Will This Invention Protect Kids in the Event of Another School Shooting?
It is abundantly clear that school shootings are increasingly frequent, tragic realities, and that more are bound to come. Just today, on the last day of school on Tuesday, a high school just outside of Portland reported a live-shooter. Not even the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school was enough to bring about stricter gun control laws.
A company in Oklahoma called ProTecht has recently created a product designed to protect kids when a shooter is loose in their school. It's called the Bodyguard Blanket, which is a bright orange, bullet-resistant blanket with back pack straps, and children would have to quickly either strap it on, or get under it for shelter. It seems to stretch credulity that terrified children and teachers would manage to do this in an emergency, but that is the scenario the company is promoting.
The blanket is also designed for protecting children from falling debris during natural disasters like tornadoes, but it is being marketed mostly for its potential to save lives during shootings. It is made from some of the same materials that compose the body armor that military and police officers use in dangerous situations, but is simpler to put on than a flak vest. The company has helpfully posted a video of the blanket undergoing a ballistics test, for those who'd like to check out how it holds up under fire.
Since Sandy Hook, gun nuts have called for arming teachers, and posting armed guards at schools under the asinine theory that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." But there have also been other bulletproof products for the classroom, such as the bulletproof whiteboard, that is both a teaching tool and a shield.
These products do not come cheap. At $1,000 a piece, the Bodyguard Blanket would be out of reach for any struggling school, and even some that are better funded, although the company is talking about partnering with non-profits and school districts to bring the costs down.