Filmmaker Michael Moore wants the public to see the crime-scene photos of the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In a post on Michaelmoore.com, he argues that photographs change the world, whether they’re of a murdered Emmett Till, the 1965 civil rights clash in Selma or the 1968 My Lai massacre.
Next to those events, Moore places Newtown:
I believe someone in Newtown, Connecticut – a grieving parent, an upset law enforcement officer, a citizen who has seen enough of this carnage in our country – somebody, someday soon, is going to leak the crime scene photos of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. And when the American people see what bullets from an assault rifle fired at close range do to a little child’s body, that’s the day the jig will be up for the NRA. It will be the day the debate on gun control will come to an end. There will be nothing left to argue over. It will just be over. And every sane American will demand action.
Once those photos hit the web, writes Moore, there’ll be a round or two of outrage. “How could a media outlet be so insensitive to the families of the dead children! Someone will then start a boycott of the magazine or website that publishes them,” he argues (italics in original). Moore consults experts who give gruesome testimony about the extent of the carnage that would be exposed by the photos.
Here are a couple of places that Moore cannot count on to publish such material, if leaked:
1) The mainstream media: Decency standards, decades of precedent, etc. No way would this happen.
2) The unmainstream media: A recent New Yorker story profiled the predicament of the Newtown Bee in covering the tragedy — a story that showed just how delicately this community paper treats that day. Shannon Hicks, a photographer for the paper, was early to the school and snapped what the New Yorker terms the “iconic” photo of Newtown in which the children are walking with their hands on the shoulders of the classmate in front of them. The story describes how Hicks:
[S]aw a young officer, William Chapman, come out of the school yelling, “Get the bus!” He had a limp girl in his arms. Hicks began calling for an ambulance, but then she saw one already approaching. Through the lens of her camera, she watched as Chapman, only a few strides from the ambulance, fell to the ground, apparently losing strength. She saw that the child’s face had lost color, and knew that she would never publish the photographs she was taking.
Perhaps Michaelmoore.com should just go ahead and advance the wishes of Michael Moore.