In what can only be described as deep irony, the newspaper that published names and addresses of gun permit holders in two New York counties, has now hired armed guards to protect their offices. A police report allegedly shows that on December 28, The Journal News hired the services of New York city-based RGA Investigations, a security firm that provides armed guards.
These armed guards will reportedly be protecting their headquarters located at 1 Crosfield Ave in West Nyack, indefinitely.
According to a Rockland County Times report, "The Journal News is now 'armed and dangerous' and apparently think “guns are good for the goose but not for the gander.”
They were poking fun at what many will see as hypocrisy on the publication’s part basically for turning around and doing the very thing they were advocating against -- publishing the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Rockland and Westchester Counties and making the point that too many Americans are armed.
It all started with an article written by the Journal News' Dwight R. Worley called "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood. I suspect initally he meant well but inserting the Google map pushed it over the controversial edge. The article referred to a shooting incident where a 77-year-old mentally disturbed man walked up to his neighbor and shot her point blank in the back of her head. Afterward the shocking crime,, neighbors were equally stunned to learn that the shooter had amassed an arsenal of weapons in his home. Some residents said they would not have moved in next door if they knew their neighbor's home was stockpiled with guns.
There were supporters of the paper posting gun permit owners' information, and these folks say they had a right to know who was armed in their community. One mother thanked the paper on Twitter, tweeting she wanted to know if there were guns in the homes her daughter visits.
But many others were not that understanding, for the Journal News received hundreds of heated criticism for their interactive map and even generated a dangerous backlash. Even though the info posted was already public record, critics felt they had invaded the privacy of many residents in these communities by posting online who has gun permits and inadvertently, those who did not. One man decided to flip the switch and published the names of The Journal’s editor, the writer of the article and some of their journalists.
Christopher Fountain, a Connecticut lawyer, mimicked The Journal News and posted an interactive Google map of his own on his blog, including a satellite image of the publisher’s home, along with the names and addresses of some of the Journal’s staff. Fountain upped the ante by including this caption: “I don’t know whether the Journal’s publisher Janet Hassen is a permit holder herself, but here's how to find her to ask.”(Read more on this here).
The Rockland County Times is also reporting that the paper is now rattled by the volume of anger their gun publication has stoked. The article and map had come in the wake of the terrifying Sandy Hook Elementary shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., when the gun control debate exploded.
Even though the gun permit stunt generated an avalanche of bad press and angry online comments/phone calls, the Journal, published online through LoHud.com, had defended the interactive map, saying in a statement that, “New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information.”
Critics, however, do not agree and have accused the newspaper’s Google map of treating legal gun owners like sex offenders, which is a dangerous precedent to set.