Monday, December 24, 2012

White Plains Newspaper Terroristically Targets Handgun Owners, Publishes Interactive Map Showing Names And Addresses Of Permit Holders

A community newspaper in suburban New York City has published an interactive map showing the names and addresses of all handgun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties, and intends to publish the same information on those who live in Putnam County if and when they can get it.

The White Plains Journal News, a Gannett rag which cowers behind a flexible pay wall (20 free reads every 30 days), published the information on December 22nd, 2012. Clicking on a dot on the map provides the permit holder's name and address. They state that the data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit, and add that being included on the map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, but only that they are licensed to do so. But they don't guarantee accuracy, issuing the disclaimer that "Permit holders [for Rockland County] who have died or moved out of the area may not have updated their permit records, so some locations marked with a purple dot may not represent a current permit holder".

However, the Journal News shares the blame with the federal government and the New York state government. New York state law makes permit holders’ information a matter of public record, and the Journal News requested the information under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), which is a federal provision. The FOIA is a double-edged sword; while it can promote accountability and transparency in government, it can also be abused and employed as a partisan political weapon, as it has been in this case. It was also abused when Andree McLeod pestered the Alaska state government for Sarah Palin's e-mails for partisan political purposes, and unfortunately the state caved in, setting a bad precedent.

There are three problems immediately apparent:

(1). The Journal Herald is deliberately targeting handgun permit holders. This could subject them to targeted activism by anti-gun activists, to include the possibility of demonstrations against them in their neighborhoods. In addition, criminals could target a specific neighborhood, wait for permit holders to leave for work and burglarize their homes looking for firearms.

(2). Those not on the map could be considered more attractive targets for home invasion and robbery by criminals.

(3). This places handgun permit holders on the same level as sex offenders, whose details can also be displayed in public records. The intent is to incrementally create a political climate favorable towards the criminalization of private gun ownership.

The Journal News subsequently defended their actions, telling ABC News that readers are interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods because of the shooting in Newtown, CT last week. In fact, they said they even requested data as to the number and type of weapons at each home, but public officials refused to go that far.

Reaction: Many readers of the Journal News were outraged, and there was a flurry of subscription cancellations. One suggested a map of the editorial staff and publishers of Gannett and Journal News with names and addresses of their families displayed. Questions are arising as to whether or not the paper can be held liable if a home in the targeted counties gets broken into. In the New Rochelle Talk Of The Sound, Tom Jeferstahl has published the name and home address of the Journal News writer, Dwight R. Worley, who is responsible for the article. The publisher of the Journal News, Janet Hasson, and the CEO of Gannett, Gracia C. Martore, have their home addresses published HERE, while the home addresses of editors Cyndee Royle and Nancy Cutler are posted in this comment.

On Gateway Pundit, someone asked if we should publish the names of every woman who has received public money to obtain an abortion? According to World Net Daily, Jeff Knox, director of The Firearms Coalition, called the newspaper’s action “an outrageous invasion of privacy and a highly irresponsible action.”

Additional outrage is expressed on Godlike Productions and The Blaze. AMI Global Security also published an article condemning the massive privacy breach which they said is meant to intimidate the lawful and abrogate the Bill of Rights.

I don't think the use of the word "terroristically" in this post title is too strong under the circumstances. It's certain that some handgun owners in the area are going to feel a bit uneasy over the next few days at the very least.

3 comments:

  1. on the upside every criminal will know not to hit the homes with the guns...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Unless they are looking for one to steal...

    ReplyDelete
  3. which in case they may be shot for their efforts.

    ReplyDelete