I was sitting in Colorado on Christmas Eve, a glass of wine, snow falling all around me when I heard about the New York Newspaper, The Journal, and their decision to post the names and addresses of people who held permits to purchase weapons.
This made me sick to my stomach. Yes, they obtained information publicly available, and they have 1st Amendment rights to the freedom of speech. What did they do wrong then? After reading some of their editorial articles and the article that accompanied this initial interactive map, it is clear they were trying to “out” gun owners and spark fear in the neighborhoods. If there were only one potential gun owner in a neighborhood, perhaps the other neighbors could now show up at their front door with pitchforks and torches and demand they give up their guns. Is that what the Journal wants?
This was, in truth, a violation of privacy. It was irresponsible journalism, if you can call it journalism at all. At the very best it is sensational, at the worst it is downright dangerous for everyone in those communities. Here are the possible outcomes:
1. Best Outcome – Nothing Changes (unlikely)
2. Criminals know who may not have a gun, the people this article hoped to “help” by letting them know which neighbors had guns so they could “deal with them” will now become targets of violence. Hey, if I was a criminal, I would go to homes of people with no protection. “Thank you Journal, you just made my life safer.” ~signed evil rapist.
3. Criminals who do not have a gun, but need a gun and cannot get one (due to the thousands of laws already in place) now know exactly where to go to get one. (Obviously, they will wait until no one is home.) Easy day. “Thank you Journal, you just made my life easier.” ~signed evil thief.
4. Worst outcome – you have now put neighbor against neighbor and may incite actual fights and violence within these neighborhoods due to your irresponsibility. This country already has enough dividing us, we do not need any encouragement.
Then today I read this article: New York newspaper to list more gun permit holders after uproar by Reuters. They are not finished, they are going to publish more. God help anyone affected by this – and by that I mean those with guns and those without. I fear those without have more to fear.