There are plot twists, and then there’s the new Sandy Hook Public Service Announcement video that depicts the signs many all too often ignore to help prevent school shootings.
In a two-minute video, Sandy Hook Promise–the gun violence prevention group led by families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting– depict a heartwarming love story about a teen named Evan. Evan goes to the library and notices someone wrote on the table leaving a message and he responds. A conversation begins and for the whole school year, Evan wonders who his mysterious pen pal is. As the year draws to a close, Evan signs a friend’s yearbook and finally comes-face-to-face with the girl writing him. Their introduction comes to a tragic end when a student then enters the gymnasium brandishing what appears to be a semi-automatic.
Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise said the goal of the PSA wasn’t to frighten viewers, but to inform them. Hockley’s first-grade son Dylan was killed during the Sandy Hook shooting.
“We wanted to create an impactful visual to show that violence is preventable if you know the signs. Many people are unaware that there are specific signs that people give off, that can indicate a violent act is imminent,” Hockely said.
The PSA then rewinds and highlights all the instances when the shooter showed signs. While viewers watched Evan, the shooter was seen reading gun magazines, being despondent and not interacting with other students, posting pictures of himself holding a gun, watching violent videos online as well as being bullied.
“These acts are preventable when you know the signs. Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives,” Hockley continued. “We want this video to inspire hope in those who watch it, to show them that we are not helpless in the face of gun violence and that there is something all of us can do to prevent it.”
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 elementary school students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Nine of the families affected filed a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer but it was later dismissed. The Connecticut Supreme court will hear appeals.