Des Moines Register Publishes, Pulls Map of Guarded and Unguarded Schools

Apparently the journalistic disease known as obsessive-compulsive interactive map publishing is spreading.

Late last year, Gannett's Journal News in White Plains, New York created a firestorm when it published an interactive map of gun permit holders in two counties north of New York City, obviously giving criminals, depending on how they target victims, the identity of places to rob to get guns or, by inference, people they could be comfortable wouldn't be carrying concealed weapons. On Wednesday evening, the Des Moines Register published an item still present on its site discussing the general degree of presence or absence of resource officers at Iowa schools. It also published a "handy" interactive map, since taken down, of which schools have resource officers, which ones don't, and which ones didn't respond to a survey on the topic. Excerpts from the report follow the jump (HT Newsmax via The Blaze):

At least 54 Iowa public school districts have a police officer or private security guard stationed at one or more of their schools during some part of the school day, a Des Moines Register survey found.

Police or sheriff’s officers visit and provide security to schools as needed in many of the rest of Iowa’s 348 districts on a regular basis.

The number of officers in Iowa schools could increase as officials ponder whether to add school resource officers in their buildings.

For instance, Iowa City school officials are updating the district’s comprehensive safety and security plan and are considering the addition of school resource officers.

Newsmax reportst that the map had "Red dots marking those without security, green those with and gray those that did not respond. The map was overwhelmingly red." This obviously helps anyone wishing to cause mischief or mayhem at a school a useful list of soft targets.

The Register's editor appears not to have expressed any regret for the paper's move based on a search on "map" at its web site. The article had 54 comments at the time this post was written, none of them favorable, and quite a few justifiably outraged.

One commenter said it best:

Posting where all of your WEAKNESSes are and pointing them out to violent people is IRRESPONSIBLE and should be held ACCOUNTABLE!!! This is not "freedom of the press", this is compromising the safety of our CHILDREN!!! Whether there is security at the school or not, it shouldn't be posted on BILLBOARDS for "all" to see.

No it shouldn't.

The Newsmax report says Register Editor Rick Green told Glenn Beck that "he had not seen the map until it was published and he pulled it down 'for revision.'"

Green reportedly further said: “I’ll tell you, nothing is more important to me than protecting the students, school teachers and administrators and safeguarding a community against any kind of violence."

Let's accept that Green didn't know wnat was coming. That's a stretch, given his inexcusable backing of Register columnist Donald Kaul a couple of months ago. Kaul wrote, among other things, that he wished he could "tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control," and then, after outrage ensued, claimed he was being satirical.

Still, even if you give Green the benefit of the doubt, you have to wonder what kind of judgment-impaired people he has hired for his newsroom, and the lack of judgment he had to possess to hire them or allow them to continue working there.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.