The PJ Tatler

Sauce for the Media Geese Who Published Gun Owners' Personal Information

The Westchester, NY Journal-News made the deliberate decision to gather up information on gun owners in its region and map where those citizens live. Those citizens have broken no laws; if they had, many of them would not be legally allowed to own a firearm. After spying on its community, the Journal-News then took the step of publishing that information for everyone in the world, including the worst of the worst of society who have been freed by lax, liberal criminal justice policies, to find and study and target the families who live at those addresses, or target their unarmed neighbors.

Sauce for the goose, as they say. The blog For What It’s Worth has gathered and published contact information for all involved in the Journal-News’ decision to expose the law-abiding gun owners in its area (its map does not show which homes belong to armed criminals, of course). The two main culprits are the paper’s publisher, Janet Hasson, and the reporter on the story, Dwight R. Worley.

Their information is posted along with much more information at the link. Readers here have determined that Mr. Worley is himself a legal gun owner. He is perfectly free to put himself and his personal information on any map he wishes, but he had no right to prove that one of gun owners’ worst fears would come true: That government registration information would eventually be used against them.

We would also link to the personal Facebook page of Journal-News editor Cyndee Royle, but she has taken it offline and is now protecting her Twitter feed from prying eyes. She afforded her victims no such opportunity.

The Freedom of Information Act, which the Journal-News used to compile its gun owner information, was intended to help journalists and citizens hold our government accountable by making their decisions and the information they use to reach those decisions subject to public scrutiny. The Journal-News has turned FOIA on its head and turned a weapon intended to be used by citizens into a weapon wielded against citizens.

Look at it this way: Would the Journal-News endeavor to find out where the illegal aliens reside within their community, and map that information? Or drug dealiers? Of course not. In fact, because they live outside the law, no illegal alien or career criminal is even subject to any of the Journal-News‘ irresponsible scrutiny. Their information war exclusively targets law-abiding citizens by design, and their wide dragnet has surely snared some people who have armed themselves because someone else is stalking them or menacing them in some way. If this is how journalists intend to use FOIA going forward, then FOIA should be re-thought entirely. Clearly, some journalists will simply misuse the law, just like criminals and lawyers often do.