I was appalled at the May 18 Press Herald article about a South Portland company’s vehicle-mounted pepper spray gun, holding more than 30 times the amount in a typical handheld canister and marketed to the general public. What is this, “Mad Max”?

I’m dismayed by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ support and that F3 Defense, which developed it, won this year’s “Innovator of the Year” award from the Manufacturers Association of Maine. Surely there are innovations that would be more beneficial to society.

I’ve been in a group that was pepper sprayed by police using excessive force, and that was mostly white college kids. This group included a student in a wheelchair, who couldn’t maneuver out of the way. The owner of F3 downplays the harm of pepper spray. A report from The International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations and Physicians for Human Rights notes that “inhalation of high doses … can produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurologic effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death,” not to mention intense pain.

Pickup trucks in Portland have revved engines and threatened peaceful and lawful protesters exercising their right to free speech (intimidating, given that “between (George) Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, vehicles drove into protests at least 139 times, according to an analysis completed by The Boston Globe.”)

This is a technology that justifies the use of deterrent violence. This system is designed to perpetrate the assault of citizens protesting, rightfully, true violence and oppression; it should be regulated and unavailable to the general public.

Emilia Dahlin

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