While Michael Moore is obnoxious with his in-your face tactics, I usually agree with him on most issues. I’m certainly in favor of gun-control and agree, as Moore pleads, that America should not look away from the gruesome results of our inaction. But this somewhat veiled call he makes for releasing Sandy Hook school crime scene photos is disturbing.
There is no doubt that photographs can and often should be used to effect positive change. Moore includes many memorable ones in his article. These images taken by photographer Ron Haviv during the Bosnian war are evidence in the Hague War Crimes trials. Just recently, I wrote in this post about being moved by the late Tim Hetherington’s legacy.
But there is something fundamentally different about releasing police photos from a crime scene without the consent of every one of those affected families. Do they want those horrible images out there? Here are some of their voices. (and a petition, if you’re moved to sign)
Imagine those photographs and imagine your children seeing them.
I can, if only a little. When I discovered my husband’s body in the garage, I managed to get my 8 year old daughter out of the house without her seeing the gruesome scene of his suicide. Although she knows how he died, she has no visual. A decade later, her memories are of her living, flawed but loving, handsome father. Only one image of how he died exists and it is imprinted in my mind – not hers. That feels like a blessing.
I hesitate to draw a comparison between my personal tragedy and the horror in Newtown. Except that all parents want to protect their children. And sometimes we can’t. But when it is possible, this right should not be taken away – and certainly not from these families.
* Update: The photos will not be released. Connecticut comes through again. Bravo.