“Utah community mourns in the wake of school shooting.”
That’s the headline we are not reading this week, thanks to parents who recognized something was amiss with their sons’ behavior, and raced to disarm him moments after he fired his first round inside a classroom.
The mother and father noticed their 15-year-old son was acting strangely, and later realized he had taken the family’s shotgun and handgun. They were able to disarm the boy before he hurt anyone or himself.
The incident comes the same week that Sandy Hook Promise, a gun violence prevention group founded and led by families of those killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school, kicked off a campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the signs that someone may be at risk of committing an act of gun violence. The campaign includes a chilling PSA that illustrates how subtle but clear the signs that a teen may be contemplating violence can be.
According to the group’s Know the Signs guide, signals that someone is at risk of hurting themselves or others may include:
1. A strong fascination with firearms or acts of mass violence.
2. Aggressive behavior triggered for seemingly minor reasons.
3. A sudden change in academic performance or aspirations for the future.
4. Real or perceived feelings that they are picked on or persecuted by others, and isolation from others.
5. Unsupervised or illegal access to firearms.
6. Overt threats of violence, which may be verbal, written, pictures or videos. Eighty percent of school shooters told someone of their plans ahead of time.