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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Deja Vu: When Public Information Is Abused, We All Lose.

In a scenario reminiscent of the witch hunt state-based newspapers and Tea Party organizations carried out against Wisconsin citizens for merely exercising their right to petition the government for the recall of Gov. Scott Walker, a New York based Gannett-owned newspaper recently published the names and addresses of individuals with handgun permits in its coverage area.

By NY state law, the gun license information is public record that must be made available through Freedom of Information requests.

ABC News Excerpt:
Hundreds of residents in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties were surprised to find their names and addresses listed on a map posted by The Journal News on Sunday. Users can click any dot on the map to see which of their neighbors has a permit for a gun.

The map sparked more than 500 comments from readers within a day of its appearance on the website, many of them voicing outrage at the paper’s decision to make the information public.

Just wait until the information is loaded into second and third-party data bases for political or commercial purposes, or better yet, memorized by a few nutjobs with chips on their shoulders. In Wisconsin, law-abiding citizens who hoped to recall Scott Walker know first-hand how it feels to be targeted and demonized after names and addresses from the petitions were loaded into online searchable data bases. Back then, many were surprised and shocked to find their names made public and said it was an outrage against a free democracy. We asked over and over, "what did they hope to accomplish?" Some felt that Wisconsin was going the way of Nazi Germany.

I for one however agree with the license holders who feel their privacy and rights have been invaded by the newspaper, regardless of the subject matter of their licenses. Like with the recall signers, this one is easy to use for political fodder and play gotcha' games with, and just the same, the gun license holders were following the letter of the law just like the folks who signed the petitions to recall Scott Walker. There is no good reason in my view to publish this sort of private information. As far as the Recall Petitions were concerned, they only needed to be challenged by Scott Walker, counted and then destroyed. Legal or not, what Scott Walker and his band of idiots did to fellow Wisconsinites was an outrage whose open wound will last for years to come.

But I DO NOT agree with the NRA-approved ALEC-written legislation that has basically turned our country into an armed society. And, I also don't agree that some states can reserve the right to prohibit state officials and law enforcement from acknowledging after the fact of a crime or suicide, whether the individual possessed a gun or CC permit. That too is an outrage. Again, as far as the law- abiding citizens in New York who feel they've been wronged for doing the right thing - I agree with them on the public information issue.

If you can keep your guns out - welcome to our world.


Tea Party - Who are the Recall Signers in your Neighborhood?

Lohud - Where are the Gun Permits in your Neighborhood?

Lohud - Comments, calls go national, thanks to social media, key websites

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