Monday, November 4, 2013

Will Bulletproof Whiteboards Be the Answer to School Shootings?

Worried about school safety in blood-drenched America? Well, we now have the answer. 

Bulletproof whiteboards!

You might think this is a joke; but considering the recent murders of teachers Colleen Ritzer and Michael Landsberry, there is little cause for humor. Ritzer was allegedly stabbed at school by an attacker wielding a box cutter. Landsberry was gunned down on the school playground. Ironically, Landsberry, an ex-Marine, once survived a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Ritzer’s killer was said to be a 14-year-old freshman in one of her math classes.

Landsberry was struck by a bullet from a gun held in the hand of a 12-year-old middle school kid. In that incident the boy may have planned to shoot several classmates. He did wound two. Landsberry tried to stop the carnage and died in the attempt.

The boy then shot himself.

In the wake of all too many similar incidents schools are hoping to play defense. According to an article in the New York Times, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is doing something about the threat of violence. At a cost of $59,800 the school purchased bulletproof whiteboards for professors. One will hang in every room. According to the campus chief of police the decision was easy. School leaders wanted “one more tool to help us ensure the safety of the campus community.” Even better: “the whiteboards are user-friendly and noninvasive.”

I’m sorry. Here a dose of bitter sarcasm seems the only reaction. One might posit such questions: Does the professor tell students about this possibly live-saving whiteboard? If an attacker enters the room, might not a struggle—with students—for possession of the shield ensue? For god sake, what parts of the body does one protect? The boards are only 18 x 20 inches. Hold the shield low and one’s head is exposed. Hold it high and…well. Let us say only that other delicate areas might be targeted.

Hardwire, the company that makes the shields, is seeing a business boom. In a YouTube video a company spokesmen explains that this innovative new product was “inspired by the Sandy Hook [Elementary School] tragedy.” Public school districts in Minnesota, Maryland and North Dakota have already purchased these special whiteboards. And why not! According to one expert, bulletproof whiteboards are fantastic. “It’s something that a teacher could actually walk around with, teach with it, place a book on it, it’s very lightweight.”

You can write on them too!

Well, I guess you can’t mess with the Second Amendment. So you can’t ban any kinds of weapons or limit the size of ammo clips. You can’t have more background checks or register all guns. You can’t require gun owners to lock up weapons or be held liable for misuse. After all, a “well-armed militia” is the only question to consider in 2013.

You know what the Founding Fathers would say if they were alive today? “Buy some bulletproof whiteboards!”

Besides, you know the N.R.A. argument. Banning guns won’t stop all the killings. “If you ban guns, then criminals will use box cutters.” Hell, what about knitting needles! At this point, who knows how far the N.R.A. will go to win this argument?

I will leave the constitutional argument to others—noting only that all rights are subject to carefully drawn, sensible limits.

And really, who says we have a problem? (Okay, probably Michael Lansberry’s wife and two children.) Others would argue, I suppose, that we already live in the safest nation in the world. Because the more guns we have the safer we are. Ann Coulter said so, days after the Sandy Hook massacre. “I’m on the Hannity show right now,” she tweeted. “More guns,” she added, “less mass shootings.” So, let’s buy more guns! According to FBI figures, 2012 was a great year for gun manufacturers. At least 16.8 million FBI background checks were run during the year.

Today, we must be getting safer by the minute. There were 11.4 million background checks ordered in the first six months of this year.

Do you feel safer?

I just don’t. In America today you can be killed in all kinds of places—or if lucky—maybe just wounded. You can be gunned down by a heavily-armed assailant in a theater in Aurora, Colorado. So what do we need? Bulletproof popcorn containers? You can be killed while screening passengers at the Los Angeles airport as happened just last week. So: Kevlar luggage! You can be killed while at work in the Washington, D. C. Navy Yard. Therefore: we need bulletproof office cubicles. You can be shot by mistake by your husband in Ohio. And you have to worry about incidents of road rage, too. If you missed it, two Michigan drivers (both with concealed-carry permits) recently shot and killed each other. Both men had pulled into a parking lot to argue about one driver’s tailgating the other. Your 5-year-old can accidently kill his 2-year-old sister. Or, one of your children can kill another in an argument over a video game. Or, moms, your son can gun you down, and also his sister, after watching the movie “Halloween.”

You can even pick up a gun and kill yourself, which, on average, 53 Americans do every single day of the year.

Another 32 Americans are murdered with guns every day.

And every day more than 200 are wounded.

Compared to all other advance nations, we lead by far when it comes to gun-related slaughter. So, what do we do? (Double click on chart below to expand it for easy reading.)

We know Congress isn’t doing anything.

Maybe at this point we cast logic aside. We need bulletproof whiteboards, not just in colleges. We need them in all the classrooms all the way down to the kindergarten level. Our kids could also use bulletproof notebooks.

I suppose we will never be safe, if Ann Coulter is right, until every American owns a gun and we finally put an end to the gun-related carnage. In fact, I suppose you could argue that this Christmas, pistols would be perfect stocking stuffers. You can’t have any limits on guns, right, because that would be the end of all freedom? Well, then, it is the duty of every freedom-loving citizen to buy at least one pistol, rifle or shotgun for every family member. Two or three per person, naturally, would be better. Yes, it will take time to reach this state of heavily-armed perfection. But while we wait, let’s not take chances. Clearly, we need some bold company to come out with bulletproof underwear for children. Also: bulletproof Huggies for infants.

1 comment:

  1. There's no such thing as an ex-Marine, only former Marines. Get your facts straight you silly civilian.