In case you’re worried that training teachers in the art of carrying concealed weapons and placing armed guards and metal detectors on campuses won’t prevent school shootings, here’s another idea: bulletproof vests and backpacks for all students.
Miguel Caballero is a Columbia-based company that is best-known for its high-fashion bulletproof clothing line for celebrities and political figures, but now it is turning its attention to school children in the United States. Grade school body armor has arrived, in the form of bulletproof backpacks, t-shirts, and puffer vests.
Hum, could it be that the company has figured out how to take the tragedy of Newtown, CT and turn it into a money-making venture?
“These would basically be in the school and the students could get them. This way a teacher could tell them to put it on at the start of an incident much like when you are on a boat and they tell you to put on a life vest,” Caballero tells International Business Times. “So we are thinking about pre, post and during the incident.”
A company called Elite Sterling Security LLC sells Caballero’s products: the new MC Kids line has brightly colored backpacks that sell for $246 each, and a backpack-vest combination that sells for $1,085.
Are parents really buying these?
Apparently so. ABC News reports on one man, Demitric Boykin, who purhcased a bulletproof backpack for his 4-year-old daughter, Jaliyah. (Seen above.)
On the morning before Jaliyah took her bulletproof backpack to school for the first time, her father, over a bowl of Fruit Loops, had some grown-up explaining to do.
“So if any bad guy was to come in to your classroom, remember we don’t use guns, right, but bad guys do, right? So if they were to come in to your classroom with any guns, you put this on and this would stop the bullets,” Boykin told his daughter.
Boykin is not alone in taking the extreme position of forcing his child to wear bulletproof materials to school. Digital Journal reports that in the weeks following the Newtown school shooting, sales tripled for Utah-based company Amendment II’s body armor backpacks for children. And there are at least half a dozen other U.S. companies that carry variations of the armored backpack.
These companies are cynically playing on the fears of parents in order to make a buck.
Since when has gun violence at school become the norm? Children should not be arming themselves to go to school, any more than teachers should be carrying concealed weapons.
The solution is to create stricter rules for gun safety, but we saw last week that our Senate is in the pay of the NRA, so they can’t even agree to stricter background checks for gun buyers.
Here’s how Ladd Everitt, the director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, puts it:
We can accept that when our children go to school, they should be under the same type of threat of active combat as law enforcement and soldiers, or we can make sure that the shooting never starts in the first place by making sure that our gun laws are so strong that people who are homicidal maniacs cannot gain easy access to firearms.
We should be doing everything we can to reduce the possibility of any gunfire in schools, but putting our kids into body armor is not the answer.
What do you think?
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Photo Credit: ABC online video