It’s today’s big question: Should the government release the photos of Osama bin Laden’s death?
To answer the question from a public records perspective, they should. Traditionally, states have been releasing crime scene photos or violent images for decades. True, some states, like Florida, are working to censor the photos, but based on past similar situations the photos should be public record.
Journalists are weighing in on the discussion and their opinions vary across the board. Some say that the images are simply too graphic and too violent. Others, like Mark Pasetsky at Forbes, say that is a bad excuse. Pasetsky wrote a column saying the images would help Americans move forward, specifically he said:
The photo should be released no matter how graphic it is. The most important thing is to ensure the nation moves forward and experiences closure on this horrific tragedy. A photo of bin Laden dead will do just that and would serve as an exclamation point on Obama’s historic announcement.
However, I think the most practical position came from former CIA senior official, Michael Schuer who advised the photos be turned over in order to stave off any conspiracy theories.
What do you think? Should the photos be released as public record?
Update: The White House has decided to release a photo of Osama bin Laden. Timing of the release is being debated.
Update to the Update: The White House had changed their mind and will no longer be releasing the post-mortem photos of bin Laden.