ALWAYS OUTNUMBERED, NEVER OUTGUNNED: Today’s New York Times has five letters responding to my column from earlier this week. Not surprisingly, most disagree, and Robert Spitzer accuses me of fomenting “vigilantism.” I guess he means something like this from Schenectady:

Ralph Schulenburg Sr. feared if he didn’t take action, the two armed intruders would kill everyone inside his Division Street home.

The pair, he said, made no attempt to hide their faces, and one of them even boldly gave his name as “Charlie” when one of Schulenburg’s sons asked.

“I wasn’t about to just sit there,” Schulenburg, 50, said Saturday as he recounted the events that played out inside 421 Division St. on Friday afternoon.

But he said it was his son, Ralph Schulenburg Jr., 23, who grabbed an old Mauser rifle and shot the intruders during a fierce gunbattle.

Aaron Peavy, 21, of Albany, was shot in the heart and killed. His alleged accomplice, Charles E. Little III, 20, of Troy, was shot in the left hand and lost at least one finger. It was the fourth time since early December that alleged intruders have been shot inside homes they targeted in Schenectady.

I can live with this kind of vigilantism. Home invaders, not so much. As for the Harvard research, well, I’m always skeptical of “public health” research on guns, for good reason, and I’ve noted the funding source here. It’s not necessarily unethical, but I can only imagine the outcry if the NRA were sponsoring research of this sort. (Thanks to reader Chris O’Brien for the Schenectady story).