When the Journal News published a map that details the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties, the paper’s editors say, they expected some criticism — but not death threats.
According to the New York Times, “Information [has been posted online] about where their children attended school; some reporters have received notes saying they would be shot on the way to their cars; bloggers have encouraged people to steal credit card information of Journal News employees; and two packages containing white powder have been sent to the newsroom and a third to a reporter’s home.”
The powder proved to be harmless, and, so far, much of the blow-back has been happening online. In New Rochelle, the Talk of the Sound blogger Bob Cox attempted to turn the tables by creating his own map that pinpoints the homes of Journal News employees.
“I don’t think my map is particularly fair to the Journal News employees, many of them have nothing to do with the story, but that’s in the same spirit of the Journal News map which is equally unfair,” Cox told PIX 11 News over the phone from Florida.
Still, Cox said, he did not think the story would take a threatening turn.
“I certainly don’t endorse the types of things I’m reading in the New York Times, about the threats, anthrax scares, getting people’s children involved, I just wanted to address the appropriate response and I thought my map was that response,” said Cox, who insists he will not take the interactive map down from his site.
State Senator Greg Ball, who represents Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, is not sympathetic to the recent security concerns of newspaper employees who have hired an armed guard stationed at their building. He has been vocal about the Journal News’ decision to publish the original gun owner map.
In a statement to PIX 11 News, he said, “When asked to take the site down, they [Journal News] told all of these good, law-abiding people to ‘eat cake’. Well, now these same editors are getting a taste of that poisonous cake.”
At the Journal News headquarters in White Plains, armed guards will continue to protect the offices indefinitely.