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National Editorials & Columns

Taking aim at bulletproof backpacks

American tragedy and ingenuity occasionally collide like two lame stream media talking heads debating gun control. There aren’t many finer points of society at large, but when it comes to cashing in on the fears of others America is second to none.

This ingenuity has led to a lion’s share of wonderful inventions to capitalize on a greater need and — dare I even suggest it — the greater good. Cue National Anthem.

When I was a kid, parents, apparently, had a hard time keeping track of their children. So someone came out with a product that for lack or want of a better term was called kid-on-a-leash. That never made sense to me. It’s like admitting that you are such a bad parent that you have to literally tether a child to you like a tetherball so you won’t lose track of them while traversing a mall’s food court. I guess elastic was the last missing link that prevented mothers and fathers from being fantastic parents.

But in the 21st century, elastic is out of fashion and this year Kevlar is what all the trendy third-graders are wearing this spring season.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the age of the bulletproof backpack.

The bulletproof backpack comes equipped with durable plastic buckles, padded straps for comfort and the best fabric China can manufacture. Oh, did I forget to mention the large, heavy bulletproof plate crammed into the back of the knapsack?

Even though one costs a few hundred bucks and weighs as much as a bowling ball, bulletproof backpacks are all the rage with the hip parents who live down the street and have more money to waste than you do.

One outrageous news report I watched on the boob tube purported that bulletproof backpacks are flying off the shelves faster than a deranged man can exclaim, “Run! I’ve got a gun!”

I don’t understand what all of the knee-jerk reaction is for. Here before long President Obama is going to outlaw guns anyway, at least according to a few well-informed citizens on my Facebook feed.

Now I like the idea behind the bulletproof backpack, but just the idea. Ideas are great. One time I had this idea about strapping rockets to the sides of automobiles so they would go faster. Do you see my point?

What is a kid to think if their parents buy such an oddity for them? The item is purchased with the strong suspicion that at some point in time someone is going to be firing a gun at their kid. Talk about optimistic parenting! Put a bull’s-eye on your kids back while you’re at it.

Plus, it goes without saying that maniacal gunmen don’t traditionally aim to shoot people in the backpack.

Look I have never been shot at before, but I think the real wisdom parents should impart to their children is this: When you hear gunfire, run. Don’t stick around and test the warranty of any alleged bulletproof backpacks.

And running away is awfully hard to accomplish with a 12-pound sack strapped to your back. Instead, it increases your susceptibility to sporadic gunfire. You have to ask yourself which is more likely, that your kid will become a firearm statistic or suffer from debilitating spinal injuries associated with massive amounts of weight attached to their tiny frames.

Not to mention children don’t even wear their backpacks once they get to school, so it sort of defeats the entire purpose of the bulletproof backpack.

It’s a scary world out there these days, but you can’t protect your children from everything — because sometimes in life you have no other choice but to bite the bullet.

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