Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, and Tasers… Oh My!

Self Defense Tips, Crime Stories and Product Information (Worth Protection Security Blog)

Thank You too… FORE!

Here is a story out of Falmouth, Massachusetts. Up here in New Hampshire, Massachusetts folks are already well known for their manners and courteous driving. Uh huh.

Apparently, a 50-year-old man held the door open for a 38-year-old guy leaving a gas station. Not surprising, the 38-year-old walked through without a word.

To that, the 50-year-old guy who couldn’t leave well enough alone, utter a sarcastic “Thank Yoooou.”

Now we already established that the 38-year-old wasn’t keen on thanking people for holding open a door. So one could assume that he would be less than thrilled to be called out on it.

So now, the two men start yelling at each other in the parking lot. After a heated exchange, the 38-year-old goes to his car and pulls out something he would normally use during his nice relaxing hobby. A golf club. Ah, golf… what a calm gentleman’s game…

Well so much for that, the 38-year-old preceded to tee off on the victim several times, hitting the 50-year-old in the stomach and legs.

Police reported the victim suffered minor injuries. I caught the local TV news report late last night. They interviewed the victim, who lifted up his shirt to reveal a huge, purple and black bruise on the side of his stomach. Luckily no ribs were broken.

The 38-year-old man pleaded not guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in the Falmouth District Court on Tuesday. He was also ordered to stay away from the other man.

Not that I condone taking whacks at someone with a golf club, but couldn’t the other guy have just let the lack of manners go? I’m sure there was at least 2 times where this escalation could have been prevented.

First at the door, just walk in and be done with it.

Then second chance was when the argument started, and before clubs were pulled, just walk away.

If it will help, let me offer my sincerest thank you to all those who open doors and hold it for people. Even if they don’t appreciate the gesture, let it be known that I appreciate it. And if this show of good manners in any way helps prevent the next case of manner rage, it will all be worth it.

peppergel

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest! We don’t have too many entries yet, which is good for the odds of those already entered. You have about a week to get in on this month’s FREE pepper spray giveaway. Don’t miss out.

Popularity: 7% [?]

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Pants fall down, trip burglary suspect

Note to Self: Pull up your pants when robbing a store.

I never quite understood the reasoning for the sagging pants craze. You know the style where the guys wear their pants pulled halfway down, secured (barely) by a belt so their boxers show?

Well here is a case where this fashion statement came back to bite the guy where his pants weren’t covering…

Apparently around midnight, a guy was caught leaving a Beer City store in Pensacola, Florida through a smashed front door. The guy triggered an alarm when he broke in and the police responded by the time he was coming out. Pretty good response time, I’d say.

The guy’s hands were full of stolen packs of cigarettes, so when he saw the cops and tried to run, he was unable to hold up his sagging trousers. So now his pants fall down.

Have you ever tried to run like that? Well ask this guy, it doesn’t work. He tripped and fell over in the parking lot as he attempted to flee the scene.

When the responding officer caught up to him, “he had cigarettes scattered all around him, and his pants were down by his ankles,” said the Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

The guy was charged with criminal mischief, burglary, theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hopefully next time his Mom will yell at him to pull up his pants before going out. Even if he was 37-years-old.

Be Safe, Be Prepared, Pull up your pants.

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest!

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Latest Spy Gear and Hidden Cameras

We just got a couple neat, new spy gadgets in stock, a Hidden Camera Watch, a DVR Stick Camera and a USB DVR hub.

Much like our Hidden Camera Pen, the Hidden Camera Watch is a state of the art body worn complete digital video surveillance system. This wire-free wristwatch contains some of the latest miniaturized video technology. We were able to squeeze a color camera, microphone, rechargeable power source (2 hours), and a 4 GB Digital Video Recorder (DVR) inside a fully functional stylish silver watch.

Stick Video Camera with Audio/Mini DVR isn’t exactly a “hidden” camera, but it is small enough to fit in a chewing gum pack or completely hidden in your hand. It can do still shots, video and audio without needing multiple devices. The pocket clip allows for hands free recording. Just turn it on and go.

The Surveillance stick comes complete with camera, 2 GB DVR, built-in lithium battery lasts up to 2 hours and is recharged when you connect it to your computer’s USB port.

Last, we have a new USB DVR hub, a piece of computer surveillance hardware that turns your home or office computer into a powerful, global-wide video surveillance system in 5 minutes or less. Connect this compact device to any desktop or laptop via USB port and you can record live video from up to 4 connected cameras connected to the PC’s hard drive.

Be your own 007 or keep an eye on things at home. It doesn’t get any easier than this, and you won’t believe how affordable they are.

Popularity: 5% [?]

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Wedgie used to subdue suspected burglar

A woman noticed this guy breaking in to a co-worker’s car in Salt Lake City. She started to yell at the guy and chase him through the parking lot. After attempting to grasp the guy a couple times to stop him from escaping, she was able to reach down and grab on to the back of the burglar’s boxer shorts.

Yanking upwards, the wedgie startled the guy and slowed him down enough for Yvonne Morris to wrap a headlock around him. The Brickyard Animal Hospital technician wrestled him down long enough for others to arrive and help detain the man.

It was not reported if the guy also received a noogie, but that would be classic.

This guy may opt to go commando the next time he attempts to break into cars.

He was held at the Salt Lake County jail and booked on suspicion of vehicle burglary, possession of stolen property and outstanding warrants.

This will definitely be a story to tell the grandkids.

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Who Can It Be Now?

Ron Strykert, former guitarist and co-founder of 80s rock band Men At Work did not keep to himself and was arrested late last week on a felony charge of making criminal threats.

“Who can it be knocking at my door. Go ‘way, Don’t come ’round here no more…”

The Police (LADP, not the band) reported Strykert, who comes from a land Down Under, Where women glow and men plunder, showed up at a Hollywood home where he used to live and caused a disturbance. The current homeowners met a strange man, who made them nervous, were forced to run and take cover, and call 911.

Unfortunately for Ron, the breakfast was served in LAPD lockup.

Ron, this is Hollywood, you can’t just go around plundering like in Australia.

It’s no mistake, They’ve gone and grabbed old Ronnie, and Strykert was given a time out in a Los Angeles jail where he can cool off and do the “Safety Dance” to his heart’s content… Oh, wait, that was Men Without Hats… He is of course expected to Be good be good be good be good (Ronnie).

I’m betting there will be no vegemite sandwiches in jail either.

Ok, I could probably throw some more Men At Work lyric references in there, but I think I’m done (12?). perhaps I’ll come back and edit in some more later. “People just love to play with words.”

“Can you hear, can you hear the thunder?”

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Popularity: 6% [?]

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Taser Inventor Dies at 88

The scientist who invented the Taser stun gun in the 1960s, died earlier this month. This post is a tad long, but it is a neat history lesson.

John “Jack” Higson Cover, Jr. passed away on February 7, 2009 at the age of 88. Trained as a nuclear physicist, most of Cover’s professional career was spent in the aerospace and defense business.

Cover was born on April 6, 1920 in New York City, but grew up in the Chicago area. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Chicago, where he was instructed by renowned atomic scientists Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller.

He was always tinkering with gadgets and created cooked-food testers, voice activated switches and electric toothbrushes in the 1940s.

Cover was an Army Air Forces test pilot during World War II. After the war, he spent several years at the Inyokern Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake, Calif. He was a scientist at North American Aviation from 1952 until 1964 and later worked for IBM and Hughes.

In response to a rash of airplane hijackings in the 1960s, Cover started development on what would later be known as a Taser. He realized the risk involved as sky marshals started to arm themselves with handguns on commercial airliners to discourage hijackers.

“Let me figure out something better than shooting people that might crash the plane,” said Cover knowing if a stray bullet missed a hijacker and pierced the plane’s fuselage instead, it may go down.

Going off what he heard about a man who was temporarily immobilized by a fallen power line, he began development of a device resembling a flashlight in his garage in the late 1960s. Except this flashlight shot darts up to 15 feet and delivered an electric charge.

“Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle” by Victor Appleton was one of Cover’s favorite childhood books. In the story, the young Tom Swift invented a rifle that shot bolts of electricity. Cover adapted the acronym TASER and derived his weapon’s name from “Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle”, using the formal first name of Tom, and including the middle initial “A”, that did not appear in the book, but fit well in the acronym. (Cover once joked that answering the phone TSER was awkward so he added the middle initial.)

Quite pleased with his invention, Cover assumed that this weapon capable of stunning but not killing a man would have wide appeal. In 1970, Taser Systems Inc. was created. Unfortunately, due to the gunpowder propulsion in the darts, the Taser was classified as a firearm by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. This discouraged sales to police and military forces and prevented any possibility of a civilian market.

Cover continued to attempt to market his 7-watt Taser during the 1970s but was ultimately failing. At the expense of a tragic event in 1979, Cover got a break. A woman in Los Angeles, Eula Love, was shot to death in an altercation between herself and the Los Angeles Police Department over an unpaid gas bill. As a result of this controversy, the LAPD finally agreed to field test the Taser in 1980.

The LAPD eventually approved use of a more effective 11-watt Taser model. Even with LAPD and several other agencies buying in, overall sales still did not take off as expected and the business eventually collapsed after some success in the 1980s.

In 1993, Tom and Rick Smith from Arizona contacted the 73-year-old Cover, and expressed interest in revamping the Taser into a non-lethal self-defense device that could be legally sold to the general public.

“Jack was very dedicated to the mission,” said Tom Smith, co-founder and chairman of TASER International. “He had a true belief in where this technology was going to go.”

In 1994, TASER International launched the Air Taser with a breakthrough compressed air propulsion system, instead of gunpowder.

The TASER is now the most widely sold projectile stun guns in the world and has been adopted by more than 13,000 military and law enforcement agencies in over 45 countries around the world. In addition, more than 180,000 civilian model Tasers have been sold to private citizens.

“Jack is an unsung hero. He did something great for the world, saved a lot of lives and prevented a lot of injuries,” said Greg Meyer, a retired police captain who was in charge of LADP’s non-lethal weapons research who has known Cover for 30 years.

The Taser product line has its fair share of critics. The American Civil Liberties Union has been pushing to have Tasers classified as lethal weapons, but medical experts disagree on whether the Tasers directly caused the deaths. Many still can not dispute the effectiveness of the Taser in the prevention of deadly police encounters and an improvement in the tactics needed to place violent and unruly offenders into custody.

Many times just drawing the Taser has been known to change the mind of an otherwise less-than-cooperative individual. Don’t Tase Me Bro! Or the Emu!

One of TASER International’s latest products is the Taser C2, aimed at civilians.

The new Taser C2 comes in eight attractive and stylish colors: black pearl, titanium silver, metallic pink, electric blue, red hot, forest camouflage, desert camouflage and leopard print.

In police studies, the new Taser C2 has a higher instant incapacitation rate than a 9mm hand gun. The Taser C2 shoots out 2 darts attached to 15 feet of wire. 50,000 volts travels over the wires and over-rides the central nervous system providing incredible takedown power.

Not everyone wants to carry a firearm with the potential for taking a life in self-defense. Normal stun guns require you to be dangerously close to your attacker (although your Taser C2 can be used as a contact stun gun in a pinch). The personal TASER C2 eliminates these problems and provides a less-than-lethal way to stop aggression and allow you quickly escape to contact the police.

Cover was suffering Alzheimer’s disease and died of pneumonia at the Golden West Retirement Home in Mission Viejo. Cover was cremated, and there were no immediate plans to conduct a memorial service. In addition to his wife Ginny, of San Clemente, four children, two stepchildren, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren survive him.

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Lance Armstrong Bicycle Jacked!

Well it was stolen from his trailer, but that doesn’t make an as impressive headline. That would have been something if someone with a knife jumped in the middle of a bike race and demanded a racer handover their bike and rode away…

Apparently, Lance Armstrong and three of his teammates Steve Morabito, Yaroslav Popovych and Janez Brajkovic lost bikes in the incident while competing in the Tour of California that started this past weekend.

Armstrong’s time trial bike, worth more than some automobiles at between $10,000-$20,000 (depending on who you ask), was taken out of a Astana team truck parked outside the hotel in Sacramento California. He used it for Saturday’s trials, but before the race on Sunday it went missing. Armstrong won’t need his time-trial bike again until Friday, when the race holds its second time trial.

“There is only one like it in the world therefore hard to pawn it off. Reward being offered,” Armstrong wrote on his Twitter feed. Armstrong later posted a picture of the bike, which has distinctive yellow-and-black wheels and the logo of his Livestrong foundation.

You would think Lance Armstrong would lock up his bicycle better.

It wasn’t immediately reported if they thought it was a sabotage attempt to throw Armstrong off his rhythm by stealing his bike, or if it was just a random case of grand theft bicycle.

Investigators are hoping surveillance video may provide some new clues that could lead to the suspect.

Related posts on Bicycle Theft:
How safe is your bike?
It Pays to Know as Much or More Than a Thief

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Popularity: 8% [?]

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Man Steals Burglars’ Getaway Van

A recently laid off WaMu employee happened to be at home when a pair of burglars broke into his house. His wife was working, his son was in daycare and he was in the basement.

Just after 1:30 PM, while doing some work around the house, Patrick Rosario thought he heard a knock at his front door. Before he could respond, he then heard a loud noise. He quietly walked up the stairs and was able to peek out of the cellar door, which was cracked open about an inch.

He saw an unknown person walking around and heard the noises of at least another person going through the house collecting his valuables.

Rosario had a cell phone on him, and immediately called 911. He was able to sneak out the backdoor undetected, and arm himself with a hammer before he made it to the front of his house. Hiding behind his garbage can, Rosario was able to peek around the corner and see what was going on. He still had the 911 dispatcher on the phone.

Apparently, while the burglars were busy going through the home, they left their Ford Windstar van running out front. Assuming the burglars expected a quick getaway, Rosario hopped in the van through the unlocked door, and drove away.

He figured the guys ransacking his home would be too busy to notice, and even if they did, they would not be able to catch him on foot. He drove to a friend’s house a few block and waited for the police.

“I kept a pretty cool head,” Rosario said. “You never know how you’re going to react until you’re in that situation.”

Back at the house, a witness across the street later reported that two men exiting the house “looked back… and appeared startled.”

Dude, Where’s my Van?

“I wish I could have seen the look on their faces,” Rosario said.

The two burglars fled the scene and left a couple of flat-screen TVs, game consoles, laptop and a jewelry box by the front door.

Some of the responding officers were quite amused at the details of this attempted burglary. “Two pulled up, and they looked over at me and go, ‘You stole their car — way to go, dude. That’s awesome.’ Another told me that I just made her month.” says Rosario.

Rosario acted against the 911 dispatcher’s advice, and local authorities wouldn’t officially comment if Rosario’s actions were advisable. “We expect responsible adults to make their own decisions,” he said. “Clearly, this worked in this case, but in another case it might not have.”

Even Rosario realized the events could have unfolded differently. If the break in occurred at the same time a day earlier, he would have been napping in the bedroom with his 2-year-old son. “I would have been trapped in my bedroom,” he said.

Rosario has already replaced his front door with a more secure door, purchased some pepper spray and had a “robust” alarm system installed.

Luckily things worked out for Patrick this time, but now if anything happens again, he is better prepared.

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Doughnut Helps Police Catch Burglar

Surprisingly, a box of doughnuts in a church’s kitchen was successfully used as evidence, and not simply scarfed down by investigating officers…

Apparently, a 22-year-old man broke into the Woodhaven Christian Church and stole some musical instruments. While police were investigating, a box of doughnuts was discovered in the church kitchen. Bonus!

You’d imagine that the police would be excited, but someone noticed a bite taken out of one. Deputies carefully removed the half-eaten doughnut and sent it to the Indiana State Police lab for testing. The fate of the remaining 11 doughnuts was not reported. But we can all surmise…

Police received confirmation that DNA left on the doughnut matched the 22-year-old, who was already in the Branchville Correctional Facility, serving a prison sentence for an unrelated home burglary.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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Enter the February 2009 Monthly Contest

For Contest Rules and How to Enter, please click here.

Who doesn’t like to win free stuff? - FREE Pepper Spray

This month’s contest is for two Lipstick Pepper Sprays ($25.90 value). One for you and one to give to a friend.

“Woman must not depend on the protection of man but must be taught to defend herself.” - Susan B. Anthony, 1871

Designed for women, this powerful pepper formula is contained inside a common looking lipstick that houses a powerful self protection pepper delivery system. The Lipstick Pepper Spray is a convenient and subtle way to carry the protection you need into any environment where you might find yourself. Contains 5 one second bursts and sprays up to 6 feet.

Due to legal restrictions: Only US residents are eligible for this month’s contest. Pepper Sprays can not be shipped to Alaska, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts or Wisconsin, so any of the other 45 states in the continential US are free to enter.

Contest runs until February 28, 2009.

Good Luck!

Current Entries: Scott 4, Daisy 3, Ray 2

Popularity: 12% [?]

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Police arrest man stuck in Handcuffs

A 21-year-old man, wanted on charges of “driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, threatening to commit a crime and making annoying phone calls” walks into a police station.

Bam! You think he would have seen it?

No, he actually was just looking for a little help.

His side of the story states his sister slipped a pair of handcuffs on him at a child’s birthday party. And now, the cuffs dangling from one wrist, he is stuck. Now what kind of child’s birthday party involves hand cuffs? I guess it would make pin the tail on the donkey more challenging…

Ok, well surely the police would help him out of this predicament, right?

Much to the man’s dismay, Police decided to run his name through the Massachusetts warrant system first and discovered he had a few outstanding warrants to his name.

Can you really be arrested for making annoying phone calls? Because if so, I have a few telemarketers to report.

So needless to say, the police did in fact remove his sister’s handcuffs. To which they immediately slapped on some police handcuffs and arrested the guy.

No more wild child’s birthday parting with his sister anymore. Thanks alot sis!

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Get the Bear Necessities

If you are going to venture anywhere near bear country, you may be safer carrying a 9 oz. canister of Guard Alaska Bear Repellent or Bear Pepper Mace than you would relying on a gun. But you don’t have to take our word for it.

How about the recommendation of Thomas Smith and Stephen Herrero?

Thomas S. Smith, associate professor of wildlife science at Brigham Young University, “is highly respected among bear biologists, naturalists and educators. His one-on-one experience with bears in the field is an enormous resource to the bear management community,” said director of the Center for Wildlife Information, Chuck Bartlebaugh, who runs “Be Bear Aware” and other wildlife safety campaigns. “This new study is important information that is needed by hunters, hikers or campers to understand the value of bear spray and how it can protect both people and bears.”

Dr. Stephen Herrero is Professor of Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is recognized throughout the world as a leading authority on bear ecology, behavior, and attacks, writing several books and papers on those topics.

Smith has faithfully carried bear pepper spray while conducted fieldwork among bears for over 16 years but admits he has never had to actually deploy bear spray. Caution and wisdom are the best prevention of bear attacks, and being a bear biologist, you would expect nothing less. “I wish I had more scary stories to share, but I’ve behaved myself.”

Non-experienced, non-bear biologists don’t quite have the luxury of knowing bear behavior inside and out.

Many hikers, campers and other outdoors people have expressed concern, as well as unfounded doubt and criticism over the effectiveness of that little can of pepper spray on a ferocious bear. “Working in the bear safety arena, I even found a lot of resistance to bear spray among professionals,” says Smith. “There was no good, clean data set that demonstrated definitively that it worked, so that’s why we did this research.”

Sensing the need for some answers and reassurance, Smith and colleagues analyzed data from 20 years of bear spray incidents in Alaska, home to 150,000 bears.

From their findings, pepper spray specially designed for bears effectively halted 92% of the cases of an aggressive bear encounter, whether attacking or rummaging for food.

Only 3 individuals were injured by bears out of 175 people associated with the study, with none requiring a trip to the hospital.

“People working or recreating in bear habitat should feel confident they are safe if carrying bear spray,” says Smith.

Smith had some previous research of the effectiveness of guns in similar situations. Only 67% success. It was noted on average it takes four hits to even stop a bear, and the accuracy needed “during the terrifying split seconds of a grizzly charge is extremely difficult”. On top of the physical issues, many national parks have restrictions on bringing guns in the first place.

The research debunks some of the common misconceptions about using bear spray:

- “Bear spray doesn’t work when it’s windy.” Wind was reported to have interfered with spray accuracy in five of the 71 incidents studied, although the spray reached the bear in all cases. A wind meter was used to test the speed of the bear spray as it shot out of the canister and repeatedly averaged 70 miles per hour. Smith also noted that bears and humans can easily see each other in open, windy spaces. The surprise encounters tend to occur in wooded areas in which vegetation blocks wind.

- “The spray will also disable the person using it.” In the 71 incidents documented in the study, only 10 times did a user report minor irritation and two reported near incapacitation.

- “The can might not work.” There were no reports of spray can malfunction among the 71 studied incidents.

It is believed that one of the primary reasons bear spray works is that it gives users a reason to stand their ground. Running is the worst response to an aggressive bear, Smith says, “but it’s hard not to. Just picture the meanest dog in your neighborhood and multiply his size by ten. It’s very hard to keep your feet from running, but bear spray gives you an option. When you stop and plant your feet, that makes them stop.”

This is because even though humans are much smaller than bears, the animals still view us as risky. “Having seen bears with porcupine quills in their faces, I’m sure that most bears learn at an early age that size is not a good indicator of threat,” Smith said. “There’s always this fear of retribution that keeps them in line. They could take any person they wanted. But they don’t know that.”

It was also noted that the hissing sound and sight of the expanding pepper spray cloud are often enough to frighten away the animal. “I have data to show that if you sprayed water, they often would run,” Smith says.

It was also reported that there were 11 incidents where bear spray was applied to objects like tents in attempt to repel curious bears. Do not attempt this, as it actually backfired and attracted bears instead. You should also discard practice spray canisters before entering the woods.

Other findings reported in the paper include:

- On average, the spray was used when the bear was about 12 feet away (Bear spray typically covers 20-30 foot range)

- 35 percent of incidents involved hikers, and 30 percent involved bear management activities

- 60 percent of the incidents occurred between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

- Nearly 70 percent of the incidents involved brown (grizzly) bears and 28 percent involved black bears. The study also reports the first two documented uses of bear spray on polar bears in Alaska.

Besides Smith and Herrero, Terry D. Debruyn of the National Park Service, and James M. Wilder of Minerals Management Service were also involved in this study. The paper also relies on an earlier publication of a decade’s worth of bear spray data by Herrero and Andrew Higgins. The research was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center. Source

So in conclusion, a study reviewing bear incidents in Alaska over a 20-year period, involving 175 people, and found that pepper spray deterred bears (including grizzly bears, black bears and polar bears) in 92% of cases. In 98% of cases, people who used bear spray were uninjured by the bear; in the remaining cases, injuries were minor. In only 7% of cases did wind interfere with accuracy, and in only 3% was the person using the pepper spray incapacitated by the spray. (Report did not state if user error was involved.)

Clearly as we have stated in the past, bear spray is a highly effective defense against aggressive bears. Nothing is 100% effective, but if the possibility of encountering a wild bear presents itself, I’d rather be safer than sorrier.

Obviously, we want to prevent criminal use of bear spray, but we must also bear in mind that this product saves lives and protects people from serious injury in the woods. Or anywhere a bear may wander.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

bearspray

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