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Should the Newtown 911 Tapes Have Been Released?

Posted on the 06 December 2013 by Real Talk @talkrealdebate2012

Sandy Hook RibbonIt has been almost one year since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.  The events of that day will forever be ingrained into the psyche and memories of the American public.  The shooting sparked outrage over current, lax gun laws, pleas to finally tackle mental health issues, whether the school should be reopened (it has since been decided to be demolished) and now the latest battle is over the release of the harrowing 911 tapes. 

Opponents to the release lost their battle and the tapes were released yesterday to the public because of the Freedom of Information Act.  The tapes can be readily heard on a multitude of news sites.  The judge said part of the reasoning to the release was so that law officials could analyze the tapes and better prevent such mass shootings.

There has been a debate amongst the populace as to whether the tapes should have been released.  Some argue that to prevent the release would infringe on the Freedom of Information Act.  Any infringement now could set a precedent for future pieces of information.  Others argue that there is no good that can come out of hearing the tapes.  The release of the tapes would only be detrimental to the grieving families.  They think it is insensitive to not make exceptions to the law in this specific case.

I tend to be somewhere in the middle on this issue.  I will not be listening to the calls.  I tend to agree that no good could come out of us, the general public, listening to them.  It really would only be to satisfy ones curiosity.  If the tapes really could help law officials, then why not only release them to those departments.

Earlier this year, there was outcry over releasing photos of a dead Osama bin Laden.  The courts in the end ruled not to release them.  I think there are circumstances in which some information should not be made public.  Imagine if your child had died at Sandy Hook, would you want these tapes released?  Just because there is freedom of information, it shouldn’t neglect compassion.  There is no practical reasoning for the American public to have access to these tapes.

I am glad that news programs that I have watched haven’t played the tapes.  You for the most part have to go online to listen to them.  I also don’t understand why only the transcript couldn’t have been released.  To me there is a difference between the transcript and actually hearing it play out in real-time.

What do you think?

Should these tapes have been released?  Should there be any exceptions to the Freedom of Information Act?

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