Sandy Hook PSA takes POV of gunman

First-person narrative tells story from shooter’s perspective

A provocative new PSA from Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit formed after the 2012 school shooting that left 20 children and six teachers dead, shows a school shooting as it unfolds from the shooter’s point of view.


Directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman, Ghost in the Shell), the two-minute film follows a student as he makes his way to school and walks through the halls until he finally stops, takes a weapon out of his bag, and enters the auditorium shouting, “Look at me!”


Like previous efforts created by BBDO New York, the film emphasizes the importance of detecting the warning signs of someone prone to gun violence. The camera follows the student on his path to school, revealing clues to his ominous plans along the way: A campaign poster with the words “Dead Man” scrawled over a student’s face is ripped down; the shooter’s locker is opened and shown to be covered with violent images, including a picture of an assault rifle; and a social media post warning “Tomorrow you’ll all be sorry” is visible when a girl walks by a student sitting in front of a computer.


Released to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, the PSA was created in response to research from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security that found 2018 to be the most violent school year on record.


“More than 3,200 kids and teens have been killed or injured by guns, and there have been over 300 mass shootings in just this one year. This is beyond unacceptable. It is inexcusable,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and a mother who lost her son, Dylan, in the Connecticut school shooting. “Everyone has the power to stop violence before it starts, and we want to arm as many people as possible with the knowledge of how to keep their schools and communities safe.”


Gun violence at schools has steadily increased since 2011. According to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, there have been 94 school shootings in the United States in 2018, more than twice the number of incidents from last year. These include the tragedies at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff members were gunned down; and Santa Fe High School in Texas, where 10 students and teachers lost their lives.