If you missed it, two weeks ago some asshat with a printing press in Connecticut decided it would be a public service if he published an interactive map that revealed the names and addresses of all the legal gun owners in his community — 33,614 in Westchester and Rockland Counties. Here’s the article.
Over a million views on the paper’s web site later, reaction from all sides was largely negative, including journalists’ and academicians in the field. This was a truly bonehead maneuver for a whole lot reasons, not the least of which is the research he performed for gun thieves. Approximately 232,400 guns are stolen annually, which places is a very large number of weapons in the hands of criminals whom I suspect do not merely collect them like stamps or butterflies, nor use them for target shooting.
But leave it to the gun fetish fringe to make a bad situation even worse.
Personal information about editors and writers at the paper has been posted online, including their home addresses and information about where their children attended school; some reporters have received notes saying they would be shot on the way to their cars; bloggers have encouraged people to steal credit card information of Journal News employees; and two packages containing white powder have been sent to the newsroom and a third to a reporter’s home (all were tested by the police and proved to be harmless).” — NYTimes
Circumstances became so unsettling that the paper hired guards to accompany staff walking to their cars, arranged for others to stay at hotels, and suggested employees change their phone numbers. Keep in mind that the vast majority of the paper’s 225 employees had nothing to do with publishing the story — but even if they had, the terrorist atmosphere created by these zanies is both illegal and inappropriate.
Should we conclude that all gun owners are crazed psychopaths, bloodthirsty, murderous fanatics who despise the 1st Amendment and its protection of freedom of expression as exercised by that moron in charge of the paper? I think not. I would attribute the over-reaction to a hotheaded cowardly minority who speak for nobody but themselves, and do more to hurt their own best interests in their clumsy efforts to protect them.
Just register this sordid little episode when discussions of gun control, public safety, and Constitutional protections, come up, and each side points accusing fingers at the other.