"Just an ordinary day," the narrator says cheerily at the beginning of a pitch video for the Bodyguard Blanket. Parents are going to work, kids are filing into the classroom, teachers are calling roll. Then comes the inevitable "...until now."
The Bodyguard Blanket, you see, would like you to feel like your children are in danger. School shootings happen with alarming frequency, and too often students are killed or injured before police can contain the gunman. What if kids could duck and cover under a blanket made of military-grade bullet-resistant material? And only $1,000 a pop!
Setting aside for a moment the ethics of a company whose business model appears to involve scaring you into buying its product, does Bodyguard Blanket actually work? The fear it invokes is real, after all — at least one person died in a school shooting in Troutdale, Oregon just today — and anything that could save people's lives must be a good thing. Video of a ballistics test posted on the company's website seems to indicate that it does, until you see shots of kids actually wearing the thing, front and sides all exposed to the murderer who's surely lurking around their school right this minute.
And about those ethics: encouraging schools to buy bulletproof blankets they probably can't afford is not as insidious as, say, Wayne LaPierre's insistence that every school be outfitted with a gun-toting police officer, but it stems from the same mentality. Rather than deal with the problems that lead to school shootings — lax gun control, limited access to mental health care, boys with unchecked anger — we should accept them as inevitable and gear up to protect ourselves from the bullets.
"What will be done to stop or reduce the number of deaths caused by school shootings?", asks a line of copy on the company's website. It's a good question, but Bodyguard Blankets aren't the answer.