Psychologist: Release of 9-1-1 tapes can do more harm than good

UAB clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow. Source: WBRC video
UAB clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow. Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The 9-1-1 recordings of the Newtown school shooting were released Wednesday. News outlets across the country cautiously covered the newly public tapes. Some newsrooms chose not to air or publish the tapes.

UAB Clinical Psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow listened to tapes. He argues the timing if the tapes release can be damaging.

"Trying to balance the difference between the trauma and the grief, and the sadness, and on the other hand, the joy of the holidays, it's an incredibly difficult challenge," explained D. Klapow.

The tapes give a glimpse into the tragic events that took place inside of Sandy Hook Elementary almost one year ago. In a shooting rampage, gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six employees before turning the gun on himself.

"The tapes are very graphic. They're very detailed. It's the first time that they've been put out and for a lot of these survivors, it's going to bring back a rush of memories," added Dr. Klapow.

He says listening to the recordings may act as a devastating trigger .

"It's not uncommon for individuals dealing with trauma, which these events are, to have events like this bring back feeling of anxiety, feeling of panic, difficulty sleeping, cold sweats, very significant symptoms."

Dr. Klapow says the tapes negative effects can extend far beyond Newtown.

"The tapes are affecting not just the families and children there, but really families and children everywhere and the fact that it's coming out right during the holiday season," Klapow said.

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