Shielding Our Kids

If there is a single measure of how insane the absence of meaningful gun regulation in this country has become, it can be found in certain schools that are equipping students with bulletproof shields to carry in their backpacks. A report in The New York Times this week said a Catholic school in Chad’s Ford, Pa., recently handed out the heavy, composite sheets, each a little bigger than a laptop computer, to its eighth-grade class. The shields can stop a handgun shot and deflect pellets from a shotgun blast, but are no match for a round from an AR-15 rifle, the preferred weapon of recent school shooters. And anyway, in the case of attack, which part of their bodies are the students supposed to protect with the shields, their torsos or their heads?

Perhaps the shields are really intended to provide a sense of security for those who carry them, children who might otherwise be too frightened now to go to school. Or they may be an attempt to assure parents that administrators are doing something to protect their kids. Unfortunately, in a country that has far more firearms than it has common sense, such measures are meaningless.