The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde breaks our hearts, but after decades of school shootings, the question arises, “How much more?” At Sandy Hook Promise, where I was executive director, our mission was to “Protect America’s Children from Gun Violence in Honor of the Precious Lives Lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School”. This goal should touch and inspire us all. We will not tolerate inaction; the consequences are too devastating.
So what can we do now? The majority of people with a diagnosed mental illness do not engage in violence against others (National Council for Mental Wellness, Medical Director Institute). It is essential that we understand that almost all mass school shooters shared threatening or disturbing messages or images and that more than 75% raised the concern of others before the attacks. In an extensive study of school shootings, the Secret Service and the Department of Education found that 93% of school shooters had planned the attack in advance. At Sandy Hook Promise, we have worked daily to expand awareness and programs to schools, even through the challenges of the pandemic. We cannot let go. Helping isolated people and empowering children to say something can save lives. By teaching people to recognize warning signs and ask for help, we can make progress.