Survey Says!

Columbine families polled on records:

Sheriff Ted Mink of Jefferson County Sheriff’s department is dragging his feet once again over releasing the videotapes and writings seized from the houses of Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. He is now polling the families of a dozen students who were either killed or injured during the attack to see if they think the records should be released. It seems like that he’s gambling on the families saying they shouldn’t be released and disguising it as some great service to the victims’ families. The article states opinions vary between families but the quotes say otherwise.

From the families that want the records released…

“My feeling is that all of this information needs to be released,” said Brian Rohrbough, whose son, Dan, died on a sidewalk outside the school.

“There’s been a long battle. It should have been released years ago.”

Rohrbough, a longtime critic of the sheriff’s office, said he believes that the only reason the tapes and writings have been withheld is because they reflect negatively on the department.

The sheriff’s office had been given information about the killers more than a year before the attacks, and a detective had drafted an affidavit for a search warrant for Harris’ home.

It was never taken to a judge or executed.

That document was withheld from the public for two years and was, according to a grand jury, apparently the subject of an elaborate cover-up involving a former sheriff’s official.

Releasing the material, Rohrbough said, will help people understand more about the killers and the warning signs that were missed.

“I think it sheds a lot of light on what was going on in the year leading up to the attack,” he said. “I think it tells a lot about the two households. And I think it’s absolutely necessary.”

Dale Todd, whose son, Evan, was wounded in the school library, also said the material “most definitely” should be released.

“I’ve been wanting it public from the day I saw it,” he said.

“The behavior experts need to be studying that. . . . I think if they go public, people will watch them and go, ‘Oh, my God, that could be our kid.’ ”

And from the families that aren’t sure…

Less certain is Connie Michalik, whose son, Richard Castaldo, was wounded in the first flurry of gunfire outside the school and is now paralyzed.

“I’m not sure how I feel about it,” she said.

“I asked Richard how he felt about it, and he’s not sure how he feels about it, either.”

She said she can see reasons to make the material public.

But she said she also can see some reasons not to, such as feeding morbid curiosity, rather than serving as a tool to learn how to prevent future violence.

“If it’s just so people can go, ‘Oh wow, what a shame, how terrible’ – what’s the point of that?” she said. “You really get into some gray areas.”

So from what I can gather it’s not that the families don’t want the records released per se but that they’re undecided on whether or not they should be. I can see Ms. Michalik’s point about morbid curiosity. The last thing I want to see is these tapes get in the hands of the mutants but unfortunately, I think it’s a necessary evil.

It’s been almost 7 years since Columbine. Why has it taken this long to get the records released? The only reason I can see to not release them is if there is an ongoing investigation. And since I doubt there’s an investigation ongoing that the Jeff Co. Sheriff’s Department has been keeping from us. One can’t help but think that they’re hiding something.

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