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Sandy Hook Promise video highlights signs of gun violence

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Photo from Sandy Hook Promise Facebook page
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This Wednesday will mark the four-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Sandy Hook Promise, an organization formed by family members who lost loved ones in the massacre, have created a video meant to prevent future shootings.

What begins as a heartwarming video telling a story of two high school teens who connect with one another by carving out messages on a wooden school table turns into an alarming message about gun violence.

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Credit Photo screen shot from Sandy Hook Promise video
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Sandy Hook Promise video.

“I think it is fair to say if an individual picks up a firearm or frankly any weapon to hurt themselves or others, there has to be some type of mental health or lack of mental wellness going on in their life,” stated Tim Makris, a managing director at Sandy Hook Promise.

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The group wants the video to be used to help protect children from gun violence in schools, communities and homes.

“We wanted to put a video together that illustrated that there are signs and signals that are often given off by individuals ahead of a moment where they may want to hurt themselves or others,” Makris explained.      

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Credit Photo screen shot from Sandy Hook Promise video
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Sandy Hook Promise video.

The video highlights a teen in the backdrop. He is spotted watching gun videos, posting violent social media photos and getting bullied by a school hallway.

“We’re teaching kids how to recognize the signs, symptoms and signals within the platforms that they’re on, so they’re able to be empowered to frankly police, if you will, themselves and protect themselves and recognize those signs. There’s upwards to 18 to 21 different platforms that young kids are on,” noted Makris. 

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, walked into Sandy Hook Elementary firing a Bushmaster rifle. He killed 20 children and six adults. Lanza earlier had killed his mother, then he took his own life at the school.

Makris's son was in the school at the time.  He was never injured, but heard the entire event unfold. His son is now an 8th grader and has worked to mentally recover.

“There are triggers. There are moments and things that take place where the kids will have a tough time. For my son, he got some amazing help early on to help him kind of walk through this therapy and give him tools for when those moments do come up. He knows how to manage them. He doesn’t watch any shows anymore with “shoot ‘em up” and guns and all that – he just can’t do any of that stuff, that’s too difficult, and police cars, lots of sirens and things, helicopters is another one, because there was so much going on outside the school – those are triggers,” Makris described. 

The organization's calls the ‘Know the Signs’ campaign “mental health first aid."

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