Instead of school supplies, this year I’m shopping for a bulletproof backpack

Aug 31, 2019 by

Judi Zirin –

After so many school shootings, I’m not worried my kid won’t fit in – I’m praying he won’t be carried out

I have always loved the end of summer’s lazy promise of infinite possibility, the late August back to school buzz of limitless potential. Instead of shopping for school supplies and first day of school outfits, though, I’m online looking at Kevlar hoodies and bulletproof backpacks. This year, I’m not worried my kid won’t fit in – I’m praying he won’t be carried out.

After so many school shootings, I’m scared. Scared of what happens when that student who seems a little off or angry or cruel, whose parents don’t notice or take it seriously, whose issues the school is “dealing with”, finds access to a gun. Terrified because I know I can’t protect my child – and the government won’t. Confused because these students need help and not stigma, and it’s oddly the guns who have the stronger lobby.

Where to avoid if you don’t want to be shot in America

Prevention of gun violence depends now on the vigilance of other parents, school administrators and law enforcement. Parents and schools are generally forewarned. School shooters exhibit “behavioral warning signs that caused others to be concerned” 93% of the time, and shooters’ plans are known to others 81% of the time. When schools ignore bullying or overlook troubling or aberrant behavior, they create a dangerous atmosphere that arming teachers, lockdowns and drills can’t later prevent. Parents who ignore warning signs put both their own and other people’s children in danger.

Law enforcement is needed before active situations develop. The El Paso killer’s mother called the police to express her concern about her son having an assault weapon. The neighbor who took in the Parkland killer says she called police to express similar concerns. Seventeen states and Washington DC have variations of red flag laws, which allow the removal of guns by judicial order from those deemed a danger to themselves or others. When warnings are heeded and social media sites monitored, would-be killers can be stopped and numerous lives saved.

Source: Instead of school supplies, this year I’m shopping for a bulletproof backpack | Judi Zirin | Opinion | The Guardian

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