School safety? This’ll show you how far we haven’t come.
More than 10 years ago, I wrote a column about a one-person Texas company that started selling backpack inserts that were made of bulletproof Kevlar. This was right after the Virginia Tech shooting.
The product was aptly named the BackpackShield. It came in 10 colors.
The idea was that your kids could put the bulletproof backpack in front of them in case one of their classmates suddenly decided to shoot up the place.
The maker — a man well ahead of his time — said the shield would stop round nose, full metal jacket and semi-wadcutter bullets. I don’t know what any of those are, but the inventor seemed completely out of place at a high-tech conference in the city.
I wrote that column as a protest over the insanity of it all. But the product seemed particularly appropriate at the time. In a sick way.
My editor back then didn’t like the column, and he shrunk it down to almost nothing — a product announcement with most of my social commentary removed. He probably figured Virginia Tech was one of those isolated incidents, or he was afraid of getting yelled at by his boss.
That was before all those elementary school kids in Sandy Hook were gunned down. And those people in the Charleston church. And at the Pulse nightclub. And at the Las Vegas concert. And…
I saw the other day that bulletproof backpacks are now fairly common. One sold at Walmart claims it can stop “up to a .44 Magnum, so you can walk in dangerous areas more confidently if you have one.”
“Dangerous areas” now include the hallways between math and social studies.
Yes, we should restrict the purchase of firearms — especially assault-style semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15.
But let’s not fool ourselves. There are so many guns already out there and these weapons have a long life span.
The best defense is still the motto: “If you see something, say something.” The rest of that saying needs to be “…if someone says something, the authorities need to do something.”
Maybe this last shooting will teach us a lesson. Or maybe we should all start wearing bulletproof shirts and pants.