No parent should have to pray for their children’s safe return home, while packing them off to school. And yet, this is a reality almost all parents in the US face today. With incidences of mass shootings, a lot of which happen in and around schools, showing no signs of slowing down, and the Trump administration still not taking measures to limit gun purchase and access, parents are sending off their kids to school like families send off soldiers to fight on the border. And now, companies are marketing ‘bulletproof’ backpacks, because clearly it is easier, than stopping people from going on mass shooting sprees.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • By the end of July US had experienced 22 mass shootings at school. 
  • In 2018, 113 people died or got injured in mass school shootings in the country.
  • This is the reason why sale of bulletproof backpacks has seen a massive surge.
  • But is giving children bulletproof backpacks, or helmets or covering them in protective armour, enough?

With incidences of mass shootings, a lot of which happen in and around schools, showing no signs of slowing down, and the Trump administration still not taking measures to limit gun purchase and access, parents have resorted to buying bulletproof backpacks for their kids.

In the beginning of August, the US was shook out yet again, of its denial when it came to its gun violence problems, by incidences of mass shootings which happened merely 13 hours apart from each other. 22 people died and more than two dozen got injured in the mass shooting at a shopping centre in El Paso, Texas, and nine people were killed and more than two dozen left injured in Dayton, Ohio in two separate incidences of mass shootings. While these weren’t schools so as to say, a news report by CNN from July says that there have been 22 shootings at US schools so far this year, in which someone was hurt or killed. To give you some perspective, there were 23 mass shootings in the US last year, in which 113 people were killed or injured, as per a BBC report from December 2018. So we have four and a half months still to go in 2019, and the number already stands at 22 shootings.

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These numbers alone tell us why the sale of bulletproof backpacks have seen a jump from 200 to 300 percent. The product is being marketed now and parents, left with no choice other than to keep their kids out of school, are taking whatever protective measure they can. But will this finally ensure children’s safety in school? Isn’t this merely symptomatic treatment, while the actual cause lies untreated, or worse unaddressed? A lot of politicians and commoners in the US still don’t think they have a problem at hand. They don’t think that the fact that you can walk into a supermarket, show an ID and purchase a gun almost instantly in the country, is somehow responsible for the rise in incidences of gun violence.

Parents can give their kids bulletproof backpacks or helmets, or cover them in protective armour from head to toe. But that’s not a permanent solution, is it?

To many, keeping a gun is their right, it is a part of their American lifestyle, where the idea of freedom is extended to the freedom of being able to carry a gun, even if one doesn’t it. This is why it is called gun culture, because guns are a lifestyle in the US. But when your lifestyle begins to harm your society’s well-being, isn’t that a sign to change your ways?  With young children paying for this freedom to buy and carry guns so easily, with their lives, the US needs to ask itself, how and why did gun violence get so glorified? Let alone bulletproof backpacks, even covering children in armour isn’t going to keep them from safe from gun violence, which they may come across not just at school, but at their neighbourhood supermarket, or perhaps in their own home.

Parents can give their kids bulletproof backpacks or helmets, or cover them in protective armour from head to toe, but that is not a permanent solution, is it?  The sooner the American society begins to question just what is triggering people to turn into mass murderers, and what else, apart from stricter gun control, can be done to keep people safe from their fellow citizens, the closer it’ll get to a better and more effective solution, to the country’s rising gun problem.

Image Credit: Twitter

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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