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Should 911 Recordings Be Made Public?

Share your opinion.

Last week's release of 911 calls reporting the Newtown/Sandy Hook shootings that took place almost a year ago have stirred debate, again, about whether such calls should be made public.

Many Newtown residents didn't think so. A number of family members of the 20 first graders and six school employees who were gunned down Dec. 14 last year tried to keep the records sealed, but legal authorities ruled against them. 

According to the Newtown Patch site, "The tapes were the subject of a court battle between state and town officials and a group of news outlets, including the Associated Press and Hearst Connecticut. After the state's Freedom of Information Commission ruled they must be released, Newtown and state officials appealed, but a state judge upheld the ruling last week."

Though our sister site in Newtown chose not to provide coverage of the tapes' contents and we are doing the same, readers can find the recordings on the Los Angeles Times' website.

One one side, people feel the painful memories for those who lived through a tragic event are reason enough to keep them from the public. On the other side are those who believe the tapes, which are public records, must be made available to ensure the public's ability to monitor the government, even when it hurts.

Then, there is the debate about whether one should listen to the calls even when they are released. Is there a good reason for listening? Can something to be learned from listening? Does it help bring some sort of understanding of the events of the day? Or should you, as a Time oped piece suggests in regards to the Newton recodrings feel disgusted with yourself if you sought out the recordings and listened?

Do you think such recordings should be made public? Would it make a difference if, instead the debate were over calls about shootings closer to home, like the Santa Monica shootings in June or the more recent LAX shooting? And what do you think of those who choose to listen?
Peter H. Brothers December 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM
I believe it is in poor taste to release them as they sensationalize a tragic event. Whenever they are announced to be played I change the channel.

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