Marking six years since a gunman took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, an organization called Sandy Hook Promise has released a powerful new PSA. The haunting, one-minute, fifty-second clip is called "Point Of View," and it walks the viewer through a high school election day—from the perspective of a shooter. The video aims to encourage people to pay attention to warning signs, underlining how the practice could preempt further incidents.
Mark Barden, managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, told WSHU public radio that the video promotes the organization’s “Know the Signs” program which trains students and adults to recognize and report warning signs.
"We train people how to look for and to recognize and identify warning signs of somebody who is thinking about hurting themselves or hurting others and then give them the tools to connect them with the help or services that they need before it becomes a tragedy," Barden explained. "We have an anonymous reporting system, which is a way that folks can send a tip, anonymously, in sort of a safe platform. If they observe any kind of at-risk behavior, they can report on that."
As if marking the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy wasn't enough, the Connecticut community is also reeling from a bomb threat lodged at the elementary school. NBC News reported that the school was evacuated Friday morning after the Newtown Police Department received a call around 9 a.m. ET that a bomb was at the school. Officers went to the school to do an official search but concluded that the threat wasn't credible.
Today's swarms of news media in Newtown are eerily reminiscent of last year's Sandy Hook Promise PSA, which was entitled "Tomorrow's News," which showed what a local news broadcast would look like if it was covering a school shooting set to happen, well, tomorrow.
Greg Hahn, Chief Creative Officer of BBDO New York, noted in a press release about "Tomorrow's News": "It’s easy to know the right thing to do after it’s too late to do anything. In this PSA, we illustrate that when it comes to gun violence prevention, the stakes are too high to let that continue to be the case. We hope this moves people to support Sandy Hook Promise in expanding its Know the Signs programs."
Sandy Hook Promise, which was founded by family members affected by the 2012 shooting, aims to prevent gun-related deaths through educational and mental health programs as well as advocating for the passage of gun safety laws. No doubt parents across the country support the organization's efforts not just today but every day to do what they can to prevent devastating gun violence.