Sandy Hook Promise, a US organisation founded by several family members of those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has released a devastating short simply titled ‘Evan’.
The video appears to be about a sugar-sweet high-school romance blossoming through graffiti on a library table.
Hidden in the background another far darker but increasingly common story plays out.
“Know the signs,” the PSA implores.
Sandy Hook Promise’s website offers a range of “research-based programs and practices to help protect children from gun violence in your homes, schools and communities.”
“People who are at-risk of hurting themselves or others often show signs and signals before an act of violence takes place,” the website says, “by knowing the signs, you have the power to intervene and get help for that person. Your actions can save lives.”
The signs identified in the PSA include:
- A strong fascination or obsession with firearms
- Excessive over-reactions or aggressive behaviour
- A victim of bullying with real or perceived feelings of persecution
- Excessive study of firearms and mass shootings
- Unsupervised, illegal or easy access to firearms, or bragging about such access
- Gestures of violence and low commitment to school, or a sudden decline in academic performance
“It’s important to know that one warning sign on its own does not mean a person is planning an act of violence,” the website says, “but when many connected or cumulative signs are observed over a period of time, it could mean that the person is heading down a pathway towards violence or self-harm.”
In December 2012, 20 children and six school staff were killed when 20-year-old Adam Lanza stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School with a semi-automatic rifle in Newtown, Connecticut.
Parents of the children killed traveled to Washington D.C. after the shooting to plead with lawmakers to pass modest gun-control measures, only to see the laws fail on the floor in Congress.
Non-profit group ‘Gun Violence Archive’ estimates that more than 450 people have been killed in over 350 mass shootings in the US in 2016.
The list includes incidents where four or more people are shot and/or killed in a single incident, at the same general time and location, not including the shooter.
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