The editors of the Bloomington Herald Times apparently don’t like the feedback they’ve received in response to their online gun database. Writing on December 7, Herald Times Editor Bob Zaltsberg feigns surprise and takes offense at being targeted in similar fashion as they chose to target lawful gun owners. They paint the NRA as irrational and suggest we are erroneously attacking the press while they continue to misrepresent the facts regarding their online gun database, telling gun owners and concerned citizens they don’t have their facts straight while attempting to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the public outrage they alone deserve.
Herald-Times Falsehood #1: The Herald-Times claims its online database doesn’t treat concealed carry permit holders like sex offenders.
“The NRA said the database treated law-abiding gun owners like sex offenders. That unfair and unfounded characterization set off an angry reaction.” (HTO Editorial, “H-T targeted over gun permit database” December 7, 2009)
Truth: In fact, the Herald-Times database permits anyone to find out where concealed carry permit holders live in
Since the gun permit holder database was originally placed in the Crimes section of the paper’s website, the intended message to their readers is pretty clear: guns and concealed carry permit holders are dangerous and you need to know where these gun owners live so you can stay safe. Why else would they put the database in the Crimes section of their website?
Herald-Times Falsehood #2: The Herald-Times claims NRA told email recipients that the Herald-Times planned to publish the names and addresses of permit holders.
“A vast majority of [the public] misunderstood, from what the NRA had sent them, that we planned to publish names and addresses, which was never under consideration.” (HTO Editorial, “H-T targeted over gun permit database”, December 7, 2009)
Truth: In fact, we were very clear in our December 1 email alert that the Herald-Times would not be listing the names and addresses of permit holders.
NRA-ILA Alert: “Anyone who visits the newspaper website will be able to search the number of permits on a given street or neighborhood. Although at this point the names and house numbers are not listed, the newspaper’s website treats law-abiding
Herald-Times Falsehood #3: The Herald-Times claims that posting the number of permit holders on a specific street doesn’t endanger any law-abiding permit holders.
“The information we published did not include any names, any specific addresses, and would have been difficult if not impossible to use to identify any law-abiding permit holder in the state.” (HTO Editorial, “H-T targeted over gun permit database”, December 7, 2009)
Truth: In reality it’s not difficult, let alone “impossible”, for someone to be identified as a permit holder if they are the only house on their private or rural street. Likewise, if there are a small number of homes on a short street in a suburb, small town or rural area, and many or all of those homes have permit holders, the paper has just told anyone who cares to know that there is a firearm in many of the houses in a particular area, providing a virtual “steal-me” list for the enterprising criminal.
The paper has also put non-permit holders at risk by letting would-be criminals know which streets are not occupied by gun permit holders and therefore which homes may be occupied by easy targets.
This is not merely a gun issue. This is an important privacy issue. Lawful citizens exercising Constitutionally-protected, personal lifestyle choices should not be subjected to harassment or intimidation of any kind – by their neighbors, work peers or a newspaper with a political axe to grind. Citizens should also not be subjected to criminal activity by those who would use such information as the Herald-Times has made available for their own illegal purpose.
It is clear by now that the Herald-Times does not care for those opinions that do not mimic their own. They have shown no desire to take down the database and they prefer to tell their readers and responders, “we’re not wrong, you are”.
Advertisers of the Herald-Times might be more interested in the opinions of would-be customers, and they deserve to know what their advertising dollars are helping support. So please continue to contact the Herald-Times and their advertisers and urge them to respect your right to privacy.
Andrew Davis Menswear
Mohney Homes, Inc.
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