Chemicals Add New Element to Protection

Some girls carry personal protection; it gives them a sense of security at times when they find themselves in a vulnerable situation.

“Mace and taser guns are my protection,” said Maya Davis, a senior psychology student. “I feel protected because I live on my own in Tallahassee and you never know what’s going to happen out here.”

Mace not only affects the aggressor but also the person using the spray.

According to manufacturers warnings on Red Hot Pepper Spray, pepper spray, also known as OC spray and capsicum spray, aggravates the protective layer of the eyes causing immediate tearing, pain, and sometimes, temporary blindness.

Pepper spray is used for individual safety but law enforcement also uses the chemical.

“The purpose of pepper spray is normally used as a disbursement force for lower threats,” said Norman Rollins, patrol commander for FAMU Police Department. “If we want a crowd to disperse from a physical disbursement quickly, the spray creates a cloud that restricts individuals from staying in the area.”

After coming in contact with the chemical, a person can experience swollen eyes followed by uncontrollable tearing and coughing. Others have been known to choke plus experience an extreme burning sensation on any exposed skin.

According to Florida laws on mace, “Self-defense chemical sprays” are legal. They are defined as “a device carried solely for purposes of lawful self-defense that is compact in size, designed to be carried on or about the person, and contains not more than two ounces of chemical,” according to section 790.001. There is also an express prohibition against using chemical sprays against a law enforcement officer, according to section 790.054.

Rollins said there have been no reported incidents involving police officials using mace to disburse students this semester.

Students are aware of the irritating side effects of mace and pepper spray.

“I remember when I was younger, I went to a party at my high school and when police sprayed mace at a party everybody couldn’t breathe, it was the worst thing ever,” said Precious Williams, a senior music student. “My eyes were burning and I couldn’t stop choking.”

Williams said that she was on the other side of the building and was still affected by the powerful mace cloud that filled the party.

Davis said she hasn’t had to use either her taser or her mace, but she will be ready if and when that time comes. “I usually keep the taser gun in my purse and the mace is placed on my key chain so if anyone tries to attack me, I can spray them and run away,” she said.

Davis purchased her mace and taser gun from a store in Jacksonville called Shooters.

Pepper spray is recognized as a valid and legal method of in Florida. It may only be used when necessary or if a person feels threatened and needs protection from any individual.