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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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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History books are filled with photos of people we know primarily from their life stories or own writings. To picture them in real life, we must rely on sparse or grainy black-and-white photos and our own imaginations.

Now, thanks to some tech geeks with a dream, we can get a bit closer to seeing what iconic historical figures looked like in real life.

Most of us know Frederick Douglass as the famous abolitionist—a formerly enslaved Black American who wrote extensively about his experiences—but we may not know that he was also the most photographed American in the 19th century. In fact, we have more portraits of Frederick Douglass than we do of Abraham Lincoln.

This plethora of photos was on purpose. Douglass felt that photographs—as opposed to caricatures that were so often drawn of Black people—captured "the essential humanity of its subjects" and might help change how white people saw Black people.

In other words, he used photos to humanize himself and other Black people in white people's eyes.

Imagine what he'd think of the animating technology utilized on myheritage.com that allows us to see what he might have looked like in motion. La Marr Jurelle Bruce, a Black Studies professor at the University of Maryland, shared videos he created using photos of Douglass and the My Heritage Deep Nostalgia technology on Twitter.

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Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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It's amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.

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