Friday, December 28, 2012

As Ye Give So Shall Ye Get Dept. (UPDATED)

Christopher Fountain appears to have turned the world of "journalism" on its head, by reciprocating its actions:

A blogger upset with a New York newspaper’s decision to publish an interactive map of local gun permit holders has returned the favor by posting the names and addresses of nearly every employee at the publication.

Blogger Christopher Fountain on For What It’s Worth published names, home address and email contact information for Journal News editor Cyndee Royle, publisher Janet Hasson and reporter Dwight Worley, who wrote an article on Sunday to accompany the map that led to widespread criticism aimed at the Lower Hudson Valley newspaper.

Fountain's original post disclosing the identities of these bullies with a printing press is here. Needless to say, the Journal-American, which gratuitously printed an interactive map detailing the names and addresses of legal handgun permit holders in Westchester and environs, was not pleased:

The Journal News, meanwhile, has defended publication of the database, which was legally obtained from the County Clerks’ Offices through a Freedom of Information Act request made after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and eight adults dead.

“New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information,” Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group, was quoted as saying in a subsequent story in the newspaper.

A retired New York City detective who has been receiving death threats since the Journal News published the map of permit holders wrote to Fountain about a teensy little problem with the legality of the database the paper used:

1 (II) A REQUEST FOR THE ENTIRE LIST OF LICENSEES, OR FOR ALL LICENSEES
2 IN A GEOGRAPHIC AREA, SHALL BE DENIED, EXCEPT TO ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT
3 AGENCY OR ANY ENTITY ACTING ON BEHALF OF OR PROVIDING SERVICES TO ANY
4 LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.
5 FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THE TERM “LAW ENFORCEMENT AGEN-
6 CY” SHALL MEAN THE DIVISION OF STATE POLICE, ANY NEW YORK STATE COUNTY
7 SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT, ANY POLICE DEPARTMENT OF ANY CITY, VILLAGE OR TOWN
8 WITHIN NEW YORK STATE, THE POLICE FORCE OF ANY NEW YORK STATE AUTHORITY
9 OR AGENCY, THE STATE POLICE FORCE OF ANY OTHER STATE, ANY FEDERAL LAW
10 ENFORCEMENT AGENCY AND ANY DISTRICT ATTORNEY OFFICE IN NEW YORK STATE.
11 S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

That aspect of the matter has not yet been addressed by the paper or anyone associated with it. (Perhaps the State of New York is looking into the matter, though, given the incestuous bonds that link New York politics and "journalism," your Curmudgeon won't hold his breath awaiting the indictments.) Neither has the suggestion that by revealing who in Westchester is armed and ready to repel an assault or an invasion of his home, the Journal News has rendered an invaluable service to Metro Area thieves, rapists, kidnappers, and murderers.

Needless to say -- though, as you might expect, your Curmudgeon will say it anyway -- the notion that sauce for the goose serves the gander just as nicely does not figure in the ire of the "journalistic community." It's their prerogative to decide what information shall and shall not be made public. For others to question their decisions in this regard amounts to lese majeste. Just ask the editors of the New York Times.

Clearly, this New Media thing isn't terribly popular among all the "best" people. But then, neither is the concept that "journalists" are subject to the same laws that bind the rest of us. Your Curmudgeon can easily see why. "Journalism" is neither as well compensated as political office nor as glamorous as entertainment stardom. So what point would there be in becoming a "journalist" if the practitioners had to abide by the law, or respect the privacy of private citizens, or refrain from endangering innocents?

It's in the nature of an elite that it possesses privileges, de jure or de facto, lacked by persons outside the elite:

A class is defined by its legal and social privileges. The aristocrats of medieval times were not distinguished by their lineages or their deeds, but by the things they were allowed to do, without penalty, that commoners were not. There is reason to believe that the majority of medieval aristocrats were fairly responsible stewards of their lands and of public order within them. That does not justify the creation of a class of men who could wield high, middle, and low justice over others, but who would normally escape all consequences for deeds for which a commoner would be severely punished

...and it's in the nature of a free people to become angry with such elites, to pull them down from their perches and burn them to ash, when their behavior becomes this plainly, self-assuredly, and heedlessly arrogant.

UPDATE: The worthy Ace of Spades contributes his own, typically incisive analysis. The killer conclusion:

David Gregory is precisely as innocent as most people arrested for a gun infraction-- and just as guilty, too.

Now, the idea being put forth by the media -- that you should only be arrested for possessing a gun (or part of a gun, like a magazine) if you have the additional criminal state of intending to commit a crime with that gun (or gun part), is, how can I say this? A radical gun-nut rightwing notion. I think Ted Nugent might very well agree that gun laws should always be limited to situations where guns are used in the commission of the crime or possessed with the future intent of committing a crime.

Does Howard Kurtz embrace that understanding of gun laws? Does Glenn Thrush? Do the various other know-nothings in the media -- who know both nothing about law and nothing about guns, but opine with great force and velocity on gun laws -- embrace this conception of gun laws, that gun laws should never target simple possession but only possession during the commission of a crime or possession with intent to commit a crime?

If not -- if they are less the right-wing gun nut than Ted Nugent (and even the Nuge might find this position too "extremist" for his taste -- then they are duty-bound to demand David Gregory's prosecution, as they would demand that any other Citizen Not On Television would be prosecuted.

They are endeavoring to explicitly create a High Caste with greater privileges than the lower castes, and immunities to the laws the lower castes suffer under, and that is a blood anathema to any real American -- and will be treated as such.

Your Curmudgeon will say only that that High Caste already exists. We are merely watching as its status and privileges are made explicit. For confirmation, ask Dianne Feinstein whether her security detail should be required to turn in its firearms.

UPDATE: A reader has mentioned that the NY State Assembly legislative link no longer works. Try this one, instead, which links to NY State Senate bill S2488 -- the same bill after it passed the Senate.

7 comments:

  1. Is it wrong of me that I'm so glad this guy did what he did? It's about time something happened to shake these corrupt media type's up a little bit. They think they can say anything, shape stories, hide what they don't like, and attack anyone who disagrees. I just hope this is the beginning of the fight - why we've been reluctant until now is mind boggling.

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  2. Of course a High Caste already exists. Britain is the most obvious example of that and here in Australia we're not too far behind. I was shocked when living in New Zealand - a country which has pretty much the same political and judicial system as Australia - just how far down that road they'd travelled and how little comment it occasioned.
    Running in parallel with that legal situation was the reality that senior public servants never really lost their comfortable lifestyle as a result of gross negligence or malfeasance--they were simply quietly shuffled sideways (sometimes after a token waiting period) into another cozy sinecure.
    A caste system? We're wading in it already.

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  3. The problem here isn't that the newspaper published the map. However reprehensible we may find it, they did exercise a First Amendment right. The real problem is that the list exists in the first place. Why must we ask government permission? Why must they maintain a list of us who are armed? That is the true violation, for if we must ask permission, if we must register... we do not have a RIGHT, as outlined in the Second Amendment. We remain armed solely at the pleasure of our High-Caste masters.

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  4. Xealot, while I agree with your conclusion on the abridgement of our Right, recognized in Amendment II, I disagree with your earlier statement, "However reprehensible we may find it, they did exercise a First Amendment right". I believe that publishing that list and map was ethically as foul as shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater -- a limitation long recognized on Amendment I.

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  5. Your link to the NY State Law on pistol permit privacy worked for me when you first posted it, but all I am getting now is a blank page. Is it me, or has this page been disappeared?

    I would like to copy the entire text to have for reference, but I am just not able to access the page any longer. Can you help?

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  6. Hm! I just checked, Anon, and I too am getting a blank page. I have no idea why. I'll try a more direct search.

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  7. From the same Anonymous seeking a working link to the text of New York Senate Bill 2488: I do believe the page has been disappeared.

    I wrote a comment about this bill at Legal Insurrection, with a link to your page:
    http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/12/if-the-names-and-addresses-of-gun-permit-holders-are-fair-game-what-about-this/comment-page-2/#comment-400771

    Please read that comment before continuing with this note, as I raised some points that your post did not.

    I also mentioned the LI comment on another site, where someone wrote back that he thought the bill had NOT been passed into law. I therefore did some more research and found other sites that quote the entire text and provide additional info. Here's the response I wrote regarding the current status of the law but could not post on that second site (I hate Disqus):

    I remember from my earlier reading at the disappeared link that this act was amended in February of 2012, which a post at FireArmsTalk.com confirms:
    http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f97/forget-about-irresponsible-even-legal-79303/index7.html

    The post at FireArmsTalk.com states: "Because law enforcement agencies in NY are the stewards of the information that has been made public. The law, as amended on 2/24 of this year clearly states that such information shall be for law enforcement use only ... so either one of the law enforcement agencies charged with this duty was derelict and released the information, or Mr Dwight R Worley misrepresented himself in his freedom of information request or a combination of the two or worse ... ."

    The complete text of New York Senate Bill 2488 is also reprinted on that page. The description of the bill is "Relates to pistol permit privacy and makes all personal information regarding pistol or revolver licensees confidential except to law enforcement agencies and to individuals requesting information about a named individual."

    However, another website raises a question about the current status of the bill:
    http://legiscan.com/NY/bill/S02488

    The bill was passed in the Senate in June 2012 and was delivered to the Assembly. The LegiScan site notes that its current status is "referred to codes." I don't know what that means, but I suspect that it hasn't yet been enacted into law. What does "referred to codes" mean?

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