Talk about a story backfiring in a big way. First The Journal News decided it would be a bright idea to publish a map showing the exact locations of people who legally obtained gun permits, then bloggers readily produced a map of News Journal employees locations.
Now the Journal News' actions have reportedly endangered he lives of officers and Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco says it is "not acceptable."
Criticism of The Journal News, which published a gun permit database last month, broadened Friday with Rockland law enforcement officials saying the map listing the names and addresses of those with gun permits is endangering lives.
Inmates at the Rockland County jail are taunting corrections officers by saying they know the guards' home addresses -- information they got from the list published by Westchester-based newspaper, Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said.
"Since about 9:30 this morning, I've been in a meeting with my corrections officers and their unions. They have inmates coming up to them and telling them exactly where they live. That's not acceptable to me," Falco said at a news conference Friday morning in New City, where local leaders condemned the list.
Falco, along with other supporting police chiefs and county legislators, wants the paper to remove the information from its website.
"It's hurting law enforcement as a whole and it's directly affecting our ability to do our jobs," Falco said. "And then when we leave our jobs, we're going to have to defend our jobs and that's going to make for a very serious incident that's going to happen someplace in this county."
Robert Riley, a White Plains police officer who is president of the department's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, agreed that the database is putting officers' lives at risk.
"My members are outraged," Riley said, noting that the potential dangers to law enforcement extend beyond Westchester and Rockland counties.
"You have guys who work in New York City who live up here," Riley said. "Now their names and addresses are out there, too."
Not only did the Journal News endanger the lives of the officers, but they provided a detailed map of people that do not own guns, which in turn, has some of those people now obtaining guns:
Legis. Aron Wieder (D-Spring Valley) called the publication of the list "irresponsible journalism" and said he now fears for his safety because the map broadcast that he does not have a gun license. At the news conference Friday morning, he handed a $150 certified check and a completed pistol permit application to Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato.
"I never owned a gun but now I have no choice," Wieder said. "I have been exposed as someone that has no gun. And I'll do anything, anything to protect my family."
Piperato, who also serves as president to the New York State County Clerks Association, said all 62 counties in the state are supporting the state legislation to amend the law that makes gun permit holder information public.
"I've received hundreds of calls these last two weeks from residents in this county, both who have permits and those who do not have permits, who fear for their life," Piperato said. "My heart goes out to them and I condemn what The Journal News has done."
Criminals confirm the danger to those listed as not having any protection:
That was the most asinine article I’ve ever seen,” said Walter T. Shaw, 65, a former burglar and jewel thief who the FBI blames for more than 3,000 break-ins that netted some $70 million in the 1960s and 1970s. “Having a list of who has a gun is like gold - why rob that house when you can hit the one next door, where there are no guns?
"What they did was insanity," added Shaw, author of "License to Steal," a book about his criminal career.
“They just created an opportunity for some crimes to be committed and I think it’s exceptionally stupid,” said Bob Portenier, 65, a former burglar and armed house robber turned crime prevention consultant.
Professional burglars are always looking for an edge, and like most folks, they read the paper, said Portenier.
“Criminals are always looking for opportunity and words travels through the grapevine—burglars trade secrets and when you see something like that in the paper, that’s is something burglar’s are going to talk about,” Portenier said. “‘Did you see in the paper where all these people have guns and their addresses?’ and that kind of stuff, they’ll say.”
It is official, the liberals running the Journal News are a bunch of boneheads.
[Update] A related piece which shows this whole situation started by the anti-gun zealots over at The Journal News has gotten completely out of control.
Legal Insurrection: " Group claims hacked subscriber database of NY newspaper which published gun permit map."