Levi Tilleman ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic primary in the 2018 election in Colorado’s 6th congressional district. Levi doesn’t like guns and he made that a key part of his campaign.
The candidate’s stance on guns included an “assault weapon” ban, a 10-day waiting period, a safe storage requirement, and a magazine ban. If fact, while campaigning Tilleman proudly pointed out that he doesn’t own a gun.
During the campaign Tilleman proposed that instead of allowing teachers to arm themselves, schools should arm every teacher with a can of pepper spray.
Of course, according to Levi, teachers shouldn’t carry the pepper spray on their person, but should instead store it in a “break glass in case of emergency cabinet.”
To demonstrate the effectiveness of his idea, Tilleman allowed himself to be pepper sprayed in the face, which was recorded and used for his campaign.
In the video Tilleman says, “This will stop anyone in their tracks, it’s incredibly painful. And now I can’t see anything. It’s just unbearable. It’s like lava in your eyes.”
The problem was, after being pepper sprayed Levi was standing and talking to the camera. Of course, his eyes were red, clearly agitated, and who knows how well he could see.
However, he was still able to stand, and was coherent enough to speak clearly into the video camera. However, Tilleman’s team claimed the candidate was “completely incapacitated.”
Here’s the thing, Levi’s demonstration showed exactly why pepper spray is not the best idea. While your eyes will burn, you can still move, swing, kick, punch, run, and you typically don’t fall to the ground completely incapacitated.
In a real active shooter situation in a school, pepper spray would only be marginally effective. The last thing you want to do is to show up to a gun fight with a can of pepper spray.
In a school setting there is either a lethal threat or a non-lethal threat. If the threat is a non-lethal threat, then schools have policy and procedures in place to deal with the situation. If you encounter a lethal threat inside a school, pepper spray is not going to stop that threat.
The thing is, people often consider pepper spray for home defense, since pepper spray comes in different forms including spray streams, fogs, and even grenades similar to foggers.
Unquestionably, a home invasion is a terrifying situation that you never really see coming. In most cases, you will be awoken from your sleep and, ideally, you would grab your gun to defend your family.
However, I know there are people who will not use a gun for home defense no matter how many times I “shout it from the rooftops.” So, if you know someone who will only use pepper spray, it’s better than nothing and one of the options is pepper spray grenades.
Pepper spray grenades are basically built around the same idea as a home fogger. The grenades deploy a continuous stream of powerful ingredients that should irritate people’s eyes and skin.
The basic makeup is similar to pepper spray, but it’s dispensed differently since it doesn’t require you to hold down a tab like you would need to do if you were spraying a can.
The pepper spray grenades are designed for close quarters and are ideal for fogging a foyer or smaller room. One example of a pepper spray grenade is the Sabre Red MK-5 Fog Delivery Aerosol Grenade.
This canister empties in 14 seconds filling an area of 22,000 cubic feet in 60 seconds. The Sabre Red sells for about $30 on Amazon.
There is no question that tossing a pepper spray grenade towards an intruder may have a psychological effect on what the bad guy does. However, this type of home defense solution isn’t without drawbacks.
These grenades take time to deploy. While it may only be 14 seconds, a criminal can cover a lot of ground in that amount of time if they are rushing towards you.
Another problem is, how many times have you heard a sound in the middle of the night and you get up to investigate with your gun, baseball bat or other home defense tool?
My point is, let’s say your kids’ toys fell off the shelf and woke you up, you can’t simply deploy a pepper spray grenade just because you heard a sound in the middle of the night, you need to be able to identify the threat.
Lastly, pepper spray is a chemical. If you use it inside it will take a good amount of time for the fumes to dissipate. In addition, your furniture, carpet, and everything else will be covered in a chemical residue from the pepper spray grenade.
At the end of the day, pepper spray grenades have a cool factor to them, but the reality is as Levi showed us in his video, pepper spray is not the best option when stopping a lethal threat since it doesn’t incapacitate a person.