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Congratulations Parents: You Just Bought Your Child a Kevlar Suit of Fear

Parents are buying their children bulletproof backpacks. Military fathers are standing guard at their children’s schools.

military elementary school


A man went on the local news with a watch that looks like it’s from a Dick Tracy cartoon and had Marc Klass tell us that it would have saved his daughter’s life. I think that’s a stretch.

My friend won’t let her 10 year old son ride his bike around the neighborhood because she’s worried he’s going to be abducted. Another friend won’t let her 14 year old child have sleepovers because they are afraid of molestations. Still more won’t allow their 11 year olds to cross the street.

These actions make children vulnerable. Every time you tell a child they are incapable of crossing a street, riding a bike or trusting an adult you’ve primed them for predators real and imagined (though most likely imagined). Yes, we’ve recently had a sniper attack on young children. Yes, this is tragic and, yes, as predicted the news coverage was reckless and predatory and as a result of local news becoming national news we have endless copycats and temporarily heightened security.

My phone is ringing and two local security guard businesses have asked for coverage here. Apparently people hire armed guards for weddings, sleepover parties and when their husbands are out of town. If you’re a lesbian or a single mother you should probably just hire one full time I suppose.

No one is standing up and saying: This is crazy.

Not a single news anchor looks at these fear peddlers and says, “You’re out of your mind”.

I’m here to tell you that this is crazy. The media circus has spoon fed you fear and you’re dutifully passing it along to your children.

The NRA would like to go into the business of training armed guards for schools. Make no mistake this is the same money grab as the Kevlar Backpacks, Teflon GPS devices and track-a-kid iPhone apps. This is what it looks like when you use fear as a marketing tool.

The NRA says:

As brave, heroic and self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms, and as prompt, professional and well-trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable — through no fault of their own — to stop it.

Are we sure that’s true? Are we sure that a 27th person wasn’t saved? A 28th or even a 50th? Does no one recall the two armed guards that were unable to keep 13 children safe at Columbine High School?

You’re scaring your kids. You’re also scarring them.

The world isn’t a scary place, we have scary moments and Newtown will have a generation that’s rightfully scarred but there’s no reason for the whole country to be reactive.

When I look at the Leo Watch site I’m greeted with this message.

selling fear leowatch

Every year 800,000 children are reported missing in the US. This includes runaways, non-custodial parent issues, kids who are simply late and acquaintance disappearances. Of the 800,000 missing children 115 of them are abducted by strangers.

You’re going to not let your child cross the street because in a country of of 314 million 115 children are abducted by strangers? We have more lottery winners than stranger abductions.

If you want to talk about the risk of homicide then statistically the most dangerous person in a child’s life appears to be their own parents with friends being the second most dangerous and strangers accounting for 3% or less of all infant and child homicide to age 5 in the last few decades.

Maybe we don’t need armed guards in schools? Maybe we need parents to stop killing their own kids?

My point is this. The news is over and we don’t need to be gawking at the folks in Newtown any longer. Yes we should support them and yes, we should be looking to reform gun control. Before anyone tells you that armed guards in schools are a good idea remind them that Columbine High School had not one but two armed guards on site.

Perhaps the NRA is having fantasies that we’re living in a spaghetti western and the good guys don’t bleed.


6 thoughts on “Congratulations Parents: You Just Bought Your Child a Kevlar Suit of Fear”

  1. Well said Jessica. It’s the “knee jerk” reaction (always based on emotion) that does the most damage. I’m not a parent, so I speak as an outsider. If only people were able to sit down and have a rational discussion about all of this. If only.

  2. You and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on certain issues, Jessica, but on this I am in total agreement. I don’t think there was a parent in the country who wasn’t horrified by what happened in Newtown. Indeed, my husband and I held each other and cried when we heard the news. But, when I saw that people are buying the Kevlar backpacks for their kids, my first thought was, “People are losing it.” I refuse to restrict my son’s childhood. And I certainly won’t outfit him with body armor for elementary school. There are always going to be bad people in the world; it isn’t fair to unnecessarily scare or hold back our children on a “what if..?” I also blame the constant media coverage (“gawking” was the perfect word for it).

  3. Best blog you’ve ever written Jessica. (And that’s saying something!) You are so right. What happened in Newtown was horrible beyond comprehension, but arming schools, Kevlar backpacks – that is just insanity.

  4. I 100% agree that this is crazy. Children are more at risk of being molested by their own family than a stranger. You are more at risk of being murdered by your spouse than a stranger…that’s just the way it is. What happened was a fucking travesty. But that type of thing could not have been predicted, or prevented, by this type of “precaution,” as they are calling it.

  5. Thank you, Jessica, for standing up and being a voice of reason within all the madness! I could not agree with you more. I am heartened by this post. I had a “discussion” on Facebook recently that almost made me lose hope–people wanting to pile on the guns. So disturbing. People have lost sight of reality, all hyped up on cable news, Law and Order, etc. Perspective and risk assessment are lacking.

  6. If he was doing that to simply protect his child.. He wouldn’t be in uniform. He’s showing off And getting attention for a uniform. If it was any other parent (not in uniform) people would be complaining and saying how ridiculous (as it is).. But since its a uniform… There’s attention. Which is clearly what these parents are after.

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