.

State Sen. Musto Defends Vote on Newtown Shooting Images, Tapes

Anthony Musto
Anthony Musto
By Anthony Musto

The murders in Newtown were heartbreaking. As a father of schoolchildren and husband of a teacher, these events hit particularly close to home. They started comprehensive discussions of mental health, school security and gun regulation in the legislature, all of which I supported.

We were all shocked, and we all feel protective toward the families in Newtown. But the fact that his was a horrendous, emotionally charged incident should give us even more pause before drafting a new law.

When deciding whether to conceal government information, the presumption should always be in favor of full disclosure, no matter how horrific the incident.

Government shouldn't keep evidence of a crime secret unless the government can provide a compelling reason for doing so, and should never, ever be in the business of deciding what information is too disturbing for its people.

This law does not just apply to Newtown today. It applies to the entire state and into the future. It blocks public access to information collected during government investigation of a crime and in the exclusive possession of government.

If we want to protect Newtown families we should make it a crime to misuse such images for malicious reasons or to harass the families. But we should not cut off all public access to information from the start.

The families in Newtown have my sympathy and support. But for those of us in government to conceal information from our citizens because we think the information is disturbing sets a dangerous precedent. I opposed this legislation because I believe this is contrary to the way government should act toward citizens.

Anthony J. Musto
Doug Sutherland June 09, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Well said Anthony. Many people will say this stance lacks compassion and caring for the families that suffered so much in Newtown, but to make such a sweeping and widespread change to our state laws by focusing on a single tragic incident is wrong. No one wants to see the Newtown families suffer a single minute of avoidable pain, but our Freedom of Information laws are there for a reason. They protect us from government corruption and without the threat of transparency, our elected officials and public servants may be less likely to do he right thing when no one is watching. My heart goes out to all those touched by the senseless events of December 14th, but there were higher principles at stake in this matter and many of our state representatives failed to see them. I'm very proud to say that my State Senator understood both the short and long-term ramification of passing such a law. I wish the majority had followed his example. Thank you Anthony for taking this principled, if unpopular, stand.
Kathleen Miranti June 11, 2013 at 09:18 AM
"If we want to protect Newtown families we should make it a crime to misuse such images for malicious reasons or to harass the families. But we should not cut off all public access to information from the start." I agree.
Michael London June 11, 2013 at 09:21 AM
I do not often agree with Sen. Musto. However, he is absolutely correct in this one. Democracy is based on open government. If we hide one set of information, we give an excuse for others to seek additional exclusions from our Freedom of Information laws. Sen. Musto showed courage with his vote. As everyone recognizes, the tragedy in Newtown was beyond horrific. That should not be an excuse to enact precedent-setting, bad legislation.
Thomas Tesoro June 11, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Senator Musto is correct as is Ms. Miranti. It is good to know that we have a Senator who looks at the big picture and makes sensible votes.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »