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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Brave Dame Caryn

The Times (behind a paywall) reports:

In a bold stand for gun control, New York newspaper has had to take an unfortunate course of action to maintain its freedom to act without fear or favour. The Journal News, which prompted outrage by publishing the names and addresses of local gun owners, has hired armed guards to defend its offices from irate readers.

The Rockland County Times, the paper’s rival in the Hudson Valley, reported the news with a gleeful headline: “The Journal News is Armed and Dangerous.”

The move apparently followed mounting concern at the newspaper for the safety of its staff, who have borne the brunt of a backlash against the paper’s campaign to publish the addresses of gun owners in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown.

Records at Clarkstown Police Department seen by The Times show that Caryn McBride, the paper’s Rockland County editor, had made at least two complaints to police over the “large amount of negative correspondence” in recent days. “Today she received an email from an unknown subject who wrote that he wondered what McBride would get in her mail now,” wrote an officer, in a police report, adding that the missive was brief and did not contain any specific threats.

The officer went on to say that he had spoken to a private investigator named Richard Ayoob, whose company, “is doing private security on location at the Journal News as a result of the negative response … His employees are armed and will be on site during business hours through at least January 2, 2013.”

Emphasis added. Boldly and without fear, favour or concern for mixed metaphors, I sing of arms and the editor:

(To the tune of Brave Sir Robin Ran Away)

Brave Dame Caryn hired a gun
She bravely hired a gun, a gun
When danger reared its ugly head, she left her principles for dead
Yes, brave Dame Caryn turned about, and gallantly she chickened out
Bravely cringing at a tweet, she thought it best to pack some heat
Bravest of the brave, Dame Caryn!

You see, it doesn’t count as being armed so long as you are rich enough to hire someone else to hold the gun. Anyone can see that morally that is completely different to actually, you know, touching the thing yourself.

31 comments to Brave Dame Caryn

  • Slartibartfarst

    Bravo! Brilliant! Superb! Lurved it.

  • Steven

    The obvious irony being that we mere plebs should not have armed guards to defend us, but the Fourth Estate? Well, that’s different. They’re important.

    I do thoroughly enjoy the fact that the actions of the newspaper propted such a backlash that the newspaper had to do something more than just act smug. The personal information of the publisher, editor, and reporter were all put out for public consumption. When the paper decided to try to get more information about local gun owners, the hackers simply published the paper’s subscription list. It’s a game of oneupsmanship that I do not believe the newspaper can win anywhere except in a journalism ethics class (assuming such a thing even exists).

    I’m certainly not going to call for the deaths of anyone involved, but I’m not going to weep too hard if it happens either. Actions should have consequences, even for the media. Publishing the private information of private citizens just to make a political point dressed up in the clothes of the free press is incredibly irresponsible. What if someone’s house is broken into because the press told thieves which houses do and do not have guns? What if a woman has tried to hide from an abusive ex-spouse and thepaper told him right where she lives? If guns end up stolen or an ex-wife ends us dead as a result of this kind of hournalism, why should the press be able to hide behind the First Amendment?

    But Steven, what about freedom of the press and all that? I would never in a million years think to restrict the press or a writer from investigating and reporting on the goings on of the government or to restrain one’s self while writing, but the press also needs to exercise some self-control. I really am astounded at the sheer arrogance of the press in this affair, but I am also truly impressed and in fear of the long arm of the internet and just how much of our personal information is out there for the taking.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I find the whole thing very depressing.

    On the one hand we have a bunch of kids the same age as mine who were butchered by a nutter. On the other we have shameless opportunists who are using this horror to further a long held political wish list. And then we have the right-on useful idiots like those referred to in the OP who campaign for less freedom as if it were the noblest cause in the world.

    America is looking more and more like Europe every day. What’s really saddening me is that it looked like this year was going to be the year I could finally emigrate to the states, possibly to Tennessee or Texas.

    For years I had been looking forward to buying a scary looking “assault weapon”, but it sounds like if the Dems and the RINOs get their way even Glocks will be banned.

    I was finally in a position to get out of this bloody country, and it looks like I’ve timed it perfectly so that America is no longer worth moving to…..

  • Mike James

    Mr. Voluntaryist, I urge you to be patient. This thing hasn’t finished shaking out yet. Always room for one more. I have a fusty, old-fashioned preference for immigrants showing up who already speak English. That they also show up expecting to be treated like a responsible adult is just a happy bonus, as far as I am concerned. We already get too many of the sort who want to be treated as a dependent child.

  • Sigivald

    Jaded: Move here anyway.

    Bans like that ain’t happening this year – if ever – almost certainly. (For one thing, they’d have to withstand a court challenge with the dicta in Heller, which held that arms “in common use” were explicitly protected by the Second Amendment.

    Making an argument that the wildly popular (and standard issue for police departments nationwide) self-loading pistol and rifle are not “in common use” will be exceedingly difficult to make even to a District Court.

    (One irony is that Canadians, despite the way my Canadian friends all seem to think Scary “Assault Rifles” are a uniquely dangerous American obsession, can own them. Not quite as easily as Americans, since they need the RCMP’s permission, but easily enough.

    Hell, with their license they can own things that require an FBI background check and $200 tax stamp in the US; rifles with a barrel shorter than 16″… and they often get lower prices, in the bargain.)

  • Laird

    Jaded, I second Mike James’ comment. The idea of greater gun control does not sit well with a large portion of the American populace, especially those of us outside of the Northeast and west coast. If ideas like Diane Feinstein’s gain any traction there will be significant blowback.

    Few people realize (because it’s not taught in government schools; quelle surprise), but British attempts at gun control were a significant factor (perhaps the proximate cause) of the American Revolution, far more important (or more immediate, anyway) than “taxation without representation”. Here’s* a fascinating article by a law professor giving some of the chronology of events: http://www.davekopel.org/2A/LawRev/american-revolution-against-british-gun-control.html Modern attempts at draconian gun control might just trigger another revolution.

    * Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to use an HTML tag to embed the URL under this word!

  • Laird

    By the way, great poetry Natalie. You’ll give llamas a run for his money!

  • Survivor3306

    What did the paper hope to accomplish? They said citizens ought to know which of their neighbors were armed. Why? The reactions of the non-armed citizens would be one of (i) fear, maybe causing them to buy a gun to protect themselves from their neighbors (thereby increasing gun ownership); (ii) depression, because what can they do with this information? or (iii) indifference, because nothing has changed. This kind of information has already inflamed the gun owners. What if it also inflames the non-gun owners who might now insist that their neighbors disarm, which of course would lead to conflict where none existed before the article?
    In short, nothing good will come from this. It certainly does not promote a respectful dialog about what to do about these massacres. I do think this will kill the paper. Newspapers are in a bad way to begin with. Loss of significant number of subscribers plus a wholesale fleeing of advertisers will cause them to go under, I predict. What a stupid way to commit business suicide.

  • survivor3306

    Where is my comment? Here it is again.

    What did the paper hope to accomplish? They said citizens ought to know which of their neighbors were armed. Why? The reactions of the non-armed citizens would be one of (i) fear, maybe causing them to buy a gun to protect themselves from their neighbors (thereby increasing gun ownership); (ii) depression, because what can they do with this information? or (iii) indifference, because nothing has changed. This kind of information has already inflamed the gun owners. What if it also inflames the non-gun owners who might now insist that their neighbors disarm, which of course would lead to conflict where none existed before the article?
    In short, nothing good will come from this. It certainly does not promote a respectful dialog about what to do about these massacres. I do think this will kill the paper. Newspapers are in a bad way to begin with. Loss of significant number of subscribers plus a wholesale fleeing of advertisers will cause them to go under, I predict. What a stupid way to commit business suicide.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie–What Laird said! :>))

  • llamas

    Laird wrote:

    “By the way, great poetry Natalie. You’ll give llamas a run for his money!
    ..”

    I feel the exquisite sting of the silk glove across my cheek . . . . but I would not dream of putting up any offering to compete with that of one of the site’s most-respected authors.

    And if I didn’t, it wouldn’t riff off Aerosmith’s ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’. Certainly not. Nor does the Beatles’ ‘Paperback Writer’ offer me any opportunities. None at all.

    To the instant topic – what a hypocritical, self-absorbed piece of trash this woman is. The hoi-polloi cannot be trusted to make their own judgements about the level of defense they might require in their own homes – but let a delicate flower of the Fourth Estate get a few nasty e-mails, and it’s completely reasonable that she calls for, and gets, heavily-armed security guards. The common clay cannot be allowed the means to defend themselves against the consequences of their life’s challenges, but she must be defended with deadly force against any insult, no matter how remote the threat.

    Something tells me that, if Henry Louis Mencken had ever got to the point of thinking that he was at any personal hazard from the legions of those who cursed and calumned him daily, he would have slipped a Colt Hammerless of 1903 in his hip pocket and laughed on his way out to the bar, and cursed the man who dared question his right to do so. How low have his descendants sunk.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Paul Marks

    HYPOCRITES.

    They should have a big sign on the newspaper office “Gun Free Zone”. And they should turn away anyone who tries to defend them.

    I might go to their funeral – “there might even be tears”.

    J.V.

    One thing I do not expect to get passed by Congress is “gun control” – not even by the back door method of getting some United Nations treaty ratified by the Senate.

    And if Comrade Barack wants to try doing it by Executive Order – well then “fun time” starts.

    If you really have the means to move to the United States (dirt poor people with no marketable skills are not wanted – so that is me off the list) then do not let fear of “gun control” put you off.

    If you are not afraid of the cold – then Alaska (although beware the DARKNESS of the winters – it really does send some people mad) and the Dakotas are for you (South is more free market than North Dakota).

    If you do not like the cold……

    Then Tennessee and Texas.

    But choose your town carefully.

    Big cities?

    Fort Worth Texas – most likely the least statist.

    Smaller cities?

    Tyler Texas – most likely the least statist.

    In Tennessee – little Athens has an interesting history (hat tip to Julie Near Chicago).

    Of course there is someone here I might like to speak up for South Carolina – a State with a long history.

    Although not as long as Saint Augustine Florida.

  • Paul Marks

    Sigivald – good to know that about Canada.

    Although I suspected as much.

    After all (to take one example) Alberta is not exactly a “liberal” place. Even the Canadian Liberal party has not been in office there for more than 80 years.

    No American State can say that about the Dems.

    Still pity the “Wild Rose Alliance” did not win the last election in Alberta.

  • llamas

    Oh, what the hell. . . .

    I make my living writing small-town news
    Just give me something
    Something I can use
    To take away your right to choose
    Give me dirty laundry

    Well, I coulda been a writer
    But I wound up here
    I don’t have to look good
    I don’t have to be clear
    My agenda matters here
    I’ll use dirty laundry

    Kick ‘em when they’re up
    Kick ‘em when they’re down
    Kick ‘em when they’re up
    Kick ‘em when they’re down

    And so on. One of the other staff lyricists can take it from here.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Regional

    Are the perps, sorry activist journalists guarded at home and while in transit?
    It often amazes me effwits use a high powered rifle at close range.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird–Excellent article–full of historical nutrients, readily digestible. Thanks a bunch!

    Besides seeing what he has to say at Volokh.com, Samizdatistas [and this Samizdatistette–did I get it right, Laird? :>)) ] might be interested in perusing Mr. Kopel’s site for links to some of his many articles and other media presentations:

    http://davekopel.com/

    “Who he?” See

    http://davekopel.com/about.html

  • Julie near Chicago

    Good heavens! Have I offended the new Samizdata ‘bot yet again? I’m darned if I can see what would have triggered this “awaiting moderation.” ???

  • Laird

    Hah, llamas, I knew that would goad you into the pool!

  • veryretired

    It’s even funnier.

    The paper asked the local sheriff for protection and was turned down because the vaguely hostile emails they cited weren’t even actually threats.

    I’m glad I don’t live in the surreal world of this paper’s management, in which law abiding citizens pose a deadly threat because of a disagreement, but proposing to violate those same citizens’ constitutional rights is sacred journalism, and totally protected by the same constitution at that.

    I’ve seen more outrageous cognitive dissonance on display, but this one is right up there competing for a top spot.

  • John K

    The aggrieved parties to this should be the citizens who do not own guns. If a property is not on the newspaper’s little list, then thieves know they can break in with impunity. It will be just like living in Britain for the robbers!

  • PersonFromPorlock

    John K
    January 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    The aggrieved parties to this should be the citizens who do not own guns. If a property is not on the newspaper’s little list, then thieves know they can break in with impunity. It will be just like living in Britain for the robbers!

    Since the data is only for handgun license holders, and since a shotgun is actually much more deadly, the ‘impunity’ may disappoint. Indeed, one looks forward with delight to “The Journal News” being sued by the relict of a deceased burglar for failing to make this point clear.

  • I didn’t know llamas was a bubble-headed bleach blonde. :-)

  • Eric

    The whole thing is part publicity stunt and part hysteria. First they publish the names and addresses of gun owners. Then they get a bunch of negative email which doesn’t contain any actual threats. What they wanted, of course was something they could use to get the police involved. But failing that, they hire armed security (oh, the irony) and make sure everyone knows just how important it is they’re standing up to… someone.

    What I find amazing is you can irritate that many people and not get a single email that crosses the line. I’ll bet I can get torrent of death threats just by writing something negative about Obama, say, or the latest game console.

  • Ernie G

    A hypothetical downside to the publication of the addresses is the possibility of an endangered spouse in hiding having her location revealed. A real and disturbing downside has now been reported. Guards in jails have reported that prisoners have told them, “We know where you live.”

  • Paul Marks

    veryretired.

    The newspaper had already lost 70 thousand subscribers (for being a far left rag) and is losing more every day.

    But they do not care – as the local State Senator says “if the newspaper goes under, they will just get a job at a university somewhere” (I just listened to him).

    This is the problem – the media do not operate on their own, they grow out of the education system.

  • llamas

    @Ted Schuerzinger, who wrote:

    ‘I didn’t know llamas was a bubble-headed bleach blonde. ‘

    Only on the weekends.

    llater,

    llamas

  • veryretired

    Yes, Paul, it is the educational system which is the key to the culture, just as energy is the key to the economy, and rigorous observance of the limitations of the constitution is the key to political freedom.

    That’s why I have been saying for some time that it is the elections to school boards and local bodies that will lead to a recovery of a limited state, not some sudden coup at the top.

    And llamas, the key question is—can you do it with a gleam in your eye?

  • Paul Marks

    veryretired.

    Someone like David Barton (down in Texas) would strongly agree with you – that action via the School Boards is the key thing.

    My own view is that government education will prove to be unreformable.

    Let us hope I am wrong.

  • Eric

    I don’t see the school boards as being the solution for education. Much of the power they used to wield has been arrogated by state and federal bureaucracies.

  • Paul Marks

    Eric – yes the MONEY factor.

    The point of the David Barton position is that (in Texas) the STATE School Board is very powerful (and offers a big enough market for its own TEXTBOOKS).

    However, while the Federal government hands out even one Dollar – its regulations will continue to deprave and corrupt education.

    As so often these days, I see no practical solution – other than secession.