Here we go again

I mentioned two weeks ago that some reporter from the local Bloomington, IN paper was going to run some hit pieces on concealed carry holders in the state of Indiana.  I was not wrong, as the pieces were published today.  I’d link to them, but the Herald Times online wants you to pay 5 bucks to see the pieces, and that’s not worth your money, trust me.  I actually did pay the five bucks for the subscription so I could read them, and they’re generally unremarkable.  The first article is your standard “OMFG PEOPLE AROUND YOU HAVE GUNS!!!111”, and the second article is a cutting edge and up date piece on how people are buying guns because of Obama.  I have a helpful tip for Michael Malik, the author of these two pieces about “timeliness”: if USA Today has already published multiple articles on a specific topic, such as people buying guns because of Obama, you are officially “behind the curve”.  In fact, you’re so far behind the curve that it’s kind of sad.

Be that as it may, as I said the two articles themselves are nothing special or remarkable, it’s pretty much the “same old same old” that we see every now and again as some hack writer tries to use “guns R scaaaawwwy” to make his bones.

However, there is an interesting tidbit buried at the bottom of the article:

This week, HeraldTimesOnline.com will launch its new gun permit database. You’ll be able to search gun permit records by county, city or town and street.

Also, reporter Michael Malik will answer your questions about his gun permit series and the new database in a live Q&A at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The HeraldTimesOnline legally obtained a copy of the list of “pink card” holders; it’s public record so that’s all well and good.  However, they have decided in their infinite editorial wisdom to post your private data (name, address, everything you gave the Indiana State Police) in a searchable database.  This is what you call “not classy”.  I would even go so far as to call it “irresponsible and reprehensible”, but it’s also par for the course with the media.  So here’s what we can do about it.

  • Log in for the live chat tomorrow morning at 11am and let your voice be heard.
  • Here are the email addresses and phone numbers of the “important” people at the Herald Times:

Scott Schurz, Sunday Hoosier Times/Editor-in-Chief
812-331-4250

E. Mayer Maloney Jr., Publisher
(812) 331-4251

Bob Zaltsberg, Editor
(812) 331-4364

  • I’m thinking that those people listed above should have lots and lots of courteous and polite yet very strong worded phone calls and emails about the irresponsible nature of publishing the handgun carry permit database.
  • If you’re a subscriber to the HT, I’d suggest informing everyone that you speak to that you’ll be canceling your subscription as well.
  • Finally, if you’re one of my estimable Hoosier readers, forward this post to everyone you know in Indiana.  This won’t work if we don’t get a lot of traction on it.

As a reminder, what the Herald Times is doing is not illegal, although it’s a pretty scummy trick, it’s not illegal.  As such, we need to keep it polite and keep it classy when we’re calling and writing to people.

15 thoughts on “Here we go again”

  1. I wonder if there would be enough people on that with things like restraining orders against other folks that they’d prefer not find them willing to join a class action against the paper.

  2. The next step is to start digging up private information about this author and the editors of the paper….home addresses, phone numbers, make, model and color of cars, anything that can be dug up from public records.

    These people need to know that they are endangering lives with this crap. Some people get CHP’s because they are in imminent danger and publishing their home address and other information could very well get them killed.

    That message needs to be driven home to them.

  3. Took me 5 minutes to find Mr. Zaltzbergs home number, and facebook page, which linked me to Scott Schurzs facebook page, the internet is a wonderful thing.

  4. I would suggest, in addition to the personal angle, David over at The War on Guns suggests protests at major advertisers, and I think he’s right.

    If it were me, I’d pick the biggest GM dealer (cause you know they’ll be sensitive to revenue ‘pressures’) and show up with signs. Call the tv stations, maybe. Get a statement from the local Ford dealer on how they feel about the competition supporting this crap – maybe even mention that they might be next.

  5. Emailed Mr. Zaltsberg. Told him it was a bad idea:

    “It is a belief shared by many, including myself, that many of these licensees have a need for privacy that exceeds a newspaper’s need to publish. No doubt many of the licensees are crime victims, parole officers, victims of stalkers, battered spouses, witnesses to criminal acts, bail bondsmen, business owners who make cash deposits to banks, jewelry dealers, etc. Their safety depends on their anonymity.

    I urge you to reconsider before offering a searchable database that would enable felons and ex-felons to track down those with whom they have a score to settle.”

  6. …and he emailed back:

    “You have been given bad information. Our searchable database will not include names, addresses or phone numbers. It will include counties, cities and streets.

    Bob Z “

  7. Yeah, I’ve seen that. Basically, what it will do is give you the ability to plug in your street/city/county and see how many people with permits live on a given street. No names address just that “Anywhere St, Indianapolis” has 34 permit holders or something.

    Frankly, it’s still bullshit – how would he feel if someone decided to publish a list of what streets had high concentrations of Jews or homosexuals? Then he’d be crying to high heaven about discrimination, but it’s okay to do it to gun owners.

  8. It doesn’t surprise me to see this come out Bloomington. At least you can only get to it with a subscription… Still, there are plenty of streets in Indiana with only a couple of houses.

  9. I passed this along to my cohorts across the river in the Libertarian Party of Indiana to ask their members to take action, one of them replied:

    “Why don’t we put a “Freedom of Info” request into Bloomington Police Dept. for all police issued “journalist passes” and “press parking passes”? Then we could publish that list of avail. Data online as well?

    Turn about and all that.”

    So what can we learn about Mr. Malik and perhaps the representatives from other public databases?

  10. Sorry to keep cluttering, but I’m applying some leverage to the site with the database. What information is useful to know?

    With a single search I can get 147,443 of the supposed 318,000 records.

    They were smart enough to thin it out a little, the entries are in the format STREET (no house number), CITY, COUNTY, NUMBER OF PERMITS, TYPE OF PERMIT .

    Given a sufficiently short street, it is trivial to use this database to find out who owns and carries. I am genuinely afraid that a savvy criminal would use this to find houses with guns to rob and put more guns on the street.

  11. Also before anyone goes nuts on this, read up on the Streisand Effect. We want this contained to one local paper behind a paywall, not making its way onto Digg.

  12. I don’t really see why your getting your panties in a bunch about this series. You say that its not worth the five dollars to buy the article and read it but its worth taking time to right this long worthless argument against it. Posting the database isn’t going to hurt anyone. Its PUBLIC info. Anyone at anytime can get a hold of that info. They always have been able to and they always will be able to. I have a concealed carry permit and you dont see me crying about it. How about you get a hobby and stop worrying about it.

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