"Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." --Thomas Jefferson

In a St. Louis suburb this week, Riccardo Crossland was charged with robbery and assault after he and another thug held a 23-year-old Florida man at gunpoint, demanding his money. After obtaining his wallet and watch, Crossland turned and took a few steps away from the robbery victim, then turned back and raised his weapon.

Unfortunately for Crossland, the man he was robbing was legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun -- and was carrying one at the time. (Florida permits are honored by Missouri. In fact, most Southeastern states -- where constitutional rule of law still prevails -- have reciprocity agreements for concealed carry permits.)

As Crossland brandished his weapon, the "victim" drew his weapon and opened fire, wounding Crossland. Police arrived soon thereafter, transported Crossland to the hospital, and congratulated his intended victim. Bridgeton Police Major Don Steinman told reporters, "Here was a robbery where we have a good ending."

In a footnote to this crime, it turns out that Crossland was carrying a pellet gun modeled after a .45 caliber automatic. A shoe-in for the Non Compos Mentis Award, you say? Granted, Crossland was ignorant of the fact that his intended victim could defend himself, but I relate his story only as a segue to introduce the real winner.

That would be one Christian Trejbal, a writer with the Roanoke Times in Virginia.

Trejbal describes himself in his bio as "a philosopher and historian who discovered editorial writing." He queries, "Who needs to finish a Ph.D.?" Apparently not Trejbal, who is already "piling it higher and deeper" as an editorialist.

Trejbal is the Don Quixote de la Roanoke, who jousts with government-database windmills using the Freedom of Information Act lance. In an editorial last Sunday celebrating "Sunshine Week, the annual week in which we reflect on the importance of open government and public records," Trejbal boldly went where no man had before. "To mark the occasion," he wrote, "I want to take you on an excursion into freedom of information land."

And that he did.

In the interest of public safety, Trejbal and the Roanoke Times would have done a fine public service by launching, say, an Internet database listing paroled violent felons, stalkers and murderers. Instead, however, he went after what he apparently considers an equally dangerous lot.

Trejbal wrote, "A state that puts sex offender data online complete with an interactive map could easily do the same with gun permits, but it does not. ... There are plenty of reasons to question the wisdom of widespread gun ownership, too."

Mark M. Alexander

Mark Alexander is executive editor and publisher of The Patriot Post, the Web's "Conservative E-Journal of Record."

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