where, and you can bet that it will not be the time place or method most convenient for you.

 

From one of my favorite sites: http://www.a-human-right.com

twoways_s.jpg

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I will admit this a guy perspective to your answer, in 4 years of Geocaching I have only had one bad incident. An aggressive dog in the woods and the owner who would not put it on a leash. I have had my radar go off in parking lots in local parks than I have actually in the woods in the park.

 

I saw one of these in gift shop, Hame Knob Cane. Its a standard wood hiking stick with a brass top used on horse harnesses as doecration. Gives the end with the knob alot of wieght, hit someone with one of these and they won't get up.

Edited by magellan315
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I've never felt uncomfortable out caching by myself, but then again, I was raised in a correctional facility family. I learned at a very young age to pay attention to my surroundings. I also project an attitude that you really don't want to mess with me. Believe me, if someone wants to come after me, they'd better want to get me pretty badly, because I'm not going to leave enough of them behind to scrape up and put into a body bag. If I'm going, you're going with me , buddy.

 

My husband is law enforcement, and he says he feels sorry for anyone who might try anything.

 

It also helps when you have a couple of big dogs out with you. Most folks don't want to approach anything that is the size of a small pony.

 

Best advice-- be aware of who and what is around you, and if you ever feel that something is not right, pay attention to your gut feeling. It can save a lot of headaches.

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The orginal message on this tread, the cacher says she caches in Atlanta. Georgia is a Conceal & Carry state, which means that with a permit (see Georgia state gun laws) a citizen can carry a loaded handgun. Obtain the training and apply for the permit and be legal.

 

I carry a weapon often, even while cachin', but even then, if I feel the area is trouble, armed or not, it's time to vacate. No geocache is worth risking my life.

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As a woman who often caches alone and works in the woods alone, I've never felt the need to be paranoid...just alert. Both my father and husband have expressed extreme concern over my wealfare in these situations. I've always felt that I'm in more danger in a mall parking lot at night than I am in the woods, but hey that's just me.

 

At my father's request, I have now started carrying pepper spray with me while at work (I'm a park ranger). I took a 2 hr class at the local police department and they provided a small canister of pepper spray. I'm also looking into taking the rape defense awareness course as well. I suspect that most police departments provide these types of classes. Pepper spray can be purchased at many outdoor gear stores. Check your state laws and regulations regarding its usage. It is effective on animals as well as humans and doesn't have lethal effects.

 

So far, the most dangerous thing that has happened to me was having a massive oak tree almost crush me when it suddenly came down across the trail I was hiking on.

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, I've never felt the need to be paranoid...just alert. Both my father and husband have expressed extreme concern over my wealfare in these situations. I've always felt that I'm in more danger in a mall parking lot at night than I am in the woods, but hey that's just me.

Ditto! That's how I feel also. Sometimes I just want to hike alone; I'm much more comfortable around wild beasts than the wild urban-beasts. I don't usually cache alone, but I have, and I carry pepper spray. I dont think I could ever use a gun, but would like to try it. I know I could mace someone before I could shot them.

 

My advise is: don't watch T.V. I don't. All I see in the listings are crime shows~that'll make ya paranoid.

 

Peace,

:unsure: Leslie

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I am more concerned about the urban-beasts than the wild beasts.

 

I do think that the media puts too much emphasis on a female's vulnerability alone.

 

I have in the past (a long time ago) carried pepper spray. Thankfully, I never had to use it. While I have no problems with guns, I am not interested in caching with a gun at this point in my life.

 

Just wanted to make sure I am not alone (pun intended).

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Pepper spray can be purchased at many outdoor gear stores.

Pepper spray can easily blow back into your face if the wind is against you, rendering you even more helpless in the face of an attack. A .45 caliber copper-jacketed hollowpoint round in flight is not materially affected by wind at typical self-defense distances (say out to 21 feet or so).

 

The sight of a can of pepper spray will not cause an attacker to wet himself nearly as quickly as the sight of that gaping black bore on your baby Glock. And if your attacker happens to be hopped up on angel dust or crystal meth, pepper spray applied to the face may have no effect whatsoever. None. Even a few poorly-aimed .45 cal rounds applied to the torso will always have some effect, with the added bonus that the creep won't be trying this again any time soon. Pepper spray wears off completely in around 20 minutes, leaving the attacker even more angry for his next victim, should you be fortunate enough to escape him.

 

In any case, trees falling on you require something larger than a .45. For that I recommend quick footwork followed by rapid deployment of an axe. Almost any size will be better than a pocket knife for breaking up firewood. :unsure:

 

Be careful out there. Keep your eyes wide and trust your 'spidey sense.'

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Trust your gut feeling, if something looks wrong, some is wrong. I served in Iraq for 8 months in 2003. When I had that bad gut feeling, it didn't take me long to place my thumb on the safety and index finger on the trigger. I was determined that after my tour, I am going home to my family. On missions in Baghdad, the insurgent had the daily choice to go home, if not, he can go see Allah...it didn't matter to me.

 

But geocache isn't a combat theater and going after a cache is not worth life or limb... it's only a game. A month or so ago, I attempted to find a cache at a small cemetery plot in Memphis, as I walked up, I found the plot was being used as a are for homeless people. I didn't want trouble, armed or not, it's not worth the risk, I turned around and left......it's only a game.

 

I don't trust pepper spray or stun guns, I don't want to be that close. I carry a Kel-Tec 9mm semi-automatic handgun. It's light weight but with a 9 pound trigger pull, it's not the weapon of choice for a small woman. For women, I recommend a .38 Lady Smith revolver.

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Take a dog with you. You don't need a special permit and the bad people will look for easier targets. If you carry a weapon (handgun, pepper spray, et al), bad people don't generally see it until after they attack.

 

And we might even chase a ball for you.

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As a woman who often caches alone and works in the woods alone, I've never felt the need to be paranoid...just alert. Both my father and husband have expressed extreme concern over my wealfare in these situations. I've always felt that I'm in more danger in a mall parking lot at night than I am in the woods, but hey that's just me.

 

At my father's request, I have now started carrying pepper spray with me while at work (I'm a park ranger). I took a 2 hr class at the local police department and they provided a small canister of pepper spray. I'm also looking into taking the rape defense awareness course as well. I suspect that most police departments provide these types of classes. Pepper spray can be purchased at many outdoor gear stores. Check your state laws and regulations regarding its usage. It is effective on animals as well as humans and doesn't have lethal effects.

 

So far, the most dangerous thing that has happened to me was having a massive oak tree almost crush me when it suddenly came down across the trail I was hiking on.

Whoah... that must have been awesome! How often does that happen to someone! Did it make a sound? :P

 

On topic: I am very afraid of women caching alone. You never know when one of those crazy hedonistic wimmins Is gonna jump out from behind the bushes at ya! *wakes up* Oh... darn... :unsure:

 

Seriously, EVERYONES first, best defense is awareness, followed by 'accountability' - someone knows you are gone and should be back in 'X' hours/days/whatever. After that, a good self defense course (sans weapons) is important. They can always take away your spray/knife/gun, but you still got knees, elbows, fists feet etc. Karate is worth it, for many reasons. After that, whatever level of self-defense tool you feel comfortable with, both in ethics & usage. For me, I have no problem carrying a firearm. Some people don't like them. Whatever you carry, you should be comfortable with it on every level and able to use it accurately & with good judgement. Only you know where you are with respect to this.

 

Education can take away much of the mystery & fear from all of these things. You had to be taught how to drive a car - there is no shame in learning how to handle yourself &/or 'tools of the trade'. Don't like driving stick? Drive an automatic. Don't like carrying a gun? Carry your hands & feet. You still have to know the rules of the road, and watch out for traffic.

 

I haven't mentioned a cell phone, which IS important, but assuming you HAVE coverage where the emergency takes place, it will still take time for emergency responders to arrive - time which you might not have available to you in the short term.

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I am male, and the thought of women geocaching in the woods alone unnerves me. What if I encounter one--what should I do? I've heard that you shouldn't run--it only brings out their aggressive instincts. Some say that if you shout and make loud noises, it will frighten them away, but that never worked with my ex-wife. What's the best advice--play dead? Hit 'em with pepper spray?

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If I were female I'd be armed to the teeth all the time. 

 

Wait, I'm male yet armed to the teeth.

 

hmmm...

 

A criminal (no, not our Criminal here in the forum) always chooses the time and place and method of the attack.  You'll never know when or where, and you can bet that it will not be the time place or method most convenient for you.

 

From one of my favorite sites: http://www.a-human-right.com

twoways_s.jpg

Hmmmmm... that link looks familiar from somewhere.......

 

:unsure:

|

|

|

V

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I carry a firearm 95% of the time . . . anywhere and everywhere that it is legal. It is really comforting to know you can defend yourself if the need arises.

 

That being said . . . I found almost 200 caches alone (and armed).

 

Before finding my caching partner (now hubby) I preferred to cache alone. Now I wouldn't cache without him . . . not because he can protect me but because he's so much freaking fun to be with (and cute, too). So, now I cache with my sweet Mopar . . . armed (no one else is going to protect my hunny!) :unsure:

 

Seriously . . . the key is to be aware of your surroundings at all times and be prepared to protect yourself. Get a gun or get a dog or one of each . . . whatever works for you. :P

 

Happy (and safe) caching & stuff!

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I am male, and the thought of women geocaching in the woods alone unnerves me. What if I encounter one--what should I do? I've heard that you shouldn't run--it only brings out their aggressive instincts. Some say that if you shout and make loud noises, it will frighten them away, but that never worked with my ex-wife. What's the best advice--play dead? Hit 'em with pepper spray?

Play dead ...play dead....... we are so less likely to attack! :unsure::P

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I've always felt that I'm in more danger in a mall parking lot at night than I am in the woods, but hey that's just me.

 

Statically, you are.

 

I always cache alone, occasionally at night (only when hubby is outa town, so he won't worry!) I have never felt scared, startled a couple of times, but not scared. What I am more worried about is injury, 'cause I'm a charter member clutz! In the last 3 monts I have lost my shoes, lost my glasses (and couldn't see the gps to get back to my car!) and fell down a steep hill into a river. So far no serious injury, but what would I do if I was too hurt to walk back out?

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...but because he's so much freaking fun to be with (and cute, too).  So, now I cache with my sweet Mopar . . .

Everybody back up I think I'm gonna puke. :unsure:

Too late, I just retched up my dinner. That was my last Shiner bock too. Now I got nothing left to rinse out the puke taste with. Thanks. :P

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One thing about going out alone, whether you're a woman or man is accidents.  Check out this thread.  One slip can ruin an otherwise fine day.

 

:)

Yep, that was me. :P

 

In the past, I've been a whacko magnet :unsure: accosted in a variety of ways over the years by assorted mutant humanoids. Although the fella on this cache trip didn't accost me he was a weirdo and did leave me in the dirt to fend for myself. I doubt that I will cache alone in the woods again because accidents do happen and ya know what? I think it's alot more stressful when it happens and you're all alone. Gee whiz...it sure would've been nice to cry on someone's shoulder while waiting for the EMTs or they could've listened to me kvetching in the ambulance or driven my car home. Besides, if I had fainted they could've directed the EMTs to me otherwise I might still have been there till the next day when another cacher came along.

 

Another thought - I'm not sure that anyone who was raped or molested while caching would post that in the forums. They might, but for the most part, when that happens women are usually too traumatized to publicize it.

 

(OK everyone - time to print out the Emergency Medical ID card. Heck, I hope I did this link correctly...)

Emergency Medical ID Card)

Edited by Nerves
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I haven't mentioned a cell phone, which IS important, but assuming you HAVE coverage where the emergency takes place, it will still take time for emergency responders to arrive - time which you might not have available to you in the short term.

This is an excellent point, you do want to have a cellphone to call 9-1-1 once you've stopped the attack via other means.

 

However, the phone is itself not going to deter an attack. No creep bent on homicide or rape is going to wet his pants if you whip out a cellphone and call 9-1-1.

 

I am reminded of the sad case of Dru Sjodin, who was abducted while talking on her cellphone, right out of a mall parking lot.

 

Obviously phones do not deter creeps. You need something stronger. Dru was old enough to have legally carried a concealed handgun. Instead she carried a cellphone:

 

DRU.JPG

 

She was never seen alive again.

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i cache alone alot. i enjoy the quiet time. i also have my trusty pepper tear gas spray ready for any creep or creature that approaches me without backing off. i dont go looking for problems. i use common sense and scope out my area before proceeding. if a muggle looks questionable, i dont wait around to find out the answer, i move myself along quietly. thats my 2 cents. :unsure:

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I haven't mentioned a cell phone, which IS important, but assuming you HAVE coverage where the emergency takes place, it will still take time for emergency responders to arrive - time which you might not have available to you in the short term.

This is an excellent point, you do want to have a cellphone to call 9-1-1 once you've stopped the attack via other means.

 

However, the phone is itself not going to deter an attack. No creep bent on homicide or rape is going to wet his pants if you whip out a cellphone and call 9-1-1.

 

I am reminded of the sad case of Dru Sjodin, who was abducted while talking on her cellphone, right out of a mall parking lot.

 

Obviously phones do not deter creeps. You need something stronger. Dru was old enough to have legally carried a concealed handgun. Instead she carried a cellphone:

 

DRU.JPG

 

She was never seen alive again.

Dru Sjodin is a very sad case and I feel for her family but I wonder if she had been more aware of her sorroundings instead of the phone call she was on if this might have been prevented.

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I haven't mentioned a cell phone, which IS important, but assuming you HAVE coverage where the emergency takes place, it will still take time for emergency responders to arrive - time which you might not have available to you in the short term.

This is an excellent point, you do want to have a cellphone to call 9-1-1 once you've stopped the attack via other means.

 

However, the phone is itself not going to deter an attack. No creep bent on homicide or rape is going to wet his pants if you whip out a cellphone and call 9-1-1.

 

I am reminded of the sad case of Dru Sjodin, who was abducted while talking on her cellphone, right out of a mall parking lot.

 

Obviously phones do not deter creeps. You need something stronger. Dru was old enough to have legally carried a concealed handgun. Instead she carried a cellphone:

 

DRU.JPG

 

She was never seen alive again.

Dru Sjodin is a very sad case and I feel for her family but I wonder if she had been more aware of her sorroundings instead of the phone call she was on if this might have been prevented.

I don't know the case, but I agree - your first and foremost safety net (male or female) is awareness.

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As others have said, the most important defense, the defense that you must have regardless of other tools of defense, is being aware of your surroundings and the people surrounding you. If you are not actively aware, it won't matter if you have pepper spray or a gun (both of which can be turned against you). And if you carry a weapon or a dog, know how and when to use them (and when not to).

 

Geocaching is just a game/hobby to me (although some cachers are more appropriately termed "obsessed"). I mostly cache in an urban environment, and I have more than once logged a DNF rather than approach a cache near some suspicious folk acting, .... well, suspicously. I also cache with my kids sometimes and that in and of itself will make me more careful (and also mitigate against me carrying a gun).

 

The one time I have been mugged was the one time I didn't listen to my gut. And that was in the restroom of a movie theater... not out in the woods.

 

Happy (and safe) caching!

 

Team Maccabee

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...I wonder if she had been more aware of her sorroundings instead of the phone call she was on if this might have been prevented.

Yes, Excellent point. No matter what you're carrying, if anything, you gotta be aware of what's going on around you.

 

Also one thing I noted Dru's last words were "OK, Ok, OK," and so on. The guy had a knife on her.

 

Never ever go with the creep to "crime scene number two." At "crime scene number one," where you first encounter the bad guy, you have a chance to escape, even if the attacker has a gun or knife on you. You will most likely be injured, stabbed, or shot. You may even be killed, but you do at least have a chance to get away or cry out for help in a mall parking lot or other such public place. You will have almost no chance if you go with the killer to his basement or other secluded hideout, "crime scene number two," where over the course of some horrible days, weeks, or months you may well wish you had been quickly killed at crime scene number one.

 

I advise to run away screaming if you are in this situation. If the guy has a gun, run in a zig-zag pattern and run fast. It's really hard to hit a moving target, especially one that's zig-zagging.

 

Unfortunately some of the places we go caching look a lot like "crime scene number two," isolated, remote, out of earshot of help. Fortunately the creeps like to hang out where the 'pickings' are better, like the parking lot.

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Anyone who wants to rely SOLELY on pepper spray for self defense should see this video of police using pepper spray on a person high on drugs:

 

http://m90.org/gallery/video/pepperspray%20man0-6970.wmv

I know almost nothing about pepper spray and have a question. Could the fact that the man in the video splashed beer on his face have dilluted the effect? He was also using water when in the bathroom in the same way....

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I hadn't really given this much thought prior to this thread. I almost always cache alone and have never yet felt threatened. After some soul-searching, though, I realized that I am avoiding caches and other opportunities that take me too far off the beaten path.

 

I don't carry a gun, although I have considered it many times. Just as I was about to purchase a handgun in Northern California, in a county that is pretty gun-friendly, I had to move to SoCal. I doubt concealed-carry permits are very easy to come by in San Diego county, CA, so I just haven't pursued it. I don't carry pepper spray either.

 

I used to have a small cannister in my keyring, when in my twenties in NJ, a guy was abducting girls from a local mall and murdering them. The scariest thing is, he was someone I had been acquainted with in my childhood and I ran into him at a local bar a couple weeks before he was arrested. My Mom bought me pepper spray then which I carried for years. I was carrying while at the bar that night --and I even felt a little silly carrying it! I never needed it and after a few years carrying it on my keychain, I ditched it.

 

I think, at the very least, I am going to start carrying pepper spray again. Although I do not have the appearance of a woman who is an easy victim, it's interesting to discover that I have been making many decisions about where to go and what to do based on subconscious fear. Thanks for starting this thread, you woke me up.

 

[Edited for punctuation and typos)

Edited by Kama Raga
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i have felt threatened twice. once, i was alone. once not.

 

i still cache alone. if i have a bad feeling about a place, i don't go, alone or not.

 

i travel unarmed. i do this on purpose. it's a matter of principle. i understand that there are attenuated risks to this sort of thinking.

 

but yes, i go caching alone. i sleep in my car in remote areas. for days at a time. i have remained unharmed and hope to continue to do so.

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Anyone who wants to rely SOLELY on pepper spray for self defense should see this video of police using pepper spray on a person high on drugs:

 

http://m90.org/gallery/video/pepperspray%20man0-6970.wmv

I know almost nothing about pepper spray and have a question. Could the fact that the man in the video splashed beer on his face have dilluted the effect? He was also using water when in the bathroom in the same way....

Haven't seen the video - but some people are not as bothered by the stuff. Much like spicy food, some people can handle it, some can't.

 

Additional factors such as intoxication or drug use can further reduce the effectiveness of the product. I think Angel Dust os known for this, making people feel impervious (breaking hands and not feeling it until later).

 

That is a risk the would-be victim needs to factor in their decisions, along with local laws and everything else discussed so far.

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