Friday, December 18, 2009

In Other Gun News

Edits in green to respond to criticism.

Guess what other newspaper quietly has a searchable carry-permit holder* database? Oh, the Indy (Red) Star's only looks as deep zip codes plus some demographic data; I rather imagine next, they plan to do the same thing only so tell me, where do you draw the line? A list with "African Americans" as the marked group instead of "permit holders?" That would not be okay-fine, riiiight? Or perhaps they could do one for Likewise, bad and wrong if they list Jews. Or Unitarians; but The Public Has A Right To Know, after all. So, how about a list of habitual parking-ticket offenders? Bad? Check-kiters? People who carry signs? People who talk in the movies? Pet-owners? How much invasion of privacy is too much -- and should there be a distinction drawn between Constitutionally-protetcted activities, "normal stuff" and criminal behavior? Or is privacy dead and we might as well give up? And why isn't this kind of prying sufficient cause for burning editors in effigy, or at least boycotting advertisers?

But for now, it's just two databases: 1. sex offenders 2. those of us legally exercising a right protected by both State and Federal constitutions, after having passed a background check. H'mm, one of those things is not like the other....

(Another Thing Dep't: The Star's database is actually older than the one the paper in Bloomington [which would love to be named and linked; dream on, kids] has and which drills down to street name. It looks to be a case of "I dare you!" in which each iteration by a different old-media zombie offers more detail. It's time they got their hands slapped. Let's stop 'em before they go too far).
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* In Indiana, it's a License To Carry Handgun, period. There is no requirement to conceal, though most instructors suggest you'll have less excitement that way. There's very little provision in State law for transporting a handgun without one.

10 comments:

Nathan said...

Just 4% in my zip code? Wow, that's lame. We need to be hitting the streets and knocking on doors, alerting people to the danger of not owning firearms in an area where crime is rising steadily (according to my ex-LEO buddy who works the 911 desk). "Hi, I'm here to share the Good News: You are legally entitled to protect yourself from home invaders!"

Of course I wouldn't be surprised if there were already a lot of firearms in homes around here that nobody sees the need to get a permit for.

Joanna said...

I rather imagine next, they plan to do the same thing only with "African Americans" as the marked group instead of "permit holders." That would be okay-fine, riiiight? Or perhaps they could do one for Jews. Or Unitarians; The Public Has A Right To Know, after all.

I know I beat this like a dead horse over at Tam's place, but I'm gonna say it again: Making this kind of overstated comparison does not help our cause. Being put on a list because you choose to own a certain object is nowhere near the same thing as being put on a list because of how you were born or what faith you follow. I know and understand the problems associated with these databases; they rankle me no end. I don't appreciate being treated like a criminal-in-waiting. But jumping straight to "OMG it's like they want us to wear yellow stars!" just Godwins the whole argument in the minds of the general public and erases any gain we might otherwise have made. Saying things like "I rather imagine next, they plan to do the same thing only with "African Americans" as the marked group instead of "permit holders." That would be okay-fine, riiiight?" just makes us look stupid because, no, it wouldn't be fine, and everybody knows it. Play the cards you've been dealt, not the ones that have already been discarded.

Anyway, that's my two cents. I imagine I'll deal with it if you disagree.

Roberta X said...

Joanna, you write, "Being put on a list because you choose to own a certain object is nowhere near the same thing as being put on a list because of how you were born or what faith you follow."

Well, the first list all those things are on (if you'll allow me to sub "expression of ethnic origin" for "race") would be the Bill of Rights, so it may be the Framer's overstated notions you have a quarrel with.

However, whatever, I was in fact indulging in hyperbole and I will see if perhaps I can rewrite it to something easier on the eye.

As for "Godwining the whole argument" or "looking stupid" to the maroooons in question, to them I will always be just a frickin' gun-nut, no more no less, and in their minds a neo-Nazi, Limbaugh-worshiping Jesus-freak, ignorant and fundamentally incurious. That I might be agnostic, libertarian or middlin'-well-read is beyond their grasp. I can't win; all I can do is refuse to go quietly and if that embarrasses the nicer folk, I feel right bad about it but I ain't gonna stop. :)

Tam said...

"...nowhere near the same thing as being put on a list because of how you were born or what faith you follow."

Wait, whoah!

You can't choose how you were born, but from an external and unbiased perspective, picking your religion is no different from buying a Glock; both are totally voluntary and based on inner beliefs.

Joanna said...

Tam: Very true. However, there are options for self-defense other than guns. It's not quite the same to say, "Oh, I can't practice X? I guess I'll become a Y, then." A gun is an external sign of a certain mindset, just like wearing a symbol of one's religion is not the religion itself. Outlawing a religion is like outlawing self-defense itself, not just restricting one means of it. (See: Britain.)

Tam said...

It's restricting the most modern, safe, and effective means of it.

No matter how strong one's kung fu is, those scenes where the plucky Hollywood heroine uses her mad ninja skillz to take down two or three young, hardened street thugs don't happen in real life.

(...and that's with a young, healthy, heroine; not one of Medicare age with an artificial hip.)

Roberta X said...

Also, the related, protected right here -- a hands-off applied to all the Fed'ral gummint and not just "Congrefs" as in the case of the First Amendment -- is the right to keep and bear arms. What for isn't really specified; you ask the Supremes about that. Arms. Kept and Borne by The People. All arms: boomy things. Sharp, pointy things. Trebuchetti. Boomy things with sharp, pointy things on the ends of them. Brass knuckles. Cannon. Lasers. Laser cannon. Trained asps. Shotguns that shoot bees. et cetera.

Really, what good is freedom of religion or of the press or assembly if you can't have a pistol to keep angry mobs or the King's troops outta your prayer and/or editorial meetings? Kinda hollow promise, seems like. Might as well let 'em search & seize unreasonably, too, and stick some airmen in the basement who you'll have to feed. Prolly not no handsome pilots, either.

Joanna said...

I'd feed a handsome pilot in the basement if he brought a shotgun that shoots bees. ;-)

Another important thing to remember, I think, is that these databases are created and maintained by private enterprises, using publicly available information. Yes, it's a dick move -- but they're not acting on the government's orders.

D.W. Drang said...

Another important thing to remember, I think, is that these databases are created and maintained by private enterprises, using publicly available information.
The information should be private. They expose people who choose to exercise their rights to negative consequences, such as burglary, loss of livelihood, or becoming a social pariah.

Plus, it's an invasion of privacy.

Yes, it's a dick move -- they're not acting on the government's orders.

No connection between media and poly-tick-al parties in Indiana?

I get your pint, Joanna, I do, but consider that elevating the argument to a racial/religious/ethnic one may seem to be "Godwining" the argument, but it is also framing our point (your point--"The List" is confidential here in Washington AC) in terms any "progressive" cannot ignore.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this service to those of us in the burglary community. It makes it much easier for me to know where I'm safest doing my job. Thanks Indy Star!