UPDATE AT END OF POST: Moore responds.
As NewsBusters reported in March, schlockumentary filmmaker Michael Moore has called for the release of the pictures of the slaughtered students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The families of many of the victims as well as concerned fellow citizens have launched a petition to urge the Connecticut legislature to pass a law that would, amongst other things, prevent this.
The petition, filed at Change.org, was created by Nicole & Ian Hockley (parents of Dylan), Mark & Jackie Barden (parents of Daniel), and Jimmy Greene & Nelba Marquez-Greene (parents of Ana). It reads:
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.
Michael Moore and the hoaxers want to publish this gruesome information. For the sake of the surviving children and families, it's important to keep this information private. Other gruesome scenes have been kept private -- like the scene around Congresswoman Giffords shooting, Vince Foster's suicide, and Dale Earnhardt's automobile accident. This crime has received such international attention, it should be afforded the same treatment.
Supported by: Nicole & Ian Hockley (parents of Dylan), Mark & Jackie Barden (parents of Daniel), Jimmy Greene & Nelba Marquez-Greene (parents of Ana), Jeremy Richman & Jennifer Hensel (parents of Avielle), Erica Lafferty (Dawn Hochsprung's daughter), Shannon & Brian Engel (Olivia's parents), Michele & Bob Gay (Josephine's parents), and Tricia & Dean Pinto (Jack's parents).
Some of the messages from signatories are gut-wrenching:
Nicole Hockley SANDY HOOK, CT
Dylan is my son. I want to preserve his memory as a beautiful boy - not as a gun-riddled corpse. I also do not want his brother Jake to see these photos or listen to the execution of his brother, friends and teachers on 911 tapes.
Lauren O'Neill RIDGEFIELD, CT
My 7 year old cousin Daniel Barden was violently murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting. I am asking you, on behalf of my family, to please keep the sensitive details and photographs of Daniel and the other victims private. Please do not release this information. There are twenty five other families who are experiencing pain just as we are. In addition, an entire town, community and nation is deeply affected. Releasing information and photos is a violation of all of our privacy. We also believe it is a violation of the rights of the victims themselves. They do not deserve to have their final moments, which are no doubt gruesome and disturbing, put on display for the world to see. They deserve to be remembered for who they were in life. To the world, these photos are simply "victims." To us and many others, these victims are our children, our siblings, our grandchildren, our dear friends.
The Hollywood Reporter noted about Connecticut's HB 6424 Monday, "The bill contains within it an amendment that would prevent the release of any photos, videotapes, digital recordings or other depictions of any victim without the permission of the victim’s immediate family."
To bring further attention to this issue, Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, the parents of Avielle, published an op-ed at the New Haven Register Monday:
Our child, Avielle, was beautiful, funny, intelligent and spirited. She was courageous and kind. She was fiercely loyal. We are fiercely loyal to her.
No child should be reduced to a picture of her death. We choose to keep our memory of Avielle a healthy one. Releasing the photos and 911 audio of our loved ones killed on Dec. 14 would do just that, reduce who they are to a photo and a scream. These are not healthy images or sounds. [...]
We cannot stand the thought of seeing the graphic depiction of our child’s death promoted to serve anyone’s political purposes. For example, the documentary film maker Michael Moore began what was, to us, a horrific campaign to make the crime scene photos public on the grounds that it would incite action on gun legislation. We do not want our child to be collateral damage in a partisan, political fight.
Will Moore listen to these calls?
Less importantly, will the Moore-loving media report any of this?
(1/3) For the record: I oppose releasing any crime scene photos from the Newtown massacre without the parent's permission.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 3, 2013
(2/3) My point was, should a parent decide to do this, the horror of it would be enough to encourage every American to fix this problem.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 3, 2013
(3/3) 1n 1954 Emmet Till's mother released photos to show America what the KKK had done to her son's body as they killed him. It shocked...— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 3, 2013
(Cont.)...It shocked the nation- and just 4 months later the modern-day civil rights movement was born when Rosa Parks took a seat on a bus.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 3, 2013
*****Update II: Now Moore's claiming he didn't ask for these pictures to be released.