Social Community Fires Back At Interactive Gun Map Publishers

By on January 7, 2013

The interactive gun map that was published recently by New York paper, The Journal News, has caused outrage and retaliation – from one blogger in particular. Christopher Fountain went out of his way to strike back at a paper that thought publishing the names and addresses of gun owners would be a good idea. Today we look at the gun map debacle.

The Interactive Gun Map Situation

On December 22nd The Journal News published a detailed, interactive gun map online that showed the names and addresses of gun owners in the Rocklands area and surrounds. While technically this information is available to the public, the outcry was fierce and unrelenting.

Today, The Journal News and its employees are being guarded by a private security company, due to the negative backlash that they’ve incited. Not only have they made it easier for home invaders to do their job – they’ve also given them a method of knowing whether the home owners have guns or not.

This information can be used to either steal the weapons, or avoid them for basic B&E’s. The Journal decided this interactive gun map would be a good idea, in light of the recent shootings that have rocked the US. People should have a right to know if their neighbors own weapons. Of course, people have seen it as a gross violation of privacy.

Christopher Fountain’s Revenge

A blogger by the name of Christopher Fountain who runs a blog called “For What It’s Worth” – is a gun owner and was outraged by the audacity of the paper. In response to their blatant interactive gun map publication that in his opinion, has put many Americans in danger – he in turn published the personal details of the Journal’s editor and staff members.

The Journal is still trying to get hold of MORE details that would seriously put these innocent Americans at risk – including how many guns someone owns, what type of guns they are, and which are registered to the owners.

Mr. Fountain is working tirelessly to stop this invasion of privacy, that would make gun owners serious targets for thieves and violent crimes. The interactive gun map must be stopped!

People have been so outraged that a suspicious white powder was sent to the offices of The Journal News, an anthrax scare that turned out to be a threat and not the real thing. The whole interactive gun map publication has become a nightmare.

The Official Statement Released By The Journal News

“One of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular. We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,” Janet Hasson said, referring to the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

Janet Hasson is the President of The Journal News Media Group.

News From The Twitterverse

People on Twitter have expressed dark opinions about The Journal New’s decision to publish the names and personal details of innocent Rockland citizens. It seems that now, a whole can of worms has been opened thanks to the interactive gun map. Should the paper be held accountable? Here’s what people have been saying:

@Chester3424 says, “The inmates are taking over the asylum. #JournalNews #Gunmap Being used by #Prisoninmates to Threaten Guards. (Link)”

@InfoStuffinder says, “Ex-Burglars Say Newspaper’s Gun Map Would’ve Made the Job Easier, Safer | Fox News http://ow.ly/gz9rT #GunMap #Crime”

@blackdawgg says, “Here’s one of those #journalnews bastards info…please share!!! RT“@April_MG: No guns at this house, America! pic.twitter.com/LVhOpmFN”

@Lizardstomp says, “#JournalNews is wanting to post more gun owners names, I say its time to post the names and addresses of every creep at that paper”

@zapeters says “Let’s publicly condemn and exploit private gun owners, then add armed guards to our building for personal protection.”#JournalNews”

There has also been much outcry against the way The Journal News has compared gun owners to child sex offenders. How are they alike?

Social Media as a Media Accountability Mechanism

It’s been great to see how bloggers, and sites like Facebook and Twitter have responded to the interactive gun map published by The Journal News. If the majority is right, then it seems as though the Journal News has made a terrible mistake, and they didn’t truly consider the ramifications of their actions.

The online social community has said this of the interactive gun map:

• You have made it easier for robbers and thieves to target gun-free homes
• You have made it easier for robbers and thieves to steal certain guns
• You have exposed innocent Americans to violent physical and sexual crimes
• You have attempted to turn people against gun owners in the US
• You have compared gun owners to child molesters
• You are hypocrites to hire gun toting guards to protect yourselves
• You are cowards to not want to give an interview about your gun map
• You have exposed law enforcement personnel to threats, violence and harassment
• You have violated the nations trust and the privacy that we are entitled too

This is the sentiment coming from the online social community about the interactive gun map. Surely with this kind of backlash on their hands, The Journal News will step up and allow themselves to be held accountable for this serious lapse in judgement. It is a contentious issue.

One could argue that this entire interactive gun map issue was trumped up in order to rectify their ailing sales. There’s nothing like controversy to jump start newspaper sales again. Though this time, they may have gone too far.

How do you feel about the interactive gun map publication – right or wrong? Does the social internet have a right to be outraged about this move by the corporate-owned media? Have your say!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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