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Learn the signs

Caitlin Jefferson

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The friends and families of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut experienced unimaginable grief four years ago when Adam Lanza broke in and shot six staff members and 20 students. Lanza was armed with three guns and single-handedly committed the third largest mass shooting in U.S. history, according to CNN’s article “Deadliest Mass Shootings in U.S. History Fast Facts.”

Lanza was born in Exeter, New Hampshire to Peter and Nancy Lanza, a long-time gun enthusiast. Adam Lanza was referred for special education preschool at the age of 2 and as he grew older, he proved to be a very disturbed boy. Lanza’s parents separated when he was in fifth grade, and he started to show red flags. Lanza began obsessing over hand-washing and violence, not coming in contact with others, and he became a very fearful, anxious person.

At 16 years old, his parents divorced and his love of violence increased. Lanza would draw very graphic images of war and battle. According to ABC News, Lanza’s preoccupation with violence may have been left unaddressed. His condition worsened as he grew older, and eventually he snapped and committed the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre which also killed his mother Nancy and himself.

If Lanza had been given more attention, it may have been discovered that Lanza’s home held numerous weapons, ammunition, and books about mass killings. The real reason why Lanza decided to commit mass murder is still unclear. Still, Lanza displayed multiple warning signs.

Some of the families of the Sandy Hook victims, along with a staff of seasoned professionals, have combined efforts and created The Sandy Hook Promise. The Sandy Hook Promise is an organization that aims to prevent gun violence by raising awareness, speaking out against gun violence, and developing and delivering mental health and wellness programs.

The Sandy Hook Promise organization recently created a video that explores the topic of gun violence and how to see and understand red flags. The video portrays a young man who communicates with an unknown person via writing on a library desk. A girl is revealed towards the end of the video as the person he was writing to, however while the viewer sees a sweet connection between the young students, it is easy to miss another boy in the background. While the viewer was watching the students communicate with each other, the boy in the background portrayed signs of gun violence.

“At the end of the video when I noticed it was about preventing gun violence, I realized how important it is to look out for people,” said junior Sophie Sawicki.

Sandy Hook Promise
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Learn the signs