Led by his belief that "this is what legalization looks like," I can't help but ask if Lost Coast Outpost editor Hank Sims has put people in harm's way by publishing the personal information of county residents in the cannabis business ("Growing Pains," Aug. 25).
Consider three parts of his "article." First, in giving his impression of an editor reporting what legalization looks like, he discloses that he knows "the fear of rip-offs is still strong," as if he's inviting crime. Second, he makes it known that this fear makes these residents sensitive about their personal information being published, so, moved by a whim, he decides to not publish addresses and parcel numbers, as if he's dangling a threat but without clearly asking for anything. Third, he says that residents are "rapidly moving out of the shadows" just as voters will get a chance to approve a legalization initiative this November, strangely offering that the odds are almost certain that they will. His thinking seems to be something like, "In the off chance that they don't, I'm taking this editorial opportunity now to go nuclear." And why not, he wrote, "those growers are not hiding any longer."
He concludes with a note that sheds light on his claim that this is what legalization looks like, which is that this is what it looks like in Hank Sims' reality. Just because the information is out there, he will publish it. He seems to find the value in this to be that maybe, if by some odd chance residents didn't already know that their information is out there, they'll know now. Hank Sims' reality is that your information is his public tool.
Is this, in any way, journalism? If it isn't, then what do we say if something does happen?
Michael Parks, Ferndale