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Lyn Bates

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Posted by on in Legal

Yesterday's Metrowest Daily News reported that there is currently a court case involving the legality of stun guns in Massachusetts.  Currently, both stun guns and tasers are illegal for private citizens to own.  

Stun Gun

A stun gun is a relatively small, handheld device with two prongs.  To be used, the prongs must be pressed against someone's body, and the current activated by a switch.  It is effective for as long as it is in contact.  A taser is quite a different kind of device.  A taser can be fired like a gun, and fires two barbs on the end of wires.  When the barbs contact a person, current is applied.  Generally, police have been using tasers quite successfully for many years.

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Posted by on in Legal

Those of us who have been around firearms licensing in MA for a few years now have encountered the patchwork of very different standards and requirements in different towns.  And then there's the matter of restrictions that some police chiefs put on the back of Class A licenses - those restrictions might be the topic of a later AWARE blog.  


But now the Boston Globe's reporter, Brian MacQuarrie, has investigated the licensing situation and has done a darn good job of presenting the issues, together with some very interesting statistics on licenses.  

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Posted by on in Rape

There has been some really good news from the U.S.Dept of Justice.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics, which does very good studies of many things, has reported that in the 16 year period from 1995 to 2010, the number of women raped has taken a nosedive, from 5 victims per 1,000 to a whisker over 2 per 1,000.  That’s a 58% drop - phenomenal news!.  Here are more highlights, not all so rosy.

The report is  Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994 - 2010,    This work came from interviews, not police reports, so the BJS could capture events that were not reported to the police.  This chart came from that report:


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Posted by on in Pepper Spray

FoxOC 2 inchPepper spray is also known as OC, short for its chemical name Oleoresin Capsicum. One of the best general-purpose self-defense tools ever developed, most police in the US carry it.  Decades of street-use by law enforcement have proven it safe and effective.

What does pepper spray do to someone?  It inflames the skin and mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat.  It causes intense pain.  It makes the person sprayed in the face close their eyes, cry cough as if chocking, and be unable to speak.  It makes them feel that they can’t breathe, though they really can.  The effects can last from about 15 minutes for breathlessness to over an hour for the skin sensation of burning.

There are dozens of different sprays on the market.  To find the right one for you, consider: OC concentration, Schoville rating, canister size, and spray delivery system.  Oh, yeah, and price.

Police pepper spray is usually in the 5-10% range. Higher percentage of OC might actually not be quite as good as the lower ones, because it is harder for the larger quantity of pepper to atomize in the spray.  Also, above about 10%, having more OC in the can doesn't make it work faster, and doesn't hurt the attacker more; it just makes the effects last longer than an hour.  Since you won't need nearly that much time to get away and call for help, a product in the 5-10% range is most appropriate, and less expensive.

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Posted by on in Stalking

safety-for-stalking-victims-lynbatesI’ve always hated the cover of my book, Safety for Stalking Victims: How to Save Your Privacy, Your Sanity, and Your Life.  How the book came to have a picture of what looks like a woman falling though mid air, instead of something conveying the relentless fear and anxiety stalking victims experience -- well, that is just too long to explain in a blog post.  

I wrote the book because other books about stalking at that time focused on analyzing the types of stalkers, detailing the kinds of things they did, and offering some strategies that might, or might not, make them stop.  Very little addressed specifically the problem of safety.  How can one tell whether a particular stalking situation is truly dangerous, and if so, what can a person being stalked, usually a woman, do to protect herself?

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Tagged in: Stalking Women
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Posted by on in Pepper Spray

how-to-use-pepper-sprayPepper spray is one of the best general-purpose self-defense tools ever.   A previous blog discussed the various types of pepper spray products.   Here we will discuss how to use what you have purchased.

An extremely powerful tool for many situations, it pays to have your hand already on it, unobtrusively in your purse or pocket, whenever you are around someone who makes you uneasy, or whenever you are going to or from your car or home.

Quick review of the effects of pepper spray:  It inflames the skin and mucus membranes, causing much pain.  It forces eyes closed, makes one cry cough uncontrollably, and be unable to speak.  The effects can last from about 15 minutes to over an hour.  Effects more than four hours might need medical attention.

When properly used it does no permanent damage.  So, what’s proper?

For starters, you might not want to carry pepper spray if you have asthma, or use on someone you know to have asthma. Although many asthmatics have been sprayed without ill effect, a few cases have been serious enough to risk death.   Also, the safety of using pepper spray around very young children has not been established....

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