So there's a video of the Texas church massacre

Apparently it was the practice of this church to record their services and play them back on the internet. So presumably both video and audio were recorded.

According to my source (NPR program “The Takeaway”) the FBI now has this tape.

Here is the topic I hope we can discuss: should this tape be released, and if so, to what extent and/or to what audiences? The option to release could be to limit it severely to researchers and law enforcement types on one end, to unlimited open release to everyone on the other end, with lots of stops in the middle. One suggestion on the program was to make state and national legislators watch it, so they would see and presumably feel the consequences of the current state of gun law enforcement (or something), with the idea that their theoretical reaction, having not seen it, would be much milder than their visceral reaction on seeing the video. I am not happy about this approach, but I’m still analyzing the issue for myself.

Secondary topic: would you watch it if it were available? Would you want to see the whole thing or an edited version with the worst gore elided, or not at all? (And, of course, why?)

Release it to only Jesus himself, and it will get leaked and on the internet in 10 minutes.

Does the church own the tape? Will the FBI give it back? If the church owns it, then they should release it via media outlets and/or youtube or Facebook or whatever.

No, I wouldn’t watch it.

Good point. I imagine the church has legal ownership of the tape, so if the FBI returns it to them, it will be their choice whether and how much to release it. But I remain interested in the varied opinions of Dopers on the issue.

It’s their decision. If someone shot up a meeting I was involved in, I would not want footage of my friends getting bullets in their chests streaming on YouTube.

I wouldn’t watch it. I can’t imagine any value I would get from doing so.

I don’t see any value either in making it publicly available.

Thankfully, we live in a country where “mak[ing]” people watch stuff they don’t choose to is generally prohibited.

Personally, I’d probably watch it to understand the tactics used, reactions of the congregants, and see if (not to judge their actions) there might be opportunities to rush the shooter and stop something like this if I ever found myself in a similar situation. But I’m not certain, and if an edited version were available, I’d prefer that one.

Presumably the FBI has one or more copies of the tape at this point, and I’m not sure of FOIA requests for it would be honored at this point or some point in the future.

I really can’t imagine how releasing it to the public would help anyone.

And sadly, I can’t imagine how legislators would change their minds after seeing it.

Fair point, I suppose, although no-one was proposing to force them a la A Clockwork Orange. Perhaps shaming them into viewing it would be more accurate, on the theory that as an elected representative they ought to make themselves aware on a visceral level of these kinds of consequences of public policy.

Again, this seems to be an extreme form of politicizing a tragedy, but I haven’t yet come to a conclusion about it.

Oh? What about forced ultrasound laws?

I see zero value in releasing it to the public. There may be value in using it to train LEOs, though I doubt it. The idea of using it to influence the gun control debate is interesting, though I think unlikely to be useful. Statistics alone should be enough for the gun control debate.

I don’t know if this is my view quite yet. After 9/11 I was frequently moved to 1st class on air planes as I must have looked like someone who could do something if it were needed so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I would do if I were in a position to do something. I did note that there didn’t seem to be much speed or hurry in the shooter until engaged by the guy outside the church (who had a gun). But I do wonder what would happen if you startled a shooter by running toward them or otherwise created an obstacle to their simple plan. And that is why I’d like to see what was tried.

I do think that the public release of the video of an armed gun man shooting innocent church goers consecutively and repeatedly might make some of the gun and NRA lovers have to deal with the question of: “Does anyone really need a gun that can do this?” “What if this was your mother’s church?”

You must be fucking kidding.

It’s already politicized. And what’s wrong with politicizing a tragedy?

How so? There are over 30,000 deaths per year in the US caused by firearms. Yet the old “thoughts and prayers” brigade is stronger than ever.

I would think that there are already enough videos of gruesome shooting sprees out there if one really wanted to try to make the point this way. For example, there is plenty of publicly-available video and photography of the recent Las Vegas shooting spree.

As an aside: I’m a member of the NRA and an advocate for the right of the people to keep and bear arms. I don’t find the term “gun and NRA lovers” very helpful in facilitating a dialogue. Obviously, YMMV.

I’m sure the answers are “yes” and “I’d remind my mother to always carry her gun for self defense.”

Put color pictures of the two Sandy Hook classrooms on the front page of The New York Times and see what happens.

This interests me. I have used the terms “gun-lovers” and “NRA devotees” in the past to denote a certain sub-section of gun owners and NRA members. It never occurred to me before that the larger group might assume I meant all of them.

Is that what you’re saying though? That it would appear that way to you? That reasonable gun-owners and NRA members will be offended by it?


I’m OK with that. I think checking with family members of those shown would be the right thing to do. Maybe some families would be OK with it, blur the faces of those opposed. I do think right wing voters vote their feelings instead of facts so maybe it would influence some people.