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Pepper Spray 101


On Pepper Spray. Ahhh! There's nothing like the smell of pepper spray early in the morning! It builds character!

Pepper spray and the California prison system go together like peanut butter and jelly! If you haven't been sprayed, you haven't been to prison! No sir. It is never just a little. Oh no. Once they pop the top, the fun— why the fun, it just don't stop. It is always a full on in your face and ass-crack experience. And if it's not, you really got to ask yourself, Just what were you doing? Watching? Ha-ha! You got to get in there and get you some, boy! Put some hair on your chest. Earn some of that ink! It won't kill you, just burn like hell! It's good for the spirit!

The non-lethal methods are all good fun! OC pepper spray, MK-9, the red bottle, the blue bottle, the smaller bottle, the big Supersoaker, chemical agents, tear gas, OC grenades, the OC cannon, the OC fogger, the little block gun, the big block gun, the shock shield, the collapsible lead-shot weighted baton. As long as it ain't live rounds from that Mini-14, you should live.

Pepper Spray Machine Gun
Pepper Spray Machine Gun: capable of spitting out 700 rounds of pepper-spray filled pellets a minute, with a range of 200 feet.

I've been pepper sprayed good personally on multiple occasions in prison. Over the last decade and a half I've been sprayed in Pelican Bay, High Desert, Salinas Valley to name a few. All of them received honorable mention in an letter titled Billy's Story that ran in the AVA a while back. The tip of the spear indeed. I have to agree. I was there. Where were you?

The first time you are sprayed it takes a couple seconds to really kick in and get roasting! For a second, the burn is shocking. Then it's really out of the frying pan into the fire! The OC pepper spray is an oil-based chemical irritant. Well, “irritant” doesn't begin to do it justice. Try chemical, fire marshal Bill. Prison policy is that inmates who have been sprayed are to be “decontaminated.” To decontaminate you are typically locked in a cell-like shower or locked in a cell and verbally instructed to “continue flushing the affected area with copious amounts of cool water and to repeat as necessary.” (You flush an oil-based chemical fire with cool water… You do that math. It is fantastic.)

You are looking at a 24 hour burn minimum. Typically it takes about five minutes into the burn before, depending on the circumstances, it may very slowly start to deescalate.

Some things can make the situation worse and some things can make the situation less worse (better).

Things that can make it worse: getting sprayed again; spreading it to areas of your body not affected yet, for example your junk; itching, scratching, rubbing. Any kind of heat — for example hot weather; lack of a breeze or air, hot water; activity that raises your body temperature… (All of these open your skin pores and really soak it in). It is not unheard of for inmates who have been sprayed to be given a hot shower or no decontamination at all — even the mentally ill. This is the Big Leagues, Boy and everybody's dirty, not just A-rod. Deal with it.

Each time you are sprayed you will learn something. For example: You will learn not to jump the gun and get in the water too quick once it’s dried, because that water will reactivate it. You will learn to clean your fingernails good. You will learn that you can take it and even though you don't want to, next time you are sprayed you will learn that you can take it again — and again — and again — and again. Instead of dwelling on things that are out of your control, like the burning or the next time you will find your routine and like the scumbag version of a Zen master you will learn ways to control your mind, how to distract yourself on little tasks for a long time, getting rid of all contaminated clothing, the pouring of cold water on yourself without flooding the tier, to tell some jokes and talk some shit and to laugh it up because, You did good boy.

There are some kids — green, naive youngsters — who will say use hot water, use milk, use this, use that… From my experience they are full of shit and just trying to say something to make it seem like they know when they really don't.

If there are more questions about prison, ask and you will get real answers. I have made the rounds. I ran with one of the real traditional and dominant prison gangs before I flew too close to the sun. But that's another story for another day. Today was pepper spray. Enjoy. It's good. Weapons grade stuff. Ha-ha.


A prisoner in a California prison who chooses to be anonymous for fear of being sprayed. From the land of recycled water and delusions of grandeur! Heaven free!

PS. The AVA t-shirt? Great idea. Genius. However it looks like there will have to be an AVA tattoo for me, at least for the time being.

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