The Organization ‘Sandy Hook Promise’ Releases an Awareness Video on School Shootings


Bridget Kulcsar

Shawon Paul ‘18 agrees with the premise of Sandy Hook Promise’s video.

We see it in the news more and more frequently – in big letters, SCHOOL SHOOTING. Since the Sandy Hook school shooting on December 14th, 2012, a gun has been fired on school property 186 times, and 555 children have died across the country due to gun violence. Because school shootings are becoming more frequent, the organization Sandy Hook Promise has recently created a video on how easy it is to miss the signs of a school shooter, and how to be aware of someone planning a school shooting.

Entitled Evan, the video begins with a student sitting in a library, carving “I’m bored” into the table in front of him. As the video progresses, another student replies to the boy’s message, and they begin to talk through the messages carved into the table. On the last day of school, the girl recognizes the boy’s handwriting from the table, right as the door to their gym is thrown open, seemingly randomly, by a third student holding an automatic rifle.

The video then highlights what the viewer missed: the third student preparing for a school shooting in the background of the story. “I had to watch it again just to see exactly what was going on in the background. It just goes to show how some people like to pay attention to the main character and protagonist, while ignoring everything else that they don’t believe will affect them,” said Jessica Wang ’18.

Given the recent spike in gun violence in schools in the past few years, this remains a major issue of concern for students, parents, and faculty across the country.

The third student could be seen watching videos of people on gun ranges, posing with guns, and shutting out other students. After the initial events, the video is slowed down and puts a spotlight on the third student and his actions. Finishing with the sentence, “Gun violence is preventable when you know the signs,” the video shows that events happening in the background might be the most important, and that students should always look out for one another.

One mission of the organization Sandy Hook Promise is to make sure students and adults have the tools to spot potentially violent individuals. In this video, it’s clear that their perspective is that though school shooters might try to hide their motives at first, there are a few signs that might give away their intentions. Most shooters had a history of being bullied or experiencing violence, and are usually excessively introverted, lacking strong social attachments, pessimistic about their future, with low self-esteem. Shooters usually try to hide their actions at first but will more than likely alert at least one person of their intentions, possibly for recognition or because they can’t keep it to themselves any longer.

As seen in the video, potential shooters might have an increased interest in firearms, and might begin to distance themselves from other students. When asked if he feels like he would be able to spot a potential shooter, Shawon Paul 18 said, “Probably not. Maybe if they were being bullied, or if someone was bothering them. I don’t think it’s too obvious.”

Given the recent spike in gun violence in schools in the past few years, this remains a major issue of concern for students, parents, and faculty across the country, and enters into other prickly issues such as gun control. With this video, organizations like Sandy Hook Promise try to offer different solutions, but the problem remains without a clear resolution.