Former Times editor and now op-ed columnist Bill Keller ruminates about the press' right to publish and the public's right to privacy. He includes this tidbit in describing his thought process (my emphasis):
Which brings me back to The Journal News and its gun project. I sympathize with the paper’s effort to dramatize the commonplace reality of gun ownership at a time when the subject is so sadly on our minds. I don’t buy the gun owners’ assertion that the disclosure is an invitation to burglars in search of firearms; on the contrary, the publicity sends criminals the same message as those front-door notices of your home alarm system: Try next door.
He doesn't buy it? Oh, those daffy gun-owners! Of course, maybe he doesn't buy it because he limits his reading to the Times, which seems to have missed the story noted in their down-market rival Newsday:
Journal News gun permit map used by burglars to target White Plains home?
We do note the question mark.
A White Plains residence pinpointed on a controversial handgun permit database was burglarized Saturday, and the burglars' target was the homeowner's gun safe.
At least two burglars broke into a home on Davis Avenue at 9:30 p.m. Saturday but were unsuccessful in an attempt to open the safe, which contained legally owned weapons, according to a law enforcement source. One suspect was taken into custody, the source said.
The gun owner was not home when the burglary occurred, the source said. The victim, who is in his 70s, told Newsday on Sunday that he did not want to comment while the police investigation continues.
The homeowner's name and address were included recently on the controversial interactive map of gun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties published on The Journal News' website.
A suspect is in custody, the matter is under investigation, and there may be no connection. After all, if Willie Sutton could figure out to rob banks becasue that is where the money is, home burglars ought to be capable of a similar leap of logic when they find a home safe.
That said, for Bil Keller to blithlely dismiss a possible connection his paper hasn't even reported strikes me as yet another example of their famous "All The New That Fits The Agenda" reporting.
To be fair, Keller eventually comes out against the gun-owner next door project:
But when you are going to make a sizable population of law-abiding citizens feel violated, you have to ask yourself, what is the offsetting gain? In this case, I think, not much. The information The Journal News provided its readers is so far from complete as to be misleading. The public records identify only legal handguns. They tell you nothing about the neighbor who has an equally legal and equally lethal rifle or shotgun, let alone an illegal weapon. The publication has not spurred a healthy debate; it has merely escalated a shouting match, and given the N.R.A. a new rallying cry. The outcry may even provoke state legislatures to withdraw gun databases from public records, so they will not be available when they might really be useful. It’s a close call, but I’d have found a different way to make the point.
A close call? Well, if we poo-pooh the fear of legal permit holders becoming targeted, it may seem close.