By Andy Hirsch
A SWAT team quickly leads frightened kindergartners away from their school.
News crews gather as sirens blare at the midnight showing at a movie theater.
Stunned holiday shoppers, surrounded by first responders, stand in disbelief outside a mall.
The images are all too familiar. The horrific stories behind them happen all too often.
As you read this, there’s a strong possibility that today’s headlines may add more alarming stories to the grisly list: A random, senseless killing on Main Street in the middle of the day; a bullied teenager down the block committing suicide on a school night.
The body count of shootings is just staggering. The annual “death by gun” statistics are just shameful.
In the year following Newtown alone, gunshot wounds killed 81 children under the age of 12. You read that correctly – 81 children.
We are better than this! Our country is better than this!
We all want a safer Main Street, a safer night out and a safer dorm room or classroom for our kids.
We can start to make it happen. Today.
A new Ad Council campaign for Firearm Storage Safety, sponsored by the National Crime Prevention Council and the Bureau of Justice Assistance and created by Merkley+Partners, is the first step.
At M+P, we did what we do best: create work that breaks through the clutter, and makes people stop and think.
The message of this campaign is very clear: You must never let your firearms get in the wrong hands. If you own a gun, you also own the responsibility to store it in a safe place. Your family, friends and neighbors are all counting on you. Each piece of communication ends with a simple reminder to always store firearms safely, and to “Lock It Up.”
The strategic insight came from talking directly to owners of firearms… law-abiding citizens who, as much as anyone, want their communities to be safer.
Some noted that we’ve embraced many safety rules that we teach our children: “Buckle your seat belt” or “Don’t take drugs” or “Always wear your bike helmet.”
Let’s make “Lock It Up” another universal safety rule.
Leaving a gun hidden under a bed or stored in a closet or a shoebox isn’t enough. When you’re not around, others may find it… and accidentally or intentionally misuse it.
Surely, even in these divided, politicized times, safe firearm storage is something we can all agree on.
A lot of talented, dedicated people donated their time and effort to get the word out, do some good and, most importantly, save some lives.
The documentary film director Henry Corra and his production team added great cinematic poetry and strength to our spots. The end title graphics were animated by Brand New School. The wonderful actor Richard Thomas added his rich, emotional and honest voice to our scripts. Seth Phillips mixed the spots at Sound Lounge. The photographer Grant Delin brought his keen eye and graphic simplicity to our print and digital efforts.
We thank them all.
In the end, if just one person hears our message and locks up their firearm today, then perhaps we can save just one person from injury or death.
As they say, “Save one life… and save the world!”
Click through for more.