TagNew York

Mapping guns in your town: is that okay?

This screenshot shows the pistol permit holders in Westchester County, New York. The highest density of permit holders appears to be at the border with Bronx County, also known as the northern edge of New York City. 

An ABC News story I read through the Yahoo! News website tells about The Journal News, covering Westchester (Yonkers, New Rochelle) and Rockland (New City, Pomona) counties in New York, posting the names and addresses, on a map, of gun permit owners. The map contains:

…the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so. [Notice that some dots are outside the county.]

This article is interesting to me for two reasons:

1. The article has hyperlinks to the (alleged?) Facebook profiles of two people who commented on The Journal News’s website. I predict this will only become more common. I don’t have a Facebook profile to link to.

2. The rationale to make a map seems reasonable: so people know where there are potentially guns in their neighborhood. It seems reasonable that people want to know where there are potential sources of danger and harm near them.

The names and addresses were obtained through “routine” (their words, not mine, but it is pretty routine and normal) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The quantity and types of guns are not considered to be public record, although this may not be true, according to the ABC News article.

Tuesday roundup: High-speed rail and Asian carp

A collection of links and news stories I liked yesterday, Monday, June 4, 2010, the first business day of a new year and new decade. I hope you’ve started on this new year’s resolution.

  • Riding The Rails: How $8 Billion in Stimulus Funding for High-Speed rail Could Change the Face of the midwest—or Get Derailed* (Mindful Metropolis – The article presents nothing new, but for novices on the topic, it combines all of the talks, plans, and dollar amounts that have been discussed over the past few years. New to me, though, is feedback from a meeting of train advocates and industry types at the Spertus Institute in October 2009. *Links to Flash version of entire magazine issue. Download accessible PDF, look for page 28.
  • Columnist warns of forced porch-sitting, with possible mandatory neighbor interaction (Sprawled Out) – John Michlig takes Milwaukee Sentinel writer to task about shoddy journalism and defends real, walkable neighborhood designs. Also, a mention of a new neighborhood design called “coving.”
  • ‘Fewer’ people use fast train (China.org.cn) – The world’s fastest high-speed rail opens in China (Wuhan to Guangzhou); two weeks later there’s subtle criticism of low ridership reports. China.org.cn is interesting; known as “China Internet Information Center” and “published under the auspices of the State Council Information Office and the China International Publishing Group in Beijing.” It’s hard to know what information comes from the government and what doesn’t.
  • Fight Against Asian Carp Threatens Fragile Great Lakes Unity (New York Times) – The State of New York has joined the State of Michigan’s lawsuit against the State of Illinois to force Illinois to close the waterway connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. The states fear that Asian carp will soon invade the Great Lakes and destroy the ecology. The State of Illinois operates eight locks and dams along the Illinois Waterway and Illinois River. See map below (made with Google My Maps).


View Lake Michigan to the Mississippi in a larger map

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