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Tipsheet

NYT Columnist Says Homeowners Should Get This For Protection Instead of Firearms

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof posited the idea in a recent piece that people who are worried about people breaking into their homes should get bear spray for self-defense instead of a firearm.

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Kristof wrote about the idea after home shootings involving Ralph Yarl and Kaylin Gillis.

Elsewhere, brutes send their victims to the E.R.; in America, they send them to their graves. Foreigners admire our popular culture, our technology, our lifestyle, but are bewildered by our refusal to rein in guns. 

In the 1990s when I was Tokyo bureau chief of The Times, Japanese people regularly spoke to me about a 1992 incident in which a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student, Yoshihiro Hattori, was shot dead in Louisiana after knocking on the wrong door. The homeowner said he thought the boy was a burglar and ordered him to 'freeze'; Hattori perhaps didn’t understand 'freeze' or misheard the man as saying 'please.' In any case, the boy moved, and the man shot him with a .44 magnum.

 "I backpack, and it's well known that bear spray is more effective against a charging grizzly than a handgun. Probably also more effective against a home invader. Think of it as harm reduction," he tweeted.

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"We accept inconveniences to reduce auto fatalities: seatbelts, speed limits, no riding in the backs of pickup trucks. So why don't we accept tradeoffs to reduce gun mortality? In MS, it's easier to buy an AR-15 than to adopt a Chihuahua. Why should that be?" he further tweeted.

Kristof was predictably mocked for the idea of using bear mace:

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