Article and Photograph by Jacob Ladue
As I write this article I hear helicopters circling overhead searching for a lone gunman in my neighborhood, on a manhunt from police. This week has saddened (no… saddened is not strong enough, infuriated) me, not just because of the horrible tragedies in Seattle, Wisconsin, and Oregon, but because I fear these incidents have become so commonplace in our culture, most feel powerless to stop it. There have been 74 school shootings since December 14, 2012 when a deranged 20-year-old shot and killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School and there is seemingly no end in sight.
This became all too apparent when I stumbled across an article on Buzzfeed describing a so-called “Bodyguard Blanket”… a bulletproof blanket for kids. Now, protecting kids from violence seems a noble cause, but there is something fundamentally wrong here, so backwards and illogical that the company ProTecht thought it was a grand idea to exploit tragedy to make a profit (each blanket costs $1000, but according to ProTecht is a cheap solution to storm cellars and bunkers). Instead of urging our elected officials to address and fix the real problem with guns in America, they’ve created a bulletproof neon-orange Band-Aid and our children keep dying.
ProTecht is not alone in creating defensive products for the classroom, middle school teacher Daniel Nietzel designed a device called “The Sleeve” that is used to help lock and secure classroom doors so an intruder cannot enter. As the reporter covering the story states, teachers are “tired of waiting for a better solution to keep their classroom’s safe.” And they should be! If teachers are forced to find creative ways to protect their schools and companies are investing in millions of dollars to make Kevlar blankets for kids, our Government is clearly not doing enough. These types of products are teaching our children that gun violence is inevitable; that school shootings are an every day affair and that should outrage us! We are learning to live with violence instead of trying to eradicate it.
Every incident incites debate about gun control, but when are we going to stop debating and realize this isn’t about our right to own a gun, it’s about how our children are being murdered in places that are supposed to be safe. Gun owners: increased legislation and stricter background checks does not mean someone is going to barge into your home and confiscate your guns. The majority of recent school shootings involved individuals who have purchased guns legally or taken them from those who had. Increased background checks means keeping weapons out of the hands of those who would use them to do harm, not taking away guns from those who respect their usage. We need to realize our individual rights end when they infringe upon another’s. What’s more important: the safety of our children or the ability to own assault rifles and machine guns?
The police apprehended the gunman in my neighborhood and the whirling of helicopter blades has ceased, but my heart aches for all the children in the 10 schools that were put on lockdown and the fear they must have felt. We live in the United States of America, the so called land of the free; so shouldn’t that mean our children have the right to be free from getting gunned down while they learn their ABC’s? How many more children will die before we realize bigger locks, bulletproof blankets, and more guns are not the solution? The time for debate is over.
The post Band-Aids Over Bullet Holes: America’s Gun Problem appeared first on The Next Family.