Last December, the Rockland County Journal News published an interactive map of everyone in the counties of Westchester and Rockland, New York that had legal gun permits on their website. The public outrage was instant and it wasn’t long before they were forced to take the map off their site.
The damage had already been done as several gun owners found themselves the victims of burglaries. I wrote in January asking if the Journal News was willing to accept the liability for placing legal gun owners in danger and setting them up for burglaries and home invasions.
Now it seems that the Rockland Journal News has done some summer house cleaning, according to a local competitor, the Rockland Times. The report says that a total of 26 staff members the Journal News have been released from their jobs. Among the casualties are 17 reporters and editor Caryn McBride. McBride was the one responsible for the posting of the interactive map of legal gun permit holders.
McBride’s troubles started soon after the interactive map was posted. A number of people whose homes were identified called to say that they did not have gun permits. Upon investigation it was learned that the information they used for the map was outdated.
Then McBride called police because she claimed she was getting angry and threatening phone calls and letters. Someone even posted a map showing the addresses and location of McBride and other Journal News employees as a retaliation for what she did. When the police said they did not believe the threats to be credible, McBride and others at the news agency hired armed guards to protect them and their property. This in turn caused an uproar among the area residents who pointed to the hypocrisy of the anti-gun editor hiring gun toting guards for her protection.
I’m sure many area residents will be pleased to hear the news of McBride’s dismissal and feel that it is a just reward for her actions. However, I feel that it is not enough punishment. Everyone whose house was identified on the map and found themselves victims of burglars or home intruders should file a lawsuit against the Journal News and against McBride for exposing them to the danger. In doing so, hopefully others will think twice before doing something similar and putting peoples’ lives and property in danger.