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Budlong Elementary School gets pepper sprayed

Don’t let your kids play with your pepper spray. That is a lesson hopefully learned by some parents at the Budlong Elementary School Thursday afternoon in the Lincoln Square neighborhood in Chicago.

It seems that one of the little kiddies had a pepper spray in their backpack when it went off “accidently” in the middle of the school room. Paramedics were called out and twelve students were transported to the local hospital. The unaffected kids were moved to a different location in the school where they had to finish school.

Everyone was okay in the end.

The good school folk were quite emphatic that this was an “accident” but it sounds the same as those who always want to claim that gun shots are “accidental.” Modern day guns – and pepper sprays – are built to help avoid the accidental firing of one. If you hear that word associated with either guns, pepper sprays, or stun guns you can pretty much be sure that someone had their finger where it was not supposed to be when it was not supposed to be.

Let this be a lesson in several areas. First, generally it is not a good idea to allow young kids access to even fairly benign self-defense products such as pepper spray. This is even more important when they are disguised in such ways as a lipstick tube.

Secondly, both kids and adults have a habit of toying with the products that they know have a bit of “unsafeness” to them. In the firearms world this is known as “coonfingering.” If you have ever seen a raccoon handle something it is interested in you would see how it applies. The coon will incessantly handle something shiny and pass it back and forth between hands until it has learned everything it can about the object.

People doing this with firearms is probably the number one cause of “accidental” shootings. The same process can cause an accidental firing of your pepper spray or stun gun also. While the self-cause penalty usually isn’t as great with a non-lethal means of self-defense why take the chance at all?

Put your self-defense tool in the holster or drawer where it belongs and keep it there. Don’t finger it or play with it. If you need to use it for practice (which is highly recommended) there are practice packs that you can purchase.

If and when you are in a situation where danger may be imminent, such as walking out to your car in an unlighted parking lot late at night when no one is around it does make sense to be prepared. Having the pepper spray in your hand is not a bad idea. However, keep your finger off from the triggering device until the actual moment that you need it.

I cover more about this later as I walk you through the Four Cardinal Rules of (pepper spray and stun gun) safety as adopted from Col. Cooper.

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