As we approach the two-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, Sandy Hook Promise, a national non-profit formed to protect children from gun violence, has released two powerful pieces of content—the documentary What They Left Behind and a three-minute video titled Monsters Under the Bed.
Conceived by BBDO New York, directed by Tarik Karam and executive produced by Stephen Daldry, the sobering What They Left Behind examines the gun-related deaths of three children, including 7-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School first-grader Daniel Barden. In a statement put out in conjunction with the release of the film, Daniel’s father Mark Barden, who serves as Advocacy Director of Sandy Hook Promise, said, “This was an extremely difficult film to make as we approach the second year since our sweet, little Daniel was so brutally torn from our family, but we can only hope that somehow by sharing what we have experienced we can help other communities learn how to avoid a similar fate.”
Monsters Under the Bed, also from BBDO New York and Karam, presents an illuminating social experiment of sorts. It opens with children being asked, “What are you afraid of?” Not surprisingly, the little ones are fearful of the monsters, goblins, zombies and other scary creatures they imagine are hiding under their beds at night.
When their parents are asked how they protect their children from these imaginary creatures, they share all sorts of solutions—while one dad does the standard check under the bed to reassure his child, one creative mom repels the monsters with a magic potion in a spray bottle.
And how do these parents protect their children from the real threats they face? How do they protect their children from gun violence? As we see, no one has a good answer when asked that question. Responses include: “Nobody expects it in their school. Nobody expects it in their town.”
“I don’t really think about it as much as I should.”
“I wish I had a magic wand to change everything in the world that’s wrong.”
After making the point that zero children were killed by monsters under their beds last year, the film drives home the point that kids need to be protected from the all-too-real threat of gun violence and encourages people to visit SandyHookPromise.org where they can learn more about the organization’s new tools and programs centered on mental wellness, social development and gun safety.