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Our view: Our world one year after Uvalde

Dec 21, 2023Dec 21, 2023

On this morning — one year after the shooting at Uvalde — we are aghast at the place we find ourselves.

This is our world in 2023:

Bleeding kits. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson recently announced that 169 school districts and charter schools — including many in our area — will share $20 million that can be used for a variety of school safety measures, such as door locks and monitoring systems," which seems sensible enough, but also for "bleeding control kits, and automatic external defibrillators."

Think about that: bleeding control kits as standard issue for schools.

Ballistic shields. In Texas, lawmakers and elected leaders looked for other solutions, including more armed security and mental health funding. Again, sensible enough. But also this: $50 million for bullet-resistant shields for schools.

Think about that, too. Bullet-resistant shields as standard issue.

Armored backpacks. TuffyPacks CEO Steve Naremore said recently that sales of their bulletproof school backpacks have skyrocketed 500% since the Nashville school shooting and that there was a similar spike in orders after the shooting in Uvalde.

"Parents that were considering something like this — they know that it exists and it happens close to home — then they get serious about spending $125 to at least give their child a chance," he said.

Buying one of these "tactical" backpacks is as simple as going to Amazon. By the way, armored backpacks aren't just marketed for students because mass shootings aren't limited to schools.

"BE YOUR OWN FIRST RESPONDER: A backpack with police grade protection," one company advertises. "The future of personal protection has arrived. ... Police grade protection which will protect you from most weapons in the United States."

Bulletproof clipboards. "If fire extinguishers are required every 75 feet in every public building, why isn't firearm protection?" asks one website for a company that sells, among other things, bulletproof clipboards.

School shooting tracker. To the reams of data schools track, such as absenteesim, graduation rates and test scores, add school shootings. The journal "Education Week" maintains a school shooting "tracker." You can find it at

"There have been 23 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths," according to Education Week.

We can argue over the solutions, whether that be gun regulations, more mental health treatment and funding, armed officers in schools, or an honest assessment of a culture gorged with and gluttonous for even more violence in movies, videos, music and entertainment.

But here's what you can't argue: The place our children find ourselves today is a surreal and brutal world with tactical clipboards, ballistic shields and bleeding kits, and parents and lawmakers whose solutions are inept and feeble, at best.

Yet we expect students to learn and, more than that, expect them to grow up normal.

Good luck with that.

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