Coming off the heels of a military contractor selling $400 bulletproof whiteboards to teachers, another corporation is trying to profit off of fear. The ProTecht corporation is selling $1,000 bulletproof blankets for schoolchildren.
Your parents went to school without bulletproof blankets and survived. You went to school without bulletproof blankets and survived. Why do your kids need bulletproof blankets in school?
The answer is that your kids don’t need bulletproof blankets in school — but you might think that they do if you listen to claims in the media about school shootings. Press releases and news articles promoting the sale of these “bulletproof blankets” are trying to tell the country that school shootings are a big danger and on the rise:
- Business Insider: “It’s come to this. We’ve now had so many mass shootings that entrepreneurs see space in the market for a bulletproof blanket, made specifically to shield small children from gunfire.”
- CNET: “In a better world, no one would even have the impetus to dream up products like these.”
- BodyGuardBlanket: “Despite increased security measures in recent years, U.S. school shootings continue to rise.”
- Headlines & Global News: “The blanket is being introduced at a time when school shootings are becoming more frequent.”
- New York Daily News: “Developers in Oklahoma have revealed an unusual new product hoping to appeal to nervous mothers and school officials: bulletproof blankets. Amid a rise in school shootings…”
- News24: “Once a week: That’s the average frequency of school shootings in America.”
What striking claims. What hogwash. CNN and PolitiFact have looked into the “one school shooting a week” claim and found it to be clearly untrue. And what about the “so many shootings” “on the rise” claims? As the Bureau of Justice Statistics documents, a child’s annual risk of being killed in school in the U.S. is a staggeringly low 1 in 4.5 million, with school shootings going down — not up — over time.
The media claims may not be truthful, but fear appears to be more powerful than truth, because unfortunately the ruse shows signs of working. Corporate managing partner Stan Schone tells a reporter that thanks to media coverage, “Private sales have been very spirited and far greater than anticipated… far exceeded our wildest expectations.”
Then again, there are two ways in which the ProTecht “bulletproof blanket” hype doesn’t seem to pass the sniff test.
1. As Jean Barker points out, the “bulletproof blankets” are a bright fluorescent orange — kind of an odd color to hide from a shooter with. It kind of screams out “here I am” in this promotional photo, dont you think?
Besides, if kids use the advised “duck and cover” strategy shown in the photo above, look at how their bodies sort of stick out.
2. Although Protecht LLC declares itself to be a “world-class” business producing these so-called bulletproof blankets, registration records show that the company has been existence for only 10 months. The company’s website lists a business address:
There’s nothing illegal about any of this, but is this the kind of operation you have in mind to stand between your child and a bullet — at a price tag of $1000 a pop?
Never mind — you don’t have to answer that question. Let’s remember that the chance your child will be shot at in school is lower than the chance of a half-kilometer megadeath asteroid striking the Earth. If you must buy your child something to protect against bullets, I suggest you buy this $9.99 fake bullet belt from Party City. It won’t do anything, either, but it sure looks cool.