Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back-To-School Shopping Just Ain't What It Used To Be!

Talk about insanity. It’s back-to-school time so load up with those pencils, notebooks, kevlar school uniform, rulers, iPods, laptops, and bullet-deflecting backpacks. Say What? That's right folks, two company's out there are making products that will protect our schoolage children from the violent bullshit that never existed when we were growing up. It may not sound like your usual back to school list, but some families are shelling out hundreds of dollars for the protective uniforms and backpacks, all due to a danger that has parents concerned...and they should be.

The mean streets of America and our neighbor and ally Britain can be deadly. Surveillance cameras captured in the UK captured one attack that left a young man stabbed to death. Teenage killings here have skyrocketed. As kids go back to school, petrified parents are taking an extraordinary step, outfitting their children with stab-proof school uniforms and backpacks lined with Kevlar, the same kind of material found in flak jackets worn by U.S. troops. Eighteen young people were murdered this year in London alone, and a recent study revealed that 1 in 3 children have carried a knife in the past year. What the hell is going on in today's schools?

Around 1 percent of crimes either have a knife used or intimated, so it is a tiny proportion of total crime. But for some parents, even that minimal risk is too great when it comes to protecting their most valued treasure of all. And I can't blame them. The company producing the stab-proof clothing is called "Bladerunner." Kevlar is a synthetic material that can be spun into a fabric which makes it light but also very strong. Adrian Davis, from Bladerunner, said: "We introduced Kevlar-lined hooded tops out earlier this year and off the back of that a few parents asked us if we could alter school uniforms to make them stab proof. "So we are offering the service on a private, individual basis." I love what they say as a disclaimer on their website:

Bladerunner clothing and products are provided and designed for protection use only, if any of our customers wish to misuse these goods other then for what they are intended for, does not accept any liability. We do not condone violence, but provide products for protection.

Here in America, another company has an alternate product. “What happened in Columbine that we started thinking about this" says Mike Pelonzi, co-owner of MJ Safety Solutions which produces ‘My Child’s Pack’. I’m a parent and so is co-owner Joe Curran and we wanted a way of keeping kids safe at school and this is what we came up with.” The backpacks, which will cost $175, have a super-lightweight bullet-proof plate sewn into the back which weighs no more than a bottle of water. Pelonzi said the material used is a secret. The plate material meets National Institute of Justice safety standards, said Pelonzi, and during a three-year testing phase, stood up to an assortment of bullets (including hollow-point 9mm) as well as machete, hatchet and Ka-bar knife attacks. The company says, "Kids are going to be safe because of these backpacks."

Now that might be true, if crazed shooters are only aiming at people's backs. The bottom line is that we've got to stop the violence. We've got to punish those who make going to school unsafe and deadly. Our kids deserve to be safe and get an education, not have to worry about the kid in the lunch line that is going to stab you because you got the last chocolate milk!