by ASHLEY BENTSEN
In the wake of the December 14th, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, some of the 26 victims’ family members formed a nonprofit organization, Sandy Hook Promise, to inform students, parents and educators that each gun death in this country is preventable if people know the warning signs. The recently released PSA, “Evan”, is part of the “Know the Signs” campaign against gun violence launched by Sandy Hook Promise. The video uses plot and misdirection to make an all-too-real point: You can help prevent gun violence if you know what to look for.
While gun violence is not something we want to live in fear of, the message of the PSA is about how much a basic awareness of others’ behaviors could potentially prevent a disaster. “Our purpose is simple – to protect children from gun violence so no other parent experiences the senseless loss of a child,” the group wrote on their website. Accumulating over 3 million views, the two and a half minute film tells the story of a sprouting friendship between two high school students, but there is a chilling twist. The perturbing ending to the high school love story is an alarming wake-up call to our willful ignorance, or in some cases our innocent optimism, as we act as bystanders that overlook the important indicators of gun violence.
According to the Sandy Hook Promise website, these are typical warning signs of someone who may be planning gun violence:
- “Exhibiting excessive overreaction or aggressive behavior for seemingly minor reasons can signal someone who cannot self-regulate their emotions or control their anger.”
- “Perpetrators of self-harm or violence towards others may be victims of long-term bullying and may have real or perceived feelings of being picked on or persecuted by others”
- “Gestures of violence and low commitment or aspirations toward school, or a sudden change in academic performance can be a sign that someone needs help.”
- “A strong fascination or obsession with firearms can be a warning sign.”
- “Excessive study of firearms and mass shootings can mean a person is planning violence.”
- “Unsupervised, illegal and/or easy access to firearms, or bragging about access to firearms, can be a warning sign.”
For more information you can visit www.sandyhookpromise.org
To view “Evan”- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A8syQeFtBKc