The Lord will protect them

By 
  • September 10, 2007

{mosimage}It’s time to prepare the inevitable back to school budget and the list includes books, toys, clothes and a bullet-proof backpack.

Wait a minute, a bullet-proof backpack? Yes, a bullet-proof backpack for our children. This is the innovation of a U.S. company, MJ Safety Solutions of Massachusetts. The company makes bullet-proof backpacks and last week it started selling them to American school kids through the Internet.

According to an article in the Aug. 19 Sunday Sun, once the owners of MJ Safety Solutions have made “sure they are legally able to export the backpacks here, they will be shipping them to Canadian buyers.” The owners, Joe Curran and Mike Pelonzi, are reported to be offering the backpacks as “added protection for students and parents worried about school violence.”

As a marketing gimmick, this may fill the two men’s pockets with dollars, but morally and in terms of security, their product is far from being a “safety solution.”

This product was developed to prey on the fragile psyche of parents who will jump at anything touted as offering protection for their children. However, it may actually turn out to be more of a danger than a safety device.

First of all, the product assumes that there is such rampant violence (mostly of the shooting kind) in our schools that children need to be protected with a $175 backpack.

It’s true that there have been some shootings in Canadian schools, most notably being the recent incident at Toronto’s C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate where 15-year-old Jordan Manners was gunned down. But these shootings are rare exceptions to the statistical trend.

In fact, the Jordan Manners shooting revealed the paradox. Official statistics actually show that the Canadian crime rate has been at its lowest in 25 years, primarily because non-violent crime has dropped 30 per cent since 1991.

Stats Canada says gun violence dropped two per cent in 2005 from the previous year and is estimated to have remained at the same level last year. In a world where violence is on the ascent elsewhere, the Canadian numbers are an indication of the high level of safety that exists in this country.

The Jordan Manners incident revealed that all our schools need are administrators and policies that prioritize the preservation of schools as places of learning and social development.

I strongly advise authorities not to allow this product into Canada. It is a cheap scam that is as dangerous as the guns it is supposedly made to protect kids from. In fact, a proliferation of bullet-proof backpacks would encourage what we are seeking to avoid, by offering an illusion of protection rather than the real thing.

There is also the aspect of explaining to the kids why you are buying them bullet-proof backpacks. Inquisitive as they are, the children would want to know who you are protecting them against, why those people want to shoot them and a host of other questions that will only expose the children to what we try to shield them from.

Our children do not need any such innovations. What they need is a strong family and community foundation based on the Ten Commandments, the sixth of which says “Thou shall not kill,” and Jesus Christ’s one rule: “Love thy neighbour.”

Actually, all the kids would need, over and above their usual load of books, toys and lunch, could be a daily prayer to have the Lord protect them during the day.

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