On Sept. 15, fashion brand Bstroy posted pictures of its new items for the season which have since been met with heavy backlash from the public due to their controversial subject matter. The line included bullet hole ridden hoodies with the names of schools well known for experiencing shootings, such as “Sandy Hook,” “Stoneman Douglas,” “Virginia Tech” and “Columbine,” written across the front.
People have expressed their outrage on social media, claiming that the brand’s use of school shootings shows disregard for victims. Family members and others directly affected by the shootings have also called out the brand, addressing the disrespect they received through the conversion of their pain and loss into a publicity stunt. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime, was murdered during the Stoneman Douglas shooting, tweeted about the issue, saying, “Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset. If any of my followers no [sic] anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately.”
Perhaps it is no coincidence that two days later, Sandy Hook Promise, an organization devoted to spreading the awareness of gun violence, uploaded a “Back-To-School Essentials” ad that immediately went viral. The video starts with an innocent tone, featuring kids showing off their new school supplies, but quickly turns ominous. New sneakers are shown to be used for running away from gunshots, scissors and colored pencils prove to be perfect sharp objects for self defense and socks are shown to be useful to stop the bleeding of a gunshot wound.
The ad makes a good point through its use of everyday objects as methods of coping during a shooting, showing the effects of an increasingly violent world. School environments have become danger zones rather than safe spaces, where kids are expected to prepare in case of a shooter. Based on its overwhelming public response, the Sandy Hook Promise does its job in successfully advocating the prevention of gun violence. People disclosed their feelings through social media, emphasizing the large potential impact the video provides to those still on the fence about the effects of gun violence in schools today.
Jonathan Capehart, a representative from The Washington Post, tweeted about it, saying, “The terror in that sound and on her face has not left me since I saw the ad.” He’s referring to the end of the video, when a girl locked in an empty bathroom texts her mother that she loves her before hearing the sinister sound of footsteps.
According to Education Week, there were 24 school shootings in 2018, 18 of them in high schools, four of in being middle schools and two of them in elementary schools. This is becoming an epidemic that has spread and will continue to spread to learning facilities for all ages without proper awareness. Most have already agreed that putting it on clothing items is not an acceptable method of increasing awareness, but organizations such as Sandy Hook Promise have proven themselves reliable in doing so in a sufficient, respectable manner.
Esther Ju is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. They can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.