More Post-Newtown Fallout: Gun Owners Vs. Journalists In New York

from the you showed them mine so I'll show them yours dept

The Connecticut school shooting has pushed the discussion of gun control back into the media spotlight, along with providing a convenient soapbox for lawmakers, lobbying groups and pundits willing to politicize tragedies to push their agendas through. There’s been a lot of vitriol on both sides of the issue, with discussion of Second Amendment rights often leading those involved to forget all about the opposing side’s First Amendment rights.

One aspect that has changed is the sheer amount of personal information available to those involved in this debate, which results in the sort of exchange that played out recently in New York. The Journal News, covering the Lower Hudson Valley, decided to post a Google map that showed the names and addresses of everyone with handgun permits in Westchester and Rockland counties. This information was gathered via a Freedom of Information requests.

Published under the fear-inducing title “The Gun Owner Next Door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,” the interactive map drew plenty of heat from gun owners who felt their personal information shouldn’t have been made public. The map had the slight potential to affect criminal activity, either by steering would-be burglars to safer, weapon-free households, or to give these same hypothetical opportunists a list of addresses from which to poach guns while their owners were at work.

Also troublesome was the inference made ever so lightly by the article’s title: that weapons were dangerous, and by extension, so were their owners. The timing of the article was also problematic — and intentional. The FOIA requests went out after the Newtown shooting, skewing the purpose of the info dump even further.

A red-dotted map indicating clusters of gun owners easily, under the circumstances, continued the connect-the-dots inference: with so many weapons around, surely the non-gun owning citizens of the Lower Hudson Valley had something to fear. In totality, it was a badly timed, name-and-shame piece that painted gun owners as ticking time bombs, opening with the story of a mentally disturbed man who had put together a large cache of unregistered weapons, “without any neighbors knowing” — something no one would have had any interest in if he hadn’t used one of his guns to shoot a neighbor in the head. Quotes on both sides of the issue are scattered throughout, but the implication was clear: guns are dangerous, whether in the hands of their rightful owners, or borrowed by murderers like Adam Lanza.



The question arises as to whether the Journal News should have published this information. Clearly, the gun owners knew (or should have known) their information was a matter of public record. But should it have been used in this fashion — or at all? Their personal information was always a FOIA request away, but does that grant a press entity the right to tie this info into an agenda-loaded piece?

The answer, of course, is that the Journal News had the right to use it in this fashion, thanks to the information being of public record and the First Amendment. The paper has received tons of criticism for this piece, and rightfully so, but that’s how free speech works. The response, an info dump on anyone involved with the Journal News, spearheaded by former lawyer Christopher Fountain, is also how free speech works.

Again, publicly available information was used to compile addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, Twitter/Facebook accounts, of Journal News employees, as well as various Gannett executives. Techcrunch refers to it as a “transparency arms race,” granting the argument a bit of nobility it certainly hasn’t earned. It’s simply ugly eye-for-an-eye tactics that result in nothing more than each side of the issue becoming more firmly entrenched.

Both info dumps will have their consequences, in some form of harassment, most likely. Fountain’s info dump more clearly paints the Journal News staff as villains, with the original piece leaving that on a more implicit level. Neither group involved has any true expectation of privacy, but both have claimed “victim” status. A followup post at the Journal News mentions that it has received threats along with the normal complaints, but that’s something it clearly should have expected when it published a map that singled out gun owners for legal activity. (It should also be noted that the headline writers threw some slant into this post as well. The first headline, appearing at 8:39pm on Dec. 25th read “The Journal News/Lohud.com assailed for publishing map of permit holders.” The newer headline, published 10:53pm, reads “Journal News’ gun-owner database draws criticism.”)

Fountain’s response, while troubling in its own way, should also have been expected. Many people still labor under the illusion that their private lives are their own, while leaving so much exposed publicly via social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as by any number of government services. Failing that, there’s always the phone book, which still publishes names and addresses of a majority of US citizens — a service that is considered default unless the individual makes the effort to opt out.

The protections granted by the First Amendment will continue to generate ugliness that’s often hard to defend. In this case, it opens a lot of people up to harassment and possible danger. People may decry “irresponsible” journalism, but if the First Amendment is to remain intact, that’s going to remain a constant. The solution is always more speech, which can take many forms, many of them just as ugly as the original bit of controversial speech.

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Comments on “More Post-Newtown Fallout: Gun Owners Vs. Journalists In New York”

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115 Comments
The Mighty Buzzardsays:

Re: Re:

I enjoy the parity. Group A calls for restrictions of the 2nd. Group B calls for restrictions on the 1st. Equal stupidity under the law.

And no, free speech is not more important than the right to bear arms. The 2nd exists so that the people will always have recourse if the government decides to shit on our other rights. It’s not apples to apples, it’s apples to apple cart.

Before you go thinking I’m some nutjob, consider that when penning the amendments they’d just finished using privately owned firearms to overthrow an oppressive government. I’m fairly certain they meant for the people to keep that ability.

Andrew Nortonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Aww bless, you think it’s still the late 18th century…

“consider that when penning the amendments they’d just finished using privately owned firearms to overthrow an oppressive government. I’m fairly certain they meant for the people to keep that ability.”

Yeah, The difference then between the army, and an armed civilian was one had a silly hat, a bright uniform, and could march in step. The weapons and tools for both were the same.

Want to see an example of how that’s changed? See Afghanistan. They had an armed invasion of a PORTION of the US Military. The afghan civilians were also better armed, had much more practice using them, AND had ‘home field advantage’. They still lost.
Fact is, for every civilian AR15, there’s a better military one. You’ve got Billy-joe JimBob’s pickup, they have a Bradley or a Stryker. You have a crop-duster, they have UAV’s, F18/F15 and Apache’s.

The point is technology has moved on to the point that a ‘citizen’ has no ability to stand against an army on his own, not with his own resources. But there’s a solution – it’s what the 2nd amendmentw as actually about, a militia. We have one, it’s called THE NATIONAL GUARD.

But otherwise, the 2nd amendment is as outdated and unfit for purpose as the 3rd is.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

They have IEDs though, that inflict a lot of damage.

Even a Bradley can’t take a shaped charge IED in the face.

And it is easy to make, just put a metal cone inside a canister full of explosive and it will spill a superhot metal shower that will cut through armor like butter.

You don’t need to own a gun if you have the knowledge to produce your own.

Also even the US army understood that they couldn’t control the population and exert control over it if they don’t wanted it to happen that is what the “hearts and minds” approach is for, large parts of Afghanistan are actually not in control of the US army or the Afghan Army, that war is ongoing, they have to defeat the ideology to be victorious.

Bergmansays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

There was a technical term for a lone citizen who stood in front of an army with his musket and denied them passage in the days when the 2nd amendment was penned: Dead.

The bombs now are bigger, but bombs had been big enough to kill any dozen infantrymen for centuries when the 2nd amendment was written. The guns shoot faster now, but they had had primitive machine guns for over a century at the time the 2nd was written. They even had armed submarines back in the days of the American Revolution.

And yet, they wrote into the fundamental charter of the nation that citizens must not be disarmed, for the security of the nation.

The National Guard is not the active militia, it’s an illegal organization that would be disbanded if it ever went unfunded. The militia does not have that liability.

greenbirdsays:

Re: Re: Re: Happened numerous times in the 20th Century

The point is technology has moved on to the point that a ‘citizen’ has no ability to stand against an army on his own, not with his own resources.

So I guess that explains Vietnam (both French and US intervention) and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. And yes there was some minor help from outside sources in both those cases but in neither case was it decisive. The reason US is not getting its ass whipped in Afghanistan right now has far more to do with a major effort not to fight the average citizen then any technological superiority over those average citizens.

ldnesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

1) to begin with, the national guard is not the militia. The militia, as defined by the militia act of 1903, is all able bodied male citizens between the ages of 17 and 45.
2) The US military is ~3,000,000 soldiers, there are ~75,000,000 gun owners in the US. You also simply assume that most of the military will blindly attack their own people just because some politician says so.
3) Most gun enthusiasts actually shoot better than the typical soldier or cop, There are only about 200,000 US troops that shoot regularly, as most MOS’s only require qualification once a year and not constant practice. The police are generally trained to keep their guns in their holsters and qualify once a year at ~25 feet shooting a target big enough to throw the gun at it and get a good score.
4) Afghanistan has a population smaller than California, once you get outside of the handful of population centers all bets are off, that’s why they’re still having occasional attacks (which would be worse if most of them weren’t simply waiting out the US and the UN until the pullout is completed)
5) One more thing, the typical colonist from Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Kentucky were better armed and skilled than the typical infantryman of the period, being armed with rifles accurate to a hundred yards against muskets that weren’t accurate at twenty. It’s much the same today, the M-16 is great gun, but it is no better at actually hitting targets than any other good .223 is and automatic or burst fire has limited applications, especially in urban environments with lots of civilians, and there are lots of former military amongst the civilian population with the same training as the troops. It’s the same with all of your talk of gunships and such, they have limited value in many situations outside of causing fear and mass destruction of property and citizens and mass destruction is a no-no in an environment that you want to rule.

Jessesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“A followup post at the Journal News mentions that it has received threats along with the normal complaints, but that’s something it clearly should have expected when it published a map that singled out gun owners for legal activity.”

I think a large piece is being missed here…

Gun owners make threats, breaking the law, to an organization that did not break the law. Does that not solidify the original point that there are people who should not be owning guns who do? And the fact that you say it “should be expected,” that we should expect threats from some subset of gun owners, only further makes that point.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Does that not solidify the original point that there are people who should not be owning guns who do? And the fact that you say it “should be expected,” that we should expect threats from some subset of gun owners, only further makes that point.

Your comment just made me think of something. The gun advocates have gone on record saying that they want lots of people to have guns. And gun owners will often tell you about their guns.

But what they didn’t like in this instance is that someone else told the world about their guns (which many of them want everyone to have anyway). So they want to think they are in control of this information, when in reality they aren’t in control of most information about themselves because companies are collecting vast amounts of it and compiling profiles on them.

So my concern is with people who think guns give them control over the world, when those gyns probably don’t and might become an endangerment in the hands of some people.

Tex Arcanasays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

How do you know they were all gun owners? Maybe non-gun-owning gun advocates were part of that crowd.

How would you like it that organization published a list of everything expensive owned by people in your neighborhood, including you?? And maybe the contents of your bank account? Or the fact that you like to wear women’s lingerie and smear honey all over yourself with a concrete vibrator shoved up your ass?

Where does the “privacy” line get drawn?

I’m a gun owner; and you’ll play hell finding out who I am. I don’t brag about it, I don’t save my guns in the air. I take care of them, I occasionally shoot them for practice; and the rest of the time they stay locked up and safe.

So someone publishing my gun ownership info is a violation of my privacy, which is against the law.

Do you want me outing your sexual perversities is a violation of your privacy, too–right?

Where does it stop?

The journal overstepped their bounds. Death threats are going too far… but a class-action lawsuit is a perfectly acceptable response. And I hope they get sued into oblivion.

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Where does the “privacy” line get drawn?

Good question. I think the tech/marketing folks like to blame government so people won’t notice how much private companies are compiling on people — most of it easily obtainable if you search for it or pay for it. Marketers are collecting as much info about you as they possibly can so they know who you are, where you go (and where you are at any given moment), what you spend, where you live, what you own, who your friends and family are, etc.

Jim Weaversays:

Re: Response to: Zakida Paul on Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

The main reason Pierce Morgan is being assailed as you call it. Is being
1. being closed minded to only his opinion and not considering anyone else’s without trying to prove he is right by name calling on air. oh except to Jesse Ventura because Jesse would of dropped him like a bad habit.

2.he got kicked out of England for being a moron and thinks he’s going to pull an attitude here where we should deport the useless sack of monkey dung that he is.

Need I even say more!

Anonymoussays:

“On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other”
– Steward Brand

That is the whole ideological statement of people fighting for freedom of speach and a good part of the background for, among other things this blog. You can find informations on Norbert Wiener, Michael Polanyi and Albert Plant + some other very interesting information from the Wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_wants_to_be_free

Anonymoussays:

A few things

“Many people still labor under the illusion that their private lives are their own, while leaving so much exposed publicly via social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as by any number of government services.”

Please don’t argue that having a Facebook account means that we aren’t entitled to any privacy. We can at least opt out of Facebook, and its privacy policies do draw criticism already. Even the phone book WILL let you opt out. The people in question HERE could not opt out of having their information published unless they wanted to forgo owning a gun legally. That IS different.

“The solution is always more speech,”

Not always. Often. Perhaps in this case the solution could be to not make the information publicly available.

“The answer, of course, is that the New Journal had the right to use it in this fashion, thanks to the information being of public record and the First Amendment. “

Seems to me that they did have the right. But now you know why the NRA opposes gun registration… if the government didn’t collect the data, it wouldn’t have been available for the paper to publish.

“The question arises as to whether the Journal News should have published this information.”

And the answer is NO. So you find out who has gun permits. What good does that do you? Are you going to avoid all contact with those people?

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: A few things

And the answer is NO. So you find out who has gun permits. What good does that do you? Are you going to avoid all contact with those people?

Only directly actionable information should be published? I disagree with that notion.

Besides, this information is directly actionable. If you are of the sort who are nervous about gun owners (a rather large group), this could be useful. It could inform you as to what neighborhoods you may or may not want to live in, for example.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: A few things

“It could inform you as to what neighborhoods you may or may not want to live in, for example.”

That does sound useful (although crime statistics might be a better indicator.) If they limited this to neighborhoods instead of names and addresses, I would not be objecting. You can find out how a particular ward in your city voted, but you can’t find out how a particular person voted. Small town papers post ambulance runs, but they only publish the block the ambulance went to and whether a transport was made, not the name and address of the person needing hospitalization.

“Only directly actionable information should be published? I disagree with that notion.”

Yeah, I generally am in favor of disclosure. But in the case of information about particular people (rather than aggregate data) there should be a public interest that is served. I don’t see enough public interest in publishing the individual names to override the concerns.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A few things

Also I wonder how many police reports there are about people killing or wounding their neighbors because of domestic disputes.

I just read about a 72 years old that shot his 52 years old neighbor in the face for yelling at his barking dogs.

Wich reminds me of 2 points that a) guns allow anyone to become a threat to others no matter your state of mind or physical condition, its an equalizer that comes with bad and good points b) it could be a factor in the increase of fatal disagreements by non-criminals.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: A few things

As soon as something has been published on facebook it IS public information as it stands today. You cannot remove the memory of the internet. It doesn’t republish every year and it doesn’t remove the transformative information. See the google autocomplete debacles.

When it comes to information it is important to control the story in the right direction. In this case, this article is in itself speech and though critical of the result of this map, it is important that telling what is wrong with publishing the map is actually speech.
Had the map been removed, we would have had a lot of reproductions floating around on the internet uncontested. Critique is speech and since something cannot be unsaid, the way to control the damage is through dementing your former statement. Therefore the solution is more speech. You might be right about some analogue paper information sharing being a good part of a solution, but a dementation is just often better since people will find out eventually through word of mouth and the myths that arise.

As for the rest, it is a valid discussion point. I dont know enough about the reasoning for making gun permits public data so I cannot give an informed response.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: A few things

Quote:

So you find out who has gun permits. What good does that do you? Are you going to avoid all contact with those people?

Nope I may however if faced with the prospect of firing someone be more inclined to call armed security to the room.

Quote:

Not always. Often. Perhaps in this case the solution could be to not make the information publicly available.

Well now you understand the importance to defend the rights of minorities since you right now are the minority most people don’t care if gun owners have their information splashed all over the internet, just like most people don’t care about ex-pedophilies, ex-robbers or anything like that, you see those criminals are the backdoors that were used to create those databases and justify their existence to others in the first place, we all want to know about the bad guys right? bad we don’t expect those same tools to be used against us and that is were everybody gets the shaft.

Those databases already exist and they have many, many useful applications, nobody is going to give up on them now even if it means harm can and will eventually come from those, since they can be used for a lot of things.

Besides things are getting easier everyday, there are other ways to collect and record that data, like getting hold of gun membership clubs, gun stores clients lists, police reports and more, even Facebook where children keep saying “my father owns a gun”

Debating about if public available data should be published or not is a waste of time, move on and get over it.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: A few things

You seem to be arguing about a slippery slope. I really don’t think slippery slope is always a fallacy, but I don’t see why we can’t draw a line at criminal behavior.

“Well now you understand the importance to defend the rights of minorities since you right now are the minority”

I am? Which minority would that be? Did I say I had a gun permit?

“Besides things are getting easier everyday, there are other ways to collect and record that data, like getting hold of gun membership clubs, gun stores clients lists, police reports and more, even Facebook where children keep saying ‘my father owns a gun'”

Most of those lists are rather hard for an average person to find or easy to stay off of. Before joining a gun club you can ask whether they publish their membership list. Do most gun stores publish their client list? You won’t be in a police report as a gun owner very often (I hope). Facebook? I don’t see why a kid would randomly post that on their wall, and if they did post they’d likely only post it to their friends, and even then it could be a lie for all anyone else knows.

“Debating about if public available data should be published or not is a waste of time, move on and get over it.”

Debating journalism is pointless? What about debating whether it should be publicly available in the first place?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A few things

Quote:

Debating journalism is pointless? What about debating whether it should be publicly available in the first place?

Also pointless, databases are important for a lot of reasons, and they will be there in some form, also important is that it be transparent so you don’t have secret lists which encourage corruption.

Further your fear of them is secondary, you are not worried what they can do, databases by themselves do nothing, people with bad intentions do.

So the real problem is reducing the bad behavior not guns or databases, we do have an enemy and he resides inside us all.

I can build a bomb and blow you up, with only a PVC pipe, powder(or sugar) and anything I can use as sharpnel wrapped around it, I can make poisons and target you, I can make a crude gun out of metal pipe, now what is the only thing stopping me from doing all those things?

The only thing that stops me from harming others is me, all those people that lost it and try to get back at others are the ones who lost the inner battle with their own little demons and will cause harm to others if they can get away with it or they get fed up and in a world where we don’t teach people or encourage people to have patience school shootings will always happen, gang rapes will always happen, people blowing themselves up will always happen, violent crimes will always happen, if we ever want it to be reduced it starts with ourselves.

Is not the database that people are afraid is how it will be used by some idiot that doesn’t care or deliberately wants to harm others, is not guns that are killing others is we killing each others, is not monsters gang rapping others is we who allow that to happen by not having social rules to not encourage that kind of behavior.

We raise monsters, we create the fear and we don’t even know how to fix it.

This is why is pointless to debate databases or gun control, because determined people can always find a way around any measures.

The US has probably very good controls in place with a security apparatus that is starting to resemble Big Brother and still people find ways to kill each other, where in other countries that don’t have those same resources violent crimes or abuse of power is not even an issue.

Your are not afraid of data are you?
You are really afraid of others and there are no laws or controls that can stop others from hurting you if they want to.

btr1701says:

Re: Re: A few things

We can at least opt out of Facebook

It’s getting to the point where even that might not be practical. There are a couple of police departments in my area that not only ask potential recruits to log in to their Facebook and allow them to peruse their personal page, but if an applicant doesn’t have a Facebook account at all, they look at that as abnormal behavior and assume it means he’s trying to hide something; that he either deleted his account or never signed up for one precisely because he didn’t want potential employers seeing the things that would be on it.

Chronno S. Triggersays:

A different take

I’d be pissed if someone posted my information in an article like that. Not because of a violation of privacy, but because it’s defamation. Basically that article is saying that anyone with a gun permit (not necessarily a gun) is a threat to you and your family.

As you pointed out, it’s an article intended to scare people, to make them think that their neighbors are dangerous. It makes no distinction if the dot is a cop or a military person. It doesn’t say if they went threw full training or just enough to get the permit. It doesn’t say if they are hunters or just those looking to defend themselves. As Beech points out, it doesn’t even say where the gun violence is. The entire thing is purely for shock value.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: A different take

but because it’s defamation.

I think that’s almost as hyperbolic as the article itself is. It’s not defamation, just unflattering.

Lots of people do consider gun owners to be a risk, regardless of training or the reason for gun ownership. It’s a notion I’m not fully on board with, but I find it hard to argue against it anyway. The presence of guns does present an increased risk, but that increase can be pretty small.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A different take

No. The clear intent is defamatory. The clear intent is “fear your neighbor”.

But those who advocate that everyone have a gun want the same thing. They want us to think, “I better watch out because everyone around me has a gun.” It’s their assumption that if everyone has a gun, no one will get out of line (I don’t necessarily agree with that, though, since a lot of these mass murderers kill themselves anyway).

The push is to have everyone armed, so what difference does it make to let the world know who already have guns? Seems like many of them are proud gun owners and will tell you so. I’ve certainly heard from Facebook friends who tell me about their guns.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: A different take

I agree. it may be legal but it certainly is douchey

I thought I’ve read about radio and television studios getting into trouble for giving out phone numbers over the air due to the person receiving harassing phone calls. is this much different? could the journal news be in trouble if it was proved this information was used to commit a crime?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: A different take

…or be aware that all the surrounding neighbors own guns and are more likely to come aid in an emergency.

…or target that house because they need to sell some guns.

In my personal experience I saw the husband of a friend get shot and almost killed because the guys target his home specifically because they knew it had guns, I also saw people get robbed because the criminals surveiled the house and knew when the owner was not at home.

Is there an statistical map showing success rates for robberies and crimes in different regions?

Now that would be more useful, to a criminal.

Andrew Nortonsays:

Re: Re: A different take

” but because it’s defamation. Basically that article is saying that anyone with a gun permit (not necessarily a gun) is a threat to you and your family.”

They are.
Someone who feels they need a gun to ‘feel safe’, is a coward. I have a problem with cowards having weapons. They tend to get afraid easily, and that leads to issues.
Someone who likes to go hunting, is a bit of a sadist. They have no NEED to hunt, they just find killing enjoyable. That’s not a stable individual there.

I did some part-time gun-smithing when I was younger, but I got rid of all my guns ~15 years ago. Because I GREW UP. I don’t have any, don’t need any, and don’t want any. I’m no coward, that needs to huddle up with my blued-steel security blanket like Linus “dirty Harry” Von Pelt

Chronno S. Triggersays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: A different take

I hope you’re a vegetarian. You don’t NEED to eat meet to live. Those who do eat meet just find the taste of death enjoyable. That’s not a stable individual there.

You see what I did there? I made an ignorant argument and used it to insult you. Ignorance and insults don’t make good arguments.

People who own guns aren’t all cowards or sadists, just like me carrying a pocket knife doesn’t make me a 1950’s gang member. What you carry says vary little about who you are. However, how you generalize other people does say a lot about who you are.

Mark Rosenausays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: A different take

Someone who likes to go hunting, is a bit of a sadist. They have no NEED to hunt, they just find killing enjoyable.

So you’re a vegan who uses no animal products including leather?

If not, then the difference between you and a hunter is you prefer to have someone else do your killing for you.

I’m not a big fan of hunting. What most hunters call “hunting” is more akin to “ranching.” But killing your own food is not sadistic. It being realistic and accepting of the reality of eating meat and using animal products.

kenichi tanakasays:

While The Journal News had a first amendment right to request that information, should they have published it, knowing full well what consequences would arise from this information? While asking for that info was within their right, the Journal News may have deliberately created a dangerous situation that is going to create problems for law enforcement.

The Journal news clearly crossed an ethical line when they published this and now it’s going to turn into a situation where criminals are going to converge on every one of these homes, breaking into their homes looking for these weapons.

Also, there might also be some privacy violations with the media posting the private information of Americans who own weapons.

Nathan Fsays:

So all of you who are complaining that The Journal News shouldn’t have published this information and because it could cause issues.. why weren’t you speaking up when they started compiling sex offender lists and publishing those and releasing smartphone apps to show who is on the list in the area you are in at that moment?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not if you exceed your constitutional right and start to rob people, harass, threaten, kill or wound others with it.

Should we create a gun-offender list?

Any person who ever was jailed for something involving a gun should be listed?

Maybe that is not a bad idea, it would provide a list of people who had issues before and they wouldn’t be able to claim innocence.

Also I bet that is how all manner of databases start, they all are about how bad some are inside society and then get expanded to include other things, eventually everything related to something gets cataloged, recorded and archived somewhere.

Lawrence D'Oliveirosays:

The Word Is Mightier Than The Bullet

This is one propaganda war that the pro-gun faction has absolutely no hope of winning. As the old saying went, ?the pen is mightier than the sword?. Their opponents are unarmed, and specifically make a point of not taking up arms to shore up their argument, relying purely on persuasion. All the NRA side has to do is fire one shot (which, after all, is the right they keep insisting on), and that?s the end of whatever is left of the crumbling shreds of their credibility.

The Real Michaelsays:

Re: Re: The Word Is Mightier Than The Bullet

“Their opponents are unarmed, and specifically make a point of not taking up arms to shore up their argument, relying purely on persuasion.”

There are plenty of gun control advocates, be it politicians, reporters and otherwise, who either own firearms or have armed security. It’s not as black and white as you’ve been led to believe.

“All the NRA side has to do is fire one shot (which, after all, is the right they keep insisting on), and that?s the end of whatever is left of the crumbling shreds of their credibility.”

I love how you lump all gun owners in with the NRA. Did it ever occur to you that millions of gun owners have them for self-protection? It’s very telling that there aren’t shooting sprees every day. Most shootings involve illegal guns on the street, usually on account of gang warfare or other criminal elements, such as drug dealers/addicts.

You cannot demonize the pro-gun crowd without equally demonizing our forefathers as it was their intention to arm the citizens (to protect against tyrannical government and foreign aggressors). So long as the citizenry remains armed, they will never become slaves.

Lawrence D'Oliveirosays:

Re: Re: Re: Did it ever occur to you that millions of gun owners have them for self-protection?

I have frequently heard that excuse, yes. Except the research shows you are far more likely to cause an accidental injury or death from a firearm purchased ?for self-protection?, than you are to successfully protect anyone.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did it ever occur to you that millions of gun owners have them for self-protection?

Do the research also delves into the motivation for killing others?

Accidents happen and it could increase somewhat accidental deaths sure, but what is motivating 16 thousands homicides in the US?

Is not guns doing that is it?

More likely is cultural, maybe is even something that we believe is good like “punishing the bad people” mentality that drives all sorts of bad inside our communities, because every crazy person have someone “to punish”, so you add guns and is just a matter of sitting back and enjoying the bloodshed.

Anybody who did you wrong should be PUNISHED, PUNISHMENT is good, PUNISHMENT is the only way, maybe that is a bigger problem than guns will ever be, there is a motivation behind all these killing happening and it happens more in the US than in any other country why?

16 thousand people got murdered in the US in 2012 that is about 600 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings every year, this is not guns alone, people are killing each other like they kill flies, they have a drive, a motivation.

I wanna bet with you that most of the wackos out there do it because of a perceived wrong committed against them so they had to PUNISH those that did them wrong.

What do you believe it is that drives people to kill each other?

MikeCsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Did it ever occur to you that millions of gun owners have them for self-protection?

Actually the government/modern society and it’s inane policies, with increasing restrictions are the #1 cause of murder in the USA.

Drug related homicide (65k in Mexico also) … we attempt to ban drugs instead of regulating them, create a black market that people make billions of dollars off of. That is why they are not legalized, billions of dollars in profits that find their way into political coffers. Didn’t learn anything from Prohibition.

Economic policy that drive people into poverty and promote off-shore investment creating a cultural rich-poor divide that grows greater every day. This causes violence on a massive scale, some of which is homicidal.

Cultural policies that promote continued poverty and squalor all around the world. Though the USA is only 3.9 per homicides per 100K. Just over twice that of Europe as a whole.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Then we have 300 million plus people with over 50% living within 50 miles of the ocean coasts. Large population density in 17% of the land. Bound to cause more strife when you look at the poverty we promote.

And then with all that the first thing we cut is personal support services nationwide to make it impossible for someone with issues to seek help or we go so far as to ostracize them on a daily basis.

Every ask your self why we had school shootings back into the 1800’s but they intensified after the late 80’s (think about the changes that started then – tv/movies, video games, social correctness, schools can’t discipline, etc).

The first generations of kids from the 60’s generation of parents – so called GEN-X raised with all that don’t spank, negotiate, conflict resolution, no social taboo’s. Now you have generation after that, getting worse.

It’s time to get back to the world of “you just don’t do that” parenting.

Just the real facts – gun laws won’t fix the problem, it doesn’t even really treat the symptom.

Mike

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Did it ever occur to you that millions of gun owners have them for self-protection?

No entirely correct, other countries have the same types of governments or even worse but people don’t chose to kill each other more often why?

The Japanese government is just as incompetent as the American one if not more so, the homicide rate there is 0.002 South Korea has the same government failings as the US and even more ridiculous policies and still the homicide rate is 0.006 or something, India have some of the highest rates of poverty in the world with a proved track of government incompetency but their homicide numbers although high are still lower than the US.

Poor countries have in general high rates of criminality and thus have high rates of homicides, the US doesn’t have high rates of poverty, what is considered poverty in the US is the middle class in other countries and still Americans chose to kill each other despite not enduring the same hardships as in other countries if Americans were to be put in India and live under Indian standards of living they probably start a massacre.

But I agree gun laws will not fix the problem because the problem is not institutional, it is not economic, the real problem is cultural.

The Real Michaelsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did it ever occur to you that millions of gun owners have them for self-protection?

“I have frequently heard that excuse, yes. Except the research shows you are far more likely to cause an accidental injury or death from a firearm purchased ?for self-protection?, than you are to successfully protect anyone.”

Let’s shift to another inanimate object: motor vehicles. People get “accidentally” killed in automobile accidents all the time. Should we not blame the car manufacturers for this and ban cars? After all, We, the American people, need to be babied by a nanny government which presumes it can unilaterally make our decisions for us, including cherry-picking which Amendments of the Constitution should apply to us.

There’s this bitter irony in that while the liberal, pro-choice crowd are trying to cripple and destroy the 2nd Amendment through onerous restrictions, the DHS just recently ordered 1.6 billion rounds of ammo, $400,000-worth of radiation pills and thousands of bullet-proof roadside checkpoints.

Lawrence D'Oliveirosays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Let's shift to another inanimate object: motor vehicles.

Ah, the old motor-vehicles-are-just-like-guns red herring.

Guns are designed for one purpose, and one purpose only: to blow holes in things. I can?t use them to go to the shops, or pick my kids up from school, or cruise the streets picking up chicks. In short, vehicles have a constructive purpose and contribution to the economy and our well-being, whereas the purpose of weapons is purely destructive.

It?s really peculiar, on a blog that prides itself on meticulous attention to the facts when it comes to the harms caused by copyrights and patents, to find a massive blind spot when you try to point out the harms caused by guns. Instead of copyright maximalism, here we find a hotbed of gun maximalism.

loaderboysays:

Fortunately,

I live in a state that was smart enough to make sure that the fact that I have a concealed weapons permit is NOT a matter of public record.
All gun purchases that are recorded with the state are private and can only be accessed by law enforcement as part of a criminal investigation.
What I would like to see is a map of all the mass murderers who had a current CCP.

twobuck40says:

All other ‘rights’ are protected by the 2nd Amendment.
If the 2nd got the same protections as the 1st we’d have better/larger weapons.
Ask the people at Tiananmen Square how yelling at the tanks and soldiers went…

Were headed that way if you keep voting for the gun grabbers, but at least some of us are armed to protect the rest of you and your rights.

PS – Never register ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT TAKEN AWAY! Aren’t we all glad you don’t have to register your ‘free speech’

Andrew Nortonsays:

Re: Re:

Ask the people in Kabul how well assault weapons stood up to the US army. Oh wait, they didn’t.

This isn’t the 18th century, maybe learn a few things about the way things are now, and let your aggression go. Of course, we can’t do much about your ‘hero complex’ (always wanting to be the one to ‘save the day’) but the fact that you’ve as much chance of winning the lottery as being an armed bystander to an event and doing some good might be something you should look into.

MikeCsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually we lost in Afghanistan to bunch of primitive herdsman with AK47’s, just like the Russians and the British before us. I hate to mess up your misguided faith, but the taliban is still there and we are leaving … sounds like a loss to me.

You should study your current events more, now that we are leaving even though there are numerous areas of the country we have never controlled. Sure we did some good, but we didn’t win, not even close.

Best we can seem to do is kill randomly with drone strikes.

Signed:

Mike – who doesn’t own an assault weapon by the knee jerk observation of people with an anti-gun agenda. But I do own 2 clip fed semi-automatic hunting rifles (just like assault weapons but with sporting stock configurations so they don’t seem to cause the visceral reactions of the ignorant anti-gun zombies. However they work just like the weapons that cause them grief).

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Exactly, the whole point of a gorilla warfare campaign is to draw out the fight, and make it as costly as possible for the large, invading army, so they eventually give up and go home.

Another example of a small, technologically inferior group of people fighting off a technologically superior invading army with gorilla warfare is the Vietnam war. The US didn’t exactly win that either.

Or the Revolutionary war.

Superior technology alone has never been an instant iwin button for warfare. But leaving a group of people with absolutely no technology at all to defend themselves with certainly is.

Vladimir Lenin – “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”

MikeCsays:

Getting Useful info

Not only would it be very interesting to cross reference crime rates in the areas with highest gun ownership, I bet if they cross-reference crimes committed with firearms that are registered, we would know if the saying only criminals will have guns if guns are outlawed, holds water.

I am personally thinking it’s a lot easier to buy an unregistered gun on the street than try to steal one where someone might shoot you with the very weapon you are trying to steal. But I can’t prove that.

I have never seen such a study though. If these weapons are dangerous, this kind of cross study would show it. Since it hasn’t come out I am betting someone has done it but it didn’t show what they wanted so it never saw the light of day.

Mike – no I don’t own an handgun, just long guns and I am not an NRA member – but I don’t trust the government either.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Getting Useful info

“Not only would it be very interesting to cross reference crime rates in the areas with highest gun ownership”

I’m pretty sure the high crime areas will have high gun ownership, but that’s partially because the people feel unsafe due to the high crime. (There will also be partially abandoned areas with high crime and low gun ownership because not many live there anymore, and/or high crime industrial areas where people don’t actually reside.)

“I am personally thinking it’s a lot easier to buy an unregistered gun on the street than try to steal one where someone might shoot you with the very weapon you are trying to steal. But I can’t prove that. “

Well, for most criminals yes that is easier, but where do you think that person on the street got those “unregistered” guns? Perhaps he stole them? That’s probably easier at this point in time than smuggling them into the country or illegally manufacturing them.

MikeCsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Getting Useful info

Have you ever seen a study showing the incidence of crimes committed with registered weapons… without such data, there is cause-effect relationship.

Just like another study pointed out that listed blue vs red state per capita firearms fatalities, with out listing off actual numbers — ie if NYC had a lower per capita rate of gun crimes – that is non-relevant without looking at population statistics, total events, etc… figures never lie but all liars can figure.

kenichi tanakasays:

This report did nothing more than turn gun owners into registered sex offenders. I imagine that whoever was responsible for releasing this information will not only find themselves unemployed but that the newspaper itself is going to be a lot of trouble because I suspect that there’s going to be a massive class-action lawsuit filed against the agency who released the names and addresses of these gun owners as well as against the newspaper itself for releasing this information.

The FOIA request should never have included the names and addresses of specific fun owners. It should have only contained a general area of where those gun owners are.

kenichi tanakasays:

Oh, you guys are going to love this. A blogger has finally hit back against “The Journal News” over their gun map. On Monday, Christopher Fountain began publishing the names, addresses and contact information of the newspaper’s publisher and editor, and staff members who worked on the gun owners’ map. Readers came up with information for other staff members, and Fountain listed those employees as well.

Speaking on CNN Thursday. “Somehow, [The Journal News was] conflating legal gun owners with some crazed, tormented devil up in Newtown and putting the two together,” he alleged. “And I was offended by that and I wondered how they’d like it if their addresses were published.”

It gets worse, the paper could be in very deep water since some of the residents listed on the map were under protective order by courts because these were women who were abused who went through the courts to get justice. Now, they’re afraid that someone might find them on this map:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/blogger-journal-news-addresses-gun-owners_n_2369750.html

DCX2says:

Doesn't anyone else see a difference?

So I read the article and it seems to me that Mr. Cushing is hyperventilating here. There is far more FUD on this page than the article itself, which quotes multiple pro-gun stances making quite reasonable points. The true tone of the article is that there are many people without guns who assume no one else has guns. For those people who never see firearms, they may be completely unaware of the fact that they are actually surrounded by guns, and some people will find that fact disconcerting.

But beyond that fear mongering, can’t anyone see the difference between a Google map with thousands of dots that have only names and addresses as you click each one, and a web page that lists six specific people, with their address, picture, telephone number, and a link to Zillow? The former is typically used by address, while the latter is used by name. While I think listing addresses alone would have been enough to make their point, there is a huge difference because the Google map is general and the dox is specific (and the Google map didn’t include any phone numbers)

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Shooters you mean.

March 25, 2006 – Seattle, Washington, United States – Capitol Hill massacre

April 16, 2007 – Blacksburg, Virginia, United States – Virginia Tech Massacre

November 5, 2009 – Ft. Hood, Texas, United States – Fort Hood Massacre
(Fort Hood shooting)

January 8, 2011 – Tucson, Arizona, United States – 2011 Tucson supermarket massacre

July 20, 2012 – Aurora, Colorado, United States – Colorado Movie Theater Massacre
(2012 Aurora shooting)

December 14, 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, United States – Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

Is probably cool to be a crazy shooter in the US by the looks of it.

Quote:

And the murder figures themselves are astounding for Brits used to around 550 murders per year. In 2011 – the latest year for which detailed statistics are available – there were 12,664 murders in the US. Of those, 8,583 were caused by firearms.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state

12 Thousand murders in a year, not even India with more than a billion people have that many murders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate (ignore the title and see the links to violent crime statistics around the world)

American society is a failed society.

Those stats look like the stats for a failed country or warzone.

The shooter pulled the trigger sure, but he is not alone, something inside American society encourages people to kill others more than in any other country, the US is the only developed country with statistics like that, nowhere else in the “civilized” world people see those numbers, so forgive me if I don’t take your word for it, that this is a only a problematic individual it looks more like a failed social structure to me.

MikeCsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe we ought try to fix doctors first???

“Preventable medical mistakes and infections are responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation. “

8583 vs 200K — more likely to die going to the hospital vs having a gun ….

Just also noting your numbers if didn’t have a single gun related murder, still have 8 times more murders than UK.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe we ought try to fix doctors first???

It didn’t have a single number for gun related because I am not talking about guns, I am talking about murders, the intent to kill, the intent to do harm to others not accidents or unintentional acts.

More than 10 thousand people each and every year in recent times are purposefully expired by someone else, this is not a mistake, this is not an accident, this are people who choose to harm others, some for greed and some for revenge/punishment, You can find these kind of stats only in failing states, with failing social structures or warzones, not in a healthy social structure.

The number of accident fatalities is irrelevant to that discussion, I am not talking about dumb behavior leading to accidental deaths, or incompetence, the talk is about intent to do harm others.

The U.S. is safe as African nations and warzones any disputes in the US are more likely to result in death.

This is not an institutional problem, this is not a law problem, this is not an economic problem, this is a cultural problem.

People chose to harm others, and they have to justify that somehow. Apparently that is easy in the US more than in other countries with the same level of development.

Economically the US is first class, emotionally Americans are third class.

Gene Cavanaughsays:

First Amendment - unless you don't like the message

I think the public deserves to know what is going on around them, and I applaud the paper for printing it.
Yes, I realize people will pick on them; if they don’t like the message, or think the people they relate to don’t, they will (obviously) state the paper should/shouldn’t have done X, and it was snide to do/not do Y, etc.
COMPLETE disclosure – as Thomas Jefferson said “democracy depends on an informed electorate” (something like that).

No secrets anymore

Ultimately technology is going to figure out who has what and who does what. So whether or not a newspaper publishes this info, it will be available anyway.

Lots of companies are interested in monitoring everyone. There are companies that want to know who has guns and I’m sure they are doing their best to compile whatever data is available and to cross reference that with massive amounts of other data.

Re: Re: No secrets anymore

I wonder how many gun owners see ads for ammunition, shooting ranges, guns, etc., whenever they visit sites on the Internet. Those that do are probably being tracked via ad trackers.

And of course, if they are getting junk mail on those products, they are in someone’s database as possible buyers.

NRA members are, of course, on NRA lists, and the NRA does share those lists with some partners.

If people are going into gun shops, rifle ranges, and gun shows and have their cellphones on them, they may be providing data about where they are, which can generate a profile of their gun usage/interests.

Tex Arcanasays:

Re: Re: No secrets anymore

Of course they are… If they have their druthers, your employer will monitor every word you say, and “have a word with you” if they don’t like what you’ve said. And if you surf anything they don’t like?? Well, you could be fired… Or made to do some pretty unsavory things–to “prove” your loyalty to the corporation, of course.

“thoughtcrimes”, anyone?

AJBarnessays:

A Grand Experiment

Given there is much debate about gun control, I propose the following…

Anyone who voted for Obama should turn in their guns immediately. With the 47% of them without arms, we can see if crime rates go up or down. Each person would put a sign in their yard saying “NO GUNS IN THIS HOUSE”. That way, we know that they’ve complied. Also, since they believe raising taxes will solve the economic problems of today, they should also voluntarily submit to a tax hike of 200%. Voluntary contributions are allowed to the IRS. We can see then what effect this will have on the economy.

All in favor???

This is why as guns increase, I'll stay inside

I’ve been around enough hot-headed people in my life that I don’t trust all of them to make wise decisions about when to use or not to use guns. Some of them are easily threatened and will pull out a gun when it isn’t necessary.

As more people carry guns because they feel threatened, I expect to see more use of them.

‘Stand Your Ground’ Linked To Increase In Homicides : NPR: “… based on the available data, it appears that crafters of these laws sought to give good guys more latitude to defend themselves against bad guys. But what Hoekstra’s data suggest is that in real-life conflicts, both sides think of the other guy as the bad guy. Both believe the law gives them the right to shoot.”

Sam Martinsays:

Newspapers have become more dangerous than guns

The First Amendment Rights should be protected as well as the Second Amendment Rights. Problem is more than 70% of all mass media is owned by FOUR PEOPLE, all of whom have their own personal agendas.
Each of these people are politically active. Each has agendas which are blatantly but still clandestinely disguised as “News” in an effort to sway public opinion to meet their own personal goals.
Sheeple who watch the mainstream media actually have no clue what these media moguls are doing to them and to their children. Therefore, you have to ask yourself, “Is the media now more dangerous than guns?” My answer is an unequivocal YES!

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