A few weeks ago I went to a jewelry making event. There were a number of women there who didn't know me and I didn't know them. While we formed our pendents we started getting to know one another but I don't always disclose my interest and passion for self defense and firearms.
Somehow, however, the conversation turned to guns and self defense.
I tried to keep my mouth shut.
Someone said she didn't want to get a gun but she was thinking it might be good for her to get some pepper spray.
One of the other women said, "You know what's a great alternative? Wasp spray! It has better range and is more effective."
I couldn't hold it in any longer. I asked, "Would you like to know why that isn't necessarily true?"
She said yes.
After I was done explaining that wasp spray has never been proven effective against human beings like pepper spray has been I explained that modern pepper sprays have a great range and then left it be.
The conversation continued and one of the other gals said, "Well, that's why whenever I go anywhere I put my keys between my fingers so that I can punch with them if I need to."
I winced. "I'm sorry. But would you like to know why that's not a good idea?"
She said yes.
I explained that the keys between the fingers have no stability and punching someone with your keys between your fingers will likely do no more damage than just punching them. In addition, finger bones are not all that strong and if someone stronger were to grab your hand it's entirely possible to break a few fingers around those keys as they act as a sort of fulcrum. If you have any kind of key defense you're much better off getting a kubaton (careful to observe that in some states you need a carry permit to do so) or just swinging your keys on a key chain line a mace and chain.
I shut up again and eventually one of the other gals said, "What I don't understand about these shooting things is why the police can't just shoot people in the arm or the leg or something?"
I put my head on the table and said, "Would you like to know why that's not an option?"
She said yes.
I explained a little about deadly force and when you can and cannot use it and that there is no such thing as a non-lethal shot, not legally anyway.
The girl I came with happens to be one of my former students. She started laughing and finally spoke up, "Just in case you were wondering why she's so passionate about this stuff it's because she's a firearms instructor."
We eventually got the class back on a jewelry making track but this all got me thinking about why the bad information keeps circulating. Why, despite our best efforts, do people still regurgitate the same old myths over and over again? Why do they get shared with higher frequency than good information?
Is it because the information is novel and therefore sticks out as something to remember? Is it because the techniques seem easier or more accessible to common individuals?
Of course it doesn't help that we have national television programs spewing crap, either. Thank you, NBC, you just set us back seven years.