Profit from violence | HuffPost Reviews

A few days after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a friend sent me a link to a bulletproof backpack insert and a three-page documen...


A few days after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a friend sent me a link to a bulletproof backpack insert and a three-page document from the manufacturer. The document offers information on “Training our children for the next school shooter”. It shows an image of a school-aged girl in four different poses, demonstrating the many ways a child could use the ballistic insert to protect themselves from the wrath of a crazed shooter.

The document lists some do’s and don’ts of an active shooter. Do: Find shelter, hide, introduce a small target, and call or text for help. Don’t wear anything while running, hide in the shooter’s line of sight, or plead for your life.

With bulletproof backpack Sales skyrocketing after the Uvalde shootings, it’s clear that the monetization of fear and grief is almost as American as the school shootings themselves. Still, as a fearful parent and former educator grieving the Uvalde tragedy, I found it hard to consider the $129 bulletproof shield — which comes in camo, patriotic, and school themes — as anything else. what a bargain.

Prompt by the link to the backpack’s ballistic insert, I asked my son to describe a lockdown exercise.

His teacher turns off the lights, blocks the door, and grabs his baseball bat. The children are sitting against the wall. My son insisted on the importance of everyone being quiet. This checklist, of course, has been seared into the minds of American educators. Having taught special education in elementary school, I am no exception.

A photo from 2019 shows bulletproof backpacks for sale at an Office Depot in Evanston, Illinois.
A photo from 2019 shows bulletproof backpacks for sale at an Office Depot in Evanston, Illinois.

I tried to imagine my son’s teacher, a short woman approaching retirement age, wielding a bat at an unbalanced shooter. Just like when I imagined myself in this same scenario when I was teaching, the scene didn’t end well. It never ends well.

I was given a hammer in case there was an active shooter. My school administrators sent out an email survey at the start of the school year asking teachers if they wanted one. As a teacher, I learned not to refuse free things. I checked the “yes” box, but I remember scoffing at the idea. I have no combat skills and no interest in acquiring any. I’m pretty confident that I wouldn’t be able to subdue an adult storming into my classroom on a murder mission. As Republican lawmakers now want teachers to reallocate time from lesson planning to focused practice, hammers and bats seem to be giving way to guns.

I left teaching last November after the increasing responsibilities and insatiable demands became too much. I was inspired by all the clich├ęs to learn. I wanted learn. I loved education. But in practice, I was inundated with every possible task and role one could think of. not teach. I became an expert at dealing with the seething and unwarranted anger of parents who had bought into the right-wing narrative that teachers were good for nothing, that we were lounging around eating candy during COVID shutdowns, collecting checks payroll funded by parents’ hard-earned taxpayers’ money. I was up early to respond to e-mails sent the day before by angry parents fearing their children’s indoctrination by “critical race theory.” I worked late into the evening preparing IEPs and lesson plans. For my students, I have never been anything but their teacher. I was a counsellor, role model, mediator and cheerleader.

And then, with a hammer, I was a hand-to-hand combatant.

The hammer was problematic, but that wasn’t the problem. Teachers like me are moving away from mass education. We are neither weak nor impartial. We just come to realize that we’re being asked to do the impossible at the expense of our mental health, our emotional well-being, and now our real, literal life.

An active shooter exercise is performed at Park High School in Livingston, Montana in 2018.
An active shooter exercise is performed at Park High School in Livingston, Montana in 2018.

William Campbell via Corbis via Getty Images

In a nation with the highest rate of gun ownership, directly correlated to mass shootings, Republicans have somehow concluded that we should add more guns and give teachers the role and the responsibility of campus security officers. With the national discourse on arming teachers, I can feel the visceral frustration from when I was teaching rising to the surface.

Stop asking teachers to do more. Stop asking teachers to subsidize the negligence of legislators. Teachers are overwhelmed, on the brink of irrevocable exhaustion. Teachers don’t want to be school trustees. Teachers don’t want bats, hammers or guns. Teachers want solutions. The teachers want learn.

But if the Ohio legislature is any indication, Republicans don’t care what teachers want. Ohio lawmakers hastily passed House Bill 99 after the Uvalde shootinggiving school boards the capacity allow school staff to conceal the carry with a maximum of 24 hour firearms training. (Pthe policy must complete at least 60 hours.) At the mercy of parents and online donations, teachers beg for school supplies each year, wanting to adequately stock their classrooms for young minds eager to learn, but instead of pencils and spiral notebooks , the GOP wants to give them Glocks. With Ohio teachers, parents and others pleading to keep guns out of our classrooms, the passage of House Bill 99 and its signing of the law by Republican Governor Mike DeWine, was an act of hostility. Other Republican-controlled legislatures will almost certainly follow.

In favor of children and education, the teachers made some humble requests: social-emotional learning, uncensored story and access to books ― all things Republicans have made concerted efforts to oppose. With a growing shortage of teachers, the Republicans are succeeding in dismantling the institution of education, one teacher at a time. Of course, the GOP has made no secret of its contempt for teachers and public schools. For years, Republicans have tried to abolish public education under the guise of “school choice.” Asking teachers to be armed security guards will only exacerbate the teacher shortage.

In the Uvalde massacre ― one of the few instances where a militarized police response might have been justified ― the good guys with guns instead tackled, handcuffed and doused with pepper spray parents in distress as a gunman discharged an AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle, killing teachers and children. I saw the video of a panicked Uvalde father held to the ground outside Robb Elementary; I read about a mother who snuck into the school to save her two children after saying she was arrested by police. I am now certain that teachers are much better at handling crises than law enforcement. It’s obvious when you hear Arnulfo Reyes, a fourth grade teacher at Uvalde, shares his story about squeezing his students under a table, doing his best, and trusting the police officers who retreated to safety before the child who called them out in desperation was executed.

Teachers handle crises every day without the false courage of guns or tactical gear, or the power travel of a badge. Yet the question should not be whether we should arm our teachers, but why we have not kept the guns out of the hands of those capable of committing the most heinous acts of violence.

A police officer evacuates student volunteers in makeup to simulate injuries during a 2007 school shooting and mass evacuation drill at Lincoln Middle School in Alameda, California.
A police officer evacuates student volunteers in makeup to simulate injuries during a 2007 school shooting and mass evacuation drill at Lincoln Middle School in Alameda, California.

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Claiming that any attempt to curb dangerous disinformation campaigns is actually a harbinger of a Orwellian dystopia, Republicans now envision a police state for our children, eager to militarize our schools and teachers. The data, however, is concrete: more weapons mean more death by firearm, school resource officers are largely ineffective preventing gunshots and exposing children to firearms increases the risk firearm-related accidents and deaths. The broad consensus among connoisseurs? We should keep guns out of our schools. But how do you reason with people who deliberately misinterpret expertise as elitism and hard science as a left-wing blueprint for the new world order? The spirit of democracy does not have to accept that all opinions are equal.

Some opinions are well supported by facts. Others are well funded by NRA blood money.

Uvalde’s news begins to fade against the backdrop of the overwhelming US media chatter. Other headlines clutter our newsfeeds ― Depp wins libel suit; Celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee; Sandberg quits Facebook parent company ― as if they shared the same meaning as 19 children and two slaughtered adults. Don’t be distracted. Let reactionary legislators frantically pushing harmful legislation serve as motivation: it will happen again. None of us are immune to American gun violence, and arming teachers is not the answer.

I haven’t purchased the bulletproof backpack insert yet. And I don’t want to. I hope, perhaps naively, that Republican lawmakers will do the right thing, instead of forcing parents to resort to bulletproof protection for their children and adding “campus security guard” to the list of roles we expect of teachers.



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