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Negative consequences of NY newspaper’s bad journalism continue to mount

Negative consequences of NY newspaper’s bad journalism continue to mount

A couple of weeks ago, a New York based newspaper called the Journal News took it upon themselves to aggregate and publish the names and addresses of all legal gun-permit owners in the region.

The backlash was swift, prompting unified outcries for the paper to take down the locations from their online affiliate site, Critics claimed it would enable criminals to more easily identify the which homes to break in to, putting many residents in serious danger

In response to the public reaction, the Journal News not only said that they would not take down the current list, but would seek to add to it.

The Journal News abdicated responsibility for any wrongdoing in their aggregation of personal information, declaring that it was all available through Freedom of Information requests.

In a previous article, we noted that not all professional journalists share the sentiments of the editors at the Journal news:

I am not a big fan of the maps that show sex offenders, but at least there is a logical reason for posting them …. The permit holders are accused of nothing….

I like it when journalists take heat for an explosive, necessary, courageous investigation that exposes important wrongdoing. There is journalistic purpose and careful decision-making supporting those stories. But The News Journal is taking heat for starting a gunfight just because it could.

Additionally, at the time the original publication began receiving national attention, I stated,

They may not have broken any laws in aggregating the personal information of gun permit owners, but the ethical impropriety of doing so is obvious.

The serious consequences of that ethical impropriety are now showing through, and the public outcry is growing louder.

Law enforcement officials from a New York region where a local paper published a map identifying gun owners say prisoners are using the information to intimidate guards.

Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco, who spoke at a news conference flanked by other county officials, said the Journal News’ decision to post an online map of names and addresses of handgun owners Dec. 23 has put law enforcement officers in danger.

“They have inmates coming up to them and telling them exactly where they live. That’s not acceptable to me,” Falco said, according to Newsday.

It’s not just law enforcement officials who are in danger.

Legis. Aron Wieder (D-Spring Valley) called the publication of the list “irresponsible journalism” and said he now fears for his safety because the map broadcast that he does not have a gun license. At the news conference Friday morning, he handed a $150 certified check and a completed pistol permit application to Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato.

“I never owned a gun but now I have no choice,” Wieder said. “I have been exposed as someone that has no gun. And I’ll do anything, anything to protect my family.”

In that last sentence, Wieder perfectly summed up the emotions that prompted such a vociferous backlash from the community.

The Journal News, whether intentional or not, has put peoples’ families in danger. They didn’t break any laws at the time by aggregating people’s personal information, but that may all change soon.

Piperato, who also serves as president to the New York State County Clerks Association, said all 62 counties in the state are supporting the state legislation to amend the law that makes gun permit holder information public.

“I’ve received hundreds of calls these last two weeks from residents in this county, both who have permits and those who do not have permits, who fear for their life,” Piperato said. “My heart goes out to them and I condemn what The Journal News has done.”

Bad journalism, in this instance, may give way to good legislation. But it shouldn’t take a wholesale feeling of helplessness among residents of an entire region of New York to achieve that end.


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They say that the best way to change a bad law is to rigorously enforce it. In this case, the best way to change a bad law is to rigorously take advantage of it.

This will be interesting in future elections: how will people & politicians in NY vote, since they are now having to emotionally deal with the value in owning a gun for personal protection? Will Aron Weieder push to amend the 2nd Amendment?

This may be the best thing the 2nd Amendment had happen for it in a long time.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to radiofreeca. | January 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I agree. The whole thing is turning into a giant silver lining for gun owners, which is exactly what the paper didn’t want.


    The stupidity of liberals is just breath taking. Story doesn’t even mention another important class of citizens exposed by this rag of a newspaper. What about stalking victims who have restraining orders, have moved and gotten gun licenses? The journal just told their stalkers where they are! I wonder if the ACLU will protect the paper when the storm of lawsuits begins.

TrooperJohnSmith | January 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm

If this was a situation where the Left was harmed, Progressives would now be suggesting that this information not be in the public record or arguing that the First Amendment was never meant to apply to the Internet.

Yes, they always try to have it both ways.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | January 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

    The “progressives” are being hurt. The legislator applying for the gun permit is a ‘rat. This is a wake-up call for lefties in considering their own safety.

These freaking moron’s at this newspaper will have blood on their hands if criminals use this info to go after who the “newspaper” exposed. And no doubt the criminals will use the info.

I read that there are abuse victims who have now been exposed, living in fear.

Maybe people who have been exposed can sue that so called “newspaper”. The editor sounds like a perfect lunatic brainless idiot. She obviously does not give a damn about innocents who will be hurt because of her and her stupid “newspaper”.

That Democrat legislator who said he’d do anything to protect his family … I wonder what Bloomie and Cuomo have to say to him. Imagine that. I wonder where he stood on gun control before this. We know where Bloomie is: guns for me but not for thee.

    Ragspierre in reply to Juba Doobai!. | January 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    “…the beginning of wisdom…”

    For each of us, IF it happens, it has to begin somewhere.

    punfundit in reply to Juba Doobai!. | January 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    There’s an old saying that goes something like “a liberal is just a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet.”

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Juba Doobai!. | January 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Oh, he’ll “walk it back” and say he was “misquoted”. Of course, this will be after the ‘Crats provide him with a round-the-clock security detail camped out on his front porch. He’ll proudly proclaim, “Guns? Private citizens don’t need no steeenkin’ guns!”

What I find most amusing, in a rather murthless way is that the hypocrits at this newspaper have hired armed guards to protect the premises. But then, at heart, Liberals are almost always hypocrits. “Freedom of Speech (or any other Constitutional right) for Me, but not for Thee” seems to be their credo.

nordic_prince | January 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Our idiot Attorney General, Lisa Madigan (who, in my opinion, only holds her position because she’s got her daddy’s last name), tried this stunt a couple of years ago by agreeing to release FOID card info to the newspapers; thankfully, the Illinois State Police stood in the gap, refusing to comply, and later legislation was passed to prevent the insanity.

Now, however, the other idiots in state government are pushing hard to pass gun control laws that are so onerous they would have the effect of banning the vast majority of all guns.

Illinois, you put me in a crappy state.

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to nordic_prince. | January 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    We’re broke, but the legislature is concerned about guns and gay marriage. Progressives…sheesh.

    punfundit in reply to nordic_prince. | January 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    The latest version of that is the moment has passed. The momentum is dying. They just put the legislation off.

    The ghouls are probably hoping another mass murder will take place to gin emotional support back up.

      nordic_prince in reply to punfundit. | January 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Given the temerity of our elected officials to ignore the people and do as they damn well please, even if the bill is dead with a stake driven through it and shot with a silver bullet, I still don’t trust ’em that they won’t try to bring it up again and again until they finally twist enough arms to get the thing passed.

      Idiots, every last one of them.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to punfundit. | January 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      The only reason they’re standing down is because the feds have taken over the effort. Feinstein and her crew are on the march.

And yet this information was publicly available. It just took a Freedom of Information Act request. This could have happened at any time. How many other states have made this kind of information “public record”? What other information is considered “public record” throughout our nation’s bureaucracies? Who is in control of our information? How do we know we can trust them?

How many children have to die before we demand our personal information is protected from public exposure? How many women have to be raped? How many minorities have to be attacked or exploited? How many people will needlessly lose their jobs?

9thDistrictNeighbor | January 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

This permit map thing is so insulting. After all someone has to go through to be law-abiding, then to have your privacy invaded further is ridiculous. The process to get a pistol permit is intense bordering on onerous…three ID photos, four character references, proof of a handgun safety course, driver’s license, proof of residence, disposition of any arrests (convicted or not), fingerprints, what you’re going to use it for (if for business, a whole other set of requirements, letter from employer, latest bank statement, etc.), receipts for any handguns you already own. This is not a complete listing! Putnam county’s fee is $91.50, Rockland county is $150 (and it takes about four months to get the permit).

I know quite a few people who live in Westchester. There are some celebrities who have permits, and some people who you don’t want to know who their friends are who have permits….

quiksilverz24 | January 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Isn’t it illegal to shout fire in a crowded theater? I see no difference between that and what this excuse for journalism has done.

Sorry Bryan but I disagree strongly. Making permit information non-public is not a good law. It’s a band aid on a bad law.

A good law would be one eliminating the permit requirement completely. Personally, I think it violates the second amendment anyway. But if the concern is people’s privacy, the government has a terrible track record of protecting it. The nest way is to not gather the info in the first place.

    jasond in reply to irv. | January 6, 2013 at 4:23 am

    Irv, you nailed it. The 2nd amendment is written into the constitution yet to legally carry a concealed handgun in public (most states) requires a permit. That would be like requiring “journalists” to be permitted by the gov’t so elected officials could make illegal any comments they deemed “unhelpful” to their announced goals.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to irv. | January 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Precisely. Thanks for putting it so well.

What would happen if a Freedom of Information request for all of that ‘newspaper”s editorial staff home addresses was submitted then published?

Another question would be, how many of said editorial staff names are found on permit list????

    Lady Penguin in reply to SeniorD. | January 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Actually, the personal information of the newspaper staff was published. Not sure how they figured out all the staff, but likely there was a public listing of the editor, asst. editor, staff editors, etc. Or just look at the bylines on articles. Won’t be too hard to look them up in the phone book, or internet search sites. They probably didn’t think to get themselves “unlisted” before folks got the info.

    Turnabout is fairplay. the Journal sought (as liberal/lefties often do) to insinuate, imply, or otherwise make it appear as if these gun permit owners had done something wrong..when, in fact, the exact opposite is the truth. These are law-abiding citizens who have every right to own a gun. The self-righteous, egotistical prigs are the “holier-than-thou” vermin polluting this country. Let them cope with the consequences of their actions.

    I would think class action suits might be filed, especially the minute one of these permit owners is harmed by this deed. It will happen. Innocent people and their families have been endangered.

    Let the Journal reap what it has sown.

But I thought liberals hated gun ownership. Since NY (especially NYC is about 90% liberal)how come there are so many gun ownerships? Could it possibly be that liberals are hypocrites? Or could it be that this is a dangerous city to live in? On some of the maps it looks like everyone has a gun in some areas. Now all a burgler has to do is find out which gun owners are new to the game and come and steal the gun preferably while the owner is away from home. Or maybe hoping the owner is too squeamish to shoot.

The comparison between gun permits being published and sex offenders being publishedis ludicrous. Gun owners don’t go out in the neighborhood looking for victims. Sex Offenders do. A person practically has to sign in his own blood to get a permit in some places.

    Lady Penguin in reply to BarbaraS. | January 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    As is true with so many blue states, it’s the urban centers that really make the state blue. Numerous areas outside of the city proper have plenty of Republican votes, but nothing that can offset the bought and paid for urban vote. Westchester County and Rockland are outside of NYC. Putnam too.

    I was wondering when the law enforcement unions would finally get involved. It is their members who are at risk as the article notes the info coming out of the sheriff’s department.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Lady Penguin. | January 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Lots of judges also carry, and they have some clout. They are very vulnerable to retaliatory “surprises” from the convicted and their families, as well as civil judges in family law courts, juvie, debtors in civil judgments, and a few other “sensitive” docket subjects being vulnerable to the ire of disgruntled family members.

      I can’t imagine there is one judge who thinks this was a good idea.

I note on the news that four gun shows in New York this weekend were canceled. Not so here in Iowa.

Today’s gun show in Cedar Rapids was packed. There were more than twice as many cars in the lot as the last time we went in November. The line to get in was so long when we got there that we went for breakfast first. Came back an hour later and it was tolerable.

Long guns were flying out the door. High-capacity magazines were in short supply. Exhibitors were selling guns as fast as they could fill out the paperwork. There were still a lot of guns there but stock was noticeably depleted from the last show.

I love the atmosphere at gun shows. Everyone is unfailingly polite, (big surprise) even as crowded as they are. I’ve never felt safer in my life than I do at a gun show. There were a few kids there, also three babies and a service-dog-in-training. The people who attend these things are the folks next door.

    Badgerdad in reply to creeper. | January 5, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I was there too. Everyone was very polite and concerned about the future. I got a sweet M1 Garand. I am sure there are people who would call it an assault rifle. My dad schlepped one from Normandy to Berlin.

I live next door to a couple and the wife is a 150% liberal. I just assumed she would be an anti-gun nutcase. One day I was walking by their house and we got in a discussion about something or other. She and her husband invited me into their house to carry on the discussion. I was carrying (yes I have a permit) at the time and thought it courteous to tell the I was armed.

It is their house and their rules and I offered to take my gun back to my house if they would prefer that I not carry a gun in their house.

Well, big surprise….. as soon as I said something, liberal to the max wife got all excited and wanted to know what kind of gun I was carrying and wanted to tell me all about her pistol. She packs a Glock 19 and has several other guns as does her husband.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and am much happier to have them as neighbors.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Anchovy. | January 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Your 150% liberal (commie) neighbor might be stupid on economics and social issues, she might be pro abortion, she might even be pro late-term abortion, but she does want to preserve to herself her right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happyness.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Juba Doobai!. | January 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      Odd how die-hard lefties don’t seem to want to give up their property, their money, their safety or their freedom for the good of ne’er-do-well burglars and thugs. Their sympathy for the poor and downtrodden who are “forced by capitalism” and the prosperity of the producers in society, most of whom are evil white men, to steal, rob and rape stops at their own threshholds.

legalizehazing | January 5, 2013 at 8:32 pm

“I’ll do anything, anything to protect my family.”

crypticenigma | January 6, 2013 at 2:42 am

Why is it libs always loudly defend their 1st amendment rights as absolute (its not really as one does not have the right to shout fire in a crowded theater for one)

But when it comes to the 2nd amendment they would just prefer to slap increaing limitations on it at best and out right removal….just really mindnumbingly inconsistent.

These kind of acts are what is prevented in Colorado. In Colorado, gun registration is against the law. No law enforcement official or agency may collect data for the purpose of gun registration. The information taken during the background check is not to be retained by any agency. The weapon information taken by the dealer is strictly for their records and not the states.

Just a supposition; what if a criminal used the information that the Journal News published, to break into a house that had not had a gun permit issued to a person living there, and during his crime killed someone, but after being caught, prosecuted, and found guilty, and also having admitted to using the Journal News’ published information to choose that location to commit his crime, could and would the survivor(s) of that deceased then sue the Journal News for complicity in the murder of their loved one? I hope nobody gets killed for the release of this information by the Journal News, but if they do, I hope sincerely that the Journal News pays dearly for their stupidity in this manner, as I also think any people on a jury would feel the same.

crypticenigma | January 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Sounds like a possible case for careless disregard at best but the blowback from the left if someone was hurt or killed as a result of the papers idiotic actions and a court case was filed would be quite large….they prefer to defend the indefensable after all the papers editors are nothing more the “fellow travelers” in the creed to ban guns, legislate gay marrage, open up the borders and free everyone from gitmo.

I always find it very interesting how Liberals think the 2nd Amendment is a collective right, when it mentions “A well egulated Militia” and forgetting that the Militia is the whole population. BUT, they forget that it also says “the RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”, an individual right, as are ALL the others in the Bill of Rights! Some then say it only refers to muskets, since that is what they had in the 1780’s, but demand internet, TV, cabel, cell and land line coverage for the 1st Amendment, none of which were around in the 1780’s. I guess the 1st Amendment only covers a soap box in the town square and a hand opperated printing press? But then who really expects a Liberal to be consistent?