Some people keep containers of mace or pepper spray handy to use as a non-lethal option for self defense. But, there are other options. Various household cleaners such as a highly caustic oven cleaner works, too. Some find certain brands of wasp and hornet spray to give an advantage over pepper spray, because it can have an effective range of up to twenty feet away.
If you read the labels, you’ll realize some of these aerosols contain poisons, some more poisonous than others. If it says “poison”, you might not wish to presume it to be non-lethal. Leave misconceptions such as that up to the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as they have both legal, and historic precedents.
If you don’t believe me, turn your television to almost any channel and wait for a pharmaceutical advertisement. After they rave about the wonderful benefits of some product, along with the list of things you need to discuss with your physician before taking any of it, listen carefully to the long inventory of optional ways the drug has to kill you:
“Have trouble sleeping? Take this! But it might cause migraines, constipation, heart attack, diarrhea, kidney failure, blindness, crippling arthritis, 37 kinds of cancer, hemorrhoids, loss of memory, blindness, deafness, tooth decay, pimples, warts, the inability to focus, insanity, severe depression and thoughts of suicide, spasms, uncontrollable urges, spontaneous laughing fits, hiccoughs, gastrointestinal disturbances mimicking thunderstorms, ingrown toenails, sociopathic behavior, misplacing the car keys, stopped up sinks and toilets, tendency to put your underwear on backwards, voting for idiots, thinking the phone ringing is the doorbell, hearing elephants on the stairway, PMS 365 days a year even if you’re a man, premature baldness, various and sundry untimely and embarrassing malfunctions, bellybutton lint, crabgrass, poison ivy, power steering failures, and death.”
Some folks keep a baseball bat handy as a perpetrator repellent. And while I understand some of the merits of the application, don’t get fooled into thinking a bat in the hands of a terrified human being is completely non-lethal. My wife could beat a tree stump to sawdust if she thinks there’s a spider or snake on it. And it wouldn’t do the snake or spider any good, either. Personally, if I thought someone was trying to kill me, a deterrent that must be non-lethal will not necessarily be my highest priority.
As can happen with all kinds of pacifiers and security blankets, some folks might adopt a false sense of security once they’ve obtained a spray can of anything. And that could cause them to feel they have no further need of their baseball bat unless they intend to play baseball. Either way, I think that might be overconfident, thus not recommended. You can get hurt playing baseball if you’re not in good shape.
Should the perpetrator be within twenty feet of you, a good dose of a hornet killer right in the face will probably slow them down, but it will not make them like you, or want to be your friend. So, if they get back up, you may have to take additional measures. Also, if small children are present, use parental discretion as to whether they should remain, considering the kind of foul language most likely to occur.
If your first option is to squirt them in the eye with something they won’t care for, know your range limitations. Lets say they’re oh, twenty-five or thirty feet or more away, and pointing a gun at you. You should address them by name if you know what it is, in order to get their attention. If you don’t know, generic terms like ‘Hey Dude’ usually work. Then in a calm voice, say to them:
“C’mon over here. I got something in the cabinet under the kitchen sink I wanna show to you up close.”
Throw the can of spray at them. With practice, you might be able to break that 20 foot range barrier, and perhaps their nose. Accuracy matters, or you’ll just look like the bad guy throwing his empty pistol at Superman.
Do NOT get rid of the baseball bat. It’s an excellent follow through device to use with either option#1 or option #2 while they run around screaming and running into walls and furniture. Besides, I know I can sling a bat more’n 20 feet, because one time I almost took out the first base umpire, and three innocent bystanders!
Replace the wasp and hornet spray with a 12-gauge shotgun. Even with upland game field loads, your range advantage will be improved tremendously over bug spray. And, if it’s a slow day for bad guys and they don’t show up for some reason, you might get lucky and knock down a few squirrels to have for supper if it’s during squirrel season. Also, the shotgun is loud, thus capable of alerting the neighbors that mischief is afoot.
There are other options for how you, the perpetratee, can deal with the perpetrator. In fact the list is virtually limitless to the creative mind. And if I had one of those, I would provide you with a much longer catalogue. But if you live in a phobic state of constant terror and maintain a regular feeling of vulnerability, you might also consider some of the following variations:
A. Install a surround sound system that constantly plays a loop of predatory animal noises;
B. Better still, arrange to have a variety of real predators such as Komodo dragons, Bengal tigers, Kodiak bears, and Hedge-fund managers strategically lurking about,
C. Practice vocal reproductions of things said by “The Three Stooges”,
D. Costume yourself in a way that will surprise them and make them feel uncomfortable about coming into the room where you are. The Mummy, Wolfman, and Dracula personages do nicely. But even just wearing a red rubber clown nose is something they might find unexpected, and could serve as an effective distraction. Though it may vary, some distractions are only temporary at best, so it would be advisable to have a “plan B” handy, such as a baseball bat, or a bazooka.
E. Keep well maintained live hornets’ nests and beehives next to all windows and doors, and keep a stick handy to poke ‘em with (baseball bat will do nicely).
F. Post a sign that says ‘Please Use Other Door’ on all doors,
G. Become invisible, and yell: “BOO!” ,
H. Have strategically placed remote control operated trap doors all over the house,
I. Practice saying the following phrases with a straight face:
1. “We’re not absolutely sure it’s rabies, but whatever you do, don’t make ‘em nervous”;
2. “Be very still. All the rattlesnakes have gotten out of their cages again.”
3. ”Didn’t they tell you? The robbery was yesterday. They’ve already taken everything.”
Some don’t believe in guns; some do. But if you do believe in guns, remember that it will take a bit more than just believing in them. They are useless if not within quick and easy reach should you decide circumstances convince you to want to use one. You can also carry a pocketknife, but a good friend of mine said, and I think there is some wisdom in it:
“Never be caught just carrying a knife to a gunfight.”
Remember such tense situations can cause us to forget our manners. Be polite. After “repelling” them by whatever measure you choose, apologize, even if you’ve killed them. It’s good to not build up a lot of regrets to carry around, as it could bring you down. If you feel you must be brought down, drink.