The difference between what information is public and what is private is not as black and white as it may appear. Case in point: Many of the contested files of the Columbine massacre, including video and audio tapes the teens made, have yet to be disclosed.The ultimate question used to determine it’s “status” is whether it fits inside the public interest. Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink, who took office after the massacre, said he would announce the decision sometime after Thursday’s seventh anniversary of the killings.(In a lawsuit filed by The Denver Post to make the material public, a court ruled that state law left the decision up to the sheriff).For the great ideal of “learning from our mistakes” to prevail, all information must be released. While it’s understandable that the families would request the information remain private, those emotionally involved with the case are too close to understand the public need for releasing the information … as is the sheriff’s office, which has been accused of ignoring warnings and mishandling evidence.If such a tragic event happened in our community in Summit County, we would expect to learn everything we could. Those protecting information are standing in the way of progress, and education, and those in Jefferson County should not forget about the international impact that fateful day had.The case is bigger than Columbine High School. Bigger than the Jefferson County sheriff’s office. And it should be handled, and remembered, as such.
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