What is it about guns that just seems to either make people crazy or bring all the crazies to the fore?! In a story I’ve been familiar with for a while because the reporter is a friend of mine, some local gun not (and sure embarrassment to all reasonable–and yes, I certainly admit there are some– gun rights supporters) this nut has taken to bringing the reporters family into the matter for him reporting on publicly available information! The details in (a generally accurate, but woefully “he said, she said” ) N&O story:
In response to a WRAL report on concealed-weapons permits that included a searchable database, a North Carolina gun-rights organization has launched a campaign against the reporter and his supervisors and applied pressure to the station’s advertisers…
Grass Roots North Carolina, described on its website as “North Carolina’s only ‘no compromise’ gun rights organization,” has not quieted its campaign against WRAL in the wake of the killings at the Aurora, Colo., movie theater.
Paul V***** [wouldn't be surprised if this guy has a google alert for his name, so I'm going to not use it and avoid drawing him into my life], the organization’s president, said the group has a long-standing policy that it will take economic action against any media outlet that divulges information about gun owners that group members think should remain private.
V***** first urged WRAL to take down the database that allows users to find out if people who live nearby have gun permits. A searcher looking at a particular town or city will see the streets where gun-permit holders live but won’t see the name or specific address of the permit holder.
When their effort to have the site taken down failed, V*****turned to his organization’s email alert network, urging more than 50,000 people on the list to deliver a message to Mark Binker, the multimedia investigative reporter who posted the information, his bosses and the station’s advertisers.
“In an apparent attempt to shame gun owners, some media outlets have a history of publishing the names of gun purchasers.” V***** said in one alert. “But that was many years ago, before the advent of the Internet. Things are now far more reciprocal. So let’s talk a bit about reporter Mark Binker, the apparent engineer of the piece to reveal concealed handgun permit-holders.”
V***** posted lots of information about Binker culled from websites and social media sites, including photos of the reporter’s wife and children.
Well, how that’s that for reasoned political dialog. Not surprisingly, lots of fun comments from North Carolina’s less mentally stable along with the story. Anyway, also wanted to mention the parts that annoyed me so much:
The incident demonstrates the prickliness of examining gun-related issues even before the shooting in Colorado stirred fresh debate. It also exposes tensions that can arise between advocates of the First Amendment and its protections of free speech and supporters of the Second Amendment with its right to bear arms.
This is not about 1st vs. 2nd amendment. This is about 1st amendment versus crazy gun-obsessed lunatics who see most everything as a threat against them and as an excuse to bring a journalist’s family into the matter.
Also, I don’t know Steve Hamel at WRAL, so I don’t know if he really believes this:
Steve Hammel, WRAL-TV vice president and general manager, said his news outlet published no information that was not already available to the public when it posted its July 12 report on concealed-weapons permit holders.
“We’ve released public records that anyone out there can easily obtain,” Hammel said.
Hammel used the incident as an opportunity to opine on the First Amendment and Second Amendment, saying they carried equal weight.
“Both are vital,” Hammel said in a July 20 post. “Both make this a great country.”
But, I should mention it’s a load of crap. How exactly does the 2nd amendment make this a great country? And the idea that it is equal in importance to the 1st?!! Please! There are many thriving wonderful democracies that have freedom of speech, but very limited gun rights. Now, find me a thriving democracy that has extensive gun rights but limited freedom of speech.