NYT's Nick Kristof: Bear spray "may" be more effective than a handgun at stopping a home invader

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

There seems to be an industry-wide effort in the media to manufacture consent against gun ownership, whether it’s Hollywood inserting anti-concealed carry plotlines into TV shows, actors/directors/producers demanding less portrayal of firearms in the movies, or Fox News starting to push gun control. It almost reminds me of the run-up to the Iraq War in 2002. There was overwhelming propaganda in the press at that time, and those of us who knew right away that the claims of Iraqi WMDs and a Saddam–Bin Laden link were claptrap were ignored, ridiculed, and sometimes even called traitors and America-haters.


Yet another gun control propaganda item this week comes from Nick Kristof at the New York Times. His op-ed titled, “A Gun in the Home Makes Murder More Likely, Not Less,” (archive link) Kristof makes the usual expected claims:

In most of the world, going to the wrong house is not a deadly risk.

But in the United States it is, because we’re awash in an estimated 450 million guns and suffer from a mass delusion that a gun in the home makes us safer.

We’re caught in a spiral in which perceptions of rising crime lead more people to purchase firearms — about 60 million guns have been sold in the United States just since 2020 — and this in turn leads to more gun violence, which leads to more fear and gun purchases …. You get the idea.

He goes on to cite recent tragedies and laments that, “Elsewhere, brutes send their victims to the E.R.; in America, they send them to their graves.” Well, elsewhere is different, and elsewhere has had its fair share of violence using other means. The elsewhere that Kristof cites is Japan of all places, talking about the infamous 1992 killing of Japanese exchange student, Yoshihiro Hattori.

“We are more civilized,” a Japanese professor told The Times after the incident, and she had a point.


It doesn’t surprise me that a Japanese professor would think highly of her own country in comparison to others, but Kristof nodding along is infuriating. Is Japan more civilized than the United States? Did Kristof forget about what Japan did to other countries in World War 2? The Rape of Nanking, Unit 731, Korean sex slaves, the use of Indian soldiers for bayoneting practice and as a cannibalistic food source? Heck, President George H. W. Bush’s fellow airmen were literally eaten in the Chichijima incident, with Bush being the only one to escape alive by happenstance.

Contrast that with the behavior of American soldiers in Europe, and what the Soviets did as they invaded Germany from the East.

Kristof goes on to tout gun-controlled California, which has seen two horrific mass shootings, as a “successful experiment.”

All states should adopt California’s successful experiment with background checks for buying ammunition; having instituted a number of smart gun measures, California now has a gun death rate 38 percent below the national average.

Of course, he uses the “gun death rate” which uses suicide by firearm to the exclusion of other methods to play games with statistics. And speaking of suicides and Japan, has Kristof seen the numbers there?


Kristof goes on to cite the usual academic snobs and gun controllers’ studies to say that a gun in the house makes people more likely to be murdered. Of course, Kristof himself owns guns, but those are for the noble activities of hunting, target practice, and livestock protection.

People may choose to have firearms for hunting or target practice or to protect livestock from predators (I live on a farm with guns), but given the elevated risk, personal safety is not a good reason to acquire a gun.

Personal safety is not a noble enough reason to own a gun. So, what is Kristof’s preferred alternative?

We might encourage homeowners who feel unsafe to get bear spray instead of a gun. As a backpacker, I carry bear spray in grizzly country because it’s more effective than a handgun at stopping one of these bears if it charges; the same may be true of stopping a home invader, and certainly the consequences of a mistake aren’t deadly.

Bear spray! And it “may” be more effective than a handgun at stopping a home invader. What’s the source of that unsubstantiated claim? Kristof’s own argument by assertion!

And what happens when you have multiple home invaders, as we see time and again around the country? I’m guessing that would be multiple cans of bear spray, or a high-capacity assault bear spray.


It’s amusing to read Kristof’s claim, but it’s alarming to know that he has a lot of reach because of the New York Times. The mainstream press is beyond redemption at this point, so please use social media and plain old connections with your friends and family to point out all the lies and tall tales spun by those publications.

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