Newtown’s Hidden Crime-Scene Photos

Exclusive: With solid Republican opposition and many Democrats scared of the gun lobby, Congress is turning its back on a renewed assault weapons ban, a collapse made easier by the refusal of Newtown officials to release crime-scene photos of the bullet-riddled bodies of 20 first-graders, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As a father and grandfather, I appreciate the feelings of those Newtown, Connecticut, parents who don’t want the gruesome crime-scene photos of last December’s massacre released. But it is now imperative that the people of the United States and especially the Congress face up to the horrible realities resulting from the nation’s cavalier attitude toward assault weapons.

If we are to prevent future Newtown massacres, we need – as a country – to study what actually happens to human beings when they are subjected to the violence of these powerful weapons. Yet, viewing these awful photos is equally necessary if we – as a nation – decide to place some twisted notion of what the Framers intended in the Second Amendment over the bodies of these 20 first-graders and the many other victims from mass killings.

Noah Pozner, 6, one of 20 children murdered on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

It was unpleasant, too, for Americans to be confronted with photos of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, but without the public release of those images, the reality of that war would never have been understood. Similarly, in the 1950s, the mother of 14-year-old lynching victim Emmett Till insisted that people see her son’s mutilated body.

In both cases, the images galvanized the consciences of honorable Americans to do something to prevent recurrences of these atrocities. However, even those who wanted to continue the Vietnam War or who favored maintaining racial segregation in the South needed to look at the images so their beliefs could be measured against real human costs.

Similarly, we must all look at these bullet-riddled six-year-olds, some of them literally ripped to pieces by multiple gunshots from an AR-15 rifle. For some of us, such an experience – as distressing as it would be – would strengthen a determination to take action. For others who believe that the Second Amendment gives them the right to own any weapon they want and carry it wherever they please, seeing the dismembered school children would give them a new way to value their “right.”

If, after all, the “right to bear arms” is so precious, it would be even more precious after seeing the torn flesh and the fresh blood of these 20 tiny schoolchildren and their six brave teachers. Each time, these “gun rights” enthusiasts shout out their truncated version of the Second Amendment – leaving out the parts about “a well-regulated militia” and the “security of a free state” – they could have these images of mangled children flash through their minds.

It would be a value-added to their Second Amendment pride. It would remind them that their “right” is even more valuable than the lives of innocent children.

Or, it might give these true-believers reason to rethink their absolutism and perhaps study the real history in which the Framers never viewed the Second Amendment as a “libertarian” right to rise up against the government, but rather as a practical necessity for states to maintain order and to put down armed rebellions. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “More Second Amendment Madness.”]

Though some of the Newtown parents have understandably recoiled at the thought of seeing photos of their children’s shredded bodies piled together or scattered about their classroom, one mother, Veronique Pozner, grasped the importance of facing the grim truth. She insisted that Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy see the body of her son Noah at his open-casket funeral in December.

The bottom half of Noah’s face was covered by a cloth. That was because his mouth and jaw had been blown away as had his left hand. He had been shot 11 times.

“I owed it to him as his mother — the good, the bad, the ugly,” Pozner told a reporter. “It is not up to me to say I am only going to look at you and deal with you when you are alive, that I am going to block out the reality of what you look like when you are dead. And as a little boy, you have to go in the ground. If I am going to shut my eyes to that I am not his mother. I had to bear it. I had to do it.”

As painful as her message was, Pozner was right. The horrifying facts of the massacre – like the 20 children who died that day – belong to all of us since we live in a democratic Republic in which all citizens bear responsibility for the laws that do or don’t protect our society.

We owe it to the little victims of Newtown to view the crime-scene photos and to listen to their silent witness as to what “gun rights” actually mean.

[For a limited time, you can purchase Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush family for only $34. For details, click here.]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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23 comments on “Newtown’s Hidden Crime-Scene Photos

  1. Frank Pitz on said:

    Please do not release these photos.

    • Frances in California on said:

      Mr. Pitz: Please tell us why. We need a reason more compelling than all the reasons given to release them. You must have such a reason: related to the deceased? A cop or EMT who had to serve at the scene? Something? What? Keep talking to us all.

  2. Margaret Jackson on said:

    I agree with the mother of Noah Pozner. This reality must be faced if anything is ever going to be done about these weapons. It is imperative that every member of Congress and even the president see these pictures – all of them. Some, at least, should be shown to the public as were the photos from Abu Grahib. The results of this carnage (and others like it) will never stop until we stop turning our faces away.

  3. Your intro states: “. . .the refusal of Newtown officials to release crime-scene photos of the bullet-riddled bodies of 20 first-graders,” but your essay never states who or what level of officialdom is refusing to release the photos.

  4. The horrific reality that law enforcement and ER doctors have to witness
    should be shared with those who only see their guns as anything that matters .
    What a thoughtful writing . We need something to have people face the grim reality
    of what the guts of six year olds splattered about schoolroom walls and floors look like .
    Otherwise, to many it’s just not real .
    The news clips showing those in 9-11 jumping to their death will live with me forever
    So should this — those who use their senseless arguments and politicians need to
    face it up close and personal — It’s our duty
    Bravo to that brave mother …..

    • Tom Salicos on said:

      ER doctors saw very little after Newtown. The assault rifle made sure there were few or no survivors.

  5. Fox blows on said:

    Mr Parry

    Very much respect your writings sir. Unusual in this case, you do not substantiate very much if anything. Who is refusing to release all the evident, not just the photos? Why doesn’t someone (even the parents) sue to see the evidence? By seeing the evidence, the public may see if there were anyone else involved, if Lanza had been taking anti-depressants, or illegal drugs. The facts would set this argument free. All your article does is tease us with a headline. Not a powerful argument sir.

    Mr. Fox

  6. Gaellinn on said:

    Maybe those parents who wish to share the photos of their child could be allowed to do so, and those who don’t want photos of their child released could be withheld. How many bodies does the world need to see?

  7. leftyrite on said:

    Photographs are powerful, agreed. But there is little evidence to support that the release of these tragic pictures would change anything–other than the landscape of grief of those who have been most affected.

    In our 24/7 shock world, it would seem that no one can cry out for decency or mercy or privacy. That, too, is a tragedy, one that can be averted through listening to the “better angels of our nature.”

    Those beautiful children and heroic adults, and their families, have sacrificed enough. Grant them respect. Grant them rest. Grant them peace.

  8. Andreas Burgos on said:

    Personally I am not sure that the photographs would be real anyway. Photoshop is an easy tool for a professional to use to mock up images from the scene. I could be wrong, but I find the entire event to be suspicious.

    • Christian on said:

      How do I know you’re real Andreas? I find you suspicious. I have some reality for you, but obviously you can’t take it.

    • grrrfriend on said:

      To a certain element of society, everything is a government conspiracy. Fact checking is unimportant- in fact, undesired. Once you get a lie out there, it has feet of its own. It doesn’t matter who started it, or where that person’s information came from- It’s easier to just believe every wacky theory because it doesn’t require pushing a button on a computer to verify it. I have seen hundreds of memes espousing wacky theories that turn out to be completely made up. I wonder why it’s so easy to believe the worst of everything, and the best of nothing.

  9. Bob Loblaw on said:

    Reading this take on the Newtown massacre, and the rationale behind releasing the photos, I envision the child victims of American Empire. From Natives who fell at the hands of Chivington to the Wedding party our drones decimated, Sandy Hook is but a snapshot.

    If Americans are to see the Sandy Hook photos, we must show the children who died in the name of American Freedom so we may lose our sanctimony and possibly gain a level of compassion.

  10. Rob Richards on said:

    Thanks for the article. Grief is no reason to lie about the facts or betray your country.

    Guns save thousands every day across the world vs. the inept ‘safe zone’ by teachers of from what I read an anti-gun ‘socialist’ teacher’s union that would not allow guards –and that in fact actually killed these poor children. What next, disarm banks? At one time everybody brought guns to school.

    The US armed militia makes us impregnable, but apparently disarming for foreign invaders is OK because of a few nuts. No wonder Communist china has daily editorials on how we should get rid of guns–while their own nutty people attack their schoolrooms with knives.

    In addition, Founders such as Jefferson were quite specific on the need for weapons to overthrow errant government officials–and viewed the armed militia as the true government of society. The left says disarm, the right says give us a police state–nice.

    Maybe we should look at the irresponsible use of prescription drugs that seem behind these many shootings instead of advocating anti-self defense measures that would do nothing but increase incidents.

    The Libertarians have the right idea and the facts. They understand you go after the cause and not the symptom and that these anti-rights politicians have agendas. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org ….

    • Frances in California on said:

      Rob, you sicken me with your jibes at “socialist teachers”. Have you no shame? Were you just biding your time the day this went down, waiting for the NRA to do its inevitable song and dance? A pitiful excuse is your 1st Amendment right to respond to this article, just so that you could spew your so-thinly-veiled fascist authoritarianism.

    • Lindsay Ray on said:

      Rob, That Chinese nut with his knife killed NOT ONE.Your callous detachment from the Newtown horror, and uninformed conclusions make me shudder for all of us.

  11. ChetFields on said:

    “Founders such as Jefferson were quite specific on the need for weapons to overthrow errant government officials”

    I’ve heard this argument many times by those who support the right to ‘bear arms’. But really, how practical do people think this is? What would happen if a few well armed people marched on the governer’s mansion or the White House? How close do you think they would even get?

  12. rosemerry on said:

    Maybe more of the photos of dead Gazan children, and dead Iraqis, Afghans and our other child victims should be released. The USA’s gun violence is not only in the Homeland.

    • Vontraeger on said:

      There’s plenty of that on the web if you know where to go (liveleak) And if you think we’re violent it’s probably because you don’t see what people do to each other around the world. They don’t have ROE’s.

  13. There exist conspiracies that the Newton shootings didn’t even occur, yes “occur” is the correct word.

    Maybe the photos of the bodies would put a stop to those lies, and unfortunately maybe not, or the photos would launch further lies about how Adam Lanza couldn’t possibly have done the killing, and must it have been a hit squad.

    Yes, these claims are all out there on the web.

  14. I have no desire to see these pictures and I can not under stand antone who has a desire to see them without needing to be forced as to do their job to look at them.Anyone that wants them for their own sick use needs to be made to go through mental evaluation. Sick Sick Sick

  15. Vivek Jain on said:

    the issue is framed in a way that elicits a predictable range of responses, none of which helps us examine how to improve the physical, economic, social, psychological, and environmental safety of people (including of course children). This latter question would require the restructuring of beggar-producing-edifices and the transformation of the entire Jerusalem-to-Jericho road on which so many experience violence (h/t MLK).

    Rather than get stuck on the question of whether crime scene photos are to be released, we need to expand our concept of violence and violation. Second, we ought to seriously interrogate American ‘liberal’ assumptions about the state. It is interesting to note how what passes for liberalism has accommodated and rationalized so much oppression, violence, exploitation, and barbarism. The gap between “what is claimed” and “what Is” seems not to disturb the inertia and complacency of our public; this disparity does not impel the public to political action. We’ve been conditioned for powerlessness and atrocities.

  16. grrrfriend on said:

    I would certainly be sure to have a majority of the Newtown victims’ parents behind this. That said, I do think that is it time that anti-gun control activists see the tragic results of not having legislation that would require background checks, or that would prohibit the sale of automatic weapons to the general public. I know it would be devastating to see them, but this saying is truer now than ever before: A picture is worth a thousand words.