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Mace (spray): Wikis


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Mace is a tear gas in the form of an aerosol spray which propels a lachrymatory agent mixed with a volatile solvent. It is sometimes used as a self-defense device. This form of Mace is legal in very few countries, thus its use is becoming uncommon.

The original formulation consisted of 1% CN gas in a solvent of 2-butanol, propylene glycol, cyclohexene, and dipropylene glycol methyl ether. Some formulations now also include Oleoresin Capsicum (active ingredient in pepper spray).

Mace was originally manufactured under the name "Chemical Mace" by Lake Erie Chemical (a former division of Smith & Wesson) in 1962, but is now a registered trademark of Mace Security International. Most Mace sold today by Mace Security International is pepper spray rather than tear gas, though it is still possible to buy Mace (Tear Gas - CS). Many other companies now manufacture similar products.


Mace vs. pepper spray

Due to the current brand-name use of the term "Mace" to refer to pepper sprays and the fact that mace is illegal in most Western countries, it is very difficult to find information on traditional mace. "Mace" and "pepper spray" are frequently used interchangeably, although they are different substances.


Most law enforcement agencies require that their personnel become certified on similar aerosol spray devices such as pepper spray before using them in the field. Inert units which use the same mechanism but spray an inactive saccharine solution are also used for training purposes. [1]


An Icelandic police officer recovering from being sprayed with OC pepper spray.

The effect of Mace varies on humans. Most common is a burning sensation on the area affected with the spray. If in contact with eyes it causes automatic closing of the eyes due to intense pain if open. This along with a feeling of suffocating if inhaled it causes the person to be very vulnerable and dependent, resulting in easy overpowering (for example, law enforcement officials over a suspect). Effects can be minimal on those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The duration of the effects vary from 30 minutes up to 2 hours, depending on the person and treatment.

Mace in History

During the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Mace was used by the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 to prevent entry to the first-class area and keep passengers at the rear of the plane. The official 9/11 Commission Report states that "The hijackers quickly gained control and sprayed Mace, pepper spray, or some other irritant in the first-class cabin, in order to force the passengers and flight attendants toward the rear of the plane."[1]

Mace in Literature

Norman Mailer mentions this product in his book The Armies of the Night (1968).

Patrick Bateman makes frequent use of mace spray as a torture device upon his victims in the book American Psycho.

Hunter S. Thompson also speaks several times of it in conjunction with the police of Nevada in his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

Stephen King mentions the spray being used by police officers in his novel Under the Dome (2009).

Mace in other media

This product appears in both The Simpsons' episode Homer to the Max and in the South Park episode Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy. It is used in the Family Guy episode Fore Father. It is also mentioned in the Golden Girls episode 'Break-In'. It also appears in the seventh series of the British Drama Bad Girls, used by Natalie Buxton against a Police Officer. Mace is also mentioned in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Volume 2 by Budd a.k.a Sidewinder when he threatens to spray a can of Mace right in The Bride's eyeballs and blind her right before he proceeds to bury her alive in a grave marked "Paula Schultz". Mace is mentioned by the "waitress" in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (season four episode 13) and by a girl Barney Stinson is hitting on in How I Met Your Mother (season four episode 22).




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