Watch Sandy Hook Promise's 'school essentials' PSA, but prepare to be gutted by it

Someday, future Americans will look back on this era of school shootings in bafflement and disbelief—not only over the fact that it happened, but over how long it took us to enact significant legislation to try to stop it.

Five people die from vaping, and the government talks about banning vaping devices. Hundreds of American children have been shot to death in their classrooms, sometimes a dozen or so at a time, and the government has done practically nothing. It's unconscionable.


Death tolls aren't the only meaningful measure when it comes to school shootings. What about all of the kids who were shot but not killed? What about the trauma of the kids who witnessed their classmates, teachers, and friends get murdered in front of them? What about the kids who have had to hide in closets, under desks, behind barricade doors, listening to the carnage outside of their classrooms?

RELATED: Those killed aren't the only victims of school shootings. Read this survivor's story.

According to a report in the Washington Post, 228,000 children have experienced gun violence in school since Columbine. And the rest of America's children regularly drill for it—a reality that people in other countries rightfully see as insanity.

Some of that insane reality has been highlighted in a new PSA from Sandy Hook Promise, an organization that focuses on identifying early warning signs of potential school shooters.

In the video, students share how excited they are about some of their back-to-school "essentials," which quickly morphs into how those items might help them survive a school shooting.

Warning: The PSA includes imagery related to school shootings that is disturbing. That's the point, but be warned.

I something wonder if we've become too numb to school shootings, and then something like this comes along and leaves me shaken. Literally, physically shaken. I will never get used to this. This should never feel normal, because it's not. It is not normal for our children to rehearse mass murder in their classrooms. No other developed nation that is not at war subjects its children to active shooter drills. No other nation's children live in fear that someone with a gun might walk into their classroom at any moment and shoot them. That. Is. Not. Normal.

RELATED: A school custodian's description of 'Stop the Bleed' training shows where gun culture has led us

The United States is supposed to be a beacon of light and freedom. We are supposed to exemplify greatness. This is not greatness. This is not freedom. This is insanity. The question is when are we going to grow sick enough of it to demand that lawmakers do what needs to be done.

[Parents: We don't have to sit idly by and wait for the winds of change to blow. To join the fight for our children's freedom, check out ways to act from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.]


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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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