One of the saddest things to come out of the recent high schools shooting in Troutdale, Ore., is the fact that no one really seems shocked by it at all. “The country has to do some soul-searching about this,” said President Barack Obama in a statement after the event. ”This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted, in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me.”
Whether you believe that there have been 74 schools shootings since the Sandy Hook massacre just 18 months ago, or prefer to go with the more cautious 15 incidents, either way there is little doubt that there is a violent epidemic endangering students.
Like all crises, though, people are coming to the table with answers, recognizing that this simply can’t go on.
Their solutions? Blankets and protective sleeves.
Two new proposed “safety” devises have been publicized this week, both based on the idea that we need to make more effort to protect students when a shooting occurs on their campuses. The first, called “The Sleeve,” is a “12-gauge carbon steel case that goes over the door’s closer arm, securing it from the inside,” according to middle school teacher Daniel Nitzel, who modeled the device for media. “We look at it as a cheap insurance policy. If you have someone out in the hallway, and you do not want to go out into the hallway and lock your door, we want to provide you with a way to disarm that door,” he said.
The Sleeve seems similar in form to a cup that was created by a group of high school students shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, which also slid over the hinge of the door to make it impossible to open. “So many kids and adults were killed (at Sandy Hook). So we got together and we wanted to know how we could stop intruders from entering our school,” Deonté Antrom, a high school junior involved in creating the device, told NBC.com in October of last year.
What happens if you can’t keep a shooter out? Well, others are coming up with ideas to protect the students once the gun person is inside. Blankets.
“An Oklahoma company has created a protective blanket that developers say could give children a better chance of surviving debris from a tornado — or bullets from a 9 mm handgun,” reports Fox News in Oklahoma. “The Bodyguard Blanket, made by ProTecht, is a bulletproof pad designed to protect students during disasters at school. The 5/16-inch thick rectangle features backpack-like straps that allow users to put it on, and then duck and cover.”
Yes, we are teaching kids to duck and cover again.
Are we really at a point where we are discussing the need for bullet proof coverings and ways to jam the doors? Weren’t metal detectors to enter a building a sign that we’d already gone too far? We’ve seen proposals for putting armed guards in schools, watched bills go through state legislatures considering letting teachers keep loaded weapons at their desks just in case. How far do we have to go to protect students from guns without touching the root problem — that there are just far too many easily accessible guns to begin with?
We do not need “sleeves” and “blankets.” We need responsible gun laws that make firearms that can mow down crowds of people at a time impossible to obtain, we need more checks on who should be allowed to purchase guns, and much stiffer penalties on those who allow their guns to get into other people’s hands.
Want to keep students safe at school? Give them reasonable gun policies, not bullet proof blankets.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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