September 25, 2023

Day 39 – No Executive Orders

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Day 39 and we still wait. President Obama jumped through hoops to pretend to the American people he was signing 23 executive orders to ban certain guns and related equipment, among other actions, to further his demolition of the Second Amendment. Although he provided the public a summary of his intentions (he did not sign any executive orders) the actual executive orders that would contain details of his plans has yet to happen. How can the public, including the press, scrutinize Barack Obama’s plans for action if we don’t know any of the details? Is this by design?

Check on those nonexistent executive orders for yourself.

Just this week, Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage pushed through emergency legislation to temporarily prohibit the release of personal information of concealed weapons permit holders. The debate about guns continues in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In addition, this emergency legislation, seems prompted by events that took place shortly after Sandy Hood in New York, where a news agency there obtained the names and addresses of licensed gun owner in two counties and published that information, along with a map to locate each owner. The intent was obvious and the action created several backlashes, including a blow back of the publication of the names and addresses of the people who published gun owners’ information.

I have written previously that I believe that requesting this personal information has no good intents and purposes and will only result in putting innocent people in danger.

We are now hearing fallout from Gov. LePage’s emergency legislation and such fallout can be found in an editorial in the Journal Tribune. The editor appears to me to be up and down and self-contradictory in his position about this legislation. On the one hand he asserts the need to protect innocent people but on the other hand defends his perceived right to access private information for what seems no other reason than because he should be able to.

Part of what set off Maine’s action on emergency legislation was when the Bangor Daily News submitted FOIA requests for all concealed permit holders in the state. The Journal Tribune’s editor states his view of the events I wrote about above that took place in New York with publishing this information:

We believe The Journal News’ actions were in violation of the public’s trust and did a disservice to freedom of access advocates everywhere. While the paper was certainly within its rights to publish the information, even in map form, we feel they crossed the line. It is the media’s responsibility to use public information with care. There is a big difference between having to go to your town office or police department to see the list of concealed-carry permit holders and publishing a map in a major circulation newspaper of where they all live.

This information may or may not be in agreement with your own philosophies on access to private information but I believe the editor is completely missing the point in the reason why states and other municipalities have been forced to take the actions they have to block access to information.

I dislike laws probably more than the most people. Unfortunately, the reason we have to implement these laws is due to people and organizations like the Journal News in New York who, by the very words of the editor, “were in violation of the public’s trust” and as a result of that action, several events took place. Are we to trust each news agency or publication business that information they get through FOIA will never be published? A bit naive I think.

This action by Journal News immediately put at increased risk, every person whose name and address was included on that list. Did the Journal News consider the people attempting to live incognito, with a concealed carry permit, and probably a restraining order, to escape the dangers of stalking or abuse? This, of course, is but one example.

In addition, criminals used the opportunity to go to homes when the owners were away and stole their guns. People not on the list also became targets as thieves have a better sense of which homes don’t have guns making them easier prey.

But perhaps what the people at the Journal News didn’t expect was a return of the favor when others took it upon themselves to reveal, in the same public fashion, the names and addresses of the reporters who released that information. Consequently, these people had to hire body guards and security personnel to guard themselves and their homes. And all for what?

The editor gives the excuse for continuation of access to private information in this way:

Restricting access to public records is a troublesome proposition. The government should be striving for more openness and accessibility, not less. No other permit issued by state or local governments is protected information, and while there are some concerns, we do not believe they rise to the level that would warrant exempting concealed-carry permits from public record.

Gov. LePage has said he does not see any reason why these records should be public, but it’s tough to argue that the public should not have the right to know how many Mainers are carrying concealed, as it is a public safety issue that is pertinent to every citizen. If the state is in the business of granting or denying these permits, the public should be able to see them if for no other reason than to gauge the efficacy of the state’s process.

Are you kidding me? I fail to see how endangering the lives of innocent people, as there will always exist irresponsible and agenda-driven non thinkers as was on display at Journal News, doesn’t measure up to anyone’s standards of in need of offering means to disallow this needless threat. It doesn’t measure up?

If, as the editor states, the public has a right to know due to a public safety issue, this totalitarian view is offering the expenditure of the lives and safety of gun owners in exchange for allowing the public to know who carries. Seriously, are people who don’t know if their neighbor carries or owns in any more danger by not knowing? Statistic say not.

And to top it all off, the editor then says that people have a right to know who carries, “if for no other reason than to gauge the efficacy of the state’s process.” If this editor really believes this then I would have to suggest he/she also would agree with the following; as was asked of me in an email:

It should be public information and published in any media platform that anyone wishes, in addition to concealed carry information:

*Personal and private information of everybody receiving any form of welfare, i.e. food stamps, heating assistance, aid for dependent children, etc.

*Personal and private information of everybody receiving Section 8 housing

*Personal and private information of everybody receiving Medicaid

*Personal and private information of everybody receiving free or reduced lunches for their school children

*Personal and private information of everybody receiving treatment for contagious diseases

*Personal and private information of everybody on prescription drugs for mental disorders

*Personal and private information of everybody receiving medical treatment, which doctors and hospitals or clinics they visit

*Personal and private information of everybody’s police records, past and present

*Personal and private information of every school child in public schools (certainly I have a right to know if my neighbor’s kids are a threat to me because they can’t pull the right grades.)

After all, shouldn’t we have the right to know this stuff in order that we can gauge the efficacy of our government to ensure they are doing a good job? This editor does and fascists/totalitarian-thinking people think so.