Jean Barker

Duck and Cover, kids!

2014-06-13 09:28

Once a week: That's the average frequency of school shootings in America. The solution is not, of course, more sensible gun licencing laws. No. Obama couldn't get those passed. Hell no. That would take away people's constitutional freedom to own and carry deadly weapons! Instead, some enterprising inventors are suggesting schools take responsibility for the problem, and invest in various forms of protection for innocent school children and teachers.

The first is this handy Bodyguard Blanket (TM), which can be rolled up in case of emergency, unfurled and worn on the back as a killer rampages through the halls.

I don't know, guys. I don't think kids are going to go for this. First of all, they're all the same colour and so boring and plain. Kids are going to want to personalise these with custom designs, jazzle them and print them with slogans, like, say "Just TAKE my lunch, FFS!" and "I promise I'm not LOLing at you now!"

Which brings me to the fact that these state of the art bodyguard blankets are all a bright, target-coloured red. Now... if you're nutcase a shooter, loping around a school with a couple of sawn off shotguns seeking revenge on the assholes who wouldn't play with you at lunch break, what would attract your attention?

Yeah, kids, try hiding behind a door with that on your back. Or running somewhere. The cool kids are going to want lino-flooring camouflaged Bodyguard Blankets. Perhaps the new range could be customised to match your favourite hiding place, like a tasteful dark grey for the janitor's closet. Or painted like a tortoise shell. Or how about something that blends in with the whiteboard?

Oh! Oh! Oh! Wait!

What about a Bulletproof Whiteboard for the teacher with lightning fast reflexes, also known as "Superteacher", who will leap from child to child stopping the hail of bullets with an instrument of learning. This is going to be great! Dammit. Someone already patented it.

But back to the Bodyguard Blankets. They still need some work.

For instance, the NRA Kids might want a handy holster, so that they can conceal their own personal weapon, in case they need to draw it in self-defence. And they'll all need cellphone pouches, of course. So you can make that touching last-minute phone call to Mom.

This product would be much funnier, if it weren't so patently useless. It's the new "Duck and Cover". Duck and Cover training advised kids to hide under their desks in the event of a nuclear holocaust. Watch the tragically hilarious 1951 Federal Civil Defence Administration video.

Even in the Crazy 50s, nobody believed Duck and Cover would work. And nobody believes - if the message board on the site is anything to go by - that these red blankets will work either. Like Duck and Cover, the Emergency Whiteboard Shield and the Bodyguard Blanket seem designed mostly to comfort those who are helpless and afraid, and give them something to do while they die for no good reason.

What's next - making bulletproof full body suits part of a new national school uniform? Yes, that would definitely be easier than asking gun owners to prove they're sane before they can purchase and wield a deadly weapon.

- Jean is a screenwriting/directing dual MFA student in California, USA. She tweets as @jeanbarker and blogs pictures of signs and more, here. She will be back.

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