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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

The emotion of 911 tapes

How many of you remember the tragic, frantic and panicked calls from people on the top floors of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001?

Recently, we heard the cries/screams of what prosecutors told us was a young man, Trayvon Martin, in the process of being shot and killed in the background of a 911 call.
And now, we have the release of the Sandy Hook calls. Terrified teachers and administrators begging for help as a gunman roamed the halls murdering people.

What I don’t understand is why the 9/11 and Trayvon Martin 911 calls were everywhere and accepted as a part of telling the story of those two tragedies, but the Sandy Hook calls are treated with kid gloves.


Because 3,000 deaths are faceless and overwhelming, one death is manageable but 26 people (many of the children) is too painful?

And spare me the fake outrage. In a week where pictures and video of actor Paul Walker’s fatal car crash were posted and played ad nauseam, the argument that the release of the Sandy Hook 911 calls would “cause the family pain” falls on deaf ears when we regularly ignore the pain of victims’ families as long as there is good video or they were a celebrity.

There are plenty of instances where the release of 911 calls have completely changed the “official” story and or led to new investigations, exonerations and a shift in the narrative of a tragedy.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant” and I’ll side with transparency and openness as opposed to trusting the gatekeepers with what information we, the public, can handle.


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