Sandy Hook 911 recordings: Matt's Memo

Sandy Hook Elementary front lobby.

The Sandy Hook 911 recordings take us back to the moment. They bring listeners inside the school building where a shooter was killing twenty children and six adults. They set the calendar back to December 14, 2012. They allow us to sit right next to the dispatchers masterfully handling the most intense day of their lives.

The recordings do not capture the worst of the horror we know happened swiftly inside that school building. The pieces I have heard do not include gunfire or suffering, thankfully.

This record of history is a precious documentation of exactly what went down over a six minute life ending and life altering violent attack. The court released the the recordings because the law says it must. The protections afforded to a free press and open society cannot be set aside simply because the content is distasteful or disturbing to the community.

When I reported from Newtown last December the town was in the depths of grief. The world had descended on Sandy Hook and Newtown. Media occupied every corner. They were there to tell a story, the details of which were gradually revealed.

The Connecticut State's Attorney's office released it's Sandy Hook report about one week ago. Now the 911 recordings. More than eleven months after the shootings we have a much fuller picture of what took place inside and outside the building. We also know more about the isolated home life of the shooter.

The Hartford Courant editorial staff effectively captured why the tapes should be released in an editorial. They make the point that a more timely release would have allowed families to move past this moment sooner rather than later.

We decided not to air the recordings during our broadcasts tonight. The passive nature of television viewing would not have given viewers the choice of whether to listen. It's too sensitive to push it. However, you can listen to some of the recordings here if you choose.

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