December 24, 2012

Making Lists — and Publishing Them: Earth First (‘Prank’ Hit List), Gannett’s Journal News (Pistol Permit Holders); See Update

What similarities are there between a domestic terrorist organization and the alleged journalists at the Journal News headquartered in White Plains, New York? At least two biggies: total lack of respect for privacy and complete disregard for others’ safety. The domestic terror group Earth First has an “EAT(IT) “Eco Assassin Team (in Training),” which has tired of “the stale old debate about adopting nonviolence as a movement principle.” Accordingly, the Earth First Journal (HT to J. Christian Adams at PJ Media; those wishing to go to the original need to go there first, as I would rather not directly link) has published a top ten “‘Eco-F***ers Prank-Hit List,’ at least until we come up with something more creative.”

The Journal News has published its own (conveniently unbylined) list, complete with interactive maps. The maps contain “the addresses (and names) of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.” Really:

Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.

Data for all permit categories, unrestricted carry, premises, business, employment, target and hunting, is included, but permit information is not available on an individual basis.

To create the map, The Journal News submitted Freedom of Information requests for the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. By state law, the information is public record.

The paper does not identify how publishing all of these names and addresses furthers its alleged “long and distinguished history of service to the residents and businesses in New York’s Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.” Because it doesn’t.

What it does is two things:

  • Gives criminals an easy roadmap for identifying homes from which they might steal guns.
  • Arguably more dangerously, it identifies who doesn’t have “pistols” as targets who will likely be less able to resist robbery, assault, or worse, both at home and especially in public.

Which of the two is the bigger danger is an open question. I believe it’s the latter. If I’m right, the publishing of these maps should disturb the unarmed far more than those who are armed.

The Earth First Journal lists an address at the bottom of its newsletter issue. The Journal News’s address can be found at its “about” page. No, I’m not going to identify either of them here, but Instapundit’s question in response to what the Journal News has done is more than appropriate: “I guess nobody could object to people putting the newspaper staff’s addresses on the Web now, right?”

Right.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has publicly stated that “confiscation is an option,” certainly will have an easier time carrying out such a wish now, won’t he?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: Great question at Instapundit — ““So is that NY newspaper going to pay to relocate the women who have gun permits due to stalkers and abusive spouses now that the paper has revealed their new addresses? What about the children who will now spend Christmas in a shelter or motel because their mother had to run?”

Probably a few men, too …

This should be cause for uniting people in saying that these lists cannot be published or available to the public, and that they can only be accessed by law enforcement officials on official business.

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