Wow! The Sandy Hook Promise nonprofit organization released a powerful anti–gun violence ad on Friday, December 2, that is storming the internet. The PSA, which debuted ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, follows the love story of two high school students before a gut-wrenching twist is revealed. (Watch the video above before reading spoilers below!)
In the video, viewers are introduced to Evan, a typical teenager who is looking forward to summer break. While studying in the school library one afternoon, he pulls out a pen and etches "I am bored" into a table. The next day, he returns to the same table and discovers that someone replied to his message, writing, "Hi Bored, nice to meet you."
As the days pass, a budding friendship and potential romance builds as the two students, who've yet to meet, continue flirting by writing back-and-forth notes on the table. At the end of the school year, the teens finally come face-to-face as Evan signs the anonymous girl's friend's yearbook in the school gymnasium.
Before the girl gets a chance to fully introduce herself to Evan, a classmate appears in the room with an assault weapon as his fellow students scream and run away.
"While you were watching Evan, another student was showing signs of planning a shooting," an onscreen message reads. The PSA then rewinds and reveals that the troubled student appeared in the background of nearly every scene; he is pictured reading a book about guns in the library, being bullied in the hallway, making gun gestures during class and watching gun videos on YouTube.
"Gun violence is preventable when you know the signs," the video concludes.
"When you don't know what to look for, or can't recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant," Sandy Hook Promise cofounder and managing director Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan died in the Sandy Hook shooting, told Adweek. "That can lead to tragic consequences. It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence — these acts are preventable when you know the signs. Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives."
The Sandy Hook shooting, which occurred in Newton, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012, claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members. The massacre was the third deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history, and further launched a nationwide discussion about gun control.
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