We, as Sandy Hook Promise, refuse to remain silent and become bystanders to the violence that is unfolding across the country, long fueled by white supremacy, hate-filled ideologies, and fear-mongering.
The overt threats of armed marches, mass shootings, and riots on countless social media handles and news websites that have been appearing and escalating for months, resulting in threats to all 50 U.S. capitols, demand immediate vigilance. We call on our elected leaders, law enforcement, and all of us together to take these warning signs seriously and act to protect our communities – especially the Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA, and religious communities who have been specifically targeted – as well as our democracy, as a whole.
Sandy Hook Promise’s research-driven “Know the Signs” violence prevention programs are based on the fact that nearly all mass shooters and perpetrators of violence show warning signs before a tragedy takes place. We teach students a three-step process to “Say Something” to intervene and get help. This is a national call to take action before violence occurs.
First, recognize the specific warning signs of potential violence online and in interactions with others.
We are seeing these signs and more in reports from the FBI and in all forms of media:
- People communicating a serious intent to harm others (or themselves) or making an overt threat
- Statements or behaviors that intimidate or mock others based on real or perceived differences including race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
- Excessive irritability, lack of patience, quick to anger
- Access to and bragging about access to weapons
Second, take these signs seriously: act immediately and get help.
We demand that elected leaders and local authorities in all 50 states take action to prevent violence. They must ensure the safety of all residents – particularly the marginalized communities who are disproportionately being threatened – and take necessary steps to prevent violence in our state capitol buildings, houses of worship, and other public spaces by insurrectionist rioters and white supremacists.
Third, be an upstander and “Say Something.”
We call on every U.S. resident to join us in calling for action to end this violence and dismantle the hate and racism that is fueling it. And we ask that all those directly witnessing these warning signs online or within local communities to be an upstander. Please be vigilant. Take warning signs seriously and speak up.
Gun violence is not inevitable. It is preventable. It’s more important than ever that we work together to protect our children, our communities, and our nation from the current and rising threats of violence and domestic terrorism. We must fight fear and hatred with our commitment to look out for one another and speak up to get help when we see potential violence and injustice in any form.