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WGY legal analyst Chas Farcher of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti joins Chuck and Kelly to talk about the sentencing of DennisDrue.
From 810 & 103.1 WGY's Kelly Lynch:
As you may have heard, the 911 calls from the Newtown school shooting have been released. This comes after months of pleading by the families and prosecutors not to release them to the media or the public. Understandably, they felt that releasing those calls would bring that pain and horror right back to the surface again, just as the one year anniversary approaches.
However, the judge ruled that under Connecticut’s freedom of information laws, the tapes should be released.
And they were.
There was much speculation about what those tapes would contain. We knew they were the 911 calls placed by school employees inside the building. Would we hear the shots? Would we hear screaming? Were those calls made by the teachers who were killed? Would we hear children crying?
For that reason, the families didn’t want them released. They didn’t want to hear the moment their child was killed replayed over and over again. It’s the same reason why families who lost loved ones on 9/11 have asked news organizations to stop showing the planes hitting the towers. It documents the moment their loved ones were killed.
Photographs, video and audio recordings are moments frozen in time. Some of them are beautiful events we want to see over and over- a marriage, a newborn, the smile of a family member who has since passed away. And then there are moments like the 6 minutes at Sandy Hook Elementary that nobody ever wants to experience again. The horror, the anguish and unspeakable evil that happened that day has had a profound impact on millions of us.
I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t know what I would hear. I wouldn’t be able to handle hearing children killed. I wouldn’t be able to handle hearing screaming and terror. I just didn’t know if I would be able to listen to any of the calls, knowing that children my son’s age were being massacred in the same building while the caller was on the line.
I was terrified of what I would hear, and I sat at my desk in the kitchen with one hand on the mouse for a very long time. I knew I had to listen, because it is my job. Finally, I took a deep breath. And I clicked. And I listened.
I didn’t hear screaming. I didn’t hear chaos. I didn’t hear children, and I didn’t hear the voice of anyone who lost their life that day.
What I did hear were scared adults inside the school, reporting that someone with a gun had run down the hall. Reporting the front window had been shot out. Reporting they had been shot in the foot but would be okay. I heard the faint pop of gunfire in the distance. I heard the bravery of a custodian who stayed on the line for nearly 10 minutes, looking out into the hallway, reporting what he saw and heard. I heard the calm of the first responders who entered the building, knowing what they had already seen by the time they reached the custodian.
I listened closely to each of the seven calls, and what struck me the most was the demeanor of the dispatchers. They didn’t panic or further scare the people they were talking to. They were quick thinking and well trained, and they kept reassuring callers as they talked them through the most horrifying experience of their lives.
Most broadcast organizations have opted not to air the calls. At WGY, we have put them on our website (CLICK HERE) and those who want to hear them can. Those who don’t want to listen won’t be caught off guard and forced to hear something they don’t want to hear. Often when the media gets their hands on something like this, they take it and run. They take the most graphic ten seconds and sensationalize it. For that reason, the fact that the media has chosen NOT to broadcast it has led many people to think the recordings are too graphic to air. That’s not true. The decision not to air them is out of respect for the families’ privacy, and respect for our listeners who prefer not to hear it.
I agree with the judge’s decision to release them. The freedom of information laws are in place to prevent secrecy in government, and any other ruling would be venturing into dangerous territory. I look at it the same way I look at the idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church. They have freedom of speech, and while I despise what they use it for, I would never want that right taken away from any American. While I was shaken to the core by what happened at Sandy Hook, I would never want that freedom of information taken away either. And that’s why releasing the recordings was important- so those who felt a need to hear them, could. And that’s also why opting not to broadcast them is so important- it gives people the choice not to hear them.
Ultimately I’m glad I heard them. Sometimes NOT knowing is worse.
Will Ferrell is working hard promoting Anchorman 2 showing up in character as Ron Burgundy on ESPN ahead of the movie release in theaters on 12/28. Here he is interviewing Bronocos QB Peyton Manning: