These being the same story, I merged the threads so discussion of the one topic doesn’t get spread across multiple threads.
This pot continues to simmer:
Poynter Journalism Scholars Criticize Paper for Publishing Gun Owners’ Addresses
by Bridget Johnson
A leading journalism think tank has come down on The Journal News of Hudson Valley, New York, for publishing the addresses of gun permit holders without cause.
Roy Clark, a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based journalism think tank, told the Associated Press that the online map pinpointing gun owners’ homes was comparable to a sex-offender registry. “You get the connotation that somehow there’s something essentially wrong with this behavior,” he said. “My predisposition is to support the journalism; I want to be persuaded that this story or this practice has some higher social purpose, but I can’t find it.”
Today Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at Poynter and 35-year veteran journalist, panned the Westchester paper for publishing the data.
“The problem is not that the Gannett-owned Journal News was too aggressive. The problem is that the paper was not aggressive enough in its reporting to justify invading the privacy of people who legally own handguns in two counties it serves,” Tompkins wrote in his Al’s Morning Meeting blog.
“If journalists could show flaws in the gun permitting system, that would be newsworthy. Or, for example, if gun owners were exempted from permits because of political connections, then journalists could better justify the privacy invasion,” he wrote. “If the data showed the relationship between the number of permits issued and the crime rates, that serves a public purpose. …
Tompkins noted that even though he’s not a big fan of sex offender maps, “at least there is a logical reason for posting them, even though the offenders often no longer live where the maps show them to be.”
“The difference between the sex offender maps and the gun permit maps is that sex offenders have been convicted of a crime. The permit holders are accused of nothing,” he said.
The Journal News, Tompkins wrote, “is taking heat for starting a gunfight just because it could.”
I’ll go farther than did Tompkins. It wasn’t laziness on the part of the Journal News that they failed to show any reason, need or importance for the act of publishing the names and addresses of all those gun owners. The purpose of the Journal News was to threaten and intimidate those people for daring to exercise a right the Journal News believes they should not have. And the Journal News doersn’t havce the courage to admit their petulant childish purpose.
NY State Sen. Ball: ‘We Need to Have a National Conversation About Nut Control’
by Bridget Johnson
A New York state legislator — who proudly says he lives in a 400-square-foot cabin with five shotguns — is proposing a bill to keep gun records private, and keep a paper like The Journal News from publishing gun owners’ addresses again.
“You have to realize on this list you have victims of domestic violence who got a permit to be able to protect themselves. You have New York City police officers who are retired. And now any nut job or criminal can go online and decide to go after their family,” state Sen. Greg Ball (R-N.Y.) said on Fox Business Network today.
“And, at the end of the day, we’re talking about a bunch of eggheads at a very liberal newspaper that they don’t go out of their way to show us where the sexual predators live. … They’re focusing on the people who [own guns] the right way, are following the law, paying their taxes, and they put them in the same category as a level three sexual predator. That is B.S.”
This situation is a small - but growing - part of a larger picture: invasive uses of public records. Re-Fi your home and you’ll get a flood of home loan solicitations. Record a relative’s death and get a flood of various kinds of solicitations. Those have long been problems. More recently, make a political donation to an un-PC cause or ballot proposition and your job and life will be threatened. Now “journalists” have trolled - legally - public records as a means to intimidate people for daring to exercise a right of which the “journalists” disapprove. I’d rather public records be just that, but the abuses are, IMO, justifying changes to what is public and how such information can be accessed.