Genius entrepreneurs develop bulletproof blanket for schoolchildren


Children lying under the ProTecht Bodyguard® bulletproof blanket prepare to be sprayed with bullets.

Ask any child, and he’ll tell you that there’s only one way to prevent deaths from school shootings: ban school. But what if there were something else we could do—something that might protect our children without impoverishing their minds even further? Had you asked me that question two weeks ago, I would have thrashed you for a lackwit. But then Peter “The Vulgarian” Franke told me about the Protecht Bodyguard® bullet-resistant blanket, which “can provide a quick, simple solution for maximum protection against a school intruder.” How many deaths from school shootings will this literal security blanket prevent? Well, it covers about 90% of a child’s body, so…

Please note that the Protecht Bodyguard® is bullet-resistant, not bulletproof. An actually bulletproof blanket would crush any seven year-old who pulled it over himself, which is something but not what we’re going for when it comes to school shootings. What we’re going for is to “stop or reduce the number of deaths,” as the Protecht website puts it. It’s an awkward phrase, but they’re kind of in an awkward position.

The thing about a blanket that protects children while madmen spray bullets around their schools is that it gets you thinking about other questions. Protecht acknowledges this marketing problem right away, and they are just as quick to make their checkmate move:

What will be done to stop or reduce the number of deaths caused by school shootings? Debates continue throughout the nation on the appropriate course of action that will need to be taken to reduce school shootings and related deaths. Our children, who attend pre-school to 12th grade and college, as well as thousands of dedicated teachers, continue to be at risk from these attacks while at school each day.

You think our bullet-resistant blanket that covers your child for the nine seconds or so it takes to bump fire a full clip through an AR-15 is funny? Fine—your child can lie there without a blanket until Congress settles gun control. I hope no bullets fly through the air while we wait.

It’s a hard world for children, as the good people at Protecht know. The Bodyguard® blanket is also designed to protect kids from tornados and “that blunt-force trauma when that rubble is falling down on a child, for instance, ” as Steve Walker put it to the Washington Post.

Walker is the Edmonton podiatrist who came up with the idea for Bodyguard®, presumably after growing up in a firecracker factory. Both he and his business partner Stan Schone offer a somewhat fatalistic construction of childhood when discussing their product. For example, here’s Schone on his blanket’s power to lessen the likelihood that your child is pierced by flying nails: “Instead of bending over and hoping for the best, they’re afforded an extra layer of protection.”

Sure, many of them will still be hit by nails, or bullets or whatever, but those nails and bullets will hit fewer children in less important parts of their bodies than if they didn’t have bullet-resistant blankets. We’re not talking about a perfect world. We’re talking about making the best of the one we have, and in our world, sooner or later, small pieces of metal are going to fly around and through our schoolchildren.

You make your kid wear a helmet when she rides her bicycle, right? So why wouldn’t you make her carry a bullet-resistant blanket to school? The only alternative is to ban bicycles. But it would be absurd to ban bicycles because some kids fall and hit their heads, just as it would be absurd to ban bicycles because some guys use them to bludgeon to death a dozen schoolchildren before anyone can reach them.

We have to think about these problems clearly. The question is not “how can we prevent bullets from flying around inside schools and, to a less- but still-important extent, in our lives generally?” That’s one for the philosophers. The real question, the one that’s relevant to our lives, is “what can we do when bullets start flying around?” And the answer is to do what we always do: crawl under the blankets and wait.

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  1. A full-auto AR-pattern rifle would actually empty its magazine in 2.5 seconds. (At 700 rounds per minute) This is the general problem of automatic rifles, as opposed to crew served weapons: their magazines are too small for full-auto to be useful in combat

  2. As someone who supports gun control this must have been a difficult article to write. You have to make the people proposing a stupid solution look dumb while not making the politically impossible alternative look dumb. You have to make the idea of lugging a blanket around seem ridiculous, but make the idea of taking away a right from 310 million Americans seem reasonable. You have to lampoon a focus on the equipment this business is asking victims to carry without making it seem silly to focus on the equipment that the perpetrators carry.

  3. Would the thrill of wearing the blanket like a cape balance out its eye-catching color (sure to contrast with the general putty tone of school floors, lockers, walls, etc.)?

  4. Great commentary. Let politicians, and those so hell bent on taking one side or the other, continue their nonproductive debate. These inventors thought outside of the box, and have done more than any politician has to actually protect our kids!

    One correction for all of you though. The blankets are stored in every classroom and kept there. They are not sent home with the child. When a lockdown drill is put in place, the teacher simply goes to the storage bin and hands them out to put on immediately.

  5. The two men are from Edmond Oklahoma not Edmonton (unknown state) as stated in your article.

  6. I’m Canadian, which means I’ve forgotten more about stupid gun laws than the rest of you have learned (seriously, check them out sometime when you’re feeling morbidly curious) and this is the dumbest damn thing that _I’VE_ ever heard of.

    That’s saying something.

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