The Significance Behind Sandy Hook's 'Back-to-School Essentials' Video

With back to school season dwindling after many students have returned to the classroom this past Labor Day, Sandy Hook Elementary School has released a video that initially seems like a lighthearted school supply haul but quickly turns dark. 

Titled "Back-to-School Essentials," the premise of the video revolves around children excitedly showing what school supplies their parents have gotten them. About a few seconds into the video, you start to hear gunshots and screams in the distance—all of a sudden, they are using their scissors and colored pencils as weapons against an active shooter. 

Many may wonder how the video became so dark all of a sudden, but after a second viewing—and with an active eye—you can see the signs of an active shooter situation happening from the very first scene of the video. This is similar to the video that was released by Sandy Hook back in 2016 titled "Evan," which emphasized the fact that everyone must be vigilant and be on the lookout for signs of an active shooting. Many schools across the country have been stressing the importance of "if you see something, say something."

While these types of videos may be making people uncomfortable, this is something that is becoming the norm in our society. It’s now vital to include what to do in an active shooter situation during the housekeeping things mentioned at the beginning of the school year, both in public schools and universities alike. It has even become common to see a blurb of it written somewhere on a professor’s syllabus, prefaced with, “It’s sad that I have to put this on here.”

One concept that is being extraordinarily emphasized right now is that the world is what we make of it. It can be very alarming to have to fear going outside and being at risk of experiencing an act of violence, random or not. We, as college students, would like to live life carelessly in a very high-risk world.

Every time I go to an event at an arena or stadium, my dad always gives me his classic "firecracker talk." That talk essentially consists of his warning that if something sounds like a firecracker, it's probably not a firecracker, and I need to get out quickly. The emphasis that social media puts on going out and living your best life without putting too much thought into it sounds great, but is it really attainable in 2019? Can you really, truly, go out in public and not have a single care in the world? The short answer is: maybe.

It's possible to rub things off like they could never happen to you, or that you know the area you are in is safe, but it's still important to remember that it can happen anywhere and at any time. It's important to enjoy things and take it easy, but always have an idea of the where the quickest exit is or where you'd meet up with your friends if anything ever were to happen.

People are becoming very numb and desensitized to mass shootings because they happen so often. The tricky thing with desensitization is that we need to keep talking about it and continue to spread awareness, both on the warning signs to try to prevent it, but also what to do in case it ever does happen. Keeping the conversation going is how I think we can take a step forward in all this craziness and walk towards progress. 

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what side a person is on—no one should ever have to be afraid of going to school.

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