Imagining a school shooting through the gunman's eyes: Sandy Hook Promise releases chilling new video

Dylan Stableford
Senior Writer

A chilling new public service announcement, released Monday by the gun violence prevention organization Sandy Hook Promise, depicts the moments leading up to a school shooting from the shooter’s perspective.

The two-minute video, entitled “Point of View,” opens on the day of a high school election as seen through the eyes of a male student who is the object of bullying and taunts. The spot ends with him opening a duffel bag, pulling out a semi-automatic rifle and entering the school auditorium, screaming “Look at me!”

“Most people only notice a shooter once it’s too late,” reads a message at the end of the video. “See the signs and stop a shooting before it happens.”

The new ad is the third in a series of now annual PSAs put out by Sandy Hook Promise, which was founded by parents of the victims of the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre. The first, “Evan,” released 2016, showed how those affected by school shootings can miss the warning signs — even as they unfold in full view. The second, “Tomorrow’s News,” imagined a local news report that predicts an upcoming massacre. All three were produced by the New York-based advertising firm BBDO.

“They’re all centered around the idea of knowing the signs before it’s too late,” Mark Barden, Sandy Hook Promise co-founder, told Yahoo News.

Barden’s 7-year-old son, Daniel, was one of 20 children killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Six educators were also killed before the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed himself.

The new PSA comes two days after more than 1,000 pages of documents kept by Lanza — released by the Connecticut State Police in response to a Freedom of Information Act request — were published by the Hartford Courant. Among them: a detailed spreadsheet containing the names, dates and perpetrators of hundreds of mass murders dating back to 1786. The documents also reveal Lanza’s growing isolation.

There was a significant spike in gun-related incidents on K-12 school campuses in 2018. (Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security)

The ad also comes at the end of a particularly troubling year for those who study school gun activity in the United States.

According to the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, there were a record 94 gun-related incidents on K-12 school campuses in 2018 — the most since at least 1970, when the group first began tracking such data, and more than the numbers in 2017 (43) and 2016 (45) combined. The statistics include “each and every instance a gun is brandished, is fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason,” regardless of the number of victims, if any.

This year’s total included two of the deadliest school shootings since Sandy Hook. In February, 17 people were killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.; and in May, 10 were killed in the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Students hold a vigil for the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 15, the day after the shooting. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

“It’s very difficult to see even one happen,” Barden said. “But to see this many, it’s disturbing.”

But Barden remains hopeful that his group’s efforts to teach middle school and high school students how to recognize those signs will eventually lead to a “sea change.”

“It’s a multigenerational issue,” he said. “It’s going to take time.”

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