December 29, 2012

Rockland County, NY Paper Publishes Names, Addresses of Gun Permit Map-Publishing Journal News Employees

Turnabout is fair play.

A week ago, Gannett’s White Plains, New York-based Journal News published an interactive map containing ” the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties” (previous related posts are here, here, and here). Like so many others throughout the U.S. and even throughout the world, Dylan Skriloff, Editor-in-Chief at the Rockland County Times, which calls itself “Rockland’s Official Newspaper Since 1888,” did not take it well, nor should he have. In a Thursday editorial, he blasted the Journal News and chose to publish “the home addresses of Journal News editors, publishers and the Gannet CEO to make a point; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” (he also included phone numbers). Excerpts from his write-up follow the jump (bolds are mine):

What You Don’t Know About the Agenda-Driven Journalists in Your Neighborhood

In the wake of the Newtown massacre, the bright lights at Gannet’s The Journal News decided it was high time to criminalize ordinary, law-abiding gun owners in the area.

… Some supporters of the Journal News editors eventually did materialize, saying they appreciate that the map shows them which neighbors have a gun, so they can prevent their kids from playing at those residences.

Overall, however, it would seem the Journal News editors are playing to an audience that simply does not exist. Even most supporters of strict gun control were offended by a list of their neighbors being published on the Internet, as if they were criminals.

One reader of the Rockland County Times said, “They treat gun owners worse than they treat sex offenders.”

Some commented on the Rockland County Times message board that many retired law enforcement are on the list, and having their addresses made public opens them up to harassment by perps they had locked away in the past.

“ … It is journalistic arrogance to abuse public record privilege, just as it is to air 911 calls for no reason or to publish the home addresses of police or judges without cause,” Al Tompkins, a Poynter (Institute) senior faculty member, said in a statement. “Unwarranted publishing of the names of permitted owners just encourages gun owners to skip the permitting.”

… The Rockland County Times shares in the community’s frustration with the tactics of the Journal News, particularly the seeming attempt to draw a moral link between law abiding gun owners and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The only remedy for this is for the editorial board of the Journal News as well as executives at Gannet (sic) to receive a taste of their own medicine.

… what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Skriloff began the list by specifically identifying the “reporter who penned the story” and the “visual editor who made the interactive map,” while emphasizing in his final sentence that “We wish no will” on those whose information appeared.

I wonder if the same honestly be said about those at the Journal News who prepared the interactive map, especially given some of the possible consequences of their action, one of which, as Instapundit pointed out just before Christmas, might well include the following:

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?

On balance, it’s seems fair to say that the Journal News has made Westchester and Rockland Counties less safe, all, as Skriloff accurately asserted, in the name of driving an agenda. Turnabout is indeed fair play in this instance.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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1 Comment

  1. In regards to those few who liked what the Journal News did: the presence of a gun in a house does not make that home unsafe for kids anymore than the mere presence of knives, matches, medicines, fireworks, poisons and etc. does.

    What makes a home safe or not is the attitude of the homeowner(s) and any other residents.

    There is no good reason or value in what that paper did, and I will not allow even the sliver of an excuse or justification to attempt to manifest itself that tries to say otherwise.

    Comment by zf — December 29, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

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