In the wake of the Newtown massacre, the Westchester County (NY) Journal News (owned by Gannett) published the names and addresses (with a map) of gun owners in two counties. We believe it was a poor and dangerous idea for several reasons.
- Privacy. Just because it is legal, the information still is private. As such, how people choose to protect their homes and what hobbies they have is private information. In response to the newspaper’s article, some people published the names and addresses of the papers editors and writers, along with their children, grown and young, as well as where they went to school. This also is legal, but it too is wrong.
- Targeting gun-owners. In the Journal’s print market, crooks now know where they can go to steal weapons, because the paper told them.
- Endangering police officers. The list also includes police and corrections officers that work in Rockland and Westchester counties. Because of this list, the bad guys now can find out more easily where the cops live and target their families. Needless to say, law enforcement people are furious. They fear for the safety of their families when they are doing their jobs.
- Targeting non gun-owners. Any police officer or burglar will tell you that in picking a target, burglars avoid homes where the burglar might get shot. Nine out of 10 burglars prefer victims who cannot defend themselves.
“Personally, I am upset at what the paper did. It was a cruel publicity stunt,” said one Michigan non-gun owner. “I do not have a weapon in my home nor do I want to (have one). But the idea that burglars should know this makes me a target and that’s wrong.”
The bottom line: Did the newspaper serve the public? We think not.
Postmortem: At least two burglaries have been identified to the paper’s handiwork where the objective was to steal guns. New York State has since enacted a law to prevent the printing of the information.
It’s Not About Hunting … from two interviews: One is with an active duty Chicago Police Officer and the other is with a retired Chicago Police Commander.
“When seconds count, the police will be there in minutes,” said the retired Commander, formerly with a gangs unit. “While the media reports the acts of a few crazy people, they never report the literally thousands and thousands of times where crimes are prevented because a good person has a gun on his person. We see this all the time.”
“Two days after Newtown, a man went into a San Antonio restaurant and headed toward a theater, firing along the way,” said the officer. “A few people were hurt, but no one was killed because an armed female employee at the theater had a weapon and wounded the shooter. I guess since there weren’t any killings, and therefore no sensationalism, the national media didn’t cover this.”
The point is, “the best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun,” said the police officer. “The national media is treating incidents like San Antonio as though it never happened. Only the local media covered it.” The City of San Antonio gave the woman a medal.
“In the Colorado theater-shooting, the shooter sought out an out of the way theater that had declared itself a “gun-free zone,” said the Commander. “Shooters are generally cowards. The moment the police showed up, he turned the gun on himself.
“Too many people fear guns, because they have no true familiarity or training with them. They fear what they do not know. Gun ownership should require a demonstration of proficiency. As police, we know that where gun ownership is prevalent crime is lower than it otherwise would be.”
“If a law were enacted to confiscate American’s guns, 90% of the police I know,” said the police officer, “would never enforce it, because they swore an oath to defend the constitution.”
Newtown Disaster … from a First Responder who was there
One of the authors of this newsletter has a relative who was a police first-responder at Newtown. “It was the worst tragedy scene of my entire career,” said the Connecticut cop. “Most of those responding were physically sick for days over what happened. However, much credit has to be given to the school principal and the staff. They were well prepared and trained and reacted courageously. Had they not done so, dozens of more would have been killed.”
However, he went on to say, “These guys are the ultimate cowards. They attack the unarmed and at the first sign of resistance from the police or an armed citizen, they turn their gun on themselves.”
Ironically, these were the “exact” same words used by an active duty Chicago policeman as well as a retired Chicago police commander (see above). They made a point of saying that had the principal or any of the teachers had access to firearms, the killer would have been stopped in his tracks.
Thoughts and Quotes
“Slavery and mass murders by Nazis and others cannot occur when the victims have access to weapons to defend themselves.” — Anonymous
“You cannot invade the United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” — Isoroku Yamamoto, who was Japanese Fleet Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. He planned and executed the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was an alumnus of the U.S. Naval War College and Harvard University.
“We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?” — Joseph Stalin, brutal tyrant and controversial Soviet leader from 1922 to 1953.