8.13.19: Nation – (Politics): As a child growing up in the Philadelphia public school system, my fears were minimal.
Admittedly, I feared being the victim of a random jumping by a group of my boorish peers, who hunted students for sport in a vicious street-game known as “Got-a-Body.” But beyond that reasonable trepidation, my student-life was practically care-free.
Even upon beginning high-school, when I was introduced to the ever-present metal detectors, wands and baggage scanners, I never contemplated the implication of their existence. I’ll concede that, on some level, naivety may have been at play.
But I’d also contend that the late 90s and very early 2000s were unlike today. That is to say that school shootings weren’t top of mind, and the intrusive technologies were more of a precaution against the improbable rather than a foreshadowing of the inevitable. And even though the Columbine school shooting had occurred in April of 1999, that massacre was viewed as the exception, not the rule.
Times have changed.
Various reports cite a 200 percent increase in the sales of bulletproof backpacks since the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The hard-truth behind that statistic is that many parents are beginning to believe that school shootings are more likely to occur than they are not.
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a senator from California, last week tweeted that “your back-to-school shopping list shouldn’t have to include a bulletproof backpack.” Of course, the senator is theoretically correct. But she’s also speaking of America as it should be, rather than the country that is.
In the America that is, many parents are aware of the 22 school shootings that have transpired so far in 2019. And those American parents are desperate; desperate to keep their children safe and desperate for change as it pertains to the impenetrable gun culture that seemingly impedes legislative progress.
And the president doesn’t offer much hope or comfort.
When asked what his message is to students who are nervous about returning to school, U.S. President Donald J. Trump asserted that there’s no need to worry and that the pupils should study hard so that they can grow up and one day be the president of the United States or “do something else that’s fantastic.”
Mr. Trump’s aloof remarks likely only exacerbated the worry of families across the country. His comments were devoid of compassion and they failed to capture the urgency of the moment. Instead of assuring the American public that his political leverage would be exhausted on quickly pursuing universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons, Mr. Trump offered a cliché and then departed for vacation.
To be clear, bulletproof backpacks are in conflict with the expectation of a safe and secure learning environment for America’s children. In theory, such a high-dollar product should be off-putting; but in practice, it’s a drastic option that serves as maybe the only buffer between a kid’s safe return home and the nightmare scenario.
With that said, bulletproof backpacks may not be as effective as they sound. For example, a representative for Guard Dog Security, one of the top manufacturers of bulletproof backpacks, revealed that their product would be less effective against a powerful semi-automatic weapon, which appears to be the gun of choice for school-shooters.
Nonetheless, a bulletproof backpack is better than nothing at all. And nothingness is what elected leaders in this country are currently delivering to their constituents.
So, in that sense, bulletproof backpacks might be a necessary evil. Save for home-schooling, what option are anxious parents and children left with?
This is America.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® and I’m Drumming for Justice!™
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