Sandy Hook Promise Releases Chilling Back-to-School Video
Ever since Parkland hit so close to home for me, I have done plenty of research into these horrifying tragedies and what positive change could help prevent future massacres. This research has included reading Sue Klebold’s book about her son’s mental health, as well as a book by a journalist who was at the scene in Newtown when Sandy Hook happened.
I remember Sandy Hook. I remember it very vaguely. I still lived in Florida and was a 5th grader. When we heard the whispers about what happened, we had no idea what to think. There had been other shootings throughout my time as an elementary schooler but this was the first major one where I can think back and remember being in Mrs. Emerson’s classroom when people started talking about it on that fateful December day.
20 kids like me, 6 teachers, and the shooter were all lost in the massacre. Parents of children lost then formed Sandy Hook Promise, who has the following mission statement:
“SHP’s mission is to create a culture engaged in preventing shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.”
Their latest PSA is in the form of a back-to-school shopping video. The children show off what they have this year. It begins rather innocently, with backpacks and binders on display. It somewhat shifts as a boy shows off his headphones. As he puts them on in the library, people begin running and acting hysterically behind him. The buildup continues as another boy shows off his sneakers, using them to run down a hallway. We then shift to a girl using her sock to stop a classmate’s bleeding leg, a boy breaking a window to escape with a skateboard, and two children using art supplies as potential weapons.
The video then ends on what may be the most saddening scene.
A girl explains, through tears, that her new phone this year is to keep in touch with her mom. We see her tell her mom she loves her for what is presumably the last time as we hear the shooter’s footsteps and it cuts to black.
This PSA moved me and definitely reaffirmed my belief that there is so much cultural factors we can change so that kids do not have to be used to this level of violence. One thing Sandy Hook Promise specializes in is teaching people to notice the signs in someone who may be vulnerable to harmful ideologies or mental health issues that could lead to them picking up a gun for the purpose of a mass killing. We, as individuals, need to familiarize ourselves with these signs. This is how we can do our own part to prevent future tragedies.
If you see something or know something, tell someone. If someone seems to be even thinking about committing such an event, tell someone. Tell a parent, a resource officer, a guidance counselor, a teacher, an administrator, anyone. You are not a snitch. It is better to find someone help if they seem to be struggling than have the blood of the perpetrator and their victims on your conscience.