Parents of the children killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December have started a petition in an effort to get the state of Connecticut to pass legislature that will keep sensitive information surrounding the horrific ordeal from the public. The petition directly references Michael Moore "and other hoaxers" looking to publish photos and audio from the tragedy to promote their own agenda.
Here's part of the message posted from three victims' parents in their Change.Org petition:
We are parents and family members who lost children in the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012. We're coming together to urge the Connecticut legislature to pass a law that would keep sensitive information, including photos and audio, about this tragic day private and out of the hands of people who'd like to misuse it for political gain...
THR says Michael Moore has argued that the leaking of gruesome photos and 911 calls could help sway public opinion on gun-law reform. But the parents of the children who were tragically affected by the shooting at the elementary school do not want the images and audio used for political purposes.
The bill they're looking to get passed would prevent the release of any images, video recordings or other depictions of the victims without the permission of immediate family of said victims. It's not difficult to understand why they might feel this way, in the wake of such a tragedy. Moore may believe his intentions are in the right place and some who support gun legislation probably agree, but it's also reasonable that parents and family members of the victims might not want images of their loved ones exploited for any purpose.
On Moore's side of this, THR points to a blog entry written by the documentary filmmaker in March, which discusses the use of graphic imagery, particularly in the 50s and 60s, to bring certain horrific crimes to light. He goes on to discuss the six and seven-year-olds who were shot multiple times at Sandy Hook Elementary School and what kind of physical damage that would do to a child. Here's part of his blog entry...
The pictures showing all this exist right now, somewhere in the police and medical examiner's files in Connecticut. And as of right now, we've somehow all decided together that we don't need to look, that in some way we're okay with what's in those pictures (after all, over 2,600 Americans have been killed by guns since Newtown) – just as long as we don't have to look at the pictures ourselves.
Is Moore right? It's certainly debatable. Imagery can be a powerful thing. Like the old adage says, a picture's worth a thousand words. But is it really fair to equate the images of these slaughtered children with the photos released that brought to light the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam - at least, in terms of how they might affect the public's awareness of the issue? There's probably a whole debate that could be made regarding the public's access to and awareness of world events now by comparison to decades ago - or pretty much any time before the internet, really.
And the other question, is whether or not these images would be particularly effective in changing people's minds on the issue of gun control, at least, any more than the kind of graphic images some activists use to argue against abortion. Do those posters change people's minds? Or are they just shocking imagery directed at an emotional issue, meant for shock value?
Regardless of the possible effectiveness of the photos, should the parents have the right to keep them from going public? If you think so, sign the petition HERE.
Should the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting photos be released?