Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Sandy Hook Promise, an organization created by family members of victims of the shooting, released a jarring PSA to help prevent school future shootings. It’s troubling. It’s important. It demands to be seen.
Titled ‘Tomorrow’s News’, the PSA imagines what news coverage of a school shooting would look like if it was done the day before the actual shooting. A reporter begins by declaring that tomorrow a 15-year-old boy will bring a gun to school and kill four children and two adults before turning the gun on himself.
The video takes a heartbreaking turn when the reporter begins speaking to witnesses from the school, who explain all the signs that were clearly laid out but they chose to ignore for one reason or another. A fellow student admits that he has already heard the student mention his dad owns a gun and even talked about using it on his bullies. His bullies then say that they will feel bad about picking on him after the shooting will take place but will continue to do so until then because they think he’s “pretty weird.” A teacher notes that tomorrow she will tell reporters that she has noticed something off in his behavior for the entire school year.
The message of the video is clear: Whether through social media posts, conversation with friends, or just general behavior, the signs of a shooting are usually there beforehand. We choose to ignore them or think of them as unimportant until it’s too late. If people don’t speak up when they notice suspicious or violent behavior in their friends, students, or even kids, then shootings will continue to plague our schools. Considering how disturbingly common school shootings remain in America, it’s clear this is a message we all need to hear now more than ever.