Monday, July 30, 2012

Grass Roots NC, A Bully Org

Paul Valone
We referred here once before to the intimidation meted out to WRAL reporter Mark Binker for his apparently unforgivable sin of delving into concealed handgun permits in the state.

That intimidation got considerably worse, when the intimidator in chief, Paul Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina, published a picture of Mark Binker's wife and small children. Dan Besse, a Winston-Salem City Councilman, could not abide the false equivalency behind Mr. Valone's targeting of a reporter's family. Hattip to BlueNC for the exchange of correspondence between Besse and Valone that followed:
Initial message to Mr. Valone (Thursday, July 26, 4:22 p.m.):
FROM Dan Besse
SUBJECT attempted intimidation
Mr. Valone, Your attempted intimidation of a reporter by posting online his nearly complete home address, together with a link to photos of his wife and small children, followed by urging your members to contact him, is truly shameful behavior. It goes beyond the usual aggressive tactics and bare-knuckled political advocacy. Arranging hostile emails to politicians is one thing. Holding up a reporter's minor children to public view and enhanced risk as an advocacy tactic is something else again -- and is beyond the pale of acceptable behavior in our country. You may wish to consider a public apology to Mr. Binker and his family, followed by a resignation from your organizational position, as a means to attempt to salvage some credibility for your organization. Dan Besse
Mr. Valone's response (Friday, July 27, 3:24 p.m.):
Thanks for the note. As I am about to point out in the Charlotte Observer, 400,000 permit-holders had no idea their personal information would be “outted” by Binker. By contrast, Binker make a willful action, exposing their information, for which he should have anticipated consequences. That he published family photos openly on the Internet while engaging in such behavior indicates an arrogant disregard for his own family. As you note, we did not publish photos, we linked to his own (which are presumably pulled down by now), we did not publish his full address, and we did not advocate contacting anybody but Binker himself and WRAL – and I would hope we agree that they are fair fame.
An aggressive response? You bet. But an example had to be set to the media to let them know that unlike decades past, they can no longer attack gun owners with impunity.
Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Response to Mr. Valone (Friday, July 27, 5:31 p.m.):
Mr. Valone,
Thank you for your response, but your comparison is invalid. No permit holder was “outed”—much less 400,000 of them.
The information online at the WRAL news site does not include names, contact information, addresses, or other identifying information of individual gun owners.
The information you posted regarding Mr. Binker’s family included all of those, including a nearly complete home address, and a link to a photograph of his wife and children. In the context you posted it, it constituted exposing him to personal retaliation for his reporting, and you included Mr. Binker’s wife and children among those swept into the sights.
No one “targeted” individual gun owners. You targeted an individual’s family, including his small children. That is not acceptable behavior in our country.
I continue to call for you to make a public apology to the Binker family; and I hope that your organization will ask for your resignation. If it does not, that tells us something more about the group Grass Roots North Carolina.
Dan Besse


F. Paul Valone said...

Apparently, you decided to post only a partial exchange between Besse and myself, just as he posted a partial exchange on Blue NC indicating that, once again, the left can't handle the whole truth.

The fact is that we have media outlets figuring they can deliver a new type of intimidation to gun owners by publishing their data on the Internet.

In the age of information, that is a two-way street and, to paraprhase the movie "Network," gun owners are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore. If you want to call that "bullying," have at it.

F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina

P.S. Do you have permission to use that photo? It is copyrighted by Creative Loafing. I know the photographer. Maybe I'll send them a note and ask.

Brian R. said...

Reading your article, I fail to see what GRNC did that was worse than what WRAL did.

* - WRAL posts information about NC CHP holders without their consent because the information is considered "public"

* - WRAL's database initially provides full address information on the CHP holders as there is a defect in the script (there is an attempt to correct the release of full address information)

* - WRAL's data still provides enough information what some CHP holders address can be easily deduced because apartment numbers were not removed. NC CHP holders living on short streets with only 1 apartment building are still easily identifiable.

* - WRAL refused to stop publishing data on NC CHP holders, stating that they have a First Amendment right to publish it since the information is considered "public", even if their actions endanger the individuals contained in the database. In other words, WRAL does not consider the safety of NC CHP holders to be a valid concern.

* - GRNC publishes information about some WRAL employees that it found to be viewable by the "public". Keep in mind that this is information that WRAL's employees chose to post about their families, GRNC did not originate this information. Now there is outrage at GRNC when it was WRAL's employees and their family that made this data available to the "public". This is pure hypocricy.

To sum it up, WRAL publishes data with zero regard to the potential negative impact it would have on the individuals contained in the database, and this is justifiable. GRNC points out "public" data on WRAL's employees and now there is concern that "public" data may endanger the employees and their families. Those NC CHP holders have families too, yet their safety is of no concern to the likes of WRAL. Again, I toss up the hypocrisy flag on this play.

Doble Troble said...

Mess with the bull, get the horns.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

This is what happens to people who decide to post personal data on others and then hide behind "It was public information!"

All GRNC did was link to publicly posted info that Binker and his wife posted on the internet. GRNC didn't post it, they just pointed to it.

I'm glad that GRNC will work hard to get our rights recognized. I'm glad that people who try to invade the privacy of permit holders get their personal data posted for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Typical lefty action. Sucker-punch someone in the face, and when they respond in kind, collapse on the floor and roll around screaming in feigned distress. Start a fight, then cry like a baby when you get what's coming to you. My advice to "reporters" like Binker: If you don't want to be in a fight, don't start one. Simple.

Anonymous said...

How many book stores do we have in our community? How many gun stores?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:11 said: " Typical lefty action. Sucker-punch someone in the face, and when they respond in kind, collapse on the floor and roll around screaming in feigned distress. Start a fight, then cry like a baby when you get what's coming to you. My advice to "reporters" like Binker: If you don't want to be in a fight, don't start one. Simple."

So, is this typical "righty" action? Come up with a flawed but violent metaphor, try to frame your detractors as babies (i.e. not "real men") and then imply that someone who is in fact employed as a journalist by a respected news outlet is not a reporter, by putting quotations around that word? I'm not going to tar everyone on the right with that brush, but you're not doing gun rights supporters any favors by posting this stuff.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to tar everyone on the right with that brush, but you're not doing gun rights supporters any favors by posting this stuff.

Yes you are.

Letting the left get away with endangering gun owners is not acceptable. They did indeed, start a fight, but they got more of their own tactics back than they could handle.

USMC Gunny said...

WRAL made a point that the public has the "right to know" information in the public domain.

Valone and GRNC sre just informing the public about some information that is in the public forum. Most of it was placed there by Binker or his wife themselves.

If they didn't want the information out in public, they probably shouldn't have put the information out in public. The gun holders had no such option. The state of NC makes the permit information available. I agree that it is a matter of public record, but I also see that it serves no purpose for WRAL to draw attention to it.

Good job Paul Valone.

Anonymous said...

Need to Read: