What if some “news” organization or politician were to propose making lists of one or more of the following sets of people with home and work address, and making them publically available:
- People infected with HIV
- People in interracial marriages
- Women who had abortions
- Abortion doctors
- People with I.Q.’s below 85
Suppose the people creating the list of Jews were neo-Nazi’s or Muslims.
Suppose the people creating the list of abortion doctors were abortion protestors.
Suppose the people creating the list of homosexuals were from Westboro Baptist Church.
Suppose the people creating the list of people in interracial marriages were members of the KKK.
Would you consider this covered under free speech? I probably would. I’d also consider them at least partially liable if the people on those lists were harmed by people utilizing the information on those lists. I think I could convince a majority of people that the intent of the list(s) was to intimidate and/or harm the people on the list(s).
Now imagine it was the government making such a list. Would you regard this a permissible use of the force of government?
So when a U.S. newspaper conglomerate considered making a public database of people with concealed carry licenses and says this about them:
We are launching two enterprise projects across our newsrooms this month. The first will deal with the creeping influence of heroin in our communities. The deadly drug has quietly taken over, reaching across all age groups and eclipsing meth as the recreational drug of choice,” Lawitz began.
“The second project examines the explosion of ‘conceal and carry’ gun permits across the U.S. Through public records act requests, we will attempt to build state-by-state databases that list those who have the right to carry a concealed weapon,”
What do you think their intent was?
What do you think the intent of a government is when it makes such lists?
I don’t know about you but my mind immediately goes to the story of the Belgium Corporal.