How to offend most of Connecticut in one easy lesson: Take a photo from the scene of an unspeakably horrid crime, the murder of 26 women and children, and use it in connection with your product.
That's what a school security company did this week when it put a photo of a shattered glass panel from the Sandy Hook Elementary School into an email solicitation.
The email from Commercial Window Shield of Toledo, Ohio, went to local school officials around the state, The Courant reported. It was titled "Conn. Educators, towns move to secure school building glass" and included a photo of the blown-out front entrance to the Newtown school where, on Dec. 14, 2012, the deeply troubled Adam Lanza blasted his way in and killed 20 first-graders and six women who worked at the school before taking his own life.
The caption under the photo states that "securing glass with shatter resistant window film will help keep out unwanted intruders," which suggests that the company's product — a security film for windows that is designed to hold glass in place if it is broken to prevent immediate entry into a building — might have stopped Mr. Lanza.
Monroe First Selectmen Steve Vavrek sent an email back to the company calling the solicitation "one of the most insensitive, classless advertisements I have ever seen." That assessment is harsh, but is completely understandable given the circumstances of the tragedy. This week, a company spokeswoman issued an apology.
Intent and effect are not necessarily the same, and perhaps the Ohio firm didn't fully understand how its commercial would appear to those closest to the Newtown horror. Still, we hope even well-intentioned companies will think twice before appropriating such images for their own uses.