We all remember the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School as if it was yesterday. Countless calls were made in 911 as a teenager armed with a gun entered the school and began shooting. The calls weren’t going to be released in order to protect those that lost family, but according to a Supreme Court ruling, the tapes were ordered to be release under the Freedom of Information Act.
In several chilling audio clips you hear victims, as well as emergency services, scramble to protect those in need. Many of the calls are from people in the building hiding from the gunmen as 911 operators advise them to lock themselves and any students inside the closest classroom.
One victim who had been shot in the foot called in only for the 911 operator to ask her if she could go back in the school to lock her classroom door.
One of the first women to call in terrifyingly shared, “I caught a glimpse of somebody. They’re running down the hallway. Oh, they’re still running and still shooting. Sandy Hook school, please.” A little later on, the schools custodian, Rich Thorne, urges police to hurry because, “There’s still shooting going on, please! Still, it’s still going on!”
Calls that make the hair on the back of your neck kept flooding in.
Many people however, felt offended that news organizations such as the Associated Press wanted to obtain the recordings. Kathleen Carroll of the AP responded that, “We all understand why some people have strong feelings about the release of these tapes. This was a horrible crime. It’s important to remember, though, that 911 tapes, like other police documents, are public records. Reviewing them is a part of normal news gathering in a responsible news organization.
The release of the tapes has split citizens, as well as victims, down the middle on the ethics of the decision. The principal of the school, Dawn Hochsprung said that, “I’d rather have more information about what happened that day. The more information I have, the easier it is to wrap my brain around.” In support of the principal, Cristina Hassinger, one of those who lost her mother, agrees.
Many parents of the murdered children however, understandably sing a different tune. Dean Pinto, a father who lost his six year old son, Jack, in the shooting, states, “While our Freedom of Information laws may have been adequate in a world where only the mainstream media disseminated information that is simply no longer the case. Today, anyone with a computer can have a broader audience than your local newspaper, and decency and discretion seem to be unrecognizable concepts.”
I don’t think anyone can argue that this isn’t a reasonable point.
Others however strive to find middle ground between the two parties offering transcripts be released instead of audio clips. The Newtown Bee conveys, “We acknowledge the right of the Associated Press and other news organizations to review the content of the calls as a means of examining the response by law enforcement to our most dire calls for help. But transcripts and timelines should suffice. What purpose does it serve to record and disseminate the anguished cries of those reporting violent murders they have just witnessed, or even sounds of continuing gunfire? It serves morbid interests, not public interests.”
Listen to the audio clips and let us know what you think.
Do you think the audio clips should have been released?