It's been the subject of much discussion around the office and in the blogosphere today, but I feel I need to leave my mark on the matter, too.
Christian Trejbal of the Roanoke Times posted an editorial article over the weekend that was ostensibly a test of the Freedom of Information Act, but which was in reality a witch-hunt against law-abiding citizens.
You see, his article only lightly touches on how FOIA affects our lives, but beat viciously with a hammer on gun-ownership, specifically concealed weapons. Mr. Trejbal used FOIA to get a full list of the 134,000 registered concealed carry permit holders in Virginia, and then posted it in the newspaper and on the Roanoke Times web site. He called it a gift.
He couldn't have been more right. Now, I know others have said the same thing, but here goes: criminals looking to steal a gun in order to commit a crime need look no further than Christian Trejbal's magical list. For $100 out of either his own pocket or his newspaper's, he has provided for free a list, with addresses, of all those law-abiding citizens who took the time, the training, and the hassle of getting licensed to legally carry a gun, and who probably have more than one. A not-too-savvy criminal could pick any address close to home, wait until the registrant left for work, and either attack him/her or just break into the house and poke around.
I honestly expect that break-ins will rise with this public knowledge.
What I want to know is if this ass-hat did any research into who commits crime. Did he, for example, look back through the last 10 years or so of violent crime cases to determine if the guilty party was a registered gun owner? He certainly didn't stop short when he compared concealed-carry owners to registered sex offenders.
He claims in his article that he's not impeaching private gun-ownership rights, that that's an argument for "another time", but in his list of potentially valid reasons for wanting to own a gun, we see the following: fear of a violent ex-lover, concern about criminals or worry that the king of England might try to get into your house. Um, yeah, I'm afraid of a man who doesn't exist. The fact that he includes this is an open impeachment of private gun-ownership, whether he'll admit to it or not.
Now, the good news is that public reaction to his article has been dramatic. Rumors are floating around that Virginia is looking into revising the laws for concealed-carry. Options that I've heard include: not requiring a permit to carry concealed, like in Vermont (where violent crime is almost non-existent); not allowing the list to fall under FOIA; or restricting the amount of data that can be publicly released with a FOIA application. I like that this mongoloid idiot has spurred public interest in revising our legal code. That's good.
What I'd like to see next is something a little more grassroots. I've heard negative banter about sending him poop in a DHL box, visiting crime upon him or his organization, and all other sorts of things. These are all bad ideas, because they prove his point: gun owners are inbred violent morons. Any attack on him is an attack on gun-ownership.
Mr. Trejbal isn't the problem: the Roanoke Times is the problem. Think about it: they ran the list of 134,000 names and addresses. That had to take up valuable commercial space in their paper, but they did it anyway. They ran the list on their website. At any point, an editor could have flagged the article as irresponsible or a waste of space. But they didn't, so here's my proposition: call the companies that advertise with the Roanoke Times and ask them to stop. Notify groups that have coordinated events with the Roanoke Times to withdraw their support. Make sure you tell them why you're dissatisfied. Heck, you can even tell those companies that you won't purchase their products if they continue to advertise with the Roanoke Times.
Believe me, this will make a stronger impression than griping on their message boards. After all, subscriptions don't make newspapers profitable, advertising does. When they call their corporate sponsors and ask why the cash tap has stopped flowing, they'll hear one name constantly repeated: Trejbal.
So let's send them the gift of advertiser silence. Free of charge.